Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Daily DVD & Download: Space 1999 - the complete series & then some

Capsule reviews before you buy or binge

I finally got through the 17-disc Space 1999 set, a show I'd never watched before other than on early Mystery Science Theater 3000s. Most episodes failed to keep my attention for long, but I definitely "get" why it has a cult following, it's pretty unique, and unlike anything else the Andersons had a hand in (Thunderbirds, etc). There are some blatant Trek swipes, but once in awhile an interesting guest star like Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing shows up, and I pay attention for a little while. It's not as dreary as I feared, but I'm only watching them all due to my determination to view anything I keep, and discard anything I don't watch.

I kind of like how wishy washy a leader Martin "Mission Impossible" Landau is, and how several of his own people relish any opportunity to be rid of him, that's a fun deviation from most space operas.

The only ep I really like a lot is one whose soundtrack is built around an old Coral brand guitar/sitar just like one I used to have, "Troubled Spirit," a sort of one-off horror entry that takes its cues from old dark house ghost stories. Folk guitarist Jim Sullivan is actually seen playing the Coral in an uncharacteristically creepy opening shot, with the crawling camera going from watching the performance to stalking the killer's presumed victim.

Video

Space: 1999: The Troubled Spirit

Jim Sullivan provides the spacey soundtrack to a moonkill

Jim Sullivan provides the spacey soundtrack to a moonkill

The producers really seemed to like Brian Blessed, the big guy with the big voice who played the Hawk prince in Flash Gordon. I kind of enjoyed "Death's Other Domain" with him, especially the big sets, tho the story is kind of an inferior "Who Mourns For Adonis" Trek rip off. I was confused when he turned up again at the beginning of season two as Maya's dickhead dad, he's awfully distinctive looking and sounding to turn up as two different characters, not too far between episodes.

Truth be told, I wish HE went off with the runaway moon people instead of Maya, she's crushingly boring (other than a brief ten second scene where she made herself into Barbara Bain's double -- Koenig, on seeing them together, seemed to hint at a potential threesome when he kinda leered "What did you have in mind?").

Underacting VS overacting

Of Blessed's two Space 1999 characters, one is the king of a Shakespearean planet of people descended from aliens who apparently lived on Earth during Shakespeare's time. It's a hokey episode packed with canned hams, but he rises above it all with an excellent (if unintentionally funny) performance. His other role finds him wearing a rainbow colored wig and beard that, alas, even he was unable pull off with any kind of aplomb. It may have been the show's worst episode, right up there with Lost in Space's "Vegetable Rebellion" or Trek's widely ridiculed "Spock's Brain."

I'm really liking the soundtracks in season two, a lot of them remind me of faves like Goblin and Tangerine Dream, among the few bands whose soundtrack albums I've bought and loved. I like the cues so much that I may seek the soundtracks online later, the music is frankly the best thing about the first batch of season two eps I've watched -- other than the new theme song, which kinda sucks and makes me miss the goofy electric guitar squawk of season one's theme.

"One Moment of Humanity" was another blatant Trek swipe (mostly "Plato's Stepchildren"), but holy cats, Gino Vannelli music?!? I was just talking about his stuff to a friend the other day, and I'm getting ready to scan one of the first concert posters I ever painted, for a Gino Vannelli show. I flippin' love all the music in this ep, their second season music guy Derek Wadsworth is a fabulous jazz arranger and player, and this episode has one of the best TV scores since "Papa Benjamin" and "Terror in Teakwood" in Boris Karloff's Thriller!

RE "Dragon's Domain," widely considered among the best of the series, I was completely unimpressed by the rubber Japanese porn tentacle monster with a conveyor belt going in and out of its mouth. The spaceship junkyard was done better in Lost in Space's first season, and the flashbacks to pre-runaway moon make it seem as if they were always surrounded by the same random plastic furniture mods and showroom track lighting we thought must be a grim staple of the moonbase, not a re-creation of (their epically crappy looking) Earth environs!

Oooooh, scary!

The sudden and weird infusion of thickly-accented Italian cast members makes this whole run toward the end of season one oft-putting as well (according to the liner notes, an Italian production company bought into the show and placed their own actors onto it - now, whole blocks of dialogue sound like a badly dubbed Hercules movie).

I guess nobody on the show ever addresses what happened to Barry Morse? One of the few things that made season one bearable was the presence of an actor from a great Twilight Zone --- altho he sure looked silly in that jumpsuit, they never seemed to find one that didn't make him look like a scoliosis-ridden school janitor.

I noticed Art "Dark Shadows" Wallace wrote the original second episode story (I guess he got a co-writer credit, tho it appears some guy on the commentary named Johnny Byrne rewrote it). I disagree with Byrne's preening assertion that his use of voiceovers in a couple of episodes was somehow groovy - other than opening a show, it's a lazy storytelling trope that has no place in a futuristic program purporting to be imaginative and speculative. Harrison Ford still wishes he never recorded those half-assed Blade Runner voiceovers.

That said, Byrne's stories for Space 1999 seem to be among the most well thought out. But, for me, it's still mainly about the music, at least in season two. The show is tolerable, but I frequently find myself wow-ing out loud over various musical passages. I won't remember more than a half dozen episodes, if that, but the music was absolutely top shelf as I finished this mostly ho-hum march to the finale.

The biggest problem with season 2 is Maya, it's like throwing a cartoon character or Grandpa Munster and his magic potions into an otherwise serious show - I have no use for her at all. And I'm fine with the Alphans not being as desperate and starving as they were before; the ladies even lounge in their bikinis in a solarium, and the sets look less like Marvin the Martian's outhouse.

Some great Benny Hill-style physical comedy in "Space Warp," my sides hurt from laughing at that zero-grav "fight" with the Maya-beast, especially the mismatched music (which was awesome, as always in season two). Of course it wasn't meant to be funny, but was it ever! At least Maya is a little easier on the eyes now that she mysteriously grew human ears and started whacking back those Blacula sideburns.

RE "Brian the Brain" - that's a whole tank fulla sharks to jump --

Included among the 17 discs are several engaging commentaries, especially Sylvia Anderson, but Byrne was really interesting as well, very philosophical. There are commentaries for "Testament of Arkadia" (Sylvia Anderson), "Dragon's Domain" (writer and story consultant), and "Death's Other Dominion" (some superfan), plus there are some goodies like an old interview with the year two set designer (who much improved the first season's already dated looking sets). There's also a fan-made short film made years after the show ended that supposedly explains some of what happens after the finale, starring the Asian actress who was replaced for awhile in season two (a different actress from the eps I watched yesterday, but apparently she comes back). Johnny Byrne returned to script, and the actress gives one of her best performances of the series.

I'm glad I watched the series and definitely appreciate it more, but neither season is really much better or worse than the other. Some things worked, a lot didn't. I didn't even notice stuff like how they start off calling each other by rank, but halfway thru the season they're using first names - I watched the episodes back to back and it took a commentary to point that out. It's that kind of failed pacing that crippled the show.

I forget which commentator said it, but someone mentioned that season one is the PBS version, and season two is for network TV. I thought season two ended strong (other than the dominatrixes in red catsuits with tassels hanging from the crotch while whipping men), and am still infatuated with the season two scores, even the ones that just re-use old cues.

That said, I'm happy to be done. I'll probably watch some Batman cartoons before I tackle the next two sets on the shelf, the complete Kung Fu and the complete Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
INSINKERATOR
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
REN FAIRE VENDORS!
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
TWO 16 X 16 FT CORRALS
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
HAVE A SPARE BEDROOM?
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
REGGAE POP PROGROCK FUSION
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
Ad
Previous article

Live Five: Coming soon to a couch near you

Over 100 upcoming online livestream events, here's our top 5 for this week
Next Article

Closed to dining, some restaurants start selling groceries

Produce and pantry items now part of delivery and curbside pickup orders
Comments
6
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 23, 2020

i love it, the best time of my life

March 23, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 23, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 24, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 24, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 24, 2020

Sign in to comment

Sign in

An action scene so dynamic, you'll want to stare at it for hours
An action scene so dynamic, you'll want to stare at it for hours

I finally got through the 17-disc Space 1999 set, a show I'd never watched before other than on early Mystery Science Theater 3000s. Most episodes failed to keep my attention for long, but I definitely "get" why it has a cult following, it's pretty unique, and unlike anything else the Andersons had a hand in (Thunderbirds, etc). There are some blatant Trek swipes, but once in awhile an interesting guest star like Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing shows up, and I pay attention for a little while. It's not as dreary as I feared, but I'm only watching them all due to my determination to view anything I keep, and discard anything I don't watch.

I kind of like how wishy washy a leader Martin "Mission Impossible" Landau is, and how several of his own people relish any opportunity to be rid of him, that's a fun deviation from most space operas.

The only ep I really like a lot is one whose soundtrack is built around an old Coral brand guitar/sitar just like one I used to have, "Troubled Spirit," a sort of one-off horror entry that takes its cues from old dark house ghost stories. Folk guitarist Jim Sullivan is actually seen playing the Coral in an uncharacteristically creepy opening shot, with the crawling camera going from watching the performance to stalking the killer's presumed victim.

Video

Space: 1999: The Troubled Spirit

Jim Sullivan provides the spacey soundtrack to a moonkill

Jim Sullivan provides the spacey soundtrack to a moonkill

The producers really seemed to like Brian Blessed, the big guy with the big voice who played the Hawk prince in Flash Gordon. I kind of enjoyed "Death's Other Domain" with him, especially the big sets, tho the story is kind of an inferior "Who Mourns For Adonis" Trek rip off. I was confused when he turned up again at the beginning of season two as Maya's dickhead dad, he's awfully distinctive looking and sounding to turn up as two different characters, not too far between episodes.

Truth be told, I wish HE went off with the runaway moon people instead of Maya, she's crushingly boring (other than a brief ten second scene where she made herself into Barbara Bain's double -- Koenig, on seeing them together, seemed to hint at a potential threesome when he kinda leered "What did you have in mind?").

Underacting VS overacting

Of Blessed's two Space 1999 characters, one is the king of a Shakespearean planet of people descended from aliens who apparently lived on Earth during Shakespeare's time. It's a hokey episode packed with canned hams, but he rises above it all with an excellent (if unintentionally funny) performance. His other role finds him wearing a rainbow colored wig and beard that, alas, even he was unable pull off with any kind of aplomb. It may have been the show's worst episode, right up there with Lost in Space's "Vegetable Rebellion" or Trek's widely ridiculed "Spock's Brain."

I'm really liking the soundtracks in season two, a lot of them remind me of faves like Goblin and Tangerine Dream, among the few bands whose soundtrack albums I've bought and loved. I like the cues so much that I may seek the soundtracks online later, the music is frankly the best thing about the first batch of season two eps I've watched -- other than the new theme song, which kinda sucks and makes me miss the goofy electric guitar squawk of season one's theme.

"One Moment of Humanity" was another blatant Trek swipe (mostly "Plato's Stepchildren"), but holy cats, Gino Vannelli music?!? I was just talking about his stuff to a friend the other day, and I'm getting ready to scan one of the first concert posters I ever painted, for a Gino Vannelli show. I flippin' love all the music in this ep, their second season music guy Derek Wadsworth is a fabulous jazz arranger and player, and this episode has one of the best TV scores since "Papa Benjamin" and "Terror in Teakwood" in Boris Karloff's Thriller!

RE "Dragon's Domain," widely considered among the best of the series, I was completely unimpressed by the rubber Japanese porn tentacle monster with a conveyor belt going in and out of its mouth. The spaceship junkyard was done better in Lost in Space's first season, and the flashbacks to pre-runaway moon make it seem as if they were always surrounded by the same random plastic furniture mods and showroom track lighting we thought must be a grim staple of the moonbase, not a re-creation of (their epically crappy looking) Earth environs!

Oooooh, scary!

The sudden and weird infusion of thickly-accented Italian cast members makes this whole run toward the end of season one oft-putting as well (according to the liner notes, an Italian production company bought into the show and placed their own actors onto it - now, whole blocks of dialogue sound like a badly dubbed Hercules movie).

I guess nobody on the show ever addresses what happened to Barry Morse? One of the few things that made season one bearable was the presence of an actor from a great Twilight Zone --- altho he sure looked silly in that jumpsuit, they never seemed to find one that didn't make him look like a scoliosis-ridden school janitor.

I noticed Art "Dark Shadows" Wallace wrote the original second episode story (I guess he got a co-writer credit, tho it appears some guy on the commentary named Johnny Byrne rewrote it). I disagree with Byrne's preening assertion that his use of voiceovers in a couple of episodes was somehow groovy - other than opening a show, it's a lazy storytelling trope that has no place in a futuristic program purporting to be imaginative and speculative. Harrison Ford still wishes he never recorded those half-assed Blade Runner voiceovers.

That said, Byrne's stories for Space 1999 seem to be among the most well thought out. But, for me, it's still mainly about the music, at least in season two. The show is tolerable, but I frequently find myself wow-ing out loud over various musical passages. I won't remember more than a half dozen episodes, if that, but the music was absolutely top shelf as I finished this mostly ho-hum march to the finale.

The biggest problem with season 2 is Maya, it's like throwing a cartoon character or Grandpa Munster and his magic potions into an otherwise serious show - I have no use for her at all. And I'm fine with the Alphans not being as desperate and starving as they were before; the ladies even lounge in their bikinis in a solarium, and the sets look less like Marvin the Martian's outhouse.

Some great Benny Hill-style physical comedy in "Space Warp," my sides hurt from laughing at that zero-grav "fight" with the Maya-beast, especially the mismatched music (which was awesome, as always in season two). Of course it wasn't meant to be funny, but was it ever! At least Maya is a little easier on the eyes now that she mysteriously grew human ears and started whacking back those Blacula sideburns.

RE "Brian the Brain" - that's a whole tank fulla sharks to jump --

Included among the 17 discs are several engaging commentaries, especially Sylvia Anderson, but Byrne was really interesting as well, very philosophical. There are commentaries for "Testament of Arkadia" (Sylvia Anderson), "Dragon's Domain" (writer and story consultant), and "Death's Other Dominion" (some superfan), plus there are some goodies like an old interview with the year two set designer (who much improved the first season's already dated looking sets). There's also a fan-made short film made years after the show ended that supposedly explains some of what happens after the finale, starring the Asian actress who was replaced for awhile in season two (a different actress from the eps I watched yesterday, but apparently she comes back). Johnny Byrne returned to script, and the actress gives one of her best performances of the series.

I'm glad I watched the series and definitely appreciate it more, but neither season is really much better or worse than the other. Some things worked, a lot didn't. I didn't even notice stuff like how they start off calling each other by rank, but halfway thru the season they're using first names - I watched the episodes back to back and it took a commentary to point that out. It's that kind of failed pacing that crippled the show.

I forget which commentator said it, but someone mentioned that season one is the PBS version, and season two is for network TV. I thought season two ended strong (other than the dominatrixes in red catsuits with tassels hanging from the crotch while whipping men), and am still infatuated with the season two scores, even the ones that just re-use old cues.

That said, I'm happy to be done. I'll probably watch some Batman cartoons before I tackle the next two sets on the shelf, the complete Kung Fu and the complete Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
VAN
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
CIGAR BOXES
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
APPOINTMENT ONLY SALE
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 27, 2020
FREE COUCH
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
Over 470 comics for $123
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
Previous article

Can't complain about live streaming from the Met

But it provided one of the most awkward things I’ve ever seen
Next Article

Can't complain about live streaming from the Met

But it provided one of the most awkward things I’ve ever seen
Comments
6
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 23, 2020

i love it, the best time of my life

March 23, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 23, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 24, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 24, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 24, 2020

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close