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  • Warning: Spoilers
    '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.
  • I was a major fan of this show in the '70s, as an 11 yr. old. After only catching a few episodes, suddenly the series disappeared, obviously cancelled. Luckily, I was able to trade for the complete series on VHS. After watching the whole series, and finally getting to see all the episodes. I can see why I was such a fan as a kid. Even though a lot of the look and style of the show is very dated and '70s looking, this series had the potential to be a good one. As an older viewer, some of the episodes are a little weak, but this series, had they spend a little more money on art direction and writing, had potential. Anyone thats a fan of '70s Sci-fi television, I think would enjoy this series.
  • Fantastic Journey was an exceptional fantasy about a group of disparate characters who were trying to return to their own dimension after being lost in the Bermuda Triangle. They encountered a new dimension in nearly every episode. In one of the earliest episodes they picked up an ill-tempered scientist, wonderfully played by Roddy McDowell, who walked a line between villain and hero. School teachers and television critics hailed the show, and Roddy McDowell appeared on talk shows trying to get people interested, but the show was cancelled for poor ratings.
  • But probably a little dated now. I only just remember a few details about this show. Jared Martin playing what I assume was an alien with some kind of glowing tuning fork that could do just about anything - except get him out of the predicament he was in.

    I was surprised to see how short a run this show had. When you're a kid these things seem to go on and on for ever. In reality there were only 10 episodes, including the pilot.

    I've also never seen this in re-runs, which is a shame, because I'd like to do the nostalgia trip once more. I'd probably laugh through much of it now, but despite its short run, the memory of it has stayed with me all these years, so it must have done something right at the time.
  • shaneyfex7 December 2001
    Fantastic Journey was a great show and was one of the original 'Sci-Fi Collection' tv shows aired during the Sci-Fi Channel's(USA) original beginning. Jared Martin did a great job in this show. Roddy McDowell was a nice addition after his introduction episode. It paved the way for shows like 'The Otherworld' and 'The Bermuda Triangle'. Fantastic Journey was an entertaining show. They had a great looking female actress too.
  • THE FANTASTIC JOURNEY found some after-life as an edited and syndicated TV film called LOST IN TIME,dated (1980). I saw this once, on a UHF channel in the early to mid-90's on a Sunday afternoon. What they did was edit the first 90 minute pilot, and second hour long show into something like an hour and 45 minute movie to play in two-hour time slots in syndication and thus have a complete movie. It also had a narration of sort at the end, as the group walked off to the usual "time zone" beam-out effect, and as I recall that said something like "And so their quest to find their rightful place in time, is just beginning" or something like that. It was a terrific show in it's day and for the fact we had almost no SF shows at all on TV aside from the re-runs of STAR TREK and SPACE:1999.
  • kleypassparrow10 February 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    I was enthralled with the programme with the first episode when they went into that strange storm. It was like a syndicated series, as each episode followed on from the one previous. I would love to see it again in repeat episodes either on telly, or on the internet like Google.

    It was a great programme for the 70's and I practically grew up watching Eisenman in everything he was in from a boy. I was a secret fan of his and wasn't one for fans clubs. I liked his character of Scott Jordon in the series. I was anxious for the next episode and they couldn't get around soon enough.

    Eisenman is and always will be my favourite actor, as I practically grew up with up, while watching him on screen. The other characters were great, too and the storyline was never the same week to week. Shame it had such a short run.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This was the only series set in the Bermuda Triangle. Interesting concept really. The Fantastic Journey was about a scientific expedition that was lost in the Bermuda Triangle. It consisted of two scientists, their son, and a doctor. They have to take a trip across Atlantis in order to get home. The scientists are sent home in the second episode. It's then the doctor, Varian, a man from the year 2230, he can read minds, Liana, the daughter of an Atlantean princess and alien, she can also read minds. She always carried a cat, and Jonathan Willaway, a renegade scientist from the 1960s, played superbly by the late Roddy McDowell. After a few episodes, Liana stayed in a city run by women to help them treat men as equals. In the last episode, a prison transport became trapped and crashed two dangerous convicts escaped. They killed the pilot played by Gerald McRaney of Simon & Simon and Promised Land, was killed. One of the convicts killed the son of peaceful aliens and was turned into a baby to get a second chance.
  • This show has some striking similarities to other television shows, which did become successful series, Stargate SG-1 & Sliders. Moreover, the formats are quite similar as well: 1. The viewer "travels" with the hosts to different worlds.

    2. All involve scientific experiments which produce danger.

    3. Both Sliders and Fantastic Journey are about travel to parallel universes.

    4. All three involve different planets accessible only to a select team.

    5. Both Sliders and Fantastic Journey are about people trying to find their way home.

    6. Both Fantastic Journey & Stargate SG-1 have an alien in the cast.

    7. Both Fantastic Journey and Stargate SG-1 are scripted by Katharyn Powers.

    8. All three shows have a movie actor in the cast who played a supporting role in a big picture but was never an outright "star".

    So for those who would like to see Fantastic Journey on TV again, don't fret! Technically, it did come back, just in a different skin!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have seen this in reruns in the 1980's and it wasn't too bad. Let me fill you in with more of what I remember.

    Spoilers. Valerian (I don't remember him being "Varian") had a super crystal tuning fork that could do just about anything. But he wasn't an alien. He was from Atlantis. He was healthy, wise, handsome, took his vitamins, had a clean aura, probably a vegetarian, and he never abused that aardvark in the back yard. Your basic all-around 1970's hero guy. And the tuning fork was really an amplifier that tapped into his spiritual essence to effect change.

    In the Bermuda triangle, people would get sucked in from various times throughout history. I believe it was the pilot when they ran into pirates. One of them asked if Elizabeth was still Queen of England. Clearly, they meant a previous Elizabeth. They answered yes, which only prolonged their delay in realizing they were in a time vortex.

    Roddy McDowall was a late-comer, probably to boost sagging ratings. He was from the future but I don't remember from when exactly. I think it was the 2100's.

    It turned out there were some bad guys running the island from a shiny silver cylindrical tower that looks remarkably like one of the buildings in downtown Los Angeles. They were agents working either for or with "The Source". Valerian defeated The Source, leaving the show with no direction at all. They quickly slapped together a new threat – "The Power". It some kind of artifact gun. The reruns didn't get that far in the 80's so my memory gets hit and miss at that point. I remember them beating The Power also. I think they knew the clock was running out so they were kind enough not to leave the audience hanging.

    It was a bit simplistic at times, and some of the plots were a bit too obvious, but it was good clean escapist fun. There was a family on the island with Valerian so it was easy enough to identify with someone and pretend you were there also on a wild adventure. I would watch it again if it was on at a convenient hour.
  • A group of boat castaways get lost in time or lost in vortex on a mysterious island.

    Strong shades of Irwin Allen's Time Tunnel (1966), Irwin Allen's Lost In Space (1965) and classic Star Trek (1966) in this production.

    The theme music gets 10 out of 10. The pilot is well done. Note the music when the boat is sucked into the mysterious sea cloud. Note the photography in this opening scene. If only this level of film-like production remained for the whole ten episodes.

    This series shined in the episode titled, Beyond The Mountain, this is the one where Roddy McDowall was introduced and he was a horrible guy at the start. He became nicer after this hour. Too bad the writers did not spend more time "beyond the mountain" as this setting was just so powerful, all thanks to the acting talents of McDowall.

    Another episode about children making trouble for adults was well done as well.

    Go on this journey for McDowall's acting and shades of 1960s Irwin Allen.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Fantastic Journey was another of the sci-fi TV series which were quickly developed in the wake of the success of Satr Wars in the mid-to late 1970s, and one of the more unusual. I believe it was the only (U,S.) TV series to be in the Triangle, which was such a popular subject at that time.

    Others here have pretty well summed up my own feelings about the series, which I tried to catch every week - th network(NBC?) may have contributed to its demise by changing the time slot very often, my memory is a little fuzzy on that point by now. I did find the concept intriguing, and wish the show had been given more of a chance to catch on with the public. The notion of walking from one world literally to another each week was a nifty one for certain! True enough, by today's standards the effects are a little cheesy, and it no doubt looks very 1970-ish, but what the heck. Still a good effort, I feel, and one which featured a number of fine guest stars. Christina Hart and Ellen Weston were two more lovely ladies who often showed up on 1970s sci=fi/horror television who deserve mention.

    I also recall that cobbled-together TV "Movie," which was my only chance until the early years of the Sci Fi Channel to see FJ, better than nothing. I'm not sure if the show has yet been issued on DVD - I think it has not been - but hope somebody will do so fairly soon.
  • bard-3231 May 2009
    A previous reviewer compared The Fantastic Journey to shows like Stargate SG-1 and Sliders. He listed 8 similarities between the shows. He should have listed a 9th. Which show, you ask? What about Lost? You have a doctor, (Fred in TFJ, Jack in Lost), a psychic, (Liana in TFJ, Desmond in Lost,) a man of faith, (Varian in TFJ, and Locke, in Lost,) see the similarities? If you don't, I do. In TFJ, you have a scientific expedition lost in the Bermuda Triangle. In Lost, you have 48 survivors from a plane crash on an island somewhere in the South Pacific. In TFJ, our little group of travelers is trying to get back to their times. In Lost, that's not so clear. Jack wants to go home in the first three seasons. Locke doesn't. When you consider the similarities between the two shows, you can't help but recognize the fact that this '70s show was an influence on Lost. J.J. Abrams and Co., say that the game Myst, was one of the influences. Did I leave someone out? I did? Well, my bad. You also have another man of science, in Jonathan Willaway. Did I leave anyone else out? I don't think so. If I did, too late to change it now.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    One, I thought I already had a review of this program posted.

    Two, the episodes were all uploaded to youtube, last time I looked. Watched over them and enjoyed them again.

    Yes, they are rather dated.

    Did not know about the illness and loss of the female, Liana, but do recall she disappeared for several of the last episodes.

    This magnificent show aired during the summer and was spellbounding, truly captivating.

    Without a doubt, the best attraction for a kid was Ike Eisenmann, staple of many a after-school specials.

    I had seen the pilot movie with Ian McShane as a late movie about twenty years ago. Before that, I had not seen any of these shows or programs since back when they first aired.

    Did not recall Joan Collins appearance in one episode, but as I wouldn't have known who she was, no reason I would remember it.

    Nevertheless, they were an intriguing group, especially with the addition of McDowell (in essence, merely resembling Jonathan Harris as Dr. Smith on Lost In Space).

    But even without the female LIana, the foursome made for a pretty effective quartet, as I recall.

    Once more, in rewatching the episodes on youtube, I couldn't help but notice clearly there was a 'performance' sought with Carl Franklin, recollecting some bad childhood experience or something.

    Nevertheless, for that summer, this show ruled and was a masterpiece.

    Not enough stars to cover it.
  • There was a "Fantastic Journey" TV series-unfortunately it was on NBC only from Feb.- April 1977- It was about a group lost in the Bermuda Triangle who journeyed from 1 time zone to another trying to find their way home- the group consisted of Dr. Fred Walters (Carl Franklin), a teen-ager -Scott Jordan ( Ike Eisenmann), Varian ( Jared Martin)- a 23th century telepath,Liana (Katie Saylor)- a survivor from Atlantis who was able to communicate with her pet cat/familiar & Dr. Jonathan Willoway ( Roddy McDowall). Dr. Willoway was Fantastic Journey's "Dr. Smith"- they first met him living with green-skinned androids. He was lonely for human company & tried to force them to stay. He was told by Varian that he was remembered in the 23rd century as a "Great Humanitarian", He instead joined them on their journey & was always being tempted to give into his selfish & cowardly impulses but was always being reminded he had to live up to his reputation as a "Great Humanitarian".. Unfortunately there were no tie-ins. It's a series that is well remembered by the few who saw it.
  • Only my memory is that Land of the Lost was better. Better written and in this game of course that means better ideas as this is an idea medium--science fiction.

    A good cast couldn't really save a show limited by budget and by not so great writing and directing.

    I was sad when it was canceled as I routed for the show to get better, but in truth it never took off creatively, or was given much of a chance to.

    McDowell was sort of LOST IN SPACE, Dr. Smith character only not, thankfully, played for laughs. Nonetheless Dr. Smith became a pop culture figure.

    Of course this show had more potential than Fantasy Island--sort of a non romantic, or schmaltz, version of that concept--and somehow again that show took off in the ratings and this barely had a run.