The 1977-1978 TV run of Logan's Run was actually pretty brief, but it was on just long enough for the futuristic sci-fi thriller to develop a bit of a cult following. Now, for the first time, all 14 episodes are available in the new three-disc Logan's Run: The Complete Series (1977, Warner Bros., not rated, $40).
The CBS show was a spin-off from the 1976 movie directed by Michael Anderson and starring Michael York, Jenny Agutter and Richard Jordan. The movie was based on a 1967 novel of the same name by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson.
The story is set in the 23rd century, 200 years after a global nuclear war devastated mankind. Survivors live in the computer-run City of Domes, where they are sealed off from the outside and blissfully go about their hedonistic lives. But there is a catch: At age 30 they have to take part in a ceremony called Carousel where they are told that they will be reborn. The truth is more sinister, and some of the citizenry have noticed that nobody ever seems to return from the life-ending experience.
People who choose to buck the system and escape to the outside to avoid termination are called "runners," and a special hit squad of Sandmen are tasked with tracking them down and killing them.
On TV, Gregory Harrison starred as Sandman Logan 5, who questions the status quo. After killing a runner, one of the dissidents who was helping the man flee — the gorgeous Jessica 6 (Heather Menzies) — convinces him to betray his colleagues, and they both take off for the great outdoors. They hope to locate the mythical Sanctuary, a bastion of freedom for runners.
Logan's implacable partner, Francis 7 (Randy Powell), is determined to track him down on principle, but before he can go, the computer that everyone believes to be supreme summons him to a restricted area. There he finds out that all that stuff about being "renewed" is a hoax. A council of old men actually runs the place and kills people off at 30 so as to not strain limited resources. Francis is sworn to secrecy and promised a seat on the council — and a long life — if he succeeds in capturing his former friend and Jessica and destroying Sanctuary.
On their journey, Logan and Jessica acquire a cool solar-powered hovercraft and a helpful android named Rem (Donald Moffat). They also realize that the air they were always led to believe was poisoned had been safe to breathe for years. They also have to wrap their brains around such concepts as sunshine and rain, parents with children, and people with wrinkles.
Each week they stumble across new isolated pockets of civilization, each one as quirky, hostile and/or devious as the last. They encounter robots, ghosts and aliens from outer space who inevitably slow their progress.
Among the guest stars: Gerald McRaney, Kim Cattrall, Horst Buchholz, Melody Anderson, Mariette Hartley, Barbara Babcock and Angela Cartwright of Lost in Space fame.
The show had its low-budget charms, but like the people in the City of Domes, its life was short and sweet as rating lagged. While one thing didn't necessarily have anything to do with the other, it's worth noting that Star Wars also arrived in 1977, and the bar for sci-fi production values was suddenly in a whole other galaxy.