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The Omega Factor: The Complete Series (3DVD)


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Product Details

  • Actors: James Hazeldine, Louise Jameson, Cyril Luckham, John Carlisle
  • Directors: Eric Davidson, Fiona Cumming, Gerald Blake (II), Ken Grieve, Kenny McBain
  • Format: Box set, Color, Content/Copy-Protected CD, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Koch Vision
  • DVD Release Date: May 2, 2006
  • Run Time: 510 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EMGF30
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,959 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Omega Factor: The Complete Series (3DVD)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary on the episode "Powers of Darkness"
  • "Inside the Omega Factor" featurette
  • 16 page booklet with notes on the series

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Department 7 is a secret branch of British government dedicated to investigating the supernatural. Its team of experts, led by Roy Martindale and Dr. Anne Reynolds, find themselves teamed with journalist Tom Crane, who is investigating similar cases for his newspaper.

Amazon.com

"The Omega Factor" refers to the limitless potential of the human mind, which is explored in often-terrifying detail in this short-lived cult BBC series from 1979. The late James Hazeldine stars as a journalist who discovers that he possesses extraordinary psychic gifts; his talents bring him in contact with Department 7, a shadowy government bureau that investigates paranormal phenomena. Over the course of the series' ten-episode run, Hazeldine, his friend and fellow Department 7 member Anne (Louise Jameson, Leela from the Tom Baker-era Doctor Who), and his somewhat sinister superior Dr. Martindale (John Carlisle) encounter haunted houses ("Visitations"), secret military experiments ("Night Games"), cases of apparent possession ("Powers of Darkness"), and all manner of psychic abilities, as well as a secret organization called Omega that plans world domination through mind control. Deftly handled by a host of TV veterans (many of whom also worked on Doctor Who, including producer George Gallaccio, director Paddy Russell, and writer Anthony Read, who also wrote the acclaimed U.K. sci-fi series Chocky and its sequels, which starred Hazeldine), The Omega Factor tackles its supernatural/conspiracy subject matter in a serious manner without sacrificing its inherent creepiness, much as The X-Files would 30 years later (the pleasing chemistry between Hazeldine and Jameson is also a forerunner to the Mulder-Scully relationship). Unfortunately, hysterical controversy from watchdog groups led to its early demise and enduring cult status. The three-DVD set includes the entire series, as well as a featurette of interviews with Gallaccio, Read, and co-producer/creator Jack Gershon; all three are featured on a commentary for the infamous "Powers of Darkness" episode (which garnered much of the public outcry during the series' broadcast), for which they're joined by director Eric Davidson. --Paul Gaita

Customer Reviews

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See all 12 customer reviews
This show is kind of like the x files but with a low budget.
Frank the BoZ
James Hazeldine gives a very wam, and likable performance as Tom Crane, and he would go on to to star in the Chocky series of movies on UK TV.
Doctor Trance
Quality of the DVD is good considering the ill treatment of the source material.
traderje

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Doctor Trance VINE VOICE on June 16, 2006
27 years for US fans, as it was released a year ago in a UK/Region 2 set, and now finally gets a Region 1 release. As a Dr. Who fan, I would always read and hear about this very obscure Scottish show dealing with the paranormal and starring Louise Jameson (Leela in Doctor Who) and involving several others behind the scenes who also worked on Who over it's long run (George Gallaccio, Anthony Read, Peter Grimwade, Anthony Read, Paddy Russell, Norman Stewart, Kenny McBain).

Unlike the 26 straight years that Doctor Who ran, The Omega Factor only ran one season. Due to budget constraints of this sci-fi show, the normal run of 13 episodes had to be chopped down to only 10, futher adding to the cult status of this very short lived program. The other factor that adds to the mystique of the show was that it had never been re-run, and never released on video until now. I attempted to track down bootleg copies of the show, but the mystery was still upheld when I would try to play the dreadful quality, multi generation copy in my VCR and found that it was virtually unwatchable. The only way bootleg tapes were floating around was that someone in 1979 must have had a VCR and taped it, and so started the poor generation copies that floated around through the years.

Even this DVD release shows signs of poor quality orginals, especially evidence in episode 1, with lots of artifacts, grain, and all sorts of weird interference showing up on screen. After episode 1, the clarity is better and remains a decent quality throughout the other episodes.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By traderje on May 10, 2006
The hero is a journalist who writes stories about the paranormal who may have certain abilities himself. Tragic events in the first episode bring him in contact with Louise Jameson (of Dr. Who fame) and a government agency which also investigates the paranormal.

As the first reviewer, I must give a little of the history of this negleted treasure. This is from my own memory, so bare with me.

Nearly 30 years ago, long before X-Files, this series dealt with a secret branch of government investigating paranormal matters. I watched it way back then, and enjoyed it greatly. I would talk to people about it but NOBODY heard of it. It was never released on VHS nor was it rerun. I am so glad they are now available on DVD.

What happened to it was that there was a censorship campaign against it. An influential crusader against controversial shows denoounced Omega and the BBC buckled. A strange claim, since the show is a fairly tame treatment of ghosties, government conspiracies, witches, mind control, cults, and what not. Apparently the crusade worked well, because it was canceled after a season and laid unspoken of in the BBC vaults all these years.

That's the official version anyway. I happen to think the powers that be did not like the undercurrents of government mind control experiments. The third episode features a backstory of sonic devices for crowd control that we use today.

The crew did fairly well with a desperately low budget. Location shooting in spooky Scotland greatly enhanced the shows. They scattered in some interesting background music. Look out for cuts from Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and a little bit of the obscure Tangerine Dream albumn, Richochet.

Quality of the DVD is good considering the ill treatment of the source material. There is a commentary track, and a featurette which are nice extras. A good set. Should be a good buy for anyone interested in lesser known works in the genre.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Bender on December 4, 2006
I first saw The Omega Factor on my local PBS station years ago. I missed the first episode, but watched the other nine and I was disappointed that it was never rerun or released on video. I finally bought it on DVD and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the whole series for the first time. I especially liked the twists in the last two stories when Martindale was revealed to be a member of the Omega group, but was willing to defy them when it came to Tom Crane.

Unfortunately, the BBC came up against that self-appointed protector of the morals of the British public Mary Whitehouse and they caved in to her demands (they had done it before when they altered the ending of the third episode of the Doctor Who story "The Deadly Assassin") so a second season of Omega Factor was never made, which is a shame because there were many questions left unanswered. I wish the BBC would remake the series from the beginning and bring it to a conclusion.
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I ordered this DVD-set because I enjoy UK television SF form the Seventies. I just watched the last of the 10 episodes. I must say that the series was reasonably good and enjoyable. However, given the standards set by a series like Blake's 7 that started in the same year as the Omega Factor it was not as good as I expected it to be.

Outline
Tom Crane, a journalist who appears to have supernatural powers is recruited by a secret governmental organisation who researchers into the unexplained. He works closely with Ann Reynolds and Dr Roy Martindale in an office where both Reynolds and Martindale offer the pretence of working by (respectively) wearing a white overdress and moving papers from one end of his desk to another. Tom Crane gets to do all the hard work by venturing into the Occult.

Setting
The setting is excellent. What better base to explore the supernatural from than the eerie streets and ally's of Edinburgh?

Acting
The main actors do a good job. Ann, Tom Crane and Roy Martindale all play convincing roles. The supporting cast ranges from OK performances (the guy who plays bad guy Drexel) down to a Faulty Towers level (the heavies of the secret organisation).

Storyline
Most Television SF from the Seventies rely primarily on the storyline. However, the major flaws that made me give this series "only" three stars are in the flawed storytelling. The main character's wife is killed and the main character shows no emotion at all and subsequently starts courting every woman he comes into contact with. His brother is turned into a human vegetable (he makes a miraculous recovery later on in the series) by experiments clearly conducted by the department he now works for. However, the main character just continues working for them.
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