Space: 1999

Space: 1999

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.

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.

4 Responses to “Space: 1999”

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  1. Kapatsos says:

    loved this show and it sucked when it wasnt on anymore.

  2. Paul Bens says:

    Great take…1999 fandom is still going strong. In fact, in 2 months a bunch of us are gathering in Burbank, California for a convention with some of the stars (Barbara Bain, Nick Tate, Prentis Hancock, Anton Phillips, Judy Geeson, Martin Landau, schedules permitting) and one of the architects of the series, writer Christopher Penfold.

  3. Candace says:

    WOW!! Now I have to get the blue ray dvds of Space:1999 so much clearer. I grew up watching Space:1999 and at the time there was not many in my school who even knew what it was. I was fascinated by the stories and had a crush on Commander Koenig. Now I enjoy the show on a whole new level, and it’s better than what I remember. Special effects for that time were beyond even Star Trek. Now, I sit and watch the show with my grandchildren watching the same gleem in their eye that I once had.

  4. John says:

    I’ve said in earlier posts on Retroland and Yesterdayland that Space: 1999 was my favorite TV show when I was 8-9 years old. I had no idea that it would be over 20 years before I would see it again, and only on DVD. I bought the first four sets on DVD that made up the first season in 2002. The Last Sunset was my favorite episode, and after seeing it decades later it’s still my favorite episode. I bought the blu-ray set of the first season when it came out in 2012, and it was well worth it.

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