Space - 1999: Volume 1 - Episodes 1-4 [DVD] 
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Opening four episodes of Gerry Anderson's live action sci-fi series. In 'Breakaway', Commander John Koenig (Martin Landau) arrives on Moonbase Alpha shortly before a nuclear explosion sends it hurtling into space. 'Matter of Life and Death' sees Dr Helena Russell (Barbara Bain) reunited with her husband long-lost Tony when he arrives at the base with a dire warning for the Alphans. In 'Black Sun', Koenig turns to Professor Bergman's new force field when the base is drawn magnetically towards a black sun. 'Ring Around the Moon' sees the Alphans trapped in an energy ring by the alien Tritons.
For the time, 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--an astounding amount--and ran for two seasons from 1975 to 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. Those circumstances are: the moon and the 311 crew members of Moonbase Alpha experience a cataclysm that causes the moon to break away from its orbit and travel endlessly through space, making our heroes into unintentional explorers. 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 its premise in the opening episode "Breakaway", which had nuclear explosions on the "dark side of the moon" somehow propel it out of orbit and sent it flying through space without regard for any physical laws. 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 serious complaints, fans tend to remember the scientific seriousness of the series and the sense of awe created by the many strange creatures and phenomena they encounter on their journey through the galaxy. --Jim Gay, Amazon.com
On this DVD: Presented in production order (not the sequence they were transmitted in), this first volume from Space: 1999's first year nonetheless begins with the all-important "Breakaway". Commander Koenig arrives at Moonbase Alpha as planet Meta is passing Earth. He's there to investigate why people are dying of what seems to be radiation poisoning and ensure the Meta Probe is launched in time. Everything is tied into what's wrong with their nuclear waste disposal. Then on September 13, 1999, the unthinkable happens, and the Moon with its 311 inhabitants is catapulted out of Earth's orbit. Some time later they pass planet Terra Nova which seems too good to be true. When Dr Russell's supposed dead husband (Richard Johnson) re-appears from the long-lost Astro 7 mission, it becomes a "Matter of Life and Death" in determining whether to settle on a Paradise populated by parrots! Another passing stellar body accidentally drags them towards a "Black Sun" in the next episode. Given three days to live, there's a graceful acceptance of fate by the team that is paid off by what seems to be some sort of guiding hand watching over them all. Finally an orange eye appears and emits a "Ring Around the Moon", a mysterious enveloping beam that exerts mind-control over various crew members. After a warning from the mythic planet Triton, Dr Russell is taken as their "conduit" (much like Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture). Three publicity stills, 15 production drawings and eight character biographies may seem a little stingy as extra features. The neat CGI-animated menus make up for that a little though: an Eagle has never looked so agile. --Paul Tonks
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You can get equally ineffective 3D by playing your regular 2D Bluray and pressing the 3D button on your tv remote.
I must make it clear that, like many fans of this show, I'm not keen on Year 2. This was a phase of dumbing-down. It became like a cheap copy of Star Trek. There were a few noteworthy episodes in the second season, however, these two don't fall into that category. Quite the opposite. I'd rate these as perfect examples of everything that went wrong with Year 2. These two turkeys come across like Star Trek without a decent script crossed with Buck Rogers then crossed with cheap porn desperate to get a general release certificate so they can stick it on TV before 9pm.
Only go near these two episodes if you're a collector, like me. If you're not that familiar with the show start with Year 1. If you're acquiring this tape for the reasons I did, prepare to be depressed by Fred Freiberger's merciless butchery of what was once a very promising TV series.
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