45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Space Patrol - Ready To Lift on DVD?,
By A Customer
This review is from: Space Patrol  single disc edition [DVD] (DVD)
The adventures of Captain Larry Dart of Galasphere 347, with his crew the Martian Husky and Venusian Slim. Often confused with Gerry Anderson's 'Fireball XL5', Roberta Leigh's 'Space Patrol' offers a quirky and light-hearted slant on the SF genre. Primarily a children's show with educational and moral aspirations mixed into its stories this 'Best Of' DVD features six episodes from this rarely seen classic.
Because the only prints available were 16mm that had been stored (allegedly) in a garage for some 30 years, the video releases had transfers of very variable quality. Here, we are treated to crystal clear transfers - 2 from newly found 35mm prints - that make viewing a joy. The versatility of DVD gives you a chance to view the futuristic model of Space Headquarters in all its glory.
'The Swamps of Jupiter' is the pilot episode and discerning viewers may notice scenes of varying quality with slightly different puppets. For trivia fans, as Roberta Leigh reveals in her interview on the DVD, all the scenes on one set were short for the entire series in one go, then edited together. Nowhere is this more apparent than here where a notably different Husky and Slim discuss the merits of a cake in suspended animation. I kid you not.
'The Wandering Asteroid' is an early take on the story writ large in films like 'Deep Impact' and 'Armageddon'. Only the effects are better there, as the plot is so identical it's a wonder Roberta Leigh didn't sue!
'The Robot Revolution' is an undoubted classic of the series, here seen in the glory of a 35mm film transfer, with the automatons of an undersea farm marching on Space Headquarters. The story begs to defy the limitations of the production - it is all too apparent only two robot puppets were available - but the menace they exude is unmistakeable!
'The Rings of Saturn' are a defence shield, set up by the native reptiles but a chance encounter with a Saturnian ship gives Larry Dart the chance to visit the planet. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding ensues and it is up to Galasphere 347 to get through the rings in order to clear things up. Not a classic, but the Saturnian's cultured tones make them quite memorable.
'Husky Becomes Invisible' is again somewhat average but also has quite memorable scenes of Husky's uniform - minus hands and head - proving an eerily effective realisation of invisibility. Trivia fans may note the star on his uniform also disappears when he does...
'Mystery on the Moon' is the second 35mm transfer, but is again a rather average story. While it is good to see 'Space Patrol' with the clarity it was intended to be seen, it makes you weep when you realise how much quality has been lost on the other 37 episodes.
The extra interviews, initially spread across video volumes 1-4, add little - mainly because after so long the interviewees remember so little (I know from my own interviews with cast and crew) - but it is nice that Network Video at least tried to make their releases value for money.
The stills gallery is the best bonus, as photographic material of any kind on the series is a rarity. One hopes if there are follow-up releases that they continue the trend, perhaps with a merchandise gallery.
With the series already available in its entirety on video, a full set of DVDs would have to offer quite a lot more to motivate even the most devoted 'Space Patrol' fan. But the improvement on the 16mm transfers shows a difference can be made, and if more extras can be found, they may have a winner that will give this rarely seen series the exposure it deserves.