Monday, August 13, 2012

Fantastic Journey 1970s sci fi show

A couple of weeks ago, I finished Space:1999 and I commented on how I did not really know any of the characters. They were interchangeable--switch them with any sci fi show. I just finished, through the magic of YouTube, all ten episodes of the shortlived sci fi show from the 1970s Fantastic Journey.

After only ten episodes, I know more about Fred, Varian, Scott, and Willoway better than any of the characters on Space: 1999. This show distinguished itself from the run-of-the-mill what's-in-this-sci-fi-space (like Star Trek with new planets, even Battlestar Galactica for the most part).

It was a 70s show, but I believe that the concept holds up well. In fact, it is eerily reminscent, for the most part, with Sliders. Also, the basic concept of Quantum Leap, going from world to world basically, is mimicked from a show like this. Instead of a starship, they wander through zones of time on foot, like multiple Bermuda Triangles. With characters like this, the whole thing would hold up in a modern setting.

It suffered a bit from strange plotting. The pilot episode had extra characters that somehow "went on ahead" while the core travelers wandered. A family was separated--the dad and mom left the 13-year-old boy behind. They picked up new travelers along the way, including Roddy McDowall, who was basically a villain in his premiere episode. Something tells me that once he started acting in it, he said something about being in a show like this all the time so they probably wrote him in, being the acting name that he was. The last two episodes didn't even have the lovely Katie Saylor, who according to Wikipedia, was very ill during the filming so they wrote her out. Actually, she didn't live very long thereafter, dying in 1991 (or "thought to have died," according to Wikipedia); she must have really been ill.

The episodes were interesting. The action was faster, it seemed, than Space: 1999, and it did not drag. This was probably because of the characterization thrown in.

My hat goes off to Fantastic Journey. I was well entertained for the short run. Seeing as how I was only four years old when it first came out, I got around to the show only 35 years later!

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