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Series / Night Man

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"I will not place my life in the hands of a ... saxophone player!"

Night Man the television show is an adaptation of the Malibu Comics' Ultraverse character of the same name. A Glen Larson production, the show was developed for syndication and ran from 1997 to 1999.

The original premise is that Johnny Domino, San Francisco's hottest young jazz musician, is struck by lightning and develops the power to hear the frequency of evil, like a radio. He also cannot sleep anymore. This somehow leads him to become a Batman-like hero, but with homemade gadgets.

The TV version went on a strange path that ends up with him in one-off secret stolen-from-the-government Power Armor that grants him Flying Brick abilities, including an invisibility cape, flight, invulnerability to bullets, and the capacity to project a hologram of himself (which in a few episodes performs for him in his club while he's busy elsewhere). This leads Domino (and his friend Raleigh) on a quest to rid San Francisco of crime. Somehow, the definition of crime frequently fluctuates between mundane criminals like bank robbers and drug dealers and vampires and extradimensional beasts.

The show is infamous for moving its production entirely to Canada for the second season, replacing everyone but the main lead with Canadian actors and then carrying on like nothing had happened.

Night Man provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Big Bad: Kieran Keyes is the recurring antagonist of Season 2. He's played by Kim Coates!
  • Blessed with Suck: Johnny's powers give him the ability to read people's minds, in exchange for insomnia.
  • Bondage Is Bad: The fake priest and nun in "Spellbound" wear something that came from a BDSM club. Their secret hideout is a torture chamber that has a swinging pendulum that's activated for no reason.
  • Clip Show: In the season 1 finale, Johnny, in Heaven, witnesses events from his past in a clip show format.
  • Cool Car: Johnny's Plymouth Prowler.
  • Crossover: With '80s cult-hit (and fellow Glen Larson creation), Manimal.
  • Detect Evil: Pretty much what sums up Johnny's power.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: In a first season episode, a Chinese diplomat is smuggling stolen documents. It's actually subverted because the police try to search him anyway when they catch him but he still gets away because Nightman had already destroyed the documents.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Nightwoman from the episodes "Nightwoman" and "Nightwoman Returns".
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: In the season 1 finale, Night Man dies and goes to Heaven. He doesn't stay very long.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: One episode had Johnny Domino team up with Dr. Jonathan Chase. In the time between the cancellation of his show and this one, Dr. Chase married his love interest and had a daughter (the woman in distress of this episode).
  • Good is Not Nice: Nightman has been shown to kill bad guys without any signs of regret.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Johnny and Raleigh.
  • Kill It with Fire: Night Man disposes of a vampire by setting it on fire.
  • Made of Explodium: Said vampire then leaps out of a window and explodes.
  • New Media Are Evil: Keyes' UltraWeb is an obvious stand in for the Internet. You know, until it starts teleporting people to cyberspace and letting monsters become real.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Handsome, muscular Johnny's trademark outfit while performing sax at his club is a sleeveless black V-neck shirt. Heck, Matt McColm's credit in the season 1 opening titles is over a Shirtless Scene, just to leave you in no doubt as to one of the reasons he was cast.
  • 90% of Your Brain: When Johnny starts hearing other people's thoughts, this is the explanation offered by the medical consultant on psychic phenomena—who's apparently been spearheading the American side of an ESP race with the Soviet Union.
  • Product Placement: Again, Johnny's Plymouth Prowler, which was featured heavily in the first season.
  • Remember the New Guy?:
    • On some episodes, a character that Johnny seems to know for a long time appears out of nowhere and they act like everything is the same. Though more often than not, expect these characters to have the life expectancy of a Red Shirt.
    • The entirety of Season 2 replaced everyone but Johnny with new characters.
  • San Francisco: Where the show supposedly takes place. The writers sometimes forget this, however.
  • Sexy Sax Man: Johnny, though he's more beefcake than the usual sultry version of this trope. Hell, it's even the freaking theme song!
  • Seductive Mummy: An enemy in season one. She actually subverts the trope, because her real form is a hideous corpse that she covers with the illusion of a beautiful woman (it's implied that it wasn't even what she looked like while alive, since she chose it after reading a character's mind to find out what's considered beautiful in the modern world).
  • Shout-Out: "Lady In Red" features a costume ball. While in his own costume, Johnny bumps into a guy dressed like Spider-Man.
  • Take That!: For a C-list superhero show there's a lot of tangential snark—often via the guest cast, weirdly enough.
    • When a character who gains the ability to change his appearance is boasting about surpassing all previous contenders:
      Bridges: You know the performer they dubbed "the Man of a Thousand Faces"?
      Samantha: Michael Jackson?
    • And when Johnny briefly goes to heaven:
      Simon: (consulting Johnny's dossier) Musician! We don't get many of those up here.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: The ultimate fate of Big Bad Kieran Keyes.
  • Unhand Them, Villain!: Played very straight in the pilot episode. A member of the group hiding weapons prototypes from corrupt government officials planning to sell them to America's enemies is kidnapped and dangled off the side of the Golden Gate Bridge.
    McDermott: (after having given up the info they want) Will you let me go now?
    Krueger: Certainly. (to henchman) Let him go.
  • Wham Episode: Johnny's father dies in the premiere of the second season. Making it a personal vendetta against Keyes.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Well let's see, a few people struck by lightning have gained Astral Projection, Psychic Powers, and Mind Rape. Where our hero gains the ability to... hear evil thoughts. Though in certain instances this could become Heart Is an Awesome Power, as in a fight due to his opponent's actions being created by evil thoughts, it pretty much tells him what his opponent will do next.
  • Wrestling Monster: The Golden Boy was billed as one and hated it.