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UFO - Volumes 1-4 Collector's Edition  [DVD]
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The first thirteen episodes from Gerry Anderson's sci-fi series. In 'Identified' an aircraft carrying Alec Freeman comes under threat from a UFO. 'Computer Affair' finds Straker wondering whether Gay and Mark's relationship might be endangering the Earth's defences. 'Flight Path' sees Straker uncover an alien plot to attack the moon. 'Survival' has Foster on the trail of a lone alien assassin at work on the moon's surface. In 'Exposed' Foster begins to suspect a cover-up after he sights some UFO activity while piloting a test plane. 'Conflict' sees the chairman of the International Astrophysical Commission attempt to pull the plug on SHADO's operations. 'The Dalotek Affair' has Foster become suspicious of the Dalotek installation when video blackouts start occurring on the moon. 'A Question of Priorities' finds Straker forced to choose between his son's well-being and the integrity of the Earth's defences. 'Ordeal' sees Foster beaten senseless by some aliens in a sauna. 'The Responsibility Seat' has journalist Jo Fraser obtain some sensitive information when she bugs Straker's office. In 'The Square Triangle' an alien interrupts Liz Newton's secret rendezvous with her lover Cass Fowler. 'Court Martial' sees Straker and Freeman try to save Foster from sentence of death. And finally, 'Close Up' finds Straker plotting to send a probe to the Alien home planet.
UFO was Gerry Anderson's first live-action TV series after a decade of producing such children's animated classics as Stingray (1963) and Thunderbirds (1964). The premise of UFO, which ran for a single season of 26 episodes, was like a more serious version of Anderson's Captain Scarlet (1967)--in the near future of 1980 a hi-tech secret organisation, SHADO, waged covert war against mysterious alien attackers. Ed Bishop played the American head of SHADO--he had had previously featured in Captain Scarlet and Anderson's Doppelganger (1969)--though in all other respects this was a thoroughly British production. As with all Anderson series UFO evidenced remarkable technological inventiveness and groundbreaking production values, coupled with startling lapses in fundamental logic too numerous to list.
Much more adult in story and content than earlier Anderson productions, and surprisingly dark with its pragmatic view of human nature and downbeat endings, the show now seems like a forerunner of The X Files and the equally short-lived Dark Skies (1996). Barry Gray's memorable theme and atmospheric music greatly enhanced the overall impact. Stylishly made, though terribly sexist by current standards and featuring eye-catching costumes more fitted for a camp fancy dress party than the front line of a futuristic war, this cult classic eventually evolved into Space 1999 (1975).
On the DVD: this four-disc deluxe box features the first 13 episodes. The first disc includes an alternate, more violent opening scene, while later discs feature text transcriptions and photographs from scenes cut due to TV running time restrictions. All discs provide extensive galleries of publicity and behind the scenes photos, as well as character profiles or a history of SHADO. The opening episode, "Identified", features a commentary by Gerry Anderson, in which he talks in general about the production of the series and Ed Bishop does the same for the episode "Sub Smash". From the animated menus onwards these DVDs have been beautifully designed and produced. The mono sound is exceptionally strong and the restored and remastered picture is almost unbelievably good for a 1970 TV show. With barely a flaw anywhere the episodes look so clear, colourful and detailed that they could have been filmed last week. --Gary S Dalkin
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Top Customer Reviews
In reading some of the american reviews I was stunned to see some people attacking this show for it so so-called 'low budget special effects' or 'Thunderbirds-style special effects'. The show was indeed produced by the very same team that produced Thunderbirds and the effects are stunning. Even when Thunderbirds and Stingray were made in the mid 60's let alone UFO, the effects the shows demonstrated were way ahead of their time, especially considering they were made often made on a low budget and for television.
One other factor I must agree on is the standard of re-mastering. All 26 episodes in both box sets are stunning both on the visuals and the audio and are a real credit to the team at Carlton Visual Entertainment.
To finish with, I highly recommend this set. Its great television on most fronts and is a worthy rival to some of the best of Star Trek.
The transfer to DVD is nothing short of miraculous - probably the best TV to DVD release I have ever seen. The original masters must have been used - there is no drop out, no fading, it is as though it was made last week, using a retro 60s look. In fact, given the poor technical state of TV when this was first released, no one will ever have seen this series looking so polished. If there is an award for restoration of TV programmes, the people responsible for this release should win it. And no, I'm not related to them. Buy it! JG
Uniformly attractive characters inhabit a bizarre world of string vests and purple wigs - the programme may have had a unique look but occupied no reality known to mankind. Suspend your disbelief, however, and there is much to enjoy here: mostly excellent stories, great hardware, Derek Meddings' fabulous miniatures and far-out Hammond-organ jazz! The tone is often jaw-droppingly pessimistic - surprising after the fun-filled antics of Thunderbirds - and in Ed Bishop, we had a charismatic, no-nonsense lead, even if wardrobe did undermine much of his authoritative work by squeezing him into romper suits.
The extras have been studiously assembled, if you like squinting through pages of tiny text, but at least they include a cherishably honest director's commentary from Gerry Anderson on the opening episode, and plenty of insightful behind-the-scenes stills and info. The animated menus are nice, too - full marks to Carlton, once again. The main reason to buy these, however, is the digital remastering. The crisp images, especially the studio scenes, look as though they could have been shot yesterday. Indeed, you can even see how the make-up's been applied.
Interceptors, immediate launch!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Super digital remastering, great theme music & I love the scifi outfits the girls wear...but it really is dated.Published 1 month ago by D. M. Warner
I remember watching this as a teenager, great show. Very 60s in design, but avoids the cliché’s. Some powerful episodes.Published 3 months ago by Asimov
I was not expecting the picture and sound quality to be so sharp for a tv series of that time, I was really surprised at the almost hd clarity. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
sci fi tv from Gerry Anderson bit dated now but still worth a watchingPublished 3 months ago by ian g wickens