Thursday, April 18, 2013

What Might've Been: The Fantastic Journey (1977)

Just a few months before "Star Wars" made science fiction cool again in pop culture, NBC took another whirl at the genre with The Fantastic Journey, which, despite the 1976 copyright, bowed in February 1977, and lasted only four months, the time stretched out by reruns and pre-emptions.

Veteran producer Bruce Lansbury helmed this series, then went on to work on Wonder Woman after Journey was cancelled. Jared Martin toplined as a healer-musician from the future, Varian, and was backed by a veteran supporting cast including Carl Franklin (ex-Caribe), Ike Eisenmann (the original "Escape From Witch Mountain"), and Roddy McDowell (ex-Planet of the Apes), who joined the series as rebel scientist Jonathan Willaway in episode 3. Unfortunately, only 10 episodes were shown, as Journey was simply on the wrong night, airing opposite high rated competition like The Waltons and Welcome Back, Kotter. It should be noted that it would be a while before a sci-fi-centric series would actually have any staying power, and it'd be a sitcom (Mork & Mindy) that would turn the trick.

Following is the episode, "An Act of Love":

Sony hasn't seen fit to release the series on DVD, and it was last seen, methinks on the Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy) back in the early years when they showcased cancelled series.

Rating: C.


magicdog said...

Something tells me the creators of "Lost" owe Lansbury money!

I did catch a few eps when it was on Sci-Fi, and the concept had potential but it was so darn campy, especially in the way of special FX (despite being the 70s). I always thought it would have made a better series for Saturday mornings.

Ike Eisenmann always struck me as "That Kid" who would be called to play the role of teen protagonist in the late 60s/70s. His female counterpart would be Pamelyn Ferdin.

hobbyfan said...

The funny thing is, in the original Witch Mountain movies, Eisenmann was partnered with current "Real Housewife" Kim Richards (ex-Nanny & the Professor). Go figure.

Maybe Lansbury should ask JJ Abrams about some copyright revenues, don't ya think?