One reason might be because season 7 is one of the best seasons of "Mannix." And, we finally have it back, with 16 of its 24 episodes not aired in the US since '73-'74 because they, along with all of seasons 1 and 8, were not included in the US syndication packages.
I've said elsewhere (see the "Mannix is Coming!" thread on [...] that if I was forced to be on a desert island with only one season of "Mannix," this could well be the season I'd choose -- and, believe me, it would be a difficult choice. Each season of "Mannix" has a tone all its own, while always being true to its main themes of toughness, individuality and sacrifice blended with gentle good grace and humor. Each season has special moments to savor.
As of this writing, let's assume that CBS/Paramount will continue to do the right thing by "Mannix" and not only release the entire series, at long last, but also continue to give us high quality DVDs with the digitally re-mastered episodes packaged in beautiful menus that capture the spirit of the show. Thanks CBS/Paramount! And the fact that these episodes are uncut means that what you get with these DVDs is what the series was meant to be -- a singular character study with subtle but oh so graceful character relationships revealed, often in very small nuances.
In season 7 is an episode where Art Malcolm gets married ("A Night Full of Darkness") -- a lot happens in there that sounds like so much less on the surface than it winds up being on screen. And you also get the last season of Adam Tobias -- presumably Robert Reed's absence from the final season of "Mannix" (season 8) had something to do with his not showing up to the filming of the last episode of "The Brady Bunch." Season 7 of "Mannix" coincided with season 5 of "The Brady Bunch" and both were Paramount productions. Notice how Robert Reed seemed to actually want to do "Mannix" though.
Loyal "Mannix" viewers are especially rewarded in the subtle evolution of the interaction between Joe and Peggy. They have some of their best scenes of the entire series in season 7. And no, they never did "do it" -- not in this season or any other. Well, we don't really know what happened during the commercial breaks... And, I checked, but President Obama was born before the series began -- according to his birth certificate anyway.
"Mannix" was both timeless in its themes as well as way ahead of its time.
Season 7 epitomizes why "Mannix" is such a special show. Shows about one main, mythological character have the biggest problem staying fresh over a long run because the character, already larger than life, has to somehow become ever larger in order to stay compelling. Season 7 of "Mannix" addressed the problem by putting Joe in lots of physical peril. He survives a plane crash ("Climb a Deadly Mountain"), being shot in the side by a gang and left on the streets ("The Gang's All Here"), and being knocked unconscious and then shot to the point of actually being presumed dead and being taken to the morgue ("The Dark Hours"), diverted only at the last moment. On the surface, just looking at the episode descriptions -- surviving a plane crash and even seemingly raising Joe Mannix from the dead in one of them -- this might seem to be the "jumping the shark" year for "Mannix" (for those unfamiliar with this term, consult Wikipedia -- with the "Happy Days" explanation). But, instead of going too far, "Mannix" does what it always does -- finds the sweet spot between larger than life myth and reality -- and it just gets better.
Consider "The Dark Hours," the episode that finds Joe barely alive after being shot with his own gun, complete with Art Malcolm finding him dumped down a hillside, declared dead and hauled up the hillside with a sheet over him, only to be diverted from the morgue at the last minute. This stuff all happens in the first few minutes of the episode. From those first few minutes it sounds like "Mannix" went too far -- surely it's jumping the shark. And yet, that episode winds up being great. The shocking stuff is preliminary stuff -- not there for shock value alone, but to set up something much better. Most of the episode has Joe lying there in a hospital bed, trying to recollect what happened the night before (an excellent chance for Mike Connors to act with only his eyes -- something he was superb at in "Mannix"). Forget for a moment the theme where you could say Joe rises from the dead -- if that isn't enough of a present-day setting for a larger than life myth for you. What you get to see is Joe on the edge of survival, trying to piece things together -- and he winds up helping someone else with whatever he's got left in him. I don't know of too many other shows -- and maybe there are no other shows -- that can consistently depict that kind of "higher form of love" and never look corny or cheap. And "Mannix" manages to convey the same kind of message in at least two other episodes of season 7 alone -- ones that are so beautifully done that they can be watched over and over again.
Maybe that is why that man is smiling -- because he has managed to reconcile such timeless themes so well with a present-day setting, making the struggle behind it all seem so appealing, even stylish.