Instant Guide to... Dan Aykroyd and team

Psi-Factor

selected from
Cult Times Special #09
All you'll need to know!
Psyched Up
The Light
First hour-length episode in which team member Curtis has a near-death experience which releases a doppelgänger into the world at large.

Perestroika
The closing episode to Season One has the OSIR team battling a prehistoric monster in the Russian wastes… with fatal results.

The Egress
An excellent cliff-hanger ending to Season Two when the OSIR discover a gateway to another dimension, and we learn that one of the team is a traitor.
Psyched Out
UFO Encounter
The team investigate UFO sightings in a small town and discover that low flying helicopters are to blame. Yawn.

John Ainsworth

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The Premise: Each episode is based on true cases from the files of the Office of Scientific Investigation and Research – OSIR. Each story follows the investigation by a team of OSIR experts of an incident that apparently defies explanation by all the standard means of enquiry and forensic science. Often the team’s conclusions support the existence of extraterrestrial life or the supernatural, but occasionally a more down-to-Earth explanation is uncovered in the grand old tradition of Scooby-Doo.

Background: Dan Ghostbusters Aykroyd, who introduces each episode of Psi Factor Rod Serling style, has been a lifelong student of the paranormal and, along with his brother Peter Aykroyd, is one of the main driving forces behind the show. Undoubtedly the popularity of the similarly-themed The X-Files made selling the show a somewhat easier task.


First Run: The show débuted on 11th April 1996 in the States but eventually made it over to the UK in 1998 when the Sci-Fi Channel acquired Seasons One and Two. Sci-Fi will be showing the third season later this year.

Number of Episodes: By the end of the third season, which is still in production, the show will number 66 one-hour episodes. However, most of the first season shows were made up of two half-hour stories.

The Good Guys: In the first season the OSIR team comprised Case Managers Professor Connor Doyle (Paul Miller) and Dr Curtis Rollins (Maurice Dean Wint), rookie Lindsay Donner (Nancy Anne Skovich), physicist and statistician Peter Axon (Barclay Hope), psychiatrist Professor Anton Hendricks (Colin Fox) and anthropologist and former journalist Natasha Constantine (Lisa LaCroix). For Season Two, Connor Doyle was replaced by Matt Praeger (Matt Max Headroom Frewer), and in Season Three the team was joined by Director of Operations Frank Elsinger (Nigel Bennett) and Security Co-ordinator Ray Donahue (Peter MacNeill).

The Bad Guys: Well, it’s not quite that black and white on this show. As with The X-Files the bad guys are sometimes not as bad as they seem… and vice versa! Semi-regular Michael Kelly (Michael Moriarty) is effectively Psi Factor’s equivalent of Deep Throat and pops up in several stories to give a helping hand.


And Isn’t That...
War of the Worlds stars Lynda Mason Green and Philip Akin pop up in the Season One episodes Reptilian Revenge and The Undead respectively. Teen heart-throb Corey Haim is in the final episode of Season Two, The Egress.

Overdone Clichés: Well, although quite a good show, Psi Factor is very obviously ‘borrowing’ from The X-Files on a weekly basis and they do rather overplay the serious docu-drama angle, particularly in the early episodes.

Fashion Statements: Definitely smart suits, rain coats and sensible skirts. Dull.

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