Kung-Fu Flashback Friday: NBC’s “The Master”

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Like others such as T.H.E. Cat,  ABC’s The Green HornetBlue Thunder and Street Hawk, FOX’s M.A.N.T.I.S.The Master became another one (mid)season Friday night wonder when it premiered on January 20, 1984.  

The series starred legendary onscreen tough-guy Lee Van Cleef as John Peter McAllister, a martial arts expert seeking to find his long-lost daughter Teri.  He then finds a friend and a protege in Max Keller (Timothy Van Patten), a young drifter with a penchant for getting involved with people’s problems – and a penchant for being throwing into windows.  Wanting to learn the ways and secrets of a ninja, Max asked McAllister trained him, and the Master (reluctantly) agreed, as the two hit the road searching for Teri while staying one step ahead of Okasa (Sho Kosugi), McAllister’s former pupil who is out for revenge against the Master.

The Master is up there with The A-Team, with McAllister and Max going from town to town in the latter’s van helping the helpless and oppressed while seeking Teri and avoiding Okasa.  You can also say that The Master may have been up in the ranks of Lorenzo Lamas as the Renegade and Chuck Norris as Walker, Texas Ranger.  You can also say that The Master may have been one of the precursors to CBS’ Raven (1992-93) with Jeffrey Meek as Jonathan Raven, a former Special Forces operative who is also ninja-trained: helping people in trouble, seeking to find his son in Hawaii with the help of his eccentric private investigator friend Ski (Lee Majors), and avoiding ninja assassins.

Only lasting just 13 episodes,The Master was created by Michael Sloan, who went on to create The Equalizer for CBS a year later with Edward Woodward as Robert McCall, a former agent for The Company who uses his covert skills to help people in need.

video by NBC “The Master”

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