The Fantastic Journey: My Favorite Show of 1977

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 21, 2008 in Television |

Most fanboys tend to associate the 70s with space opera titles like Star Wars or Space: 1999 but many people tend to forget that a big craze at the time was anything inspired by “the unknown”. The show that kicked off this trend was In Search of… which covered all sorts on odd phenomena from the Loch Ness monster to Big Foot and was hosted by Mr. Spock, errr Leonard Nimoy. Also part of this trend was a best selling book The Bermuda Triangle by Charles Berlitz.

The Fantastic Journey was built upon all of this interest in the Bermuda Triangle, and in many ways one suspects the show also owed a great deal in some way to Land of the Lost from 1974. But unlike Land of the Lost what made this show cool was that the characters weren’t from one background — the lead character was Varian (played by Jared Martin) who was from the 23rd Century and the rest of the cast included “daughter of an Atlantean father and an extraterrestrial mother”, a “rebel scientist from the 1960s” and of course a 13 year old kid who was “the son of a famous scientist”. Oh and by the way did I mention that Roddy McDowall was the rebel scientist?

The one thing I remember the most about The Fantastic Journey was that it was in my personal category of “must watch TV” from that year — looking back at the episodes I can see why: Every episode featured themes like time travel and telepathy. Also reading up on the show it seems that some A+ writing talent was involved, most notably D.C. Fontana who made the original Star Trek one of my favorite TV shows.

As much as I’d hate to see Hollywood ruin this series by remaking it, looking at the above titles I’d love to see someone like a Quentin Tarantino take a stab at it. I’d also wouldn’t mind seeing a Japanese film studio turn it into an anime series — in fact the 80s series The Super Dimension Century Orguss serves as a good proof of concept that it can be done right.

On a last note I wish there was a legit release of the series out on DVD. I did find a copy of it here, but it looks a tad “gray market” to me.

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