In this revival of the popular 1970s television series, Mr. Roarke and his three assistants run a tropical paradise where guests come in to have their wildest dreams and fantasies come true. Written by
In the opening episode, two elements of the original series Fantasy Island (1977) are referenced: the white suits (Roarke in this series makes a point of choosing black) and the infamous "The plane! The plane!" announcement (Roarke orders the underling who does this never to do it again). In a later episode we see a woman living in a trailer with a Ricardo Montalban commemorative plate. See more »
This shortlived revamping of the classically silly TV series was, ironically, closer to the original concept than the first show (the 1970s version's pilot was darker and a lot edgier than the subsequent series); the "fantasy" aspect of the title got as much play here as the "island" part, with a greater implication that Mr. Roarke and his crew were not all they seemed - particularly Madchen Amick's shape-shifter Ariel ("I'm not hard to get - I'm impossible to get").
The travel agency in NYC that booked the passengers for Fantasy Island filled in another gap from the original show (how the hell did they get there in the first place?), and the stories were overall a bit more interesting - in one episode someone even wanted to live out a fantasy where he died a hero, and got his wish. John Ottman's excellent title music (plus his Emmy-nominated score for the pilot) also managed to capture both the exoticism and the mystery of the locale; no disrespect to Laurence Rosenthal, a fine composer in his own right, but his old theme was far too lush and old-fashioned to work here.
On the other hand, what sane person would want to arrive on an island paradise and find someone as creepy as Malcolm McDowell waiting for you? (And admit it, while his aides are good characters you miss Tattoo.) Nonetheless, this remains a decent effort - and certainly a better TV venture for Barry Sonnenfeld than that hopeless "Secret Agent Man."
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