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Phoenix, The

Entry updated 19 November 2023. Tagged: TV.

US tv series (1981-1982). Mark Carliner Productions for ABC-TV. Created by Anthony and Nancy Lawrence. Produced by Christopher Kochoff, Leigh Vance, others. Directors included Reza Badiyi, Douglas Hickox. Writers included Mark Carliner, Leigh Vance. Cast includes Richard Lynch, E G Marshall and Judson Scott. One 90-minute pilot film (1981) followed by four 50-minute episodes. Colour.

Loosely based on the "ancient astronaut" books popular throughout the 1970s, such as Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods? (1969) and its many imitators, this series appeared as the fad was fading. An archaeological team investigating Incan ruins in Peru discovers a sealed casket which upon opening proves to contain a humanoid Alien, Bennu of the Golden Light (Scott). He has been in Suspended Animation for 40,000 years, and must almost immediately go on the run from Peruvian officials and US government agents tracking him. He is also searching for a female companion called Mira who had also been in suspended animation; relevant information for Bennu was destroyed when his capsule was opened leaving him to fend for himself. Dr Ward Frazier (Marshall) is a sympathetic Scientist who knows the truth about Bennu and aids him when possible; Justin Preminger (Lynch), US government agent, is his principal antagonist. Bennu possesses various Psi Powers, as well as the ability to levitate for brief periods; his wrist-worn Phoenix Amulet lets him draw power from the Sun. The alien's home world is called Eldebran. As the series was one of the first cancellations of the 1982-1983 US television season, much was left unexplained. Yago was to have been his main antagonist, a hostile alien from the same world; this character does not seem to have appeared in the episodes broadcast in the US. A total of eight episodes were produced; the entire series may have played out later in the UK or other foreign tv markets. The Phoenix was considered rather silly even by those who took the underlying concept with some degree of seriousness. [GSt]


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