As North America gets ready for Doctor Strange to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe this weekend, it's our duty to point out that this isn't the first time Marvel tried to get the Sorcerer Supreme on the screen. And the last time didn't work out so well. Back in 1978, they tried to turn Doctor Strange into a CBS TV series, but the TV movie that was used as a pilot didn't quite work out. Check it out and see what you think.
Where does one even begin? First of all, we all have to agree right here and now that "nothing Stephen Strange learned in medical school could prepare him for an attack by an evil sorceress from the 4th dimension" is the single greatest sentence ever written in the history of television. Once we have that out of the way, you can just sit back and enjoy the cheese coming off of the thing.
While the movie certainly looks corny by today's standards, following in the footsteps of The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man, the TV version of Doctor Strange was viewed as a sure thing back in 1978 and it was ahead of its time when it comes to the way special effects were being used on television. The truth is the fact that Doctor Strange didn't work out was an expensive blunder for CBS, as the production of the TV movie went seriously over budget because the crew was attempting effects that they didn't really know how to do, because they'd never been done before.
Of course, it's difficult to see the forward thinking aspects of Doctor Strange behind the heavy layer of 1970s that sits over the whole thing. In this version, Stephen Strange is a psychiatrist rather than a surgeon, who apparently has a relationship with his own patient, which seems about nine kinds on unethical. Exactly how he gets involved with Morgan Le Fey and all of the mystic arts stuff isn't clear from the trailer. He ends up at the home of the movie's version of the Ancient One in order to get help for his patient, only to discover he's been chosen as the next sorcerer supreme.
This is the sort of movie that one watches with a group of friends and a large ration of alcohol at the ready, but I'll be damned if I'm not interested in doing exactly that. It looks like it would be an entertaining experience.
The failure of the Doctor Strange TV movie to lead to a series is chalked up to the movie actually being a little slow, that and the fact that aired against a rerun of the mini-series Roots. The overnight ratings were not great and that was all that mattered back in the 1970s.
Have you seen the Doctor Strange TV movie? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.