Updated: January 31, 2018|
During naval exercises in 1978, Captain Nemo (played by José Ferrer) is found in suspended animation aboard his submarine Nautilus beneath the Pacific Ocean. Revived by members of a modern-day US Government agency, Nemo is persuaded to rescue United States interests and in so doing battles Professor Cunningham, a typical mad scientist played by Burgess Meredith.
Not originally aired as a movie, it was divided into three parts ("Deadly Blackmail", "Duel in the Deep" and "Atlantis Dead Ahead") expanded somewhat with about 45 minutes of additional footage over the three episodes to become a very brief action series. Sometimes described as a "miniseries", it was intended to be the first story-arc in an ongoing serial. Ratings were dismal, and the series never materialized.
Instead this proved to be Irwin Allen's final foray into weekly science fiction television.
Robert Bloch makes no mention of the series in his autobiography (Once Around the Bloch) but commented on it in an interview: "I did an episode for a show about five years ago which was an abortive attempt at a science-fiction series (Editor's note: The Return of Captain Nemo). The network gave the go-ahead on it, and they were going to do a four-part story. They assigned each individual episode to a different writer. You had four writers working, neither one of them knew what the other ones were doing, and they had a three-week deadline! And it went off the air after those first four weeks."  Bloch's segment (co-written with Larry Alexander) was titled "Atlantis Dead Ahead"  although in the theatrical release there are no titles for individual segments of the story.
The Return of Captain Nemo was a co-production between Irwin Allen Productions and Warner Bros. Television. It was originally shown in the United States as a three part miniseries (60-minutes each episode) on CBS from March 8–22, 1978 and portions of the three episode series were then re-edited into a 102-minute version released theatrically overseas as The Amazing Captain Nemo.