'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 functions.
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.
17 out of 17 found this helpful