When it was made there had never been a more lavishly produced science fiction TV series than Space: 1999
, which was British-made on a first-season budget of 3.25 million pounds and ran for two seasons from 1975-77. What keeps fans enthralled after all these years has only partly to do with the first-rate production values, the plausibly constructed spaceship models and expert special effects. The tone of the show is one of scientific dispassion, setting it apart from its TV SF predecessors such as Star Trek
in which the mood is more generally convivial. Our heroes here are in dire circumstances that require cool heads as a survival trait: the moon and the 311 crew members of Moonbase Alpha experience a cataclysm, which causes the moon to break away from Earth orbit and travel endlessly through space. No TV series has created a more palpable feel of hard science fiction than this. Of course the show is not without its detractors, having been soundly lambasted for its many scientific errors. No less august a figure than Isaac Asimov criticised the show for the premise of the opening episode "Breakaway", which had nuclear explosions on the "dark side of the moon" somehow propelling it out of Earth orbit and flying through space without regard to any physical laws. And in "Earthbound" aliens travelling to Earth state it will take them 75 years to reach their destination, making one wonder why it didn't take the moon that long to encounter the aliens. While these are valid complaints, fans tend to remember the scientific seriousness of the series and the sense of awe created by the many strange creatures and phenomena the crew encounter on their journey through the Galaxy. --Jim Gay, Amazon.com
Gerry Anderson's live action space spectacular broke new ground in sci-fi TV. Starring Oscar winner Martin Landau in the role that shot him to fame, Space 1999
first aired in 1975 and is acknowledged as a landmark series that set the standard for great sci-fi on the small screen.
September 13th 1999: A freak explosion on the moon sends Moonbase Alpha, Commander John Koenig (Landau), Dr. Helena Russell (Barbara Bain) and 309 men and women hurtling out of orbit into darkest deep space.