Space 1999

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Space 1999

Postby Crash » Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:51 am

I've been watching the first series of Space 1999 and am just moving onto the second.
Well, what to say about it? I downloaded a torrent where the show had been very well digitally remastered. The footage is pristine but the episodes are in a funny order.

This show, for a Gerry Anderson production, has a few problems.

On the one hand, it aspires to scientific accuracy, in line with Space Odyssey with the eagles and the moonbase itself.
I noticed that the space backgrounds are always totally black and featureless apart from a few white stars and the white ships. It's fairly realistic but it might as well be filmed in black-and-white.
In Star Trek Voyager, which we recently marathoned, space was much more colourful and interesting.
The alien ships as well are either completely odd-ball and unconvincing or very conservative and unremarkable; just metal cylinders with greebles.

My real problem came with reconciling the hard sci-fi setting / setup of the show with the completely ridiculous plots and nonsensical premises of the individual episodes (many of them anyway). Out of 24 episodes in the first season, the good ones that I bought into were:
- 1 - Breakaway
- 4 - War Games
- 8 - Dragon's Domain
- 17 - The Infernal Machine
- 24 - The Last Enemy

But even within these, there are bits that are hard to digest. In the Last Enemy, the two warring planets have very advanced ships that can bombard the targets with missiles from space.
Why then do they need to land on the Moon to fire those missiles, leaving Moon base Alpha in a crossfire, rather than just fire while hovering in space?

There were about as many episodes again that were middling. The rest were crazy.

Another golden idea was that Alpha encounters a probe that Earth sent out, knowing full-well that it would destroy everything that it encountered, just as a side-effect of how its propulsion worked.

Now, on the plus side, this Season 2 looks a bit more promising.
Dream big and bold and daring.

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Re: Space 1999

Postby AndyThomas » Wed Sep 23, 2015 2:34 pm

Ah, Space 1999. Long time since I revisited it, but I loved those Eagles - had die cast toys that I remember being very hard to find and very brightly coloured compared to the show's! Solid, though, and pretty faithful to the original design. Ironic you should mention Voyager in the same breath, as both shows demonstrated an uncanny ability for the home bases to generate multiple ancillary craft with, presumably, very few resources. In fact the premise is not dis-similar for the shows overall!

As you say, it had some properly mind-bending storylines and it was a touch monochrome - but then Hubble hadn't been launched at that point? I can't remember if season 2 was any prettier, but it did have Brian Blessed in it! Perhaps the problem was that for storytelling purposes it just couldn't stick to hard sci-fi 100% of the time - notice how a lot of the early Voyager episodes were all about them struggling with their supply levels and eventually that stopped being a "thing"? Reality only works so far in these sorts of shows, I think, which is perhaps appropriate?!
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Re: Space 1999

Postby Crash » Sat Sep 26, 2015 6:53 pm

If you know what an Eagle is and haven't seen the show, don't bother watching it is my advice.
The Wikipedia article on the show is very informative.

It really strikes me as a tragedy that we lost out on UFO 2.0 to have this show instead.

One thing I wondered for a long time was: was the Eagle designed for UFO series 2 and repurposed or was it designed once it was decided to create a different show?
It looks as though the Eagle was designed *just after* the base itself was redesigned to be less like the UFO Moonbase than they originally intended and more like what we saw in Space 1999.

Season 2 is a good bit different but not shaping up any better. It's just as ludicrous but less ambitious and more brain-dead.

You actually get Brian Blessed in Season 1 as well in Death's Other Dominion.

We watched Voyager recently and I told Dominique to prepare for the worst before the end of the show but I was very pleasantly surprised. The show held up much better than when I watched it in Germany several years ago.
There would be points where they lost the suspension of disbelief in lots of episodes but you could overlook that because of the production quality and the cleverness of other aspects of the stories.

Did you know that they actually had the Aeroshuttle ready to go for the last series (presumably after they destroyed the first Delta Flyer)?
They failed to include it in the show because they were going to have the captain's yacht added to the Enterprise E in the upcoming Insurrection movie and were 'worried that it would take away the wow factor' if they added a similar concept to Voyager beforehand.
They had it planned right from the start of the show - it even features in the series' writer's bible that was created before the first episode.
Dream big and bold and daring.

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