Fantasy Island (1998)

ABC (ended 1999)


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Fantasy Island (1998)

Show Summary

A darker and much more twisted take on the premise, this version of Fantasy Island bore little resemblance to the original 1978 series "Fantasy Island." This time around, the character of Mr. Roarke was taken over by character actor Malcolm McDowell. Sinister yet somehow charming, Mr. Roarke hung up his white tuxes in the pilot to don a more stylish black suit, which was foreshadowing of the change in the character. His powers, which would often defy nature, were taken to the ultimate extreme as he summoned lightening and storms, terrorized his prisoners (and sometimes guests), and even changed the gender of one man. Meeting the guests at the dock with Mr. Roarke were Cal (Louis Lombardi), the chubby brainless bellhop, and Harry (Edward Hibbert), the debonaire Englishman concierge. Cal and Harry were reduced to being Roarke's prisoners, using their time on the island to work off a debt to Roarke. Also working as Roarke's assistant was Ariel (Madchen Amick), a beautiful shapeshifter whose powers nearly equaled Roarke's. The relationship between Ariel and Roarke was never fully explained -- sometimes they'd seem like brother and sister, other times like husband and wife -- many episodes hinted at an incestuous-like relationship. Working on the mainland in the dreary Fantasy Island travel agency office were the eccentric Fischer and his secretary, Clia (Sylvia Sidney). Fischer (Fyvush Finkel), who was extremely jealous of Roarke's powers, spent his time recruiting unsuspecting guests for their fantasy vacations. Clia spent most of her time wisecracking. As in the original, stories involved people confronting their jealousies and obsessions, this time usually with more traumatic consequences. Wedged in the same timeslot that made the original a hit, Saturday nights had become a certain-death wasteland in the years since the original went off the air. Fans of the Ricardo Mantalban version were quickly turned off, though this series did gain enough of a cult audience to keep it on the air for the entire run of episodes. In fact, the show was canceled and ABC began scheduling other programs, but due to fan response for both this series and its' companion, "Cupid (1998)", both shows finished their 13 episode runs. Sadly, Sylvia Sidney (best remembered as the chain-smoking social worker with the slit throat in "Beetlejuice") died shortly after the show went off the air. ABC Broadcast History September 1998 - January 1999 -- Saturdays 9:00 PM Eastern USmoreless

    Welcome to ABC's Fantasy Island, the TV Reboot With a Gender-Swapping Twist

    Reboot fever continues with the latest unoriginal idea from a network.

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    • This is an excellent show. I agree with the other poster,let Disney do a DVD set for the 13 episodes.

      This is an excellent show. I agree with the other poster,let Disney do a DVD set for the 13 episodes. Also, since tecnology is so much better now, why can't they do a remake or a movie out of it. Wonder if i can campain Disney for it? ummm any thoughs? Email me or leave me a message. Maybe SOMETHING can be done to bring its magic back ! I think that the concept of magical island where people actually got to learn something of themselves is an idea ahead of its time. In fact, do anyone else here agree that a remake should be done? with a good cast oviouslymoreless
    • This show was a total gem, with a delicious dark streak. Why oh why can I not buy it on DVD? :-(

      This remake of the classic Fantasy Island brought out the darker side that was hinted at in the pilot of the original. It certainly made a lot of sense to go in that direction and definitely made it an improvement over a lot of other TV at the time. I'm desperately waiting for it to come out on DVD because even after nearly 10 years I'm certain it will hold up to the re-watching. As a big fan of this series I went back and watched the original (which I hadn't seen or heard of, just not that old I guess) the pilot was great and then there was a down hill slide into tree-hugging fluffy bunny land All I can say is bring on the DVD!!moreless
    • Great Show but needed to be addressed a couple years later. I though it was a great show. No one gave it a chance though. Bring it back Disney or at leats put the 13 episodes on a dvdmoreless

      This was one of my favorite shows for the 1998 season. I think it would have done better now instead of then. The casting of Malcom Mcdowell was great. He was the perfect fit for the more dark incenece Mr Rourke. I really hope that Disney Entertainment puts the 13 episodes on a dvd, so i can own it. This show was like so many that played to an age group but was uncerimonically cancelled with out giving the shopw a true chance. I bet if they re-ran the episodes on Sci-fi that they would be a new following for the show and the characters.moreless
    • as good as the original

      i thought this show was as good as if not better than the original. malcolm mcdowell as mr rourke was a good choice. i don't think the show was ever given a good chance. i'm not sure that if it were put out today if it would not have lasted longer.