A young twenty-something diver living in the Florida Keys discovers he has the power to breathe underwater.
The TV pilot that never aired, Aquaman was the debut episode for a new series to broadcast based as an off shot from the Smallville TV series. Planned for the Fall schedule of 2006, the series never got past this pilot episode. It was passed by CW after a business merger, but was made available on iTunes as a downloadable. It would later go on to air on the Canadian network YTV. The series itself never came to be.
The series was of course a DC based superhero that in the comic book world was originally a part of the Justice League. For those who are astute to the comic universe, Aquaman was a long time mainstay in for the DC Universe. His abilities being that of the aquatic universe giving him the ability to breath underwater and swim at fast speeds (he also could communicate with sea animals). Marvel developed a character much in the same fashion that was called the “Sub mariner”. The idea of water based heroes was not exclusive to Aquaman with several heroes over the last decades taking on forms of water-based roots.
The debut show introduced us to our superhero with its origin opener that has a young aqua-boy and his mother Daniella Wolters aka Atlanna (Daniella Deutscher) getting taken down in the Bermuda Triangle. His mother is attacked by a creature that is only hinted at while the young boy escapes. He is soon rescued by Tom Curry (Lou Diamond Phillips) who adopts the boy on as a son. Arthur Curry (Justin Hartley) grows up under his father’s care while never really knowing the roots of his origin.
Now 10 years later as a young adult, Arthur is beginning to come of age for a full reveal from those who have been observing him. McCaffery (Ving Rhames) approaches Arthur and slowly unveils the truth about Arthur’s real beginnings. Explained that Arthur’s mother and father were exiled from Atlantis, Arthur is in fact a Prince who’s royalty comes from his exiled father who previously held the role of King. His parents were exiled when they refused to do battle against the surface world.
In this debut episode, Arthur is often referred to as “Orin” which wasn’t mentioned in the credits (what I assumed to be his real character name). The debut introduced a villain in the form of actress Adrianne Palicki who plays the evil siren Nadia. Nadia is also revealed to be the original monster that kidnapped Orin’s mother. As a opener villain, she is quite effective as an aquatic monster that resembled the combination of a mermaid, a snake and demon. The episode ends with Orin battling her to the death in the Bermuda Triangle.
The Aquaman pilot is actually quite well done featuring quite a bit of CGI for the siren and water cyclone effects. For an opener, we are not given everything in detail which would of course get flushed out as the series evolved. Orin seems to be connected to a necklace given to him by hi mother that appears to cause cyclones when he is near the Bermuda Triangle area. The details of Atlantis were never revealed beyond the fact that Orin is a lost Prince who is destined to protect the world’s oceans and the surface world from the diabolical creatures that live in it.
The series was noted as being based on the more “classic” original Aquaman. With a series planned, it was noted that Orin would tackle creatures, oil spills and the inevitable journey back to Atlantis. As a series it showed potential but for now will be forever lost as a 1-off that never transpired. This trend of trying a pilot debut would also carry forth in the never-aired Wonder Woman series. With budgets tighter these days and concepts in place, the networks are being a bit more cautious to the series that get green lit.
In short, it showed alot of potential but the real question comes with how many others would maintain their interest in a aquatic superhero. Mixed reviews were received in the evaluation of this 1-off which most likely was too mixed to sink a TV series budget into.
Aquaman (2006) (unaired TV series pilot)