Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Geek TV: The Fantastic Journey!


fantasticjourney1Concept: A family and their associates charter a boat into the Caribbean for a scientific expedition, but after encountering a strange green cloud in the Bermuda Triangle, find themselves shipwrecked on a mysterious, uncharted island populated by people from different times in history, separated by "time zones." The group would travel through these time zones, having adventures while searching for their way home.

Total Episodes: 10

Original Air Dates: February 3 - June 17, 1977

Original Network: NBC


Jared Martin (Varian) and Roddy McDowall (Willowy) with guest-star Joan Collins,
from a women's lib-themed episode.
Varian (Jared Martin): A man from the 23rd century, who possesses powers. He uses a device called a Sonic Energizer, which uses his thoughts to manipulate matter with sonics (which can have devastating effects or subtle ones, but mostly used for healing). After meeting the travelers, he takes on the role of leader.

Scott Jordan (Ike Eisenmann): Teenage son of Professor Paul Jordan, he has knowledge of history and events, but is still young and sometimes impulsive.

Dr. Fred Walters (Carl Franklin): A young doctor, just out of medical school. For a doctor, he certainly knows a lot about fighting!

Liana (Katie Saylor): Daughter of an Atlantean and an alien, she possessed greater than human strength and psychic skills. Her character was dropped after the eighth episode due to Saylor becoming ill; the show said she was going to be catching up with the group later, but she never did, due to the cancellation of the program.

Dr. Jonathan Willoway (Roddy McDowall): Similar to Dr. Smith in Lost in Space, he's a rebel scientist from the 1960s with scientific knowledge and was something of a black sheep.

Sil-El: Liana's cat which she can communicate with telepathically.

Geek Pedigree:

Two of the 10 episodes were directed by Vincent McEveety. His prior directing credits included an episode of The Man From UNCLE and six episodes of Star Trek, including "Dagger of the Mind" and "Balance of Terror." He also directed the 1974 TV movie Wonder Woman, an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and later directed two of the Love Bug movie series, three episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, an episode of The Powers of Matthew Star, and 20 episodes of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.

Michael Michelin wrote three of the episodes, he'd previously written the scripts or stories for four episodes of Kung Fu. He later wrote an episode of the Amazing Spider-Man and an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as an episode of War of the Worlds

D.C. Fontana wrote one episode, she is of course best known for writing credits on 10 episodes of Star Trek, as well as episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Land of the Lost, later writing episodes of Logan's Run, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Star Trek: The Next Generation, War of the Worlds, The Legend of Prince Valiant, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5, and several other genre shows.

Liana caught in an energy cage!
Lead actor Jared Martin had previously appeared in an episode of Night Gallery, and played a technician on Westworld. He later guested in episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man, Project UFO, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, and Knight Rider, and starred in the TV series War of the Worlds.

Ike Eisenmann should be familiar to most of you, he's best known for playing Tony Malone in Escape to Witch Mountain and the sequel, Return From Witch Mountain. He later played Charlie Barry in Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell, guested in a pair of episodes of Wonder Woman, played Preston in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and has done a handful of voice acting jobs. He played Sheriff Antony in the 2009 movie Race to Witch Mountain, a remake of his most famous movie.

Katie Saylor had previously been sen in Invasion of the Bee Girls and Supervan, but after Fantastic Journey, she didn't do any other acting parts.

Roddy McDowall, of course, played Cornelius and later Caesar in the Planet of the Apes movie series (except for Beneath the Planet of the Apes), as well as playing Galen in the TV series Planet of the Apes, playing the Bookworm in a few episodes of Batman, and voicing the Mad Hatter in Batman: The Animated Series, among many, many other great roles.

Mike Road was the narrator on the show, he may be best known for voicing Race Bannon on Jonny Quest, although he's had many other voice roles.

Geek Guests:

Ike Eisemann (Scott) with guest-star Cheryl Ladd, still a few years
away from Charlie's Angels. This same episode also guest-starred
future TV Spider-Man Nicholas Hammond.
For such a short show, it had its share of geek guest-stars, among them Lynn Borden (she played Barbara Baxter on Hazel, guested in 2 episodes of Get Smart, and played Jenny Corckett in Frogs), Gary Collins (his second screen role was an uncredited part as a submariner in King Kong Vs. Godzilla, later playing Dr. Michael Rhodes in The Sixth Sense, appearing in an episode of the Six Million Dollar Man, as well as one of The Bionic Woman, three episodes of Thriller, and later appeared in an episode of Tales of the Unexpected), Jason Evers (he'd played Dr. Bill Cortner in The Brian That Wouldn't Die, and guested in episodes of T.H.E. Cat, The Green Hornet, The Invaders, Tarzan, The Wild Wild West, played E-2 in Escape From the Planet of the Apes, appeared in four episodes of Mission: Impossible, and latter appeared in two episodes of Knight Rider), Richard Jaeckel (The Green Slime, as well as a handful of other genre guest roles), Nicholas Hammond (who would the same year start his three years playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man), Cheryl Ladd (who may be best known as one of Charlie's Angels, but began her TV career voicing Melody in Josie and the Pussycats), Lew Ayres (best known for the title role in the Dr. Kildare movie series, he also appeared in the pilots for Gene Roddenberry's Earth II and The Questor Tapes, as well as playing Mandamus in Battle for the Planet of the Apes, and later President Adar on Battlestar Galactica), Julie Cobb (she was Yeoman Leslie Cobb in the Star Trek episode "By Any Other Name"), Joan Collins (who had, of course, played Edith Keeler in the classic Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever," as well as the Siren on Batman), Jerry Daniels (who'd played Marple in the Star Trek episode "The Apple"), Marge DuSay (who played Kara in "Spock's Brain" -- yes, another Star Trek guest-star who appeared on this show... did you imagine there would be so many Star Trek connections?), Leif Erickson (George MacLean in Invaders From Mars), Susan Howard (who played Mara in the Star Trek episode "The Day of the Dove," and had also guested on an episode of The Monkees), Paul Mantee (Commander Christopher "Kit" Draper in Robinson Crusoe on Mars), John Saxon (Blood Beast from Outer Space, Queen of Blood, as well as guest roles on TV shows like The Bionic Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Wonder Woman, later playing Sador in Battle Beyond the Stars), and Jack Stauffer (who would later play Bojay on Battlestar Galactica).

DVD Release: A complete series is available on Amazon, but it's not a commercially-released DVD.

Website: None.

Notes: This was, of course, one of those short-lived SF series of the 1970s that my family and I watched religiously, and were disappointed when it was cancelled. A mid-season replacement, it suffered by being put up against popular shows The Waltons and Welcome Back, Kotter, as well as dealing with pre-emptions and time slot changes. I recently watched the entire series for the first time since it originally aired, and while I was expecting to be disappointed, it actually holds up rather well, if one considers some of the standard sci-fi TV tropes of the era (i.e., the Hotel Bonaventure will be used in at least one episode due to its futuristic look, some props will be reused because nobody ever expected you'd be able to watch episodes back to back like we do today, etc.). I wonder if anyone's ever considered reviving this show like Battlestar Galactica was?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jon,
    It also suffered from half the cast being dropped (Scott Thomas, Susan Howard, and Karen Sommerville) after the pilot. Katie Saylor was added in episode 2 and Roddy McDowell in episode 3. Only 1 director worked on more than 1 episode (Vincent McEveety for 5 and 10). Writers Michael Michaelian and Katharyn Powers, together and separately, contributed 5 of the 10 episodes (they were married at the time). wikipedia's article says a script for the 11th episode "Romulus" floats around on the internet. I found a synopsis at https://web.archive.org/web/20051129041526/http://www.snowcrest.net/fox/journey/index.html : "Written by Calvin Clements Jr. Our group comes to a land inhabited by a purple boy with a large head. As they arrive he cries out in pain and the tranquil day turns into a raging storm. The cat is frightened by the storm and only shows back up again at the very end of the episode. As Scott emerges from the portal he is sucked up by the storm. The rest of the group looks for Scott in a nearby town. Unfortunately the town in inhabited by the undead who have the ability to electricute anyone they touch. The group are herded undergound where they encounter the survivors. Aliens with wild mental powers! Unstoppable undead zombies! Good ol' fashoned backstabing by a guy named Brock! This script had it all. Unfortunatley it was never filmed. It was written with Liana as a character."


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