15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A curiosity from another era
This is a BBC science fiction production from the early 70s- that should tell you all you need to know about the production values - but production values aren't everything.
This show appeared on TV soon after the end of the Apollo missions, when it was quite reasonably assumed that exploration of the Moon would continue and expand. Indeed, it presents a picture of...
Published on 12 Sep 2004 by Amazon Customer
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A noble effort, but poorly executed....and terribly dull
Perhaps not the best example of British sci-fi from the 70's set in 2003 on a European and American manned moonbase, this series debuted in 1973 approximately three years after Gerry Anderson's "UFO" and aired one year before "Space 1999." Produced by "Dr. Who" Barry Letts and writer Terrance Dicks, one would expect great things form this talented team and a series with...
Published on 31 Aug 2007 by Kenneth M. Pizzi
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A curiosity from another era,
This review is from: Moonbase 3 - The Complete Series [DVD]  (DVD)This is a BBC science fiction production from the early 70s- that should tell you all you need to know about the production values - but production values aren't everything.
This show appeared on TV soon after the end of the Apollo missions, when it was quite reasonably assumed that exploration of the Moon would continue and expand. Indeed, it presents a picture of how things might have been today that still appears perfectly plausible. The political predictions are interesting - there is still a Soviet Union in this alternate 2003, but also a European currency, and a European capital in Brussels.
This is intended as a realistic view of the future - don't expect much in the way of Dr Who aliens - indeed, moon life appears positively mundane much of the time. The stories focus mainly on the stresses on human relationships in a remote, confined and fragile setting, where every mistake or error in judgement might have serious consequences... individually, most of the stories are unmemorable but the serious message becomes clearer as the series progresses, revealing a realistic microcosm of the fragile state of human affairs on Earth and their potential consequences. Cheap, yes... not always exciting, but quite unique and well worth a look.
I should add that the transfer quality isn't really all that bad considering the age and history of the one surviving broadcast tape. It's about as good as the TV images we would have been watching in 1973 - and any higher definition would only highlight the cut-price nature of the visuals.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Flipside of UFO.,
This review is from: Moonbase 3 - The Complete Series [DVD]  (DVD)I'd heard of Moonbase 3 as a footnote in the history of Doctor Who. The series was created by Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts, the script editor and Producer on Who, as an adult, literate and realistic look at what life might be like for people living on the moon.
It contains the usual blend of scientists, astronauts and civil servants trying to live, work and survive on the moon.
Watching the episodes it surprises me that they didn't make more. The stories contain some fascinating mysteries and good performances from the likes of Donald Houston and Ralph Bates.
It's UFO with all the camp taken out.
Try it if you enjoy hard sci - fi and series that take their time in introducing you to its characters. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the series and wish they'd made more episodes. Do rent it or buy it. You'll find it a rewarding watch.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little-known gem,
This review is from: Moonbase 3 - The Complete Series [DVD]  (DVD)This is good. Really good. It's a shame Moonbase 3 only ran for six episodes, as it was really taking off by the last two, and it would have been wonderful to have seen what they would have made of it if the series had continued.
I'm going to list it's positive and negative points, starting with the bad stuff. (Because we all like the good news last :) )
I'm going to get the worst over with first. Let's skip over the really, really foul fashions and hairdos, although they are nastiness personified. The most annoying aspect is the dire treatment of the token woman character, Helen Smith. She's the shrink - of course - and her main duty is to be patronised. It is teeth-nashingly irritating to hear a doctor being called 'love' and having main characters dismiss reports on the psycological state of an unstable crewmember as 'the fancies of a woman'. I longed for her to club the guys over the head with a copy of The Female Eunch! Worst of all, her attempted rape is effectively brushed over, and she's later seen talking and laughing with the guy! Ugh, really left a nasty taste in the mouth. On a more trivial note, some of the cast put on fake European accents, with varying success. Ralph Bates' French accent (Bates was part-French) doesn't sound too bad to my Antipodean ears, and the Russian characters are fortunately played by real Russians, but everyone else's accents made me wince.
It strives to be as realistic as possible. They used extracts from NASA transmissions as some of the dialouge, and had scientist James Burke as an advisor, so the technobabble's top-notch. The down-beat nature of 70s BBC productions actually suits the style of the show, since everything's supposed to be unattractive and functional. There's not even a whiff of what Russell T Davies calls Planet Zog - in fact one character cracks a joke about 'Giant ants from another galaxy'. Bad food is another target of everyone's humour. Space travel is difficult and dangerous. One episode focusses on an astronaut being trapped in a malfuctioning shuttle, and there's no cobblers about zapping him out using the Disapparating Machine Of Zog, or the base leader personally mounting a Captain Kirk-style daring rescue. (Astronauts are astronauts and scientists are scientists, and neither can do each other's jobs, though non-astronauts have basic training.) The scientists study such unsexy subjects as metallurgy. There's constant worries about the government pulling the cash. (Offhand, the only other series that I can think of that has gone into funding issues is Babylon 5). The other biggest problem is psycological strain - there is at least one suicide, and a number of stress-induced fatal accidents. Second in command, Michel Lebraun, is both jealous of boss David Calder, and also considers him unsuitable for the job. It's not dwelt upon much, but there is a subtle undercurrent of tension between the two men. The cast is good - paticularly Ralph Bates, and I rather like Donald Houston's effusive portrayal of Calder. I should also put in a word for Barry Lowe, who plays Chief Astronaut Tom Hill. While the character can be a bit irritating (constantly patronising Helen Smith and calling Lebraun 'Mickey boy') he also really comes across as someone who's spent the past 25 years honing his skills. I bet you'd never get a guy with grey hair and wrinkles cast as the chief of anything in a science fiction series now. The show also takes a few interesting guesses about the 'future' - it's set in 2003, and although it features characters from the Soviet Union, they are allies. There's a united European assembly with it's own currency - the Eurodollar. If you're a genre spotter, there's plenty of fun to be had. Michael Wisher and Peter Miles, for example, appear in the same episode, though sadly not in the same scene.
All in all, it's well worth a look - paticularly for the price.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great little show from the Dr who gang,
This review is from: Moonbase 3 - The Complete Series [DVD]  (DVD)Well what a great little gem we have on DVD. From the writers/producers/directors of Dr who comes a 1973 six parter adventure of life aboard Moonbase 3 , a scientific european base. The year is 2003 and David Caulder and his team face many challenges to their lunar existance. With scientific advice from James Burke (Connections etc) we have a very realistic, well written show. If you havent heard of it and you are a DR Who/sci-fi fan I highly recommend it. One little disappointment, the transfer to DVD is not the greatest but still what a show.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Series,
By A Customer
This review is from: Moonbase 3 - The Complete Series [DVD]  (DVD)I watched this over 6 nights, one episode per night.
It's slow, and very talkie. If you are into monsters and wierd trek style anomalies then this is not for you.
In all sci-fi series you have to get to know the universe these characters live in. However, this is the only sci-fi show where I'd forgotten that I live on Earth and actually started to really feel like I live in their world.
I thought episode one was poor and was very dissapointed. However, episode two had me wanting more. A great series with a very chilling final episode.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent 70's sci-fi for the discerning viewer.,
This review is from: Moonbase 3 - The Complete Series [DVD]  (DVD)This is a hugely underrated science fiction series from the annals of BBC history.
Largely forgotten but incredibly watchable, this is science fiction with a difference .
Moonbase 3 isnt about alien laser gun battles or other similar insipid plotlines.
The series sustains a very technical approach throughout, in terms of how such a Moonbase would operate, and offers a realistic human touch that concentrates on each individual character.
The viewer is shown how characters cope with what would be an introspective, isolating and occasionally terrifying experience, as a result of being so far away from home in the confinements of a relatively small space station.
This series will not appeal to the quick fix thrill merchant, but it offers an original slant on a tired genre, even though it is over 35 years old.
I wholeheartedly recommend this series to the mature, thinking sci-fi fan who wants something different from the usual fodder and who appreciates Blakes 7, Space 1999, Doctor Who style offerings.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting indeed,
This review is from: Moonbase 3 - The Complete Series [DVD]  (DVD)I have just purchased the double vhs set from second sights 2002 release the show is a more claustrophobic realistic type of sci fi drama of the early mid 70s, its slow, but measured in pace, it has a good and well excecuted look, especially for that period, the story's are intellgent and interesting, the actors and actresses put a lot into their portrayals of men and women in a precarious cramped position with no help from the clock as it were, its about coming together under great pressures from unnatural sources that we humans dont normally face, the picture guality is unfortunately diabolical and no care taken in this release to put it on a high grade tape type, also the scenes on the moonscape are littered with sparkle artifacts etal and its a fuzzy dull picture guality all round on this vhs, im sure the dvd must be better?, but the series is very much worth watching minor issues aside, and it repays further viewing, it hasnt the glamour or galactic looking spaciousness of space1999, but its a worthy important and realistic enough effort by the then bbc, and dr who people, who where involved in the making of this good program.
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT - FANTASTIC & MAGNIFICENT!!!,
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This review is from: Moonbase 3 - The Complete Series [DVD]  (DVD)Just stumbled upon this by chance while surfing for `moon' titles - can't think why I did not see this at the time - I was old enough, and being all set on the moon I'd have been in heaven!! I love sci-fi stuff from the 50s, 60s and 70s - certainly the best era for me, after that it's downhill all the way as far as I'm concerned...
This is a series that is very exciting from the outset - great soundtrack and incidental music from Dudley Simpson - loved the sets and adore anything that can also leave stuff to the imagination - unlike much of the sci-fi stuff churned out today... There's a great and superb cast; everybody was ideal for their parts. In my opinion Fiona Gaunt makes this show as `Helen Smith' - a true heroine among women! Such perfect casting again with the likes of Barry Lowe as `Tom Hill' - he's really fit! His character's really nice without seeming `weak' - very brave in the capsule when things look really bleak for him having to face death. (he has a somewhat `husky' sexy voice which also helps!!)
Each episode in this series seems to surpass the last, and the whole series is `self-contained'. The transfer quality of these is fabulous, and this set is now hard to find even in `used' condition, it cost me almost fifty quid for a brand new set, but was worth every penny for a set still sealed!
The third episode is brilliant - a much deeper and much more in-depth view of the characters. As mentioned; Fiona Gaunt as Helen Smith is just brilliant - an admirable woman, and the first time she smiles is something of a landmark in the show! I think this third episode the most exciting up to that point. The fourth episode contains the most beautiful scene between she and Dr. Conway - quite a lengthy scene. Fiona's a great actress and so mature at just twenty-two (hard to believe!) who disappeared from TV in 1978. This in particular is a real nail-biter, and very exciting when watched for the very first time!
The series has a `twist' and unique ending with some surprises, and one is left thinking where the series could have gone had it continued...
My only gripe that is hardly worth mentioning on something otherwise flawless, was the automatic follow-on of each episode, and so you have to be quick with the remote control to stop this from happening at the end of each show.
Best fifty quid I've spent in a long, long time!
Note: Also stars Ralph Bates, Michael Gough and Donald Houston.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A noble effort, but poorly executed....and terribly dull,
This review is from: Moonbase 3 - The Complete Series [DVD]  (DVD)Perhaps not the best example of British sci-fi from the 70's set in 2003 on a European and American manned moonbase, this series debuted in 1973 approximately three years after Gerry Anderson's "UFO" and aired one year before "Space 1999." Produced by "Dr. Who" Barry Letts and writer Terrance Dicks, one would expect great things form this talented team and a series with James Burke ("Connections" and "The Day the Universe Changed), as a technical advisor.
Sadly, this is not the case with "Moonbase 3." Talky, pretentious, and dull, with laughable special effects along with flimsy sets, "Moonbase 3" tries hard to realistically portray the daily life and hazards on the moon, yet manages to fall flat on its face most of the time. Some of the episodes like "Outsiders" and "Castor and Pollux" are tense and interesting dramas--the former about a manic depressive scientist on the base who contemplates suicide, and the latter, about a nailbiting space rescue from a capsule.
The minatures used on the series are no better than the average kit you can find at your local hobby store, and the characters protrayed by the actors seem to spend the majority of their time fighting among themselves rather than the elements that threaten their lives on the moonbase. Likewise, the actors portraying the American team are quite laughable with their forced and embarassing "southern" accents (Why do the British insist that every American must sound like a untalented and shoddy understudy of Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?")
Donald Houston is admirable as the commander of this troupe of generally unknown British actors (with the exception of Ralph Bates from the Hammer horror films), with haircuts that seem more appropriate for a amateur production of Shakespeare's "Richard III." Notwithstanding the interesting premise that producer Gerry Anderson would turn into a short-lived and dubious success a year later with "Space 1999," "Moonbase 3" is clearly an also ran in the annals of British sci-fi, appropriately regulated to the void of deep space.
8 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars cheap and miserable,
This review is from: Moonbase 3 - The Complete Series [DVD]  (DVD)I had high hopes for this DVD, I expected it to be better than UFO, being aired in 1973, several years later.
What a dissapointment. The sets are tacky (Red Dwarf had better ones, seriously!) the storylines are laughable and the 'external' shots look ridiculous.
It makes UFO feel state-of-the-art.
The resolution is very low, well below VHS. When they walk on the moon you can see the ground give way, and when they touch the lunar base walls they wallow like office partitions.
Lets not talk about their "space age" wardrobes, with medalions and fancy shirts. They wear kitchen gloves with the "space suits" for crying out loud!
This thing was shot 5 years after Kubrik's Odyssey, and yet it looks like a schoolplay. I've seen sci-fi films from the 50s that were more realistic.
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Moonbase 3 - The Complete Series [DVD]  by Donald Houston (DVD - 2002)
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