Saturday, November 04, 2006

Space: 1999

Growing up in the UK, I experienced slightly different shows than my US and Canadian counterparts. Dr. Who was and is the biggie, and I will get to that, as was Blake Seven, but Space:1999 had a huge impact on me and so it is worth gushing about. Space 1999 was produced by the same couple who did Thunderbirds and Fireball XL5. Those amazing little puppets and even more amazing little sets and effects. Space: 1999 ran from 1975 to '77. This meant that according to them, disco never died and neither did flared pants. Their uniforms had flared pants...I love that. And don't forget the catchy disco beat theme song too. The story goes that a nuclear waste dump goes up in a big explosion, pushing the moon and it's little moon base out of earth orbit and into a very strange galaxy filled with man eating plants, shapechanging hotties, and every other kind of space goo or ghoul you could imagine. The cast was no bunch of unknowns either. Martin Landau played the determined Commander Koenig. He was usually comforted by the gorgeous Barbara Bain, playing Dr. Helena Russell, and advised by Barry Morse, who was the Spock of the crew - the 'science advisor' (he mostly shrugged his shoulders at everything they came across, obviously waaay out of his league). His 311 survivors were headed by the heroic Chief Pilot Alan Carter, played by Nick Tate, and Tony Verdeschi the Head of Security, played by Tony Anholt. These two usually jumped to action, with their little guns and cool space ships...the Eagles. And this was where the show was great. The attention to detail was wonderful. The Eagle ships were fantastic and attention to workability and finicky little bits was great. The toys were amazing. The Eagles were the workhorses of the moon base....carrying humans or cargo or able to fight evil aliens when needed. And evil aliens there was by the bucket load! Everything seemed out to get them. Even the breakable glass on the moon base caused major problems - I still love that - they could actually OPEN the windows of the base! And so people died...big time. The attrition rate was appalling. But everyone shrugged it of and managed a chuckle at the end of the episode. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend checking out the dvd's...It is a great show.

11 comments:

SQT said...

Do you ever check out Captain Picard's Journal? He just had a couple of posts about a week ago titled "Stringworld" that featured the Thunderbirds. It was the first time I had seen those since I was a kid.

I haven't seen Space 1999, but it looks interesting.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I thought this was an okay, albiet uneven series. The idea of a runaway moon, drifting through the universe and runnning into countless alien species was a little hard to take. Still, if you removed its premise and focused on the characters, they were well drawn and the stories engaging.

Crunchy Carpets said...

Well..I was 6.

SQT said...

My husband enjoyed your post. He comes from a military family and spent some time in England as a kid and remembered the show. He even had one of the toy spaceships.

Darth Nepharia said...

OMG! I'd completely forgot about Space: 1999. I loved that show. It was on TV in my local area on Sunday nites. I watched it religiously.

Thanks for the great memories.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Blake's Seven was weird because Blake wasn't in it most of the time!

Hey there, Skippy said...

i grew up in england too, but alas as born too late for space 1999... i do, however, have fond/freaked-out recollections of another show by gerry and sylvia anderson: "the terrahawks". it was a puppet-based affair ('filmed in supermarionation' as it used to say in the credits) which resembled nothing so much as thunderbirds on crack. the whole set-up was bizarre enough to begin with (fighter pilots whose hair changed color, jazz singing scientists, a science guy with 9 clones of himself called 'ninestein') but there was just something utterly disquieting about the dead, soulless eyes of the puppets that gives me a wiggins to this day.

choochoo said...

I didn't grow up in England, but I do love Dr. Who:D

Crunchy Carpets said...

Skippy..I don't know that one...wow!

I was so upset when they made the Thunderbirds movie that they didn't walk like puppets.

I think they need to 're imagine' Space 1999 like BSG

Hey there, Skippy said...

there are some 'terrahawks' clips on youtube. watch, recoil in wigged-out distaste, watch again just to be sure that yes, gerry anderson did create a series revolving around the adventures of several dead-eyed zombie puppetfreaks.

the only amusing thing about the thunderbirds movie was watching gerry and sylvia anderson enjoy one last opportunity to air their dirty divorced laundry in public.

random 'thunderbirds'/'doctor who' connection: sophia myles, who played lady penelope in the aforementioned excuse for a movie, went on to play madame du pompadour in the tenth doctor episode 'the girl in the fireplace' (and she's dating david tennant).

Crunchy Carpets said...

skip!

Really??

ooooh that is great trivia....