262 – Omega Factor – The Undiscovered Country

We start a new series on Fusion Patrol this week – 1979’s BBC produced The Omega Factor.

Tom Crane, latent psychic peers through the curtain to a new world of psychic powers.

Simon and Eugene begin  their exploration with the first episode, The Undiscovered Country.

One thought on “262 – Omega Factor – The Undiscovered Country”

  1. Good choice! I’ve never seen The Omega Factor, but it’s long been on my to-be-seen list. However, I was not quite as enamoured with this first episode as you guys were.

    The casting is good, with the exception of the lead himself, who seems capable, but lacking in any charisma. The casting of Drexel was a particularly good choice, with the character smoothly gliding from amiable banter to undisguised menace. Louise Jameson is always welcome.

    Lacklustre direction made me give this episode poor marks. Particularly in key scenes, such as where the streetlights went out. This should have conveyed a escalating sense of dread, but to me it felt flat and prosaic. Crane’s collapse in the phonebooth was comically over the top compared to the level of threat which the direction projected. The score worked against what should have been a slow gathering horror.

    Much of the episode confined itself to the standard two-people-talking-on-a-set. Budget is probably to blame, but the material cried out for something more innovative and incisive in its direction.

    I did like the car crash. It was real and visceral. I can’t remember the last time I saw a TV car crash where the vehicle didn’t launch into the air and summersault three times. The important lead-up to the crash was, again, unconvincing.

    I’m surprised at how dated (for 1979) everything appears. The title sequence has come straight from 1969. Much of the style of the show reminds me of an episode of Thriller from 1973. Only a few details of clothes and cars give any hint that it’s almost the 1980’s.

    I laughed at The Big Reveal from The Man from The Ministry (sorry, Department 7) who explains the Secret Government Organisation, that absolutely everyone in the episode works for, and who offers Crane a job to fight the good fight. I want to label this scene a horrible cliché, but I might be influenced by having seen the exact same thing in UFO (“Exposed”) twenty or thirty times. In UFO, Straker finally reveals to the beleaguered Paul Foster that aliens exist(!), there’s a Secret Organisation(!), everyone in the episode works for the organisation(!), and that it was all a test to see if Foster was worthy to join and fight the fight! UFO did it with more style a decade earlier.

    Overall, it was a bit ho-hum for me, but you’re right, I have absolutely no idea what the next episode will be and I’m eagerly looking forward to finding out. Perhaps I’ll warm to the lead, and the show, with a bit more exposure.

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