CULT FACTION

For all your cult film, tv, cartoon, comic and video game needs

Fortitude

Fortitude was a Sky Atlantic psychological sci-fi thriller TV series that ran between 2015 & 2018. For twenty-six episodes over three seasons it bewildered, amused and triggered its audiences gag reflex.

Set on an island in the Norwegian Arctic the premise focused on a prehistoric parasite that has been frozen in the carcases of mammoths for thousands of years. As the mammoths thaw the parasites are released. Those they infect are transformed into animalistic cannibals’ hell bent on transmitting the parasites to a new host. Those who survive the infection are given the ability to rejuvenate from injuries that should be life threatening and even their youth; this does come at the cost of losing themselves to madness. All this set against the backdrop of political corruption, a collapsing economy and murder.

It started so well; a big name cast, which included Christopher Eccleston and Michael Gambon, plus a strong advertising campaign by Sky gave the first episode over 1.53 million viewers. Reviews were also positive making Sky think they had their next big hit on their hands. Season two also saw the critics’ lauding plaudits on the show. The introduction of Dennis Quad as ‘Michael Lennox’ furthered the shows reputation as a draw for big names.

A strong cast of British, American and Norwegian actors also impressed. None more so than Richard Dormer as ‘Sheriff Dan Anderssen’, whose decent into madness was one of the most entertain plotlines in the show. Also ‘Dan’ should go down as one of TVs greatest and funniest antiheros. Alexandra Moen as ‘Petra Bergen’ also deserves praise for helping create one of the most conflicted and complicated characters in any sci-fi series.

So what went wrong? Well the show just never seemed to find its core audience; aimed at the fans of series like ‘Lost’ it just didn’t seemed to fully connect with them. This more than likely led to the drop in ratings, which although at first strong had dropped to just 150 thousand by the last episode. The loss of Eccleston and Gambon by the end of series one would have also lost it the curious ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Harry Potter’ fans.

As the ratings dropped so did the number of episodes per-season, from 12 in the first series to just 4 by series 3. This made the third season feel rushed. This is a shame as the introduction of Aliette Opheium’s ‘Elsa Schenthal’ gave season 3 a new sense on menace.

Still available on catch-up Fortitude is one of Sky TVs strangest creations. At the time it seemed more suited to Channel Four than Sky’s premium channel for drama. Sky has since started to develop its brand and is looking to move to more edgy series. Maybe if Fortitude had come a few years later it might have found Sky a more comfortable fit.

Still available on catch-up this bizarre, creepy and at times stomach churning sci-fi thriller is one to seek out. Those who do will be rewarded with some of the strangest TV to come out of Britain this decade.

Related Posts
Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)

Based on Marilyn Sadler and Roger Bollen's book of the same name, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century was directed by Kenneth Johnson and set in the year 2049. It Read more

Yatterman

Originally running between 1977-1979 for 108 episodes, Yatterman succeeded Time Bokan and followed what happened after fragments of a mysterious stone known as the Skull Stone are scattered across the Read more

Welcome to Paradox

Debuting in 1998 and running for thirteen episodes, Welcome to Paradox was an anthology show where all the stories took place in the fictional future city of Betaville although the Read more

Timecrimes (2007)

Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Timecrimes (aka Los Cronocrímenes) is a Spanish science-fiction thriller. In the documentary Future Shock! The Story of 2000 AD Nacho Vigalondo credits 2000 AD comic magazine Read more

The Rise of Skywalker – One 40 Something’s ‘Obsessed Fanboy’ pre-release thoughts…

No one likes an 'I told you so', so let's get the unpleasant bit out of the way. I told you so. Back in Feb 2018, whilst I was still Read more

The Maze (1953)

Directed by William Cameron Menzies, The Maze was 3-D horror film that deals with teratology and prenatal phylogenetic evolution. It begins when Scotsman Gerald MacTeam (Richard Carlson) abruptly ends his Read more

The legacy of Santa Claus: The Movie

Santa Claus: The Movie was supposed to be the holiday hit of 1985. Such was the confidence that farther and son producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind had managed to get Read more

The Herculoids

Somewhere out in space live The Herculoids! Zok, the laser-ray dragon! Igoo, the giant rock ape! Tundro, the tremendous! Gloop and Gleep, the formless, fearless wonders! With Zandor, their leader, Read more

The Fugitives

Created by Eileen Gallagher and directed by Jane Prowse, The Fugitives was a seven part show from 2005 that follows fourteen-year-old Jay Keaton (Alex Roe). A teenager with a high Read more

The Face of Another (1966)

Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara and based on the novel of the same name by Kōbō Abe, The Face of Another follows an engineer named Mr. Okuyama (Tatsuya Nakadai), whose face Read more

%d bloggers like this: