The May 12-18,
1979 edition of TV Guide magazine carries a cover story
titled, "What Viewers Love/Hate About Television." Though "Supertrain" is not mentioned in this article, one
can easily deduce what column the series would be placed. "Supertrain"
had already aired what was its last first-run episode back on the first Saturday of May 1979 and the show is not found in
NBC's listings for the week of this issue of TV Guide.
In the TV Update news column,
mention of NBC's plans for the then-coming 1979-80 TV season are detailed in an item titled "NBC Suprises with Only Six
New Shows; CBS Adds Seven." The news article runs down NBC's announced new programs for 1979-80 that included:
"The Man Called Sloane" that was another attempt by the network to place Robert Conrad in
a successful series. Next to McLean Stevenson was anyone else given so many opportunities by NBC in
the late '70s??? One of NBC's few minor ratings successes would be spawning a spin-off with Claude Akins
in "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo" coming from Glen Larson's "BJ and the Bear"
series. The TV-miniseries "From Here To Eternity" was listed as returning in 1979-80 as a regular weekly
program called "From Here To Eternity: The War Years" and starring William Devane, but not
the miniseries' star Natalie Wood. Though "Battlestar Galactica" would not be back
on ABC for a second season, Glen Larson was given another chance with a sci-fi adventure series this
time for NBC in "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" starring Gil Gerard. Another recycled
idea involved bringing Shirley Jones last seen in "The Partridge Family" back to TV again
as a widow raising kids on her own in "Shirley"...though without the Top 40 Bubble Gum Hits or the ratings
that made that other show popular for a number of seasons. Finally, NBC was turning the Joe Don Baker TV-movie
"To Kill A Cop" into weekly series format under the title "The Force." Baker's
series would air in 1979-80, but re-titled "Eisched." NBC had its usual luck of this era
and only "Lobo" and "Buck Rogers" would survive into a sophmore season for the network.
The remainder of the shows mentioned performed poorly and most didn't last the full season.
So you're asking, "What about 'Supertrain'
and its second season?" If NBC is surprising as TV Guide states and given all that money
spent, certainly more re-tooling is in order and we'll see "Supertrain" back, right? Wrong. Similar to
NBC's massive expenditure, ABC had a "Supertrain" of sorts themselves in the 1978-79 season. "Battlestar Galactica"
would likley be considered a close second to "Supertrain" in the cost-versus-success department that year. Produced
for ABC-TV by Universal Studios and Glen Larson, "Galactica" does get a
bit of second chance. Returning in early 1980, ABC runs a dozen installments of the notorious "Galactica: 1980"
finishing up with another cancellation notice in the spring of that year. NBC apparently decided to leave bad enough alone and no further attempts would be made for the ill-fated
Among the casualties for the season just
finishing that May of '79, TV Guide reported that "Supertrain"; "Cliffhangers!";
"Whodunnit?"; "Highcliffe Manor"; "Presenting Susan Anton" and "The
Duke" would not be back and had officially been cancelled. Shows introduced during the 1978-79 season that
would be around that next fall included Greg Evigan's "BJ and the Bear"; "Real
People"; and "Kate Columbo." Though "BJ and the Bear" would end up with three
seasons to its credit and "Real People" survives into the '80s, "Kate Columbo" was not so
lucky in her second attempt. Curiousity seekers may find examples of the little-seen "Columbo" spin-off
on Universal Studios' DVD releases of the Peter Falk "Columbo" series. Among the bonus/extras on certain
"Columbo" DVD sets, you find a few "Kate Columbo" episodes.