Among the first Marvel productions, there was an attempt at a connected universe during the 70s, and one of the first superheroes to be part of it was Spider-Man. With rather mixed results.
In 1977, the American channel CBS launched a series around Spiderman. Or rather, she decides to shoot a pilot and wait to see how it is received before financing the following episodes. The result is a soberly titled TV movie Spider-Man, which will be released in cinemas in France under the title Spider-Man.
The story takes up a well-known canvas: Peter Parker (nicholas hammond), photographer for the Daily Bugle, is bitten by a radioactive spider and discovers superpowers. He will become the superhero Spider-Man, and fight a certain Guru, who hypnotizes his victims into committing suicide. He can stop this killing game if New York City offers him $50 million.
Obviously, with a current glance and hindsight, this TV movie seems to have no means, but it is because the budget is spent in the effects of climbing the walls of Spider-Man. Thanks to this, the stunts are effective, but the sets struggle to convince or to give a visual identity to the feature film, which does what it can with what it has. We also note a total involvement of the supporting roles, who seriously play dialogues that generally hold up.
This pilot was broadcast on TV on September 14, 1977 and was extremely well received by young audiences, but less so by the 18-49 age group, preferred by advertisers. Because of this semi-success, CBS will indeed order a series, but limiting itself to a few episodes. The series therefore begins on April 5, 1978 with 5 episodes until May 3.
J. Jonah Jameson is not as unsympathetic as in the comics and, for the passage in series, David White, who played him in the TV movie, must give way to Robert F.SimonTV veteran and also a former MA beloved witch.
The plots of the series are based on the superpowers of the Spider-Man, and oppose him to relatively classic villains, who are not drawn from the Marvel catalog. And if Stan Lee voluntarily sold the rights to Spider-Man to the producer Daniel R. Goodmanthe two men disagree on the narrative direction taken by the series.
Season 2 is scheduled to begin in the fall of 1978, and the producer Lionel Siegel (The man who was worth 3 billion) arrives to make the show more suitable for adult audiences. A romance is added with the introduction of the character of Julie Masters (Ellen Bry) and the plots are no longer about plutonium but about drug trafficking and espionage. Another change, the broadcast is completely exploded.
After two episodes in September 78, the six others air on November 25 (E03), December 30 (E04), February 7 and 21, 1979 (E05 and 06) and July 6 (E07 and 08). Note that episodes of the Spider-Man series will be edited to become feature films for the international market. It is The Spider-Man’s Riposte (S01E02 and 03, 1978) then Spider-Man challenges the dragon (S02E07 and 08, 1979).
After that, CBS canceled the series because it did not want to become the superhero channel. It must be said that it already included a series on Hulka pilot on Doctor Strange (soon treated here) and two telefilms on Captain America (who already have their dedicated article). A connected universe that may have been aborted too soon and could have acted – all things considered – as a precursor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.