A police scientist/Hollywood Nerd
(Desi Arnaz Jr) creates an artificially intelligent, holographic partner
, dubbed the "Automan" (short for "Automatic Man"), to help fight crime
. Think "Starsky & Hutch Meets TRON
". Twelve episodes of the series aired in 1983-84.
The Automan had a Robot Buddy
(actually, a Pixel Buddy) by the name of Cursor, who could become virtually any object Automan needed. This ability manifested itself most often when Cursor would "draw" Automan's car/copter/plane or provide Automan with normal clothing.
- Character as Himself: Cursor even gets the "And Starring" billing.
- Cool Car: Which also happens to be a Flying Car.
- Energy Shield: Automan can be one, by "merging" yourself with him. Since he's made of light, you can just walk through him and stand where he stands (but since it's Hard Light, it will subsequently stop bullets, etc.).
- Fake Band: Sweet Kicks, an all-girl band who are targeted for death in the episode "Murder MTV".
- Follow the Leader: Inspired by TRON, but also borrows heavily from Knight Rider (also from Glen A. Larson).
- Future Spandex: It's easy to see that Automan is something different because he's dressed up in sparkly Future Spandex.
- Hard Light: Automan, Cursor and all Automan's vehicles are made out of it.
- Internal Affairs: They investigate the death of Walter's partner in "Flashes and Ashes".
- Magical Computer: This show didn't even pretend to be realistic about how computers work.
- Not Wearing Tights: Unless you count that Tron-like glowy suit.
- Opening Narration: It takes up two whole minutes and features a long, slow Info Dump about Automan's abilities. This means that three minutes of show is taken up by a plodding opening.
- Power Copying: Automan could copy any skill he sees performed at least once.
- Projected Man: As a result of adding more power.
- Sue Donym: Automan's usual alias outside the computer is Otto J. Mann.
- Short Runners: Only lasted 12 eps,with a 13th episode unaired (though all 13 aired in the UK and Mexico).
- Shout-Out: Many, as one of Automan's abilities was to duplicate skills he saw performed in movies or television. One notable incident involved duplicating the skills in The Hustler — right down to the missed final shot.
- They Fight Crime
- Tron Lines: On every vehicle Cursor creates. Also Automan's holographic body; even when in plainclothes disguise, his glowing collar is always visible.
- Weakened by the Light: Automan and Cursor's power needs meant that they could only be projected into the physical world during off-peak hours, i.e. nighttime. This also negated the need to have neon-themed objects in broad daylight.