233 – Fantastic Journey – Innocent Prey

It’s with a heavy heart that we bid a fond adieu to Fantastic Journey. We’ve followed our intrepid travelers for months now as they try to find their way out of Evoland, but now it is time for the end of their Journey.

Ben and Eugene discuss the final episode, Innocent Prey and review some of the highlights of the series and listener comments.

One thought on “233 – Fantastic Journey – Innocent Prey”

  1. This episode … I’ve sat through worse, but at best it rates a solid ‘meh’.

    The main problem is that the central crisis – what do you do with a psychopath in Eden – writes the drama into a corner from the outset. Either The Boys/Spiderman have to kill York, or he falls down a cliff, or the Orb does something mysterious. The kill option is never going to happen, so it has to be one of the other two, and we circle around for 40 minutes trying to decide which one.

    Cheryl Ladd is a poor substitute for Liana. Get well soon Liana!

    So York has been regressed to a baby. What happens when he grows up? Is he still wired as a psychopath who’s going to kill everyone?

    What happened to the quest for the 12 Magical Stones of Evoland? When will Genghis Khan give the team a new challenge? They’ll never get a second season at this rate.

    Looking back over the series…

    FANTASTIC JOURNEY – THE HIGHPOINTS:

    + The Opening Credits.
    Back in 1977, each week I’d recall the bitter disappointment of the previous episode and be on the verge of switching off when … The Credits – they sucked me back in every time! There’s funky wokka-wokka guitar! Spilt screen! A gravelly Race Bannon voiceover! A man with Awesome Powers! Hot Atlantean Chick! Brains in fishtanks! It still grabs me today. I was pondering what parts of Fantastic Journey I was nostalgic for, and realised that everything I hankered for was In. The. Credits.

    + Vortex – The Bermuda Triangle Sequence
    The extended scene where the glowing vortex cloud stalks the boat. No matter what the crew tries, there is no escape. So creepy. Otherworldly. Unknowable. It bottled everything that made the Bermuda Triangle a terrifying wonder to my adolescent brain.

    + Atlantium – Menacing throbbing brain-in-fishtank.

    + John Saxon’s Scenery-Chewing Villainy
    Snidely Whiplash lives. John Saxon knew he wouldn’t be invited back for any future episodes and he was going to have as much fun on the way out as he could.

    + Roddy McDowall
    Always fun to have around, even if he didn’t have anything to do. Snappy dresser.

    + Liana’s Miniskirts and GoGo Boots.
    They kept 12 year old me tuning in each week.

    + The blue-electric vortex effect was kinda cool (kinda).

    + No matter how crud-worthy the scripts were, the cast took them seriously and worked hard to sell them – especially Jared Martin.

    FANTASTIC JOURNEY – THE MOST INEXPLICABLE THINGS…

    + Vortex – Varian is a mute indian, because, reasons…

    + Beyond the Mountain – Green Mexican swamp-aliens with stereotype-appropriate moustaches. Gold lamé discobots!

    + Liana psychically communicating with Mr Whiskers by furiously waggling her eyebrows at a cat which has a permanent expression of boredom/hunger.

    + DC Fontana

    + Turnabout – the insta-laser-cage-blaster.

    + Funhouse – the whole episode, but especially the dog-faced people who can’t escape unless they look normal. An idée fixe ruined by the fact that they do look normal.

    + Outside of the first half of the first episode, absolutely no questions were asked about what Evoland/Vortex/The Devil’s Triangle actually is. Where does it come from? Why does it do what it does?

    RANDOM THOUGHTS:
    Varian’s “Awesome Powers” really weren’t that awesome.

    If I ever again have a business card printed, it :will: read: “Mr Iguana – Rebel Scientist from the 1960s.”

    For the final episode, I wish they had a callback scene where Varian sits down with Scott and tells him: “Scott, you remember back in Atlantium, that letter from your family telling you they were beaming home and you weren’t to worry about them? How I psychically scanned the letter to confirm it was written by your father? Yeah, well, I was totally lying. The letter was a fake. Your whole family had been turned into organ donations by that point and I was just trying to cheer you up. You never really believed my hippy psychic letter scanning act, did you?”

    Thanks for persevering with this show – it became a Fantastic Journey in its own right. I still have a warm fuzzy nostalgia glow for it, despite how horrible the individual episodes actually were.

    P.S.
    How did you know what I sound like?!? I’ve never revealed to anybody that I’m actually a Lovecraftian Fish-Person!

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