15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Space: 1999 was a futuristic science fiction series, produced in the 1970s, after Star Trek, and still had a basic hopefulness for the progress of science and the future of the world that such science fiction would strive to have during the height of the Cold War. Space: 1999 is in many ways more in the style of 2001: A Space Odyssey than Star Trek in several respects, not the least of which is that it was set in the very near future -- going from simple orbits to moonlandings in a decade made some people optimistic about the pace of science, space science in particular. It is in some ways sad that we are no closer to building a moon base or sending people to Jupiter than we were twenty years ago.
It is hard to imagine that there was a time when we thought 1999 was so far off that it had to be something futuristic and incredible. The design of the outfits was 70s-style future (just as the Star Trek outfits were 60s-style future, mini-skirts and all). The furniture of the future could have been described as Danish Post-Modern; everything is plastic and steel, everything gleams. Computers are a bit more realistic in Space: 1999, although it is fascinating what did advance beyond.
However, Space: 1999 wasn't about the gadgets. It was a cosmic voyage of discovery. Being a fairly low-budget television production, the producers had to be very creative with special effects and mood setting scenes; actual science took a back seat to the kinds of planets and situations the crew of Moon Base Alpha would face. These ideas were innovative -- from various peoples who were predecessors of earth civilisations to outside civilisations and cosmic forces that combined mystical and psychological elements well.
There are two seasons, rather loosely related. The first season had Moon Base Alpha on the surface of the moon -- the first episode has the moon blast out of orbit due to a nuclear waste-storage accident. Martin Landau and Barbara Bain are the main characters as the commander of the base and the chief medical officer; Barry Morse stars as science officer in season 1, but one of the changes for season 2 is that he disappears, which is unfortunate, given the stability his character lent to the show. Nick Tate was the Australian pilot (there was a fleet of Eagle spacecraft on Moon Base Alpha); season 2 added Catherine Schell as a shape-shifting alien orphaned on the moon base (Brian Blessed, in one of his myriad of b-roles, played her father for one episode). Her love interest (season 1 was all about the science and the journey of discovery; season 2 was all about love affairs) was the dashing Tony Verdeschi, played by British actor Anthony Anholt (rather unknown to American audiences, but frequently on British programming). Meanwhile, Commander Koenig and Dr. Russell (Landau and Bain, married in real life) were also falling in love, and the base was relocated for unexplained reasons underground, with a complete redesign even of the uniforms (rather dramatic changes for a resource-strapped moon base).
There were 48 episodes in all, 24 for each season, and like many a good series, it ended without resolution -- our moon base travellers are still hurtling through space, hoping to find a home.
The ideas were often ahead of their time, and it is interesting to see the character developments over time, also. It was perhaps a blessing that the show ended after two seasons, as the directions for the series were beginning to be limited (Battlestar Galactica, several years later, would encounter the same problem). The acting was mostly solid, but sometimes cheesy - Joan Collins playing an elitist doomed to mate with the barbarian she might at another time have had to synthesise as food; Christopher Lee playing himself (as usual) in an interesting role (the same is true for Peter Cushing and Leo McKern).
There is a certain style about Space:1999 that still is pleasing and future-oriented despite its now-dated title. The plots are inventive if not always entirely original, and the central characters carry the show well through the episodes. The moon-base minatures and space-craft effects are well done; the general sets, particularly for the first year, are very well done, from central command to the underground tube transport system.
Take the journey! This remains one of the best science fiction series ever produced.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Space 1999 was a series that was full of excitement, adventure, action, and special effects. This release is excellent.
All 24 episodes from the first series are here. The series was made in 1975.
There are some very original ideas within the stories and it is well written.
Space 1999 was conceived as a sort of British Star Trek by puppet expert Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. The basic premise is that the crew of Moonbase Alpha find themselves stranded in space. On September 13th 1999 a nuclear waste dump on the far side of the moon explodes and the blast causes the moon to be thrust into deepest space. As the moon passes through the galaxy the alphans try to find a new home before their supplies run out. The series starred Martin Landau and Barbara Bain (previously in Mission Impossible).
The series had special effects that drew on the experience of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and their days on previous series such as Thunderbirds and was their second series to blend real actors with models for space craft etc.
The music score is very good and sounds better than ever.
The whole series is pure escapism. It is very far fetched and the acting is not the best in the world, (although Martin Landau and Barbara Bain are very good) but it is just great fun if you don't take it too seriously. It is also pure nostalgia for those who remember it the first time round. And if you are new to it, it still stands up as a good fun science fiction series that could have been made now.
The only thing that dates it is the obvious fact that it has long past the year 1999 and that the clothes are a bit seventies with flared trousers.
This is a good release