Supertrain

Tagged: TV

US tv series (1979). Dan Curtis Productions/National Broadcasting Company for NBC-TV. Created by Earl W Wallace and Donald E Westlake. Produced by Rod Amateau. Directors included Amateau, Cliff Bole, Barry Crane. Writers included Stephen Kandel, Brad Radnitz, Westlake. Cast includes Robert Alda, Edward Andrews, Harrison Page and Nita Talbot. One two-hour pilot film plus seven 60-minute episodes. Colour.

The Supertrain is a nuclear-powered bullet train (see Transportation) so large that it needs to travel on a huge, single track rather than typical twin rails; it features luxuries more often found upon cruise ships, including theatres, multiple swimming pools and shopping centres. Created by Dr Dan Lewis (Alda), the Supertrain is supposedly capable of safely traveling at nearly 200 miles per hour as it traverses the USA; its actual apparent speed is some 100 miles per hour. George Boone (Page) is the chief engineer while Harry Flood (Andrews) oversees the staff who welcome wealthy passengers aboard each week; Rose Case (Talbot) appears to be the head of social activities. Various more or less well known guest stars featured in storylines dealing with assorted personal issues and/or adventures, including several would-be assassins. Beyond the train itself, there was no other sf content to the series. Reportedly costing over a million dollars to produce, it was a swift failure.

Along with the 1980 US boycott of the Summer Olympics which cost NBC millions of dollars in lost advertising revenue, Supertrain is said to have almost bankrupted the network and is considered by the few who recall it as one of the largest failures in US television history. Any suspicious resemblance between its basic theme and that of ABC-TV's series The Love Boat (1977-1987) must be ascribed to their similarity. [GSt]

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