It is interesting to see that Space 1999 elicits strong emotions from both its fans and detractors. Unlike one reviewer who claims that he used to love the show when he was 10 year old and has since grown to dislike it, I have had an exact opposite experience. When I first caught it when I was a kid, I thought the show was dour and weird, devoid of a sense of humor, especially in comparison with Star Trek. Now that I have had a chance to review the series on DVD two decades later, I find the show much more thoughtful and dramatically interesting than (at least for me) Star Trek. Yes, the basic premise of Moon hurtling into outer space at (or even beyond?) the speed of light is unscientific, to say the least. Yes, some of the designs and special effects are pretty dated, although I don’t find CGI effects used in an average Sci-Fi channel movie any more sophisticated than meticulous model works used in Space 1999. But for the same reason that you do not stop reading classical science fiction novels because they are based on outdated scientific premises, I do not find the lack of scientific accuracy a great hindrance in allowing me to enjoy the series. At this juncture of my life, I actually appreciate thoughtful, somber approaches to almost-metaphysical problems that Space 1999 employed. Thank God there is no horsing around with a hammy space captain spewing one liners! Obviously some episodes deal with their themes better than others (Among those included in Set 2, for instance, “Missing Link” is embarassing in its hackeneyed view of human evolution, while “Voyager’s Return” is an excellent exploration of the potential human costs of technological progress), but as a whole the show works for me. I am looking forward to purchasing and reviewing more episodes on DVD.
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The first season of “Space: 1999″ still ranks, in my opinion, as one of the best and most unique sci-fi shows ever made. Unlike more run-of-the-mill sci-fi shows such as the various Star Trek series, where episodes invariably ended with a perfect solution to any problem, and where the politically-correct, “perfect” Star Trek universe left the characters with no real “human” problems to deal with, “Space: 1999″ is a refreshing, if often surreal, breath of fresh air. Basically “Space: 1999″ combines the best of the sci-fi, horror, and fantasy genres into a funky, 1970′s combination – The Twilight Zone meets Star Trek meets the X-Files. With the possible exception of the X-Files, no other sci-fi show has ever made such dramatic use of color and lighting to affect the show’s mood and atmosphere. Planets on “Space 1999″ are often colored in vivid blues, pinks and greens and cast an eerie light over the Moon as it passes by – creating a wonderfully creepy, moody effect that few other sci-fi shows have even approached. The set designs are also elaborate and unique – watch the “Guardian of Piri” episode in this DVD set and you’ll literally see what I mean. The acting is sometimes wooden (especially Martin Landau as Commander Koenig and Barbara Bain as Dr. Helena Russell), but other cast members more than make up for this defect, as do the show’s unique, almost surreal storylines. And if you’re tired of the usual sci-fi fare (as I have grown tired of “Star Trek: Voyager” repetitive episodes that are basically retreads of earlier Star Trek series) then the six episodes on this DVD will come as a pleasant surprise. In “Missing Link” Koenig is kidnapped by an alien anthropoligist who wants to keep and study him as if he were a lab rat. In “Guardian of Piri” everyone but Koenig has their minds taken over by an advanced computer that convinces everyone to leave the Moonbase and travel to its homeworld, where the crew just lies around in a druggy, trance-like state of “perfect” happiness. In “Force of Life” a strange blue light takes over the body of a crewman at the base’s nuclear power plant, and then begins killing Alphans for their body heat. One nice thing about most of these episodes is that not every question is neatly solved by the end of the episode (what WAS that blue light?), nor does every (or even most) of the episodes necessarily have a “happy” ending. And the special effects are still quite good even by today’s standards (although some of the monster costumes and some alien ships are pretty bad). The musical score is also outstanding – in no other show will you hear the opening credits feature an electric guitar, violins, and trumpets (and it sounds great too!). To be sure, “Space: 1999″ isn’t for everybody, and if you’re a fan of conventional sci-fi such as Star Trek or even Babylon 5, then this show may just be a bit too “odd” for you. But if you’re craving something different – a series that comes closer to living up to the name of “Science FICTION”, with a strong dash of horror and fantasy thrown in, then “Space: 1999″ may be just what you’ve been waiting for. And I’ll guarantee you of this – when you watch this show you’ll never forget it’s look and feel, even if you don’t like it. A true landmark in sci-fi.
The costumes, the special effects, the models, the music, and the actors all brought together to form a unique series that touched many a fan. The episodes of Space:1999 were thought provoking, and yes not every little thing was explained, but the series made you THINK!…instead of having every episode resolved, ala Trek, some of the episodes like “Black Sun” left you wondering “how did they survive that?” But that was the beauty of 1999, it was a show all it’s own, and it stood up for itself. I was thrilled beyond belief when I heard they were releasing the entire series on DVD, unlike the last chance I had to watch the show on SciFi whom butchered the episodes to squeeze in more commercial time, releasing 1999 on DVD is a dream come true for all fans of the show. Watching the episodes on DVD brought back so many memories of getting a good seat in the living room just before the next episode was shown on TV. 1999 touched me like no other show has or probably ever will. I am surprised though that with today’s computer technology in sfx used in movies….that no one has ever made a REAL Space:1999 movie. Wouldn’t it be great to have a two hour movie based on the very first episode of “Breakaway”?