If one Will Smith just isn’t enough for you, then you’re in luck with Gemini Man as you get two for the price of one, if you will(s).
Ang Lee’s ambitious sci-fi sees Will Smith play an assassin who has to take on his deadliest opponent yet: his younger self. But just like the lead star is seeing double, you might have a bit of déjà vu with the title if you’re a fan of obscure, short-lived US TV shows from the 1970s.
Bonus points to you for your knowledge if that’s the case, but we’re sorry to say Gemini Man, the movie, isn’t a remake of Gemini Man, the TV show.
Loosely based on the classic HG Wells novel The Invisible Man, Gemini Man aired in 1976 on NBC. It centred on secret agent Sam Casey, played by Alias Smith and Jones star Ben Murphy.
Agent Casey works for government think-tank INTERSECT and, unfortunately for him, on a mission to retrieve a Soviet satellite, he is exposed to radiation from an underwater explosion.
The radiation makes him invisible, but INTERSECT manages to create a watch that keeps him visible unless he turns it off. Obviously, invisibility is a pretty neat trick for a secret agent, but the downside is that if he stays invisible for more than 15 minutes, he dies.
Sounds bonkers and amazing, right?
Sadly, the show didn’t quite live up to that set-up and US audiences didn’t take to it. After a TV movie pilot aired in May 1976 (which you can see below), only five of the 11 episodes filmed of the first season aired before the show was cancelled.
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Gemini Man did get resurrected in the US in 1981 when two of the episodes – season premiere ‘Smithereens’ and the unaired ‘Buffalo Bill Rides Again’ – were edited into a TV movie called Riding with Death.
There were some issues with the TV movie though.
Original cast member Katherine Crawford had left her role as scientist Abby Lawrence before ‘Buffalo Bill Rides Again’, while William Sylvester – who played Casey’s boss Leonard Driscoll – had grown a moustache between the two episodes.
Oh, and the villain of the TV movie didn’t feature in the season premiere, so they had refer to the fact that he was mysterious in an edit at the end of the first episode.
Riding with Death‘s notoriety was cemented when Mystery Science Theater 3000 parodied it in a 1997 episode.
Now we’re disappointed that Ang Lee’s Gemini Man isn’t a remake of the TV movie of Gemini Man, to be honest.
Gemini Man is out in UK cinemas on October 10 and US cinemas on October 11.
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