SPACE 1999

SPACE 1999
   UK tv series (1975-7). A Gerry Anderson Production for ITC. Created Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Prods Sylvia Anderson (season 1), Fred Freiberger (season 2). Executive prod Gerry Anderson. Story consultant ChristopherPenfold. Special effects Brian Johnson. 2 seasons, 48 50min episodes in all. Colour.
   This UK-made series, created by Gerry and Sylvia ANDERSON - who had previously produced a number of tv series (STINGRAY, THUNDERBIRDS and others) with puppets and UFO and the film DOPPELGANGER (1969) with real actors - was obviously inspired in part by the success of STAR TREK. The format has a group of people - live actors again - travelling throughthe Galaxy, visiting various planets and encountering strange lifeforms; but, where the Star Trek characters travelled on a spaceship, the Space 1999 personnel do their interplanetary wandering on Earth's runaway Moon -an unwieldy gimmick that must have caused many frustrations to the writers. Despite good special effects and sometimes imaginative sets the series, with its stereotyped characters and humourless scripts, was remarkably wooden, eliciting predictable jokes about puppets. The other major flaw was a scandalous disregard for basic science (SCIENTIFIC ERRORS): stars are confused with asteroids, the Moon's progress throughspace follows no physical laws, and PARSECS are assumed to be a unit of velocity. The series was cancelled in 1977, though 1 episode was delayed until 1978. The regular cast included Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Barry Morse (season 1), Nick Tate, Catherine Schell (season 2), Tony Anholt(season 2), Zienia Merton. Dirs included Ray Austin, Lee H. Katzin, Charles Crichton, David Tomblin, Val Guest, Tom Clegg. Writers included Christopher Penfold, Johnny Byrne, Terence Feely, Donald James and Charles Woodgrove (pseudonym of Freiberger). The series did better in the USA than in the UK, perhaps because of lower expectations, perhaps because of the deliberately international cast.At the end of the 1970s 8 episodes were cobbled together in pairs and recycled by ITC in the guise of 4 movies; the words "Space 1999" nowhere appeared in their titles. Though we have been unable to trace any theatrical release, at least 2 have turned up on tv: Destination Moonbase-Alpha (1978), dir Tom Clegg (based on a 2-episode story, The Bringers of Wonder, by Terence Feely), and Journey through the Black Sun (1982) dir Ray Austin and Lee (based on the episodes CollisionCourse by Anthony Terpiloff and The Black Sun by David Weir). The other 2 were The Cosmic Princess and Alien Attack.A book about the series is The Making of Space 1999: A Gerry Anderson Production (1976) by Tim Heald. Anumber of novelizations appeared. Brian N. BALL wrote The Space Guardians * (1975). Michael BUTTERWORTH wrote Planets of Peril * (1977), Mind-Breaksof Space * (1977) with Jeff Jones, The Space-Jackers * (1977), The Psychomorph * (1977), The Time Fighters * (1977) and The Edge of theInfinite * (1977). John Rankine (Douglas R. MASON) wrote Moon Odyssey * (1975), Lunar Attack * (1975), Astral Quest * (1975), Android Planet * (1976) and Phoenix of Megaron * (1976 US). E.C. TUBB wrote Breakaway * (1975), Collision Course * (1975), Alien Seed * (1976 US), Rogue Planet * (1976 US) and Earthfall * (1977).

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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