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 »
From the first few episodes, I knew that the Fantasy Island (1998) was going to be another short-lived, "too good for TV" series; I just didn't know ABC would kill it so early.
Unlike the original, which was little more than "The Love Boat" (1977) on an island, the new Fantasy Island was a "reimagining" of the original, not unlike the way "Battlestar Galactica" (2004) owes its existence to "Battlestar Galactica" (1978) but is in no way the same show.
The show's writers gave Roarke an incredibly detailed and mysterious back story, doing an excellent job of giving us information in the few episodes that were actually shown. Malcolm McDowells Roarke was both threatening and compassionate in the way only McDowell can be. Mädchen Amick was excellent as Roarke's companion, sidekick and possible love interest, Ariel, and Edward Hibbert and Louis Lombardi were excellent as Roarke's bumbling assistants, Harry and Cal.
Alas, the new series was just beginning to completely gel when ABC pulled the plug.
While it may be too much to hope that the thirteen episodes will someday be released on DVD, be sure to catch the episodes when they are occasionally rerun on the SciFi channel in the US; you won't regret it.
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