Sunday, April 23, 2006

About Space:1999

Space:1999 - starring Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Barry Morse

Welcome back!

In this first week of posting, I thought I'd introduce some of the topics I'll be discussing in my blog. Today, I've decided to introduce the epic 1970's British SF series Space:1999. As you can see from the photo above (a scan of the back cover of one of the novels), Space:1999 starred Martin Landau, Barbara Bain and Barry Morse (first season only). The series centered around the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha ("Alphans") who had been thrown into the deep reaches of space after the Moon was ripped from Earth orbit by a massive nuclear explosion! Unable to control the course of the Moon, the Alphans were at the mercy of the Universe as they encountered alien worlds, alien beings and other oddities.

The first season was a serious look at the castaways' predictment and as such the stories were rather moody and dark. There were some light moments, but most of it was serious - as one would expect if you were careening thru space on an uncontrollable moon! The second season  saw a sharp turn to a more action-oriented, lighter approach to storytelling. American producer Fred Frieberger was brought in to boost ratings -- his main contribution was to add an exotic resident alien known as Maya (Catherine Schell)  who was capable of shape-shifting into any living creature. Unfortunately, the stories tended to play out where Maya would use her abilities to either save the crew or provide key information to help them out of the current predcament and then end on a "light hearted" note. Many fans were put off by all the changes (we'll discuss them in future blog posts) and ratings declined. The series was cancelled in 1977. It played sporadically in syndication during the 1980s and made a brief appearance on the cable Sci-Fi Channel in the early 1990s. It was left for dead until A&E released the entire series on DVD in 2001.

In the coming weeks, I hope to chat more about Space:1999 and hope that you chat about it, too! Just click on the link below and leave your comments!

Thanks and see you soon.

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