Customer Review

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Good, But Not as Good as Season One..., February 23, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Space 1999, Set 5 (DVD)
"Space: 1999" was a British-made sci-fi series which aired on American television in the mid-1970's. At that time it was the most expensive show ever produced on British television, and the money showed in the large, elaborate sets of Moonbase Alpha and the special effects. The plot is deceptively simple: in 1999 the United Nations has constructed a huge base, called Alpha, on the Moon. Although primarily a scientific and research center, the base is also used to monitor the vast amounts of nuclear waste which are stored on the moon's surface (in Space 1999's timeline, nuclear power is the Earth's main energy source). In September 1999 a freak accident causes the nuclear waste to explode, thereby blasting the moon out of Earth's orbit and hurling it - and the personnel of Alpha - across the galaxy. Space 1999's first season turned this show into a cult classic, and some diehard sci-fi buffs rightly consider the first season's episodes to be among the most unique and creative in sci-fi history. The vivid lighting and colors created a moody, creepy atmosphere not unlike the "X-Files", the musical score was both haunting and memorable, and the episodes themselves were often surprisingly mature, unique, and drew as much from the horror and fantasy genres as sci-fi. What truly made the first season of the show different was that not every episode had a happy ending, not every problem was neatly solved, and the crew of Alpha often appeared genuinely scared and bewildered by their encounters with all sorts of aliens and strange phenomena. Commander Koenig, the base's leader, was no heroic Captain Kirk, but a very human leader doing his best to help his people survive in an often hostile, or at least uncaring, universe. Unfortunately, for the second season the show's producers decided to "Americanize" the series, and the result was a definite drop-off in the show's quality in the second season. Cost-cutting led to cheaper special effects and sets, and too often the monster costumes looked like something out of a Grade-B horror film. The musical score was jazzed-up and sped-up, and thus sounded more like something out of a seventies disco than the first-season's original score. Several major characters from the first season simply vanished, with no explanations ever given for their sudden disappearance. Paul Morrow, Koenig's second-in-command and David Kano, the computer expert, were gone. But the biggest loss was that of Barry Morse, who played Dr. Victor Bergman, the base's chief scientist and father figure, and whose brilliance saved Alpha several times in the first season. In the second season these characters were replaced by Tony Verdischi, the hot-tempered Italian Security Chief, and the lovely Catherine Schell as Maya, an alien shape-shifter who joins the crew of Alpha. Although a fine actress, Schell is given little to do except flirt with the male characters and keep changing into lots of monsters (and with the cheaper special effects, her monster costumes are beyond fake). But the greatest difference between the first and second seasons can be seen in the plots. Whereas the first season's episodes were mature, adult-oriented, often creepy and eerie, and even made you think occasionally, in the second season Space 1999 quickly degenerated into just another juvenile, "shoot-'em up" sci-fi series. Character development and the "atmosphere" of the series were sacrificed for lots of gunplay with laser pistols and spaceships, and Commander Koenig was transformed from a brooding, almost grim leader into a macho, almost cartoonish tough guy who could outfight or outfox almost any alien imaginable (the producers were obviously thinking of Captain Kirk). I'm sure there will be a good deal of discussion about the merits of season one versus season two, and it's pretty obvious which side I'm on :). However, even the second season did have its' moments (the episode on this DVD set which introduces Maya is quite good), and it's still nice to see the second season being released after all these years. But, for this fan at least, it's still a shame that the producers didn't stick with the format of season one - in effect they created two completely different series instead of just one. Recommended, but I'd try looking at the season one DVD's as well, just so you can make your own comparison.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in

Review Details


3.7 out of 5 stars (23 customer reviews)
5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Used & New from: $7.48
Add to wishlist
A Customer