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But probably a little dated now. I only just remember a few details about
this show. Jared Martin playing what I assume was an alien with some kind of
glowing tuning fork that could do just about anything - except get him out
of the predicament he was in.
I was surprised to see how short a run this show had. When you're a kid these things seem to go on and on for ever. In reality there were only 10 episodes, including the pilot.
I've also never seen this in re-runs, which is a shame, because I'd like to do the nostalgia trip once more. I'd probably laugh through much of it now, but despite its short run, the memory of it has stayed with me all these years, so it must have done something right at the time.
Fantastic Journey was an exceptional fantasy about a group of disparate characters who were trying to return to their own dimension after being lost in the Bermuda Triangle. They encountered a new dimension in nearly every episode. In one of the earliest episodes they picked up an ill-tempered scientist, wonderfully played by Roddy McDowell, who walked a line between villain and hero. School teachers and television critics hailed the show, and Roddy McDowell appeared on talk shows trying to get people interested, but the show was cancelled for poor ratings.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'The Fantastic Journey' was one of several '70's American sci-fi shows
that, although not particularly successful in its home country, proved
enormously popular abroad, particularly in Britain. Others included
'Planet Of The Apes', 'Logan's Run', 'The Invisible Man' and 'Gemini
Man'. They were slickly produced, boasting better special effects ( and
lots of flashing lights! ) than our shows. Created by Bruce Lansbury,
'Journey' was based on a most captivating premise. A scientific
expedition in the Atlantic Ocean headed by Dr.Paul Jordan ( Scott
Thomas ) becomes lost in the legendary Bermuda Triangle, and washes up
on an uncharted island. Here past, present and future co-exist,
separated by invisible barriers. Most of the group mysteriously
disappeared after the pilot episode, leaving trainee doctor Fred
Walters ( Carl Franklin ) and Paul's genius son Scott ( Ike Eisenmann )
to team up with Varian ( Jared Martin ), a man from the 23rd century.
He carried at all times a tuning fork-like device with a variety of
The first episode - 'Atlantium' - brought in the lovely Katie Saylor as Liana, half-human, half-alien, who had a telepathic bond with her cat Sil-L. 'Beyond The Mountain' saw the group completed with the arrival of 'Professor Jonathan Willaway' ( Roddy McDowall ) an eccentric scientist from the '60's, who put one in mind of Jonathan Harris's 'Dr.Zachary Smith' from 'Lost In Space'. Each week, the travellers entered a new zone, and sorted out a local difficulty before moving on, all the time searching for the doorway back to their own times, known as 'Evoland'. Script consultant D.C. Fontana was best known for her work on 'Star Trek'. Joan Collins, Ian McShane, Leif Erickson, Cheryl Ladd, John Saxon, Richard Jaeckel, and Nicholas Hammond all guested. The distinctive theme tune was by Robert Prince.
Including the pilot, only ten instalments were made ( the 'Funhouse' episode was not screened by B.B.C. Wales as it was deemed too scary for a Sunday afternoon slot ). We never found out if the travellers made it home or not. Producer Leonard Katzman took the production team onto his next project - the television version of 'Logan's Run'. There were two screenings on the B.B.C. - one in 1977, the other a year later - and one on the 'Bravo' satellite channel in 1994.
Hardly Hugo-award winning stuff perhaps, but 'Journey' was lively and entertaining and deserving of a much longer run. It is fondly remembered as a product of a television age when characters were more important than special effects.
I was a major fan of this show in the '70s, as an 11 yr. old. After only catching a few episodes, suddenly the series disappeared, obviously cancelled. Luckily, I was able to trade for the complete series on VHS. After watching the whole series, and finally getting to see all the episodes. I can see why I was such a fan as a kid. Even though a lot of the look and style of the show is very dated and '70s looking, this series had the potential to be a good one. As an older viewer, some of the episodes are a little weak, but this series, had they spend a little more money on art direction and writing, had potential. Anyone thats a fan of '70s Sci-fi television, I think would enjoy this series.
Fantastic Journey was a great show and was one of the original 'Sci-Fi Collection' tv shows aired during the Sci-Fi Channel's(USA) original beginning. Jared Martin did a great job in this show. Roddy McDowell was a nice addition after his introduction episode. It paved the way for shows like 'The Otherworld' and 'The Bermuda Triangle'. Fantastic Journey was an entertaining show. They had a great looking female actress too.
This show has some striking similarities to other television shows,
which did become successful series, Stargate SG-1 & Sliders. Moreover,
the formats are quite similar as well: 1. The viewer "travels" with the
hosts to different worlds.
2. All involve scientific experiments which produce danger.
3. Both Sliders and Fantastic Journey are about travel to parallel universes.
4. All three involve different planets accessible only to a select team.
5. Both Sliders and Fantastic Journey are about people trying to find their way home.
6. Both Fantastic Journey & Stargate SG-1 have an alien in the cast.
7. Both Fantastic Journey and Stargate SG-1 are scripted by Katharyn Powers.
8. All three shows have a movie actor in the cast who played a supporting role in a big picture but was never an outright "star".
So for those who would like to see Fantastic Journey on TV again, don't fret! Technically, it did come back, just in a different skin!
THE FANTASTIC JOURNEY found some after-life as an edited and syndicated TV film called LOST IN TIME,dated (1980). I saw this once, on a UHF channel in the early to mid-90's on a Sunday afternoon. What they did was edit the first 90 minute pilot, and second hour long show into something like an hour and 45 minute movie to play in two-hour time slots in syndication and thus have a complete movie. It also had a narration of sort at the end, as the group walked off to the usual "time zone" beam-out effect, and as I recall that said something like "And so their quest to find their rightful place in time, is just beginning" or something like that. It was a terrific show in it's day and for the fact we had almost no SF shows at all on TV aside from the re-runs of STAR TREK and SPACE:1999.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was the only series set in the Bermuda Triangle. Interesting concept really. The Fantastic Journey was about a scientific expedition that was lost in the Bermuda Triangle. It consisted of two scientists, their son, and a doctor. They have to take a trip across Atlantis in order to get home. The scientists are sent home in the second episode. It's then the doctor, Varian, a man from the year 2230, he can read minds, Liana, the daughter of an Atlantean princess and alien, she can also read minds. She always carried a cat, and Jonathan Willaway, a renegade scientist from the 1960s, played superbly by the late Roddy McDowell. After a few episodes, Liana stayed in a city run by women to help them treat men as equals. In the last episode, a prison transport became trapped and crashed two dangerous convicts escaped. They killed the pilot played by Gerald McRaney of Simon & Simon and Promised Land, was killed. One of the convicts killed the son of peaceful aliens and was turned into a baby to get a second chance.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was enthralled with the programme with the first episode when they
went into that strange storm. It was like a syndicated series, as each
episode followed on from the one previous. I would love to see it again
in repeat episodes either on telly, or on the internet like Google.
It was a great programme for the 70's and I practically grew up watching Eisenman in everything he was in from a boy. I was a secret fan of his and wasn't one for fans clubs. I liked his character of Scott Jordon in the series. I was anxious for the next episode and they couldn't get around soon enough.
Eisenman is and always will be my favourite actor, as I practically grew up with up, while watching him on screen. The other characters were great, too and the storyline was never the same week to week. Shame it had such a short run.
A previous reviewer compared The Fantastic Journey to shows like Stargate SG-1 and Sliders. He listed 8 similarities between the shows. He should have listed a 9th. Which show, you ask? What about Lost? You have a doctor, (Fred in TFJ, Jack in Lost), a psychic, (Liana in TFJ, Desmond in Lost,) a man of faith, (Varian in TFJ, and Locke, in Lost,) see the similarities? If you don't, I do. In TFJ, you have a scientific expedition lost in the Bermuda Triangle. In Lost, you have 48 survivors from a plane crash on an island somewhere in the South Pacific. In TFJ, our little group of travelers is trying to get back to their times. In Lost, that's not so clear. Jack wants to go home in the first three seasons. Locke doesn't. When you consider the similarities between the two shows, you can't help but recognize the fact that this '70s show was an influence on Lost. J.J. Abrams and Co., say that the game Myst, was one of the influences. Did I leave someone out? I did? Well, my bad. You also have another man of science, in Jonathan Willaway. Did I leave anyone else out? I don't think so. If I did, too late to change it now.
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