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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It was a fast paced slick action serial with a brilliant mix of models and real life action to take you on an amazing trip in to the near future with earth 🌍 secretly battling to stop those pesky aliens taking over planet earth.
This is Gerry Anderson at his absolutely creative best... If your too young to remember this stunning programme or of a certain age where this holds a special memory then I urge you to make the small asking price to transport you week after week back to a time when Sci fi serials were truly special no cgi completely ruining the whole affair, just a seamless join of real action and models to keep you on the edge of your seat week after week after week when the ONLY way of catching up on the action was in the playground the next day.
If Amazon did a ten star 🌟 rating instead of just five then this climpse of the future 🔮 would be easily an eleven out of ten.
It truly is that good.
Menu system is slightly annoying - for example toggling subtitles on/off - and the extras include footage to the same high quality as the restored original material but with no audio - so it is slightly bizarre to see the extended version where the video continues but the sound cuts out - but better than nothing I guess.
I watched this series when first broadcast in the late 1960's as an 11-year old (and the US had just landed on the Moon for real). Gerry Anderson setting this series only 11 years into the future.
It is very interesting to note several things now (viewing as an adult) that escaped me as a child but don't distract from the enjoyable experience of re-living my childhood TV. Things like the errant apostrophes "SID Space Intruder Detector - Maintaining scan for UFO's", spelling mistakes such as "Computor Display" in Episode 7 (The Dalotek Affair), continuity mistakes such as the same registration number appearing on SHADO Mobiles 1 & 3 (224579) in Episode 2 (Computer Affair) and a young George Cole (Roper) miraculously swapping hands carrying the rocket launcher and box of missiles between one shot and the next and the gold gull-wing car driven by Cmdr Straker (Ed Bishop) and by Roper having the same registration number (A21-384) in Episode 3 (Flight Path) - Straker drives this car later in Episode 8 Question of Priorities) - but hey, this show was made on a shoestring and was for kids - and when I was 11, I didn't spot them!
One very funny thing I spotted was two pieces in the Daily Express under the headline "Cabinet Minister Killed - Miracle Escape for US Colonel" which is actually about the launch of a new central heating system (the Servowarm Supreme which happened in January 1969) and the adjacent article "Resorts Face New Oil Slick Crisis" which is a story about a confession to a village priest which led to the rescue of kidnapped Maria - in Episode 4 (Exposed).
But oh how I remember the cool title music, the scantily-clad crew of the submarine SKYDIVER (seriously - string vests as a uniform - how did the male crew concentrate on their jobs), the sexy silver-clad women of Moonbase - I can remember it all now!
One thing I don't remember is that virtually every male member of the cast smokes - either cigars or cigarettes - in virtually every episode. Oh how things change!
As has also already been mentioned it is interesting to see the "futuristic technology" - computers being used for psychological testing for example - albeit on a single monochrome TV monitor several feet away from the candidates (and even then, they aren't computer graphics but a video of someone turning over pages on an IQ test)! Other technology includes video calls, wireless phones and gas-turbine powered cars with gull-wing doors (heaven help anyone who had a head-on accident in one though with those steering wheels and no air bags/safety belts in evidence)!
Still, being able to re-visit my youth (yes, I remember the TV21 and Countdown comics as well) makes it all worth while.
A whole-hearted thumbs up from me. If you remember this series as fondly as I do, you'll not be disappointed.
I was indeed eight when it came out in 1970 and was thus exposed to episodes like the one where the main character, played by the wonderful Ed Bishop, accepts that his son - around my age! - will die if he allows the transporter that is carrying a life-saving antibiotic to be diverted, but doesn't do anything to stop it happening.
Divorce, murder, adultery, alien body horror, it was all there, and shown to the kiddies like me. Fortunately, the only lasting effect was a disappointment that the real 1980's fashions didn't match Sylvia Anderson's creations.
Watching it now, I can have fun spotting the science howlers - full Earth gravity on the Moon, no delay in radio / links between Earth and Moon, using jets on the Moon etc etc. One episode has the speed of an approaching UFO given as 1.4 million miles a second. As that's 7.5 times the speed of light, spotting it on radar must have been fun.
The 1969 view of the future is fascinating, all gull-wing door cars, a mix of imperial and metric measurements, and big computers with lots of flashing lights. "Is it a man's world?" asks Straker in one episode. Duh, yes, look at your command structure - you only have a woman commander of Moonbase because the actor originally cast was dumped.
Overall, a still highly watchable series with some genuine intelligence in the scripts and fine performances. As it says in the Amazon description, as a bonus, the visual and audio quality is wonderful. It could have been made today, and it's much better than most of the stuff that is.
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