Warner Archive will be releasing The Lieutenant (1963-1964) next year. I’ve been hearing rumors about this for months, but it was confirmed on Warner Archive’s Facebook page this week. The Lieutenant, of course, was the first series Gene Roddenberry created for television. It was a show about the peacetime military (although apparently it contained early references to the Vietnam conflict) that defied easy generic classification. Today, The Lieutenant is probably best remembered because it featured appearances by several actors associated with Roddenberry’s Star Trek; Gary Lockwood (guest star in the second Trek pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”) played the title character, and Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, and Ricardo Montalban all guest-starred.You can read more from Bowie here. And there are some scenes from The Lieutenant available on YouTube, including part of an episode titled “To Set It Right,” which focused on race relations and wasn’t broadcast during the show’s run.
Like Dr. Kildare and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (whose star, Robert Vaughn, was the second lead in The Lieutenant), Roddenberry’s creation was an MGM show produced under the banner of Norman Felton’s Arena Productions, which generally guaranteed high production values and compelling stories. Whether that applies to The Lieutenant, I don’t know. Aside from TNT broadcasts of few episodes in the late eighties, The Lieutenant hasn’t been rerun during my lifetime. Even if it doesn’t live up to the hype, The Lieutenant will be one of the classic TV events of 2011.
Does anyone out there remember this program?