The British partnership of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson already had a track record of creating science fiction for television with such puppet-laden shows as Thunderbirds and Fireball XL5. This time around, they put away the marionettes and went with live actors to present Space: 1999, a series that focused on the lives of a group of unwilling space travelers. Three decades later (and well into the next century), the series still has a legion of loyal fans.
Debuting in 1975, Space: 1999 told the story of a group of astronauts, working aboard Moonbase Alpha, a nuclear waste facility on the moon. When a catastrophic explosion occurs, the moon and all of its inhabitants break away from the Earth’s orbit and uncontrollably into the depths of the universe, thanks to a series of space warps that occurred as a result. Now aboard what amounted to an exploratory vessel, the crew would find themselves encountering numerous alien planets and their inhabitants, not all of them friendly of course.
Manning Moonbase Alpha was Commander John Koening (Martin Landau) and his crew, which included Dr. Helena Russell (Barbara Bain,) the medical officer of the ship; Alan Carter, the ships pilot; founder of the moonbase, Professor Victor Bergman; sarcastic First Officer, Tony Verdeschi and Maya, an alien who could rearrange her molecules to become any creature her scrambled heart desired.
Along their journey, the crew of Moonbase Alpha came in contact with a number of hostile environments, battling blobs of living foam, seductive female robots and a giant octopus, to name a few. At their disposal against such enemies, the crew had plenty of nifty futuristic devices at their disposal, and the show had its own array of impressive effects to make them seem real. The result was a special effects budget that quickly made Space: 1999 one of the most expensive television shows to produce from that era.
Unfortunately, like so many other stellar science-fiction shows on television, Space: 1999 didn’t achieve the longevity it had hoped. The show was cancelled in 1978, after only 48 episodes. As was the common practice of the day, some of the one-hour episodes were later edited into two-hour television movies, with names like Journey Into the Black Sun, and Alien Attack. Luckily fans have been able to enjoy syndicated reruns of this ambitious series over the years, as well as subsequent DVD releases of the original show and have remained loyal to Space: 1999 ever since for its unique look, creative plots and wonderful actors.
If you were a fan of this 70s science-fiction series, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your Space: 1999 memories with us in our comments section.