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Space:1999 Complete Series from SHOUT FACTORY!

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by ScottRE, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Not really. For Space: 1999, yes, the episodes were 'bicycled' from station to station, so could air in any order except the stations were told for Year One, that "Breakaway" needed to air first (as it established the format) and for Year 2, "Metamorph" needed to air first, because it established the new format and characters.

    There was an explanation in the script for "Metamorph" which explains Prof. Bergman's absence (which Fred Frieberger lobbied to keep in the script), but ITC-New York told them to take it out, and get straight to the action.


    "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was complete and in the can/ready to roll before a single minute of footage was shot for the first season, so 'not being ready' is not why it was aired third rather than first. In fact, NBC didn't really want to use it at all, precisely because of all the differences. When they were choosing which episode to premiere with, the only other complete episodes besides these two were "Mudd's Women" and "Naked Time". NBC decided "Where No Man" had "too much exposition" (it was, after all, a pilot), felt "Mudd's Women" might have critics talking about 'space hookers', and since "Man Trap" had a bone-fide monster, they went' with that one.

    NBC were kind of forced into using "Where No Man" anyway for the reasons you cite (the effects being slow to come in on other episodes). There weren't any other episodes ready for air (except "Mudd's Women", and "Naked Time"). "Corbomite Maneuver", filmed third, ended up airing as the 10th episode because of all those FX. And of course, the brilliance of what followed next ("The Menagerie") was really something NBC didn't want (using the failed first pilot). If the producers hadn't come up with the brilliant idea of filming an 'envelope' to use this as a flashback episode, their collective goose might have been cooked.
     
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  2. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, exactly, they knew The Metamorph had to run first. The only explanation in the script dealt with Victor Bergman. As if he was the only change made. I get that he was the third lead and usually the one thing people harp on ("where's Victor?!") but so many changes were made to the sets and cast, just a little bit of exposition in the "status report" would have covered it all without slowing down the action.

    Speaking of "The Man Trap," when they realized it would air first, Roddenberry had them revise Kirk's log to mention Spock being in command and had a clip of him in the chair inserted (from "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"). Since Freiberger aped Star Trek in 1999 so hard, he could have done this with Tony.

    I never got the "too much exposition" excuse. It has no more than any other episode. They didn't talk about how Kirk met Spock or detailed the mission of the Enterprise. It was, actually, a pretty straightforward adventure. I do agree that the differences in cast and uniforms would be a main reason to leave it off, but man, running it as the third episode didn't make it any smoother. I get that they didn't have any choice, but the pilot still fit the bill for what NBC wanted: mature space adventure with a strange alien world and lots of action. If this episode had the proper uniforms, Rand instead of Smith and McCoy instead of Piper, this would have been the easy win for the premiere.

    I'm pretty sure "The Enemy Within" was ready to go, but they were adamant that it was not going to be an early episode on the schedule because of the themes involved (I'm surprised it was made at all). It aired probably earlier than they wanted because they had so few choices.

    "The Menagerie" was brilliant, because it gave them a an extra episode when they were so far behind. And the envelope really is gripping and so serious. By the time the first season was winding down, they were airing episodes in a rational manner. From the 2nd season on, they had it planned better. For instance, "Catspaw' was shot first but written and held back for Halloween.

    While writing this, I totally forgot this wasn't the Trek thread, We should probably move this part of the discussion over there if it goes further. .
     
  3. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Screenwriter

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    Wasn't the command center for Season 2 supposed to be in a different part of Moonbase Alpha? That would explain the set differences and why we hadn't seen Tony before. Maybe he was always at that part of Alpha and that's why we hadn't seen him before. The others from Season 1 could have stayed in the control room from year one and that would explain their absence. That's how I always rationalized it.
     
  4. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    According to the promotional materials, they moved out of Main Mission to the relative safety of the underground Command Center because of all those alien attacks. Leaving people up there would be defeating the purpose. It's just that none of these things were ever mentioned on screen.

    Only if you watched all of the commercials before the premiere - or read Starlog - would you know who Tony was before the episode aired. You didn't even know where he stood int he command structure.
     
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  5. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    Oh, Shout Factory refunded me $30 for the crummy slow globe, so I really only spend like $80 on the set,
     
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  6. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Where I had seen that explanation first was in Starlog's "Technical Manual", so I wasn't entirely sure whether the info came from ITC, or if Starlog's writers just got a bit creative (such as their explanation for what happened to Morrow, Kano and Mathias).
     
  7. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    I never had the tech manual, but I - may - have actually read that in Starlog which did attribute some things to the ITC promotional materials. It's been so long, I may be getting my info jumbled.

    I never heard any official explanation of the character disappearances. One of the books in the late 90's or early 2000's had some fanciful explanations. The whole "Sandra became Buddhist after Paul died and changed her name to Sahn" thing always struck me as odd. I just thought it was "San" - short for "Sandra." Since her ID tag in year two clearly said S. Benes, I never understood where that "explanation" came from.
     
  8. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    I first saw that explanation (I think) in Starlog's Technical Notebook, unless it was in the Frieberger interview in Starlog magazine (or Gerry Anderson's monthly column).

    The Technical Notebook also said the following:

    * Kano and Morrow "die when a booster on their Eagle fails and they crash on the pad."
    * Bergman "dies when his space suit malfunctions while installing the new laser defense ring."
    * Mathias transferred to the Data Section "so he could better study man's stress factors in deep space."

    It also said (in their timeline of events) that "Command Center becomes fully operational as Main Mission is closed down for safety reasons" 336 days after leaving orbit.
     
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  9. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    Speaking of Mathias, I was watching The Metamorph and he had one line of dialog and walked away. Just looking at his body language and expression, it was apparent he felt he was wasting his time and ability. Even I felt insulted and embarrassed for him. He had a little more to do in the next episode, but he was pretty much done. After that, we had a succession of doctors taking his place, like Ben Vincent and Ed Spencer. One of the sad aspects of year two was the lack of consistent supporting characters. Alan disappeared for a bit and Fraser stepped up. Sandra dropped out for a while and Yasko (badly) took over. Alibe came in doing some subbing for Alan as well.
     
  10. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    I’m about 7 episodes into the second year and it’s interesting to see how this series has already begun to meander.

    Just a fast reminder: I still love this series in either format. This is just an interesting journey for me…

    The new year kicked off well with the very strong introduction of Maya in The Metamorph. The new main title music is gripping, even if the visuals are nonsense “action” beats. Good performances, amazing effects, faster pacing and genuine human emotion really showed to great effect what Fred Freiberger had in mind. Had the series retained this level of quality, there would probably be more fans of the second year. Barbara Bain is particularly good here and the final “we’re all aliens” line is still heartwarming.

    Alas…

    The Exiles already retreads old ground by having friendly outcast aliens turn out to be immortal psychopaths (See the far superior End of Eternity). It’s still a solid episode, but the forced “humanity” of the characters is strained at best. Because stations were expected to run these out of order (other than the premiere episodes), there was no Tony/Maya introduction and therefore no evolution of their relationship. However, as with the previous episode, Derek Wadsworth’s music is astoundingly good and contributes much energy and verve.

    One Moment of Humanity is not bad for the first half but then it devolves into a dance routine to make Koenig jealous over an android’s sexual moves on Helena. First: Space 1999 with a dance routine. That sentence should not exist. Also, Koenig, really? You can’t see that you’re being manipulated? And what the hell is Helena doing going along with it? These androids never once thought to swing their arms and break something? Because that’s all John showed them. Oh and three episodes in, without any lead in, we are told Maya and Tony are in love. Womp womp. The “action adventure” is non-existent.

    All That Glisters. Irish cowboy with a Texas obsession? WTF? Koenig looks like he’s going to burst a blood vessel. Still, a weirdly enjoyable romp, even if the hopeful happy ending is totally out of left field. This episode has some of my favorite bad dialog exchanges in the series:

    Koenig: "It's lifting off!!!"
    Dave: "It's taking the rock with it!"
    Koenig: "You've got a one track mind in a stone age skull!"
    Dave: "Now wait a while--"
    Koenig: "Helena's on that Eagle and all you can think of is that damned rock!"
    Dave: "Now look--"
    Koenig: (shrieking) "GET AWAY FROM MEEEEE!"


    Journey to Where is one of my all time favorite episodes of the run. Obviously, year one never really happened since the time since they left Earth is alllllll wrong. Forgetting that, it’s great fun to have them travel through time to a pretty uneventful time period. The cheeky dialog at the end if refreshing in that regard as Helena and John talk about all of the famous events they could have arrived at but didn’t (take that The Time Tunnel!). For the last time, we see Landau without a jacket over his tunic and it’s immediately obvious why they gave him sweaters. He gained at least 15 pounds over the hiatus and his posture is worse than ever. The uniform never did him any favors, so the jackets were a good touch. They just made pointless the whole reason for colored sleeves….

    Freddie Jones couldn’t handle a Texas accent and the wig on Isla Blair was redonkulous. But still, a great episode.

    The Taybor: okay, we’re into a comedy episode now. On Space:1999. Willoughby Goddard is distractingly fat. I know how bad that sounds, but his labored breathing obscures his dialog and he’s painful to watch. Also he’s just Harry Mudd in a tricked out VW bus. Great music can’t salvage this one. Awful.

    The Rules of Luton: 1999 rips off Arena / The Savage Curtain from Star Trek and The Great Vegetable Rebellion from Lost in Space. Had this been a little more exciting instead of boringly shot among barren hill after barren hill, it might have been better. The first episode written by Freiberger (as Charles Woodgrove) isn’t as bad as the other two he penned, but it’s slow, the humor forced and the “Roddenberry-esque” view of Earth doesn’t fit in the Gerry Anderson vision of the previous year. Freddie doesn’t even remember the specifics of his own creation, saying that Maya can’t just change from one form to another form without reverting to her natural state. She did before and will do so again (in his own episode!). It’s slow, sloppy and redundant. How a giant tree speaks English and can make their planet invisible is never explained.


    That’s where I am at the moment. Things aren’t looking hopeful for fans of well written, well thought out 1999.
     
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  11. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Well if you listen to the logs from russel quite a bit of time passes between each S2 episodes, from Metamorph 360 or so days after breakaway to Dorcans some 2400 days after
     
  12. Message #112 of 126 Aug 23, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
    ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, about 6-7 years pass in the second year, but they still totally ignore the chronology of the first. In Death's Other Dominion, it's established they went through a time warp at some point and are in the year 2870. Considering the events of The Black Sun and Another Time, Another Place, that actually makes some kinda sense.

    Also, 603 days apparently pass between parts one and two of The Bringers of Wonder. With that in mind, I tend to ignore the dates in the status reports They are just as arbitrary as star dates in the original Star Trek...
     
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  13. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    Finally started watching my set. It looks beautiful. I haven't seen any of these since the first DVD release, way back when. Glad to see the show finally presented as nice as this.
     
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  14. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    As I go through these episodes, I remember something about year two that always bothered me: music editing. Not the tracking or amount of repeated tracks,but how they would just stop the music suddenly when a door closed or of someone dropped something heavy. As if someone flipped a switch, They do it a few times and as someone who always notices background scoring, it was obvious.

    I also noticed that at some point, Tony's blue jacket was changed to green. Alan switched from green to orange and back again. Apparently the jacket colors were meaningless, unlike the sleeve colors. It's a shame they didn't match those colors, it would have made more sense.

    Also, Tony never got a cold weather coat. When a landing party goes to New Earth in New Adam, New Eve, Tony wears his cardigan while everyone else gets a heavy coat. Even Maya.

    There was an all around sloppiness to the wardrobe in year two. However, the much ballyhooed "monster season" didn't have nearly as many creatures as I remember or people seem to make out.
     
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  15. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    For whatever reasons (budget, I'm sure) only the three principals (Koenig, Helena, Maya) got the nice "outdoors" jackets that could be worn zipped-up (since those had a belt to attach the commlock to). They needn't have bothered with Helena or Maya, though, as those two hardly ever wore their heavy-weight jackets. Helena only had her heavy jacket on in four episodes, and Maya only wore hers in two episodes!

    You mention Tony not getting one. Also worth noting that as far as the actual uniforms go (shirt, trousers/skirt), only Koenig, Helena and Maya got brand-new complete uniforms. Everyone else in the cast (including Tony and Alan) were given Year One costumes that had been revamped in the Year Two style (collars and stitching added-on). It wouldn't be until later in the season that Tony and Alan finally got brand new Year Two style uniforms.

    Eva in "Seance Spectre" is the only guest artist to get a "hero" Year Two uniform, likely because of how very tall she is.
     
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  16. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    It was a little harder to notice the uniforms being reused with the alterations and the jackets over them. Kinda surprised they didn't haul out another of the polar coats from Death's Other Dominion for Tony and just re-color it or slap on some random meaningless patches.

    Running these in a marathon instead of cherry picking episodes also reveals inconsistencies in who works where in Command Center. Maya is either next to the computer banks or she's at what was original Tony's station on the left. The desks move around a but also, with some desks to the side or with Koenig on his own in the back or next to someone. I get why they moved from Main Mission in the real world, but we got a real sense of the layout in MM. Command Center never feels complete but always cramped.

    And every week, their life support system seems on the verge of breaking down or running out of some "rare" ingredient.

    I have always gone on record as loving the second year as much as the first, and storywise I still do. But I either didn't realize or totally forgot how sloppy this year was. I get they were under tighter deadlines, but year one felt like there was a person in charge of continuity. In year two, that person was apparently let go....
     
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  17. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    I like both seasons but they really feel, and play, like different shows.
     
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  18. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    It's very true. The first year, I made the mental note that "this isn't an ITC series, it's an Anderson production."

    Second year, I'm thinking "this isn't an Anderson production at all."

    Writer Johnny Byrne said the characters were suddenly "ghastly alternative Star Trekkers." Rather than having a moonbase run by an administrator / astronaut with a staff of scientists tryng to figure out how to deal with space, it's now a military base with laser cannons, calling actions "mutiny" and so on. The moon is a spaceship and the Alphans are just checking stuff out on the way...
     
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  19. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Screenwriter

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    Second series did not have the guidance of Sylvia Anderson. It's my guess that she was the one paying attention to costumes and continuity the first year.
     
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  20. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    They also had a lot more time to make the episodes, so they could be more careful. But, yeah, I agree,,,
     

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