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It's always September 13, 1999 somewhere
January 13, 2010 3:54 PM   Subscribe

Space: 1999 (1975-77) is a British sci-fi series, the last production of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson who were first recognized for their work in "Supermarionation." This series saw the end of the couple, with Sylvia Anderson leaving the show at the end of the first season. She was replaced by Fred Freiberger, who brought in some Star Trek sensibilities and attempted to cater the show more to the American action-adventure audience. A third season was planned but not produced, and left the series unfinished, ending on an episode that was "like bad Shakespeare, or worse, bad Star Trek." Fans still support the show in many forms, even creating a semi-official fan-produced mini-episode entitled Message from Moonbase Alpha to bring some completion to the series, which was shown on September 13, 1999 at the Breakaway: 1999 convention. Another group of fans has recently taken to updating the whole series, to bring Space:1999 into the future.

The Anderson's first efforts with live action TV was a series called UFO, which only lasted one season, though a second season was prepared. Space: 1999 was built in part from the preparation for the second season of UFO, though the new series was wholly unrelated to UFO. The new series was, as previously noted, the most expensive series made in England at $270,000 per episode.

One main repository for Space: 1999 fandom is Space: 1999 Net, with support for German, English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. The site brings together many personal mini-sites, covering volumes of information on the episodes (those aired, unaired, and compiled into movies) and associated paraphernalia, including the (minute) variations of the Eagle 1 toy. Some fans have created tributes in the form of fanfiction and a continuation of the first season in "classic" first season form, a Max Payne mod called Payne 1999, and home modifications to replicate Moonbase Alpha (covered previously). The site also has fan clubs for Catherine Schell (Maya, the science officer in season 2), Nick Tate (Alan Carter, the third in command/chief pilot in both seasons), as well as a mailing list for gay and bi fans, Gaybase Alpha.

More videos:
- Another version of Message from Moonbase Alpha, edited to include "what could have been season 3 tiles" and unused music from season 2
- Space 1999: Darkside trailer, a teaser to a new series re-edited from the old series, which included "Defending Alpha" (part 1 and part 2)
- YouTube user Films R Reel has uploaded much of the original series in segments
- Three episodes from season 1 are available on Veoh: ep 4: Ring Around The Moon, ep 21: The Infernal Machine and ep 23: Dragon's Domain
- a fourth long clip of Space:1999 on Veoh: Guest Spaceships, featuring raw footage of special effects from the series
- Cosmic Princess was used in KTMA era MST3k, and is currently available from Google video
posted by filthy light thief (91 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bastard.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:56 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you have a job?
posted by Toekneesan at 4:01 PM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, I watched this religiously as a kid and had absolutely no idea it was a UK production--probably because the two stars were Americans?
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:02 PM on January 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh my god, awesome post. This is how I will be spending my evening when I get home tonight.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:05 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I loved this show as a kid. It was a really great concept, and I was heartbroken when it went off.
posted by Mister_A at 4:09 PM on January 13, 2010


Gybase Alpha? Really? Wow. I mean, how many can there be... ?
posted by GuyZero at 4:09 PM on January 13, 2010


The physics and general understanding of the scale of space might be wonky, but the theme music is awesome!
posted by Artw at 4:10 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Space: 1999 takes me back to 1983, watching David Letterman and then switching to KTLA for The Jeffersons and Space: 1999. Looking at the links it's funny how science fiction is always steeped within the fashions of its decade. ABBA could have made a guest appearance there or on Logans Run and they'd look like they fit right in.
posted by crapmatic at 4:10 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Favorited as "Bastard."? I'll take that as a compliment, I think.

I did give you a hat tip for your previous post, if you missed it amongst the flurry of links. You probably did, but I thought I'd point it out again.

Do you have a job?

I make the most of my lunch breaks and idle hours at home (and by "most" I mean I read old websites about decades-old TV shows =)

Wow, I watched this religiously as a kid and had absolutely no idea it was a UK production--probably because the two stars were Americans?

The production was covered by ITC Entertainment, a British television company, and Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI), an Italian state-owned public service broadcaster, plus Nick Tate is an Australian actor. More multi-continental than one might imagine.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:11 PM on January 13, 2010


This is a truly amazing post, and thanks for the UFO link, I'd forgotten about that one.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:11 PM on January 13, 2010


The fabulous game XCOM (UFO: Enemy Unkown in the UK) was heavily influenced by UFO.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:14 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Great game that. The Making Of: X-COM: Enemy Unknown
posted by Artw at 4:16 PM on January 13, 2010


My husband's Uncle P played Balor, with awesome elephant-bell-bottom slacks!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:17 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


OMG, I had the Eagle 1 toy! I wish I knew what happened to it.
posted by misha at 4:18 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


My husband's Uncle P played Balor, with awesome elephant-bell-bottom slacks!

"It ended up with a lady from America getting into my house, because she wanted to be my sex slave. She sold everything and had come over because she wanted to be dominated by the most evil man in the universe."?
posted by Artw at 4:19 PM on January 13, 2010


I loved the moonbase set; it just looked so well-engineered with its arcs and circular offshoots, and gave off a vibe of a place where they'd planned everything (except that whole massive nuclear explosion that caused all the trouble.)
posted by Hardcore Poser at 4:22 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


misha: "OMG, I had the Eagle 1 toy!"

You were lucky; the Eagle was the 'cool' toy. If you had grandparents like mine who didn't catch the fine points on your wish list, you wound up with the bizarro car set called "The Alien." After that I personally led them to things in the Toy Dept.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 4:28 PM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


I watched this as a child growing up in Israel when it was broadcast on Jordanian TV. I credit this show (and The Man From Atlantis) for making me the geek that I am today.

I have the pilot on DVD at home, courtesy of some cheesy As Seen on TV offer.

I love you, flt.
posted by yiftach at 4:31 PM on January 13, 2010


In searching for the theme music on that space1999.net site I came upon this strange detail: the Italian version of the show (Spazio 1999!) had it's theme music composed by Ennio Morricone!

Direct link to Mp3

It's just as nuts as you would imagine.
posted by jeremias at 4:31 PM on January 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


I remember this show from when I was a little kid. Not really the specific storylines but the cool ship (which I'm still bitter to Santa for not delivering to me). And the opening and closing credits like the ITC logo. And whenever seeing that logo thinking another show as cool as Space:1999 was going to be on. I remember catching it on channel 44 later on in the 80s and it had lost some of its luster.

I just added it to my Netflix queue but don't know if I can get through all 17 discs. That's a hell of a commitment. Might just settle for glimpses via YouTube.
posted by birdherder at 4:32 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


the Italian version of the show (Spazio 1999!) had it's theme music composed by Ennio Morricone!

Awesome find! That site is so full of weird tidbits, I decided I should stop browsing and just submit the post already. I didn't even delve into the other localized versions of the show. Also, some of Ennio Morricone's work in the late 1970s and 1980s is weird, but fitting for the time.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:37 PM on January 13, 2010


Unutterably stupid show, the British equivalent of The Starlost. Space: 1949.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 4:39 PM on January 13, 2010


I loved that show. But even as a kid Martin Landau's gravely super-intense mumble-whisper Commander Koenig voice made me crazy. It was like:

Alan, take Eagle 5 and go down to the planet's surface and...

WHAT? Take what where?

I said: Alan, take Eagle 5 and go down to the planet's surf...

JESUS. The moon is fire could you take the god damned space marbles out of your mouth and speak up!

Alan, take Eagle 5 and...

Alan. Me. Alan. Okay. Eagle FIVE! Did he say Eagle Five? COMMANDER DID YOU SAY EAGLE FIVE!?
posted by tkchrist at 4:39 PM on January 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


"It ended up with a lady from America getting into my house, because she wanted to be my sex slave. She sold everything and had come over because she wanted to be dominated by the most evil man in the universe."?

Yeah -- pretty nuts. He's got a memoir coming out in the spring -- my mother-in-law was typing it up for him while I was visiting the UK over the holidays. I didn't get a peek at the manuscript, but I know he talks about his days on television, plus some crazy stories about David Hemmings and a tale about Benji the Movie Dog which will make you spit nails. Stay tuned.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:39 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was obsessed with this show as an 11 year-old, doing things such as making audio tapes of the opening theme and collecting all the toys and models. I find it really silly now, but back then it was cool.

I have to say that this show is ripe for a remake, ala Battlestar Galactica. Maybe set it in 2099, give a better technobabble reason for the moon to go from star to star, add a conspiracy and so on. It could work at least as well as "V".
posted by happyroach at 4:40 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mean - seriously. LOOK AT THOSE SHOES! My mom would have killed for them!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:43 PM on January 13, 2010


give a better technobabble reason for the moon to go from star to star

"Teleporter research/Dimensional rift/unstable blah blah"

Complete handwaving bollocks of course, but at least you wouldn't have to ignore the shear mind bending scale of space.
posted by Artw at 4:45 PM on January 13, 2010


potsmokinghippieoverlord - and he's named after Balor of the evil eye, which is quite cool.
posted by Artw at 4:45 PM on January 13, 2010


Complete handwaving bollocks of course, but at least you wouldn't have to ignore the shear mind bending scale of space.

I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.
posted by GuyZero at 4:48 PM on January 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


tkchrist: "But even as a kid Martin Landau's gravely super-intense mumble-whisper Commander Koenig voice made me crazy. ... JESUS. The moon is fire could you take the god damned space marbles out of your mouth and speak up!"

*sniff*
AND I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE...

I mean.. yeah, the guy could stop plasma with the boringness of his voice. I think that's one reason the show didn't go further; large parts of the cast were just too damned placid. Though that's also likely why it was bigger here in Canada.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 4:48 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that's one reason the show didn't go further; large parts of the cast were just too damned placid.

Many reviews and comments on the two seasons noted that the show was too "British" in the first season (standing around and talking, all mystical and metaphysical themes), while the revamped second series was to focus on more "action-oriented" plots and dynamic character interaction, with a deliberate aim at a younger audience.

The Space: 2099 re-edits attempt to update the show, and the new FX, shorter cuts and such do some good, there is so much visually about the show that is dated that it needs more than updated details and revisions to the years referenced (yes, they changed what people said in regards to the years, and it sounds weird).
posted by filthy light thief at 4:59 PM on January 13, 2010


Oh, the Eagle was awesome. What I really liked as a kid is how realistic it was: the design was obviously inspired by the Apollo program, 2001: A Space Odyssey and the "space truck" concept that became the Space Shuttle. You had thrusters in logical places; the craft was modular, designed for lunar gravity, and cargo had priority. A complete antithesis to the art-deco / 50's design of the Enterprise. I had the metal-cast Tonka version of the Eagle, if I remember right: that thing had heft.

Forget about the Moon being pushed into another part of the universe, or Martin Landau, or the trippy 1970s graphics: I watched Space: 1999 for the hardware.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 5:02 PM on January 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


space:1999 was part of my personal golden age. Thanks for this wonderful post.

"we're all aliens,Maya-until we get to know one another"
posted by wittgenstein at 5:03 PM on January 13, 2010


FANBOY! GO! SQUEEEEE!

I too worshiped these shows as a kid. I remember the night our family gathered in the TV room to watch the premiere of Space:1999. I had the die-cast metal Eagle w/ removable cargo section. I also had a assemble-&-paint plastic model of Moonbase Alpha. A buddy of mine had (prob. still has) a UFO Interceptor with that BIG-ASSED missile on the front and the tracked radar ground unit.

I grew having absolute faith in the fact that by age 40 (which I am, ahem, now):
-We would have a moonbase w/ purple-haired hotties
-We would have done away with stairs and replaced them with slide-chutes for getting from room to room.

On the X-Com front, Lexica & I used to play this as a team on our rocks and sticks PS1 and WE ROCKED. When I played alone, I could only get so far before I made no progress.

But Team LexiMonkey were a force. Detail girl would quartermaster up ammunition (I would literally run out mid-mission on my own), build/maintain bases, and most importantly organize the research (Wow, these lasers are SO MUCH BETTER than the bullets I keep running out of).

Then in the field I'd run the kill-missions, while she'd pester me to throw a grenade up on that roof over there and, oh look... lurking alien.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 5:09 PM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just added it to my Netflix queue but don't know if I can get through all 17 discs

You might be surprised at how well it's held up. ROU_Xenophobe and I rented the discs a couple of years ago and it was compulsively watchable.
posted by biscotti at 5:09 PM on January 13, 2010


filthy light thief: "Favorited as "Bastard."? I'll take that as a compliment, I think. "

I can't think of an example offhand. But surely there was a time on The Simpsons when Homer proudly surveyed some handiwork of his... then looked over and noticed Flanders' equivalent was a hundred times better?

Like that.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:15 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The show's special effects director Brian Johnson had previously worked on both Thunderbirds (as Brian Johncock) and 2001.

heh
posted by gottabefunky at 5:17 PM on January 13, 2010


So... filthy light thief is stupidsexyFlanders' sockpuppet? Catch me up; I'm new here.

Kidding.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 5:18 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone made a YouTube series called Hot Women of Space: 1999.

Just saying.

Oh, and hey! It's Ian McShane!
posted by linux at 5:18 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


If by "compulsively watchable" you mean "unbelievably phlegmatic", then I completely agree. Combine the relatively (compared to today) slow pace of early '70s dramatic television with the molasses-like sensibilities of the british scriptwriters and holy paint drying batman.

That said, I loved this show more than anything as a kid, had the Eagle Lander toy until it vanished into the sandbox of doom. I lost more collectible toys in that thing...
posted by Aquaman at 5:19 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now I know who liked the show. I've always wondered, because I sure didn't.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:05 PM on January 13, 2010


Oh. Snap. The other thing that got me was the fact that everybody alerts Commander Koenig over every little thing. No matter how insignificant. Litterally the opposite of Captain Picard who only wants to be awakened from lute practice if there is a tear in time space.

What's also funny is Koenig, if you remember, has a blinking light on his console for each and every little thing.

"BLEEE BLUUUR BLEEEE BLUUUUR"

"Commander it appears they are out of fish sticks in the mess hall!"

Yes. I see that. I'll get down there right away. After I'm done with this Sharpie emergency in the office supply cabinet."

'WHAT!?"
posted by tkchrist at 6:09 PM on January 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


Aquaman: "That said, I loved this show more than anything as a kid, had the Eagle Lander toy until it vanished into the sandbox of doom."

I can still remember the feel of the Newsday weekend color advertising supplement from Toys R Us.

Among the toys of my childhood, this is The One That Got Away.

[slack hand drops snowglobe...]
posted by Joe Beese at 6:11 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The physics and general understanding of the scale of space might be wonky, but the theme music is awesome!

Season 1 theme yes. Season 2 theme not so much.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:17 PM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was scared of Bernard Cribbins for months after seeing Brian the Brain.
posted by scruss at 6:32 PM on January 13, 2010


I grew having absolute faith in the fact that by age 40 (which I am, ahem, now):
-We would have a moonbase w/ purple-haired hotties
-We would have done away with stairs and replaced them with slide-chutes for getting from room to room.


To which I would add:

- We would all have computers that could talk, but sometimes decided to use punchcards instead for no apparent reason, and would be named "computer" when referenced in the third person - like "I was watching Youtube on computer last night."
posted by googly at 6:35 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and while I loved Space: 1999 when I was a kid, I was absolutely floored by UFO. It used to come on late at night on Channel 20 in Washignton, DC, and for years - decades actually - I was convinced that I had fantasized the entire show because I never met a single person who had ever seen it. When X-Files first started up, I used to tell everyone that it was a neat show, but that there was an even creepier show about a secret intragovernment organization dedicated to protecting the Earth against ongoing alien infiltration. No one believed me. Ever.

And I not only had two Eagle toys, I also had SHADO interceptor and mobile unit toys. Wish I knew where they were now...
posted by googly at 6:43 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Supermarionation, where Peach/Daisy rule supreme.
posted by davemee at 6:45 PM on January 13, 2010


but the theme music is awesome!

The (1980!) theme music (1980!) for Space:1999 (1980!) is fine in all its (1980!) disco glory, but it can't hold (1980!) a candle to the (1980!) UFO theme music.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:50 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


[Do you have a job?

I tried to get over it, but this goddamn well infuriates me the more I think about it. Somebody goes to the effort of making an incredibly impressive and detailed post like this, and the second comment mocks them for it? Fuck that. Do not do that.]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:05 PM on January 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


Artw: "The physics and general understanding of the scale of space might be wonky, but the theme music is awesome!"

It was probably the funkiest bass playing I had heard in my life to that point. I picture the track being laid down by a British studio musician with Lemmy sideburns and white polyester slacks who jams in a fusion trio on the weekends.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:14 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I barely remember this show, but I used to dig it when it ran in syndication on Sunday afternoons when I was a kid. It was like the weird, vaguely creepy Star Trek. Say what you will about S2, but young me was alllllll about some Maya episodes.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:16 PM on January 13, 2010


The physics and general understanding of the scale of space might be wonky, but the theme music is awesome!

Oh my god yes. Wah-wah guitar, backed by timpani, horns, and a full string section? A true space porn soundtrack for the 21st century.
posted by googly at 7:45 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the UFO tangent, some of you may be interested (or dismayed) to learn that there are movies on the way.

fantastic post btw
posted by Zippity Goombah at 8:09 PM on January 13, 2010


If they made this show today, it would be all Battlestarred up. Everyone would be deeply messed up, and every episode they'd run out of something critical. People would start throwing punches, and they'd have to go somewhere incredibly dangerous to find more of what they were out of. And someone else would be back on the moonbase having sex.

It would be Stargate: Universe.
posted by Naberius at 8:28 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the UFO tangent, some of you may be interested (or dismayed) to learn that there are movies on the way.

Gaak. The latter, I think. Judging by that article it looks to be the most inspired remake since Underdog or maybe even The Avengers. He doesn't seem to have the slightest idea what he's going to do with it, but it's still going to be a trilogy. And oh yeah, he knows he's going to cast Ali Larter as Virginia Lake. Gosh, the only word is visionary.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:43 PM on January 13, 2010


Christmas 1977 (78?): I was a kid into Star Wars but I'm sure it got passed around to family that I wanted 'space toys' as gifts.

Imagine my surprise when I unwrapped a Barry Morse action figure -- a balding, mutton-chopped, middle-aged dude in a brown-and-beige bell-bottomed jumpsuit with a staplegun for a weapon.

Of course it has remained one of my favourite gifts ever.
posted by mazola at 8:48 PM on January 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


surely there was a time on The Simpsons when Homer proudly surveyed some handiwork of his... then looked over and noticed Flanders' equivalent was a hundred times better?

And here I was, eyeing your variety of post topics with a bit of envy.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:08 PM on January 13, 2010


Oh. oh oh oh. I watched all of these on the CBC growing up... what was I, like 13 or something. I had the big plastic Eagle that you could do cool stuff with like detach the "head" and engines and put 'em together, and the Dinky Toys die-cast metal Eagle Freighter that was given to me by my Grandmother and they were AWESOME. It had a magnet in the grapple and metal tops to the radioactive containers so it could pick it up whilst hovering and it was awesome too, although small. Had better detailing. The engines didn't come off like the big one, although they would if you pulled hard enough. Fact.

Space 1999 freaked me out more than Dr Who did at the time (Jon Pertwee!). That episode you know the one set in the spaceship junkyard where the religious weirdos looked at people's hands and said either "Clear!" or "MUUUU-TAAANT!" and they then killed them in a disintegration shower that went on for like TEN MINUTES of the poor guy melting under a shower of ...ok. it looked like milk. but it was the milk of DEATH! What do you want, I was young and they were banging on the glass and dying and I was sooooo scared. But not so scared that I didn't watch the next week where they got to that monster in the one ship that had the big eye and the maw and the tentacles and ate people and spat their smoking, digested corpses back out again. God. It's a wonder that I can have a normal relationship with anyone, sometimes.
posted by Zack_Replica at 9:38 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've been happily watching UFO repeats on TV and it does hold up, but I did notice/like just how much booze and fags the charactersd get through. It also seemed to be a bit different in that there weren't always clear-cut endings, sometimes the good guys lost.

But the de Lorean, Strakers office lift, the funky string vest uniforms, oh yes, lovely stuff and the theme just rocks
posted by quarsan at 10:00 PM on January 13, 2010


Well, all you other (ugh) middle-aged fanboys have beat me to it. In my high-fructose-syrup-soaked kid-brain, Martin Landau always got mixed up with Carl Sagan -- there was some resemblance -- and Barbara Bain, I'm afraid, wormed her way in between Farrah Fawcett and Lynda Carter. Compared to Star Trek (and later, Star Wars, and the inimitable Black Hole with Ernest Borgnine), Space 1999 was so much less cartoony -- you really felt that space was a harsh, cold, adult world full of British people with choppy haircuts.

But UFO, man, I used to watch that as a wee one on Sunday mornings, and it always provided a kind of out-of-body experience. The purple-haired chicks and creepy high-pitched drone whenever the UFOs approached, yes, but also the terrifying faceless male aliens who breathed blue liquid. Remember when Stryker (or somebody) was kidnapped by the UFOs, and got stuffed in one of their silver suits, and forced to inhale the stuff -- then gurgle it out when he was rescued, like a rat in a super-oxygenated-water experiment? Burned into my brain to this day, right alongside that 10-minute heroin-detox scene on Starsky and Hutch.
posted by turducken at 10:40 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


give a better technobabble reason for the moon to go from star to star

"Teleporter research/Dimensional rift/unstable blah blah"


I think the problem with that is you'd have to make it as some uncontrollable only-so-long-before-the-teleporter-goes-off-again-and-we-go-on-this-crazy-ride type mechanism, and there's already a show on the air right now with a very similar plot dynamic
posted by barc0001 at 11:02 PM on January 13, 2010


See also, Space 1889
posted by empath at 11:30 PM on January 13, 2010


The Eagle was pretty awesome. Actually, the Gerry/Sylvia Anderson shows, at least the ones that made it to L.A. when I was a kid, were very much hardware shows. Even going back to Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet, Anderson seemed to have spent a lot of effort on aerospace/futurist design. Which pleased a young me to no end. Story lines clearly took a back seat. I wasn't even ten when the Space 1999 was broadcast here, and even then, I knew the whole premise was preposterous. But who cares when you got to see such cool hardware.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:39 PM on January 13, 2010


For whatever reason, this reminds me of the person who took an ancient sales slideshow for the IBM 75 mainframe and set it to the theme of UFO:

Watch Michael Caine sell you a fucking database.
posted by Thoth at 12:03 AM on January 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


Does anyone know if moonbase alpha's weapons actually ever worked on anything? Koenig always seemed to be happy to try blowing the crap out of any passing artifact, practically always without affect other, one assumes, than to piss off the inhabitants.

Combined with UFO one has to assume Anderson had a pretty bleak world (or bigger) view.
posted by biffa at 2:17 AM on January 14, 2010


I loved this show soooo much, had a friend who had the Eagle one that we made stop motion animation with, and had the tracer gun version of the weapon on the show.

But yeah, UFO was better.

I'll still watch this again.
posted by lumpenprole at 2:52 AM on January 14, 2010


Zack_Replica: "But not so scared that I didn't watch the next week where they got to that monster in the one ship that had the big eye and the maw and the tentacles and ate people and spat their smoking, digested corpses back out again. God. It's a wonder that I can have a normal relationship with anyone, sometimes."

Arrrgh, Dragon's Domain. That one was so nasty, despite the cheesy effects; they didn't even attempt to explain how that monster moved about, it just appeared, and where there was a door before was all of a sudden a gaping hellmouth.

I loved that series, especially the set design - those chairs and those lamps and those wallpanels that looked exactly like the illustration in those How We Will Live In The Distant Future Of 1990! books...
posted by PontifexPrimus at 4:13 AM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


@Zack @Pontifex
I think I remember that one, it was like the Flying Spaghetti Monster's Lucifer or something. It put me off real spaghetti for weeks as a kid.
posted by drowsy at 5:04 AM on January 14, 2010


Dragon's Domain gave me long-lasting trauma as a kid... re-discovered the infamous scene on the 'tubes a while back and it was still pretty un-nerving.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:09 AM on January 14, 2010


One of my favourite bits of trivia is that the stunning Gabrielle Drake, from Space 1999, is the sister of singer/songwriter Nick Drake.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:23 AM on January 14, 2010


I remember watching Supercar (SLYT). I think it was the one that started it all.
Then there was Fireball XL5.
posted by Drasher at 6:51 AM on January 14, 2010


OMFEG, Dragon's Domain! That episode f*cked me up as a kid. Industrial-grade nightmare of that Cthulhu-esque space monster.

Spitting out digested corpses. That was the WORST!
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:12 AM on January 14, 2010


I was in the target audience for Space 1999 but it didn't really capture my imagination. The ideas never quite cohered properly.

But UFO kicked ass, especially that rousing concluding episode!

We recently watched the Gerry/Silvia Anderson 1969 live-action feature-length sci-fi movie Journey To The Far Side of The Sun. Nice art direction, slow pacing, some interesting existential undertones.
posted by ovvl at 8:33 AM on January 14, 2010


It was all about the Eagles and the eyebrows. Loved it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:49 AM on January 14, 2010


I tried to get over it, but this goddamn well infuriates me the more I think about it. Somebody goes to the effort of making an incredibly impressive and detailed post like this, and the second comment mocks them for it? Fuck that. Do not do that.

Man, if that's what he was doing, then I agree with you. But I think it was probably just good natured ribbing from someone who really appreciates how much work goes into filthy light thief's many excellent and huge posts. When I read it I thought, "ha ha ha, I thought that too, but I'm sure we both know it's just that flt is awesome and we are lazy. ha ha ha."
posted by shmegegge at 11:40 AM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


On this tangent, may I provide filthy light thief's guide to making detailed posts:

1) discover or think of something that interests you, so much that you are willing to ingest a lot of weird information about it. If you get bored of it easily, would others want to see it?
2) dig up information on the main topic, and follow any interesting tangents. These tangents may provide more interesting than the original topic. If this is true, return to point 1.
3) compile your data, stand back, and think about what else could be covered in this topic, while still retaining the focus of the original topic (unless you are making a multi-part post, which I generally advise against, as it's hard enough to digest one large post without it branching out).
4) realize there is still more you could discuss, and keep on searching.
5) distill the information, and keep believing that there's more out there, somewhere, that is associated with the topic at hand.
6) stop researching and writing for a moment, check your links, and make sure this wasn't posted before (also check via key words!). Link to prior posts on related tangents.
7) read the whole post, make sure it reads well. Look for more information.
8) accept the fact you will never have enough time or space to cover enough of this topic, and send it out, forever incomplete, as others will add more to the story.

The post is no longer yours, but part of the whole of MetaFilter. Let this topic float away from you, and find something else to consume your mind.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:06 PM on January 14, 2010 [25 favorites]


This huge database of stills from the series is somewhere on space199.net, but I couldn't find a link to it from the main page.
posted by pepcorn at 12:12 PM on January 14, 2010


pepcorn: here's the route
Space:1999 Net main page > The Catacombs > episode guide > then Year 1 for year 1 images, or Year 2 for year 2 images (though both "images" pages have a link to the other season's images).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:56 PM on January 14, 2010


Evil monster + smoking corpses = nightmares! Why was it there? What did it eat when humans weren't around? Why did the stupid moonbase people go back after it totally kicked their asses and made them run away screaming?
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:26 PM on January 14, 2010


Also... they had the slowest lasers in the world - totally dodgeable. And Maya = hot. Boy, I need to watch these again.
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:38 PM on January 14, 2010


Honestly - it was awful. Even the first time. Anderson had no real skill for live action. UFO gets a pass for sheer quirkiness, but Space 1999 was just too absurd in premise. I speak as someone who saw it aged 14.
posted by A189Nut at 4:31 PM on January 14, 2010


they had the slowest lasers in the world

Heh. I was watching Predator last night and marvelling at how the plasma caster, apparently the height of Predator weapons technology, is so shitty - slow rate-of-fire, fires slow moving projectiles that totally give away your position, esentially the space version of a flare gun. The image enhancement in that helmet doesn't seem much cop either. If anything it seems like the Predator can see slightly clearer without it, and even then you wonder why the poor bugger would consider leaving the house without a dog and a cane, let alone battling arnie.

And then there's the Star Wars blaster... And stormtrooper armour (utterly worthless)...
posted by Artw at 4:40 PM on January 14, 2010


Basically what I am saying here is take a modern machinegun to the Star Wars universe and you could rule it like a god. I'd like to see vader try that blaster-bolt catching trick with a proper bullet.
posted by Artw at 4:41 PM on January 14, 2010


ArtW: you did see the bits where he can control physical objects, yes? Then crush your throat?

Seeing as we are in this thread, am I right in thinking that the bloke who is sucked into the spaghetti monster in the Dragon's Domain episode of 1999 is Mr Bronson, also of Darth Vader throat crushing fame?
posted by biffa at 4:54 PM on January 14, 2010


I also had SHADO interceptor and mobile unit toys. Wish I knew where they were now...

I had a UFO - SHADO pencil case, I got as a toddler in Italy. UFO, I guess because of the RAI involvement was huge, there, or at least it was to me.

It was pronounced in Italian as a word:

ooh-faux


And I loved it to death. Every episode to me seemed to be identical, but I couldn't care less, it was all about the unbelievably cool sequence of events which happened when that spooky silvery thing that looked like a hub cap, and made a scary as hell sound, would cause the pretty ladies with the shiny purple hair and the mini-dresses (I had no idea the time why they fascinated me) on the moonbase to call the very serious dude with the white hair and the cool car, and then pilots would jump down a chutes and rocket out of the water and their cheeks would start to wrinkle and get pulled back from their faces and their ships would explode, and then someone would be sent out on the moon and his suit would get punctured and the UFO alien in the other space suit would get a rip or punctured and they both required bicycle tube repair paste to fix there suits. But the alien usually just died or disappeared, but at any rate you never did get to see what they looked like, which made them super scary.


It was a complex choreography full of fear, sex, death (Straker), birth, death, sex (those miniskirted receptionists on the moon...meow), and punctured space suits needing rubber cement, combined with unreal sound effects, great ships and probably the best opening theme music this side of Hefti's Batman or The Prisoner.

Anyhow, I only watched Space 1999 for the leftover outfits, spaceships and sound effects, from oooh-foux. (UFO)

Otherwise it was too boring. There was no clearly defined choreography of fear, sex, death, rebirth and sex and heroism and no purple haired receptionists in mini-skirts. The specific actresses who played them....
posted by Skygazer at 7:06 PM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Eagle was way awesome, but I loved all the other hardware too. The staple-gun-shaped stunguns and the huge comlock videophones with all the buttons and the long antenna(?) that you could also plug into the local computer interface or whatever. So cool. I must've made dozens of LEGO versions of those things when I was a kid.
posted by straight at 8:34 PM on January 14, 2010


The second season inspired a childish pastime - to try to sing any words on screen to the theme tune - It worked from "Massive Nuclear Explosion" to "Hurled into outer space" but fell apart a bit after that.
posted by gdav at 7:28 AM on January 15, 2010


I've never seen Space 1999, but this -- "But UFO, man, I used to watch that as a wee one on Sunday mornings, and it always provided a kind of out-of-body experience" -- exactly.

SHADO in action
posted by vronsky at 12:26 PM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


SHADO in action

It's become clearer and clearer to me, with this thread, that having seen Shado in action, as a "wee one," I am somewhat damaged as an adult, as I have spent a good deal of it trying to re-create in my life a similar daily ritual of neuronal shattering and adrenaline burning orgasmatronic symbolic death as that caused by the heady overwhelming elements of SHADO in ACTION.

And, also, that I should date women with shiny purple hair, who plot speeds and trajectory's, and announce their progression with devastatingly fellatio-like precision.

Amen.
posted by Skygazer at 1:29 PM on January 15, 2010


One other more recent memory - we had a custom system status app at work from the mid-1990s for reporting stuff about server downtime. It was called SERVSTAT.EXE and ran under Windows 95 SE2 or above.

On September 13th, 1999 I posted Moon torn out of Earth orbit, and nobody knew what I was talking about :-(
posted by gdav at 12:21 PM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


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