When I was younger, I was definitely a Season 2 fan. Having viewed the series again in my 30's, I prefer the "humanity" of Season 2 (i.e., the deepening relationship between Koenig & Russell), but all those BEM's and the pathetic attempt to end each episode with a laugh really ruined the show. Series 1 made an attempt to be serious scifi, it made you think. The scale was also grander. Publicity stated more money was spent on Year 2, but I find it hard to believe with those hokey little sets. Everything seemed smaller and cheaper.
From the beginning I always preffered season 1. The moonbase crew in that season acted like the helpless passengers that they were, as opposed to the "take charge" action-adventure characterizations in the second season. I also didn't like the fact that they simply dropped major characters in the second season and changed all the sets, costumes, and some of the gizmos (you don't need a comm-lock to get around the base anymore) without so much as one word of explaination.
Season one was MUCH better. IMHO.
The top ten reasons Season one was better than season two, IMHO . . .
1. Barry Morse's Victor Bergman. One of the first season's most important characters, his absence from the second season couldn't help but be conspicuous.
2. The command center set doesn't even begin to compare with the awesome main mission set.
3. Frantic shooting schedule for season two often caused important regulars to miss some episodes.
4. The music for season one far superior to season two.
5. The moody, dark tone of season one, the series' greatest strength, was severly toned down for the second season.
6. The intro. I loved the into for the first season shows, where there would be a brief teaser with a hook (just like in Star Trek) followed by that great year one theme with brief flash-cut scenes from the episode you were about to see. It helped build anticipation. The second season dropped both those features.
7. Probably the first season's worst episodes were "Ring Around the Moon" and "Full Circle", and even those aren't all that bad and are worth watching. Second season has much more candidates for worst episode, including "The Beta Cloud", "Matter of Balance", "Catacombs of the Moon", "Devil's Planet", etc.
8. The second seasons best episodes, "Journey to Where", "Bringers of Wonder", "Immunity Syndrome", would have been much, much better if done within the format of season one.
9. Rudi Gernisch's excellent futuristic-looking uniforms in season one totally dropped for season two.
10. Okay, I'll lay off the tenth reason, because I don't want to be too hard on season two. It did give us a number of quite entertaining stories, and two excellent new characters in Maya and Tony Verdeschi. It's not all bad, though I can't help feeling that 1999 would be higher-regarded today if it had never had a season two!
Other Reasons Why Year 2 Bit the Big One
1. Can you say latex? Oooh, those tacky monster suits. Abe Mandell should have been forced to wear one permanently. I kept waiting for the giant talking carrot from Lost in Space to show up.
2. Anybody seen Victor? I agree, the Professor was sadly missed in Season 2. But beyond even that, to have him, Paul, Kano and half the first season cast disappear into NowhereVille without an explanation was beyond silly. Did they think nobody would notice? It was a dumb move that alienated the viewers (well, me at least).
3. All the Glistering Rules of Luton. If Fred FryMeABurger is a sci-fi writer, I'm the Queen of England. This guy can't even pen a decent run-around episode.
4. Tony, Tony, Tony. Frankly, I hated this character. He was a sarcastic little twit who needed a good smacking. And that beer making thing -- whose lame idea was that?
5. Is it just me or is getting orange in here? You're right, Todd, about the smarmy little Season 2 sets. But what really annoyed me was the fact that they slapped up the same cheapy orange painted ply-wood walls over and over again. Psychon - endless orange hallways. The Dorcon ship - endless orange hallways (not even a You Are Here sign - how did these people find their way around?). Not to mention the orange throne room in the Dorcons, the orange plastic dinnerware, etc. Gave me a headache...
6. The musical loop-de-loop. They played the same synthesized disco drum and trumpet theme (the music from Space Warp where Maya/BEM is on the moon's surface) over and over ad nauseum.
7. Somebody pass me the Prozac. I'm sure living in deep space is a toughie, but in Year 2 there seemed to be an awful lot of insubordinate, mutiny-minded wackos (Sanderson, Osgood and Reilly) running over Alpha. Of course maybe they were just taking a clue from good old Commander Koenig, who in more than one episode appeared to be on the verge of a major nervous breakdown. The Koenig of Year 1 was decisive and inspired trust. The Year 2 Koenig pulled some stunts (suddenly shooting Cantor in the Exiles, etc.) that made you wonder if he wasn't a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
8. Maya, Maya, Maya. Don't get me wrong -- Catherine Schell is a fine actress. And if they had examined Maya's assimilation into Alpha -- her emotions, the way she learned to cope, and how the Alphans came to accept her -- it would have been a lot more interesting. But one minute she's leaving Psychon and the next she's science officer. And having the metamorph around to save the day, IMHO, actually took away from the excitement of the show (just the opposite of what Freiberger supposedly wanted). Where was the immediacy and suspense when you knew Maya would always save the day? In Season 1, the Alphans were human beings left to deal the best they could with the threats of outerspace, and they did it with their wits and their hearts. In Season 2, inevitably, no matter what the Alphans faced, Maya would turn into some ridiculous BEM and save their butts. So really, who cared what happened to because Maya would always fix it for them. Yawn!
9. Feathers, feathers everywhere! The costume design for Season 2 bordered on absurd. Maya's Psychon dress looked like she worked for the Ice Capades, and you could pick Sahala from Dorzak up and dust a shelf with her. Somewhere there's a naked turkey who is really P.O'd.
10. Yasko. Need I say more?
And now two really good things from Season 2: the deepening love relationship between Koenig and Russell. IMHO, and despite what others have written websites and in examinations of the series, there just wasn't a relationship there in Season 1. I've heard some fans talk about this "subtle" love, but all you saw in Season 1 was few looks, one hug, one kiss on the cheek. Half the time they acted like brother and sister. So Freiberger made a good move in having them become seriously involved in Season 2. There is a nice chemistry between them (esp. in Journey to Where and Bringers of Wonder), and finally instead of emotional robots you had two warm, caring, charming characters who were obviously crazy about each other and had a believable relationship (unlike Maya and Tony). And secondly, keeping Nick Tate. If they'd axed him along with most of the first season cast, I don't think I would have watched the show again. What a shame he had to play second fiddle to Tony Anholt.
I heard that they WERE going to ax Nick Tate, but there were protests. Thanks be for that. I loved that cocky Australian pilot.
Another regular from season 1 who was more of a secondary character was Tanya, who sat next to Paul in Main Mission. Also Doctor Mathias was changed for Doctor Ben Vincent.
Check out some of the fan fiction giving greater emotional depth to Maya and others, not just using her as a handy plot device.
The only improvement in Year 2 were the colored collars on the uniforms.
Yeah, Nick Tate was going to be dropped, but the bosses at ITC were convinced to keep him due to his popularity. A new character named Mark Macinlock was supposed to replace him, and he and Simon Hayes, who was eventually transformed into Tony, are characters in at least one of Michael Butterworth's Year Two novelisations, altho' Alan and Tony also appear.
Personally I too prefer Year One. Reading thru some of the 1999 web pages today I noticed that it seems a lot more coherent and internally consistant that Year 2. Most likely the big problem with Year 2 was the rushed shooting schedule for much of it, resulting in a very obvious lack of attention to continuity, both within Year 2, and with Year One. Then again one also gets the impression that the goal for Year 2 was to treat Year One as if it never existed.
Butterworth was working from early scripts that had the name "Hayes" crossed out and "Verdeschi" penciled in. As you said, this is why Hayes appears in some of his earlier books, and at one point during one of his adaptations, he forgets himself and refers to the character who is supposed to be Verdeschi as Hayes!
I think forgetting Year One existed was Freiberger's idea. I recall from the Space 1999 Documentary Martin Landau bringing up Koenig's motivation to Freiberger, saying Koenig would never act a certain way (for instance, shooting Cantor in The Exiles). Freiberger told him not to worry, nobody would notice. Eh? O.k., so let's drop half the cast, change the main set, put everybody in new uniforms, change the music, lighting, titles and relationships. Don't sweat it, nobody is paying attention. Prophetic words...
Another reason, as far as I'm concerned, that Season 2 isn't as good as Season 1 is that Barbara Bain practically whispered all of her lines!!! ARGH! I still cringe when I have to listen to this pre-Seinfeld 'quiet-talker' when viewing an episode.
Another problem I had was that the aliens they encountered were almost always evil, and wanted to destroy them. Couldn't they have just been misunderstood aliens, or simply overly cautious about off-worlders? Taybor wasn't such a bad guy, but the series as a whole painted the universe as a pretty nasty place to visit.
I recall from the Space 1999 Documentary Martin Landau bringing up Koenig's motivation to Freiberger, saying Koenig would never act a certain way ...
I seem to recall Nimoy making the same complaint to Freiberger about Spock in Trek's third season. Maybe having it happen to him on two separate series with two separate actors should have given him a clue, but I guess not (didn't he kill off the $6M Man series as well?).
I thought Bain whispered much worse in Season 1 than in Season 2. In Season 1 there were times when I could barely hear her. In Season 2 I think she was much livelier and more "human"...
Not everything in Year 2 was bad. I liked Maya, and suppose like many kids at that time had a bit of a crush on her, but I do feel they could have made her character more interesting. Why for example did she headd straight for Tony? If it had shown Tony helping her to fit in to what was to her, an alien 'world' and culture, it could have been more believeable. I agree that the Command Center was far too cramped compared to Main Mission. Some of year 2's stories were good, and some, you feel, if they had had a bit more work done on them, better production values, could have been a lot better.
I've been informed that Bob Mathias did appear in Year 2. One brief scene where Anna Fraser is being sedated in medical centre, Bob Mathias briefly appears. As far as I know, there is never any re-appearance of him anywhere else in the 2nd season. Why did they replace him, I just couldn't take to Ben Vincent. Even his accent sounded more like the old stereotype 'token blacks' that used to appear in show of the 50's and 60's. Bob Mathias was a far better character with better screen presence.
Another thing was tht Paul Morrow was dropped. I quite liked his brusque attitude in contrast to the more humane and compassionate characters. He seemed to have a rank or position of 'controller', what did that entail, and how come we never heard of a controller in year 2?
Dr. Mathias appears in The Metamorph and The Exiles while Anton Phillips' agent was negotiating with the producers. They couldn't agree on contract terms so he left the show. At least we got to see what he looks like in the Year 2 uniform.
I didn't like the Ben Vincent character. He was too much of a smartass. Especially in Catacombs of the Moon, it's a wonder Helena didn't send him out to wash bedpans for a week. For that matter I didn't care for the actor, either -- I got the impression that the only reason he was on the Space 1999 set is because his agent couldn't get him a part in Shaft's Big Score...
I read with interest the arguments in favour of S1 over S2 that have been submitted to this site over the past few months. I have met many 1999 fans over the past year or so and have been a big fan of both seasons myself for some considerable amount of time. The argument over the two seasons is a familiar one and one that is (IMHO) rapidly becoming decrepid and banal.
The essence of it all (again IMHO) is that the two seasons are so different that it really is erroneous to compare them as a single concept merely because they share the same series title. Maybe they should have been called Space: 1974 & Space: 1976 respectively - as they were so different! I do find myself having a slight bias toward Season 2 of late though, probably due to the fact that I am a great admirer of Derek Wadsworth's musical talent. His promo CD of the 1999 Y2 scores is excellent! The music is a good way of comparing the two very different seasons if it must be done at all. The late Barry Gray's classical style (of which I have a CD of as well and like very much!) is indicative of Season 1s philosophical and seemingly profound nature. IMHO Season 1 is a strong format, born of some excellent scripts, underpinned by a metaphysical undertone that occasionally borders on the abstruse. Abstruse meant in a complimentary manner of course! At times though I find it drags somewhat and the acting goes a little on the wooden side (as it does in S2 as well). The overall ambience of the show goes into deep depression and gloom and I find myself wishing that the characters would be a little more human in their approach.
I absolutely agree that Season 2 (at times) becomes absolutely ludicrous. The Beta Cloud is a notable example but it also ranks as a particular favourite of mine as well - because it really is PURE escapist action and that is what I prefer in sci-fi at present. But I don't find it anymore tongue-in-cheek than some S1 episodes. It seems today due to the continuing bickering over the two formats that you have a band of dedicated S2 followers who have broken away from the ranks of the series as a whole. I consider myself to be one of these (as much as we are a minority I know) but at the same time I will always have much time for S1 and take a lot of pleasure in watching episodes such as Breakaway & War Games.
Going back to S2 it was nice to hear that Fred Freiberger was welcomed at last year's Breakaway Convention in September (with the exception of a few insular french fans). The frail Mr. Freiberger recieved a standing ovation after answering various questions on issues relating to S2 and format changes. It seems he has fielded much criticism over the years relating to his approach to Space: 1999 all of which he has taken in his stride. He deserved his time at the Breakaway Convention to extend to fans his own position on the subject and in my view deserved his standing ovation! But hey, that's just my opinion....... (I have even put forward criticism of Fred elsewhere on this site regarding The BoW but that doesn't mean to say I particularly dislike what I am critical of)
All this really leads to an endless argument and one that myself and other S2 fans do not really want to get involved in to any real extent. I for one though will continue to treat the two seasons as autonomous entities, both of which bring much enjoyment to what it seems is two very different sets of fans. Business as usual then........!
Here's a question for fans that prefer season 1 over season 2; would you have preferred 1999 to have been cancelled after the first season so we would be spared some of those bad episodes, or are you glad to have had another 20+ episodes to watch? Personally, I'll take a bad season, over no new season at all.
I was at a toy & memorabilia fair this Saturday and was quite amazed to see how much money Space 1999 memorabilia is currently fetching. Being a serious collector of such things, I was looking for two things when I was there - Volume 15 ITC video (here in the UK) and a Palitoy Koenig figure - very hard to come by!
The latter I found (albeit very expensive) but it seems the season two videos here in the UK are gaining in value - notably Vols 15, 17, 18 & 19. Plenty of people had season one tapes for sale but when asked if they had any season two or ones after vol 13 the general response was "very sought after and getting rarer". Being one of the minority of devout season two fans it seems quite surprising really considering the amount of negativity it recieves...
Scarcity often determines the value of an item more than any other intrisic factor.
Has anyone in the UK taped the repeats from BBC2,
cause my ITC tapes are knackered and the BBC2 ones
were of a better quality. If so I would really
like copies of them. If anyone can help me out I
would really appreciate it. Many thanks!
True, but scarcity and demand together will dictate an even greater value.
As I've said before,Season 1 leaves 2 behind by light years.The demise of Victor Bergman and Paul Morrow and other key members was a tragedy.Dragon's Domain,Breakaway and Troubled Spirit are fine examples of what could be achieved
from an excellent cast and crew at Pinewood.The
season 2 episodes are very thin on the ground,such
as Se'ance Spectre and Immunity Syndrome.The rest comprised of poor stories and a truly awful and
disasterous American intervention that sent the show into a downward spiral.Uniform changes,sudden modifications to the eagles and the introduction of "command centre".Metamorphs
etc.Catherine Schell was in season 1 episode,
"Guardian Of Piri" and was fantastic.Another good story with brilliant visuals.The planet with it's colourful surroundings and bold set design was a fine example of Keith Wilsons talent.
Personally, I could have accepted all the changes if there had just been SOME words of explaination.If they had just thought to do a transitional episode where Main Mission was destroyed by an attack or some sort of natural space disaster, and Victor, Paul, etc. were killed or went missing, Commander Koenig deciding to update the eqipment and relax the uniform code to make life on the moonbase a little easier. My biggest beef was that, as others have said here,that they made so many major changes and expected us not to notice.
I remember eagerly awaiting Season 2, only to have my beloved 1999 theme changed. And then the uniforms, somewhat. And then Main Mission. And then the cast. My jaw just sat open for the first ten minutes; I was dumb-founded. Even as a 16-year old kid I saw how 1999 was trying to copy Star Trek with a unique, lone alien as part of the cast, which just mademe dislike and resent Maya. After alll, Victor Bergman was one of my favourite characters from Season1.. It took me a long time to get used to the format, and by then the series was long finished. Nowadays I look back fondly on it,probably because it was a part of my youth. THANK GOD THEY DIDN'T CHANGE THE EAGLES!!!
Repeats of series 1 on saturday mornings was how i first watched Space1999 as an 8 yr old..then one day i rented the video Destination Moonbase Alpha ..WHAT HAD THEY DONE!! all the best things about the show gone...(obviously except the eagles)..and as for the music and Maya..well ..all i can say is Freddie did a great assasination job on the show.
Series 1 is the best sci fi i have ever seen on television..nuff said!
Both seasons have their pluses and minuses. The second had less weird stuff that had cast members tongue tied and unable to explain themselves. However, I didn't care for Maya saving their hides almost each week by turning into a monster that can lift a concrete-steel beam, crawl through a vent, breathe chlorine, etc.
I accept replacement of Main Mission. Main Mission was vulnerable to alien attack (see War Games), whereas the new command centre seems better protected down inside. Also, Main Mission seems to have been geared to running a multi-purpose scientific and mission environment: overseeing the waste shipments from Earth, coordinating explorations and mineral surveys, supporting deep space missions like the Ultra probe. It is easier to do this from the Moon's low gravity well.
Once out of orbit, their goals changed radically. The episode "The Seance Spectre" indicates there are definitely crews surveying the moon's surface, but considering all the hostiles they met the first "season" (let's say, year or two), it made sense to abandon Main Mission and move the gear down to something better designed for defending their station and coordinating a watch for a potential new home.
They could have showed a transition, or explained it. Yes, they could have commented that Victor, Paul Morrow, Kano and others died in the space warp jump, but Tony Verdeschi emerged from nowhere. Yasko seems like a minor-enough character, however.
Eagles stayed because of the visual FX using them, but I liked the addition of mining, and obviously, they have very ingeniously developed the ability to build replacement hardware and even innovative extras. One would think they might have built Mark 9 Hawks since they know the design, or something like a fast, small fighter craft. I liked the two laser emplacements, and I liked the special handling facility used in The Exiles.
The crew of the station seemed to behave a lot more purposefully in the second season, whereas in the first, they did a lot of standing around and gawking.
I say its an even draw. What would a third season have been like? Could they have recaptured the feel of the first while not losing the purposefulness and better-prepared-for-surviving of the second season... and tone down Maya-saves-the-day.
Are there many original novels that take the best of both seasons?
Neither season shows us where the Alphans go for chow. Do they eat in private quarters? Not likely. I assume they eat in a cafeteria. In a story I wrote, I referred to it as the "canteen" for the station.
I assume they have to cook their food the old-fashioned way, so they probably have a kitchen something like Neelix's Open Kitchen in Voyager.
(And no, they don't eat pills. Tony Cellini forgot his toothbrush when he tried to leave in Dragon's Domain. Dr. Russell seemed to think it was a wise thing to have along.)
Series 1 has far more style and poise than series 2. The second season, although enjoyable is a compact version of season one.
Does anyone need VHS tapes of the show? I have most of the series, the majority are shop bought and a few taped from tv.
I lack the original televised version of six episodes, and some are not complete recordings. (For example, I'm missing part of Mission of the Darians).
Breakaway, War Games, The Metamorph, Space Warp, and the two part Bringers of Wonder are not in my collection, although I have them in edited form. I would prefer originals. Breakaway has an opening caption "Dark Side of the Moon, Sept 9, 1999"; Metamorph has Koenig assuring Maya that "we're all aliens, until we get to know each other", and who knows what else was deleted for "The Cosmic Princess". Space Warp deleted much of the alien captain's dialogue and replaced what little was left, other than the warp-scanning gadget. Also, the movie makes it seem like Maya's fever is directly caused by departing Psychon, rather than coming up a few months later. I think Bringers had some cuts, too.
I'd have to review my collection to see what shape other episodes are in.
If you live in North America you can get the 24 episodes of year one on DVD from A&E Home Video directly or thru your local video retailer. The first 12 episodes of year one are available in VHS format, also from A&E.
The only cuts from "Bringers of Wonder" for the Destination Moonbase Alpha version were of Helena's status report/recap from the beginning of part 2, which was obviously redundant in a film format, and an epilogue scene from Command Center. It would be interesting to know why it was called Destination Moonbase Alpha, as Alien Attack, used for the other 1999 "movie" compiled at the same time, would apply equally well to the plot of this story.(Journey Through the Black Sun and Cosmic Princess were put together several years later in 1982.)
I preferred Main Mission in Season I, and the bigger/grander sets. Everything in Season II seemed so cramped and claustriphobic, like people were stepping all over each other. Plus, they just kept recycling the same orange walls over and over again, ad nauseum. I also HATED the monsters in Season II. Please, if I wanted to see sparkly monsters I'd have turned on Sigmund the Sea Monster. And Tony Anholt - he was a waste. I didn't like the character at all. Some things I liked about Season II: Maya, although I wish they would have shown her adapting to Alpha instead of jumping in to save the day. The dramatic tension went down the crapper when you knew she'd always get them out of trouble. I just wish they'd shown her just being a person instead of a superhero. I also liked the relationship between Helena and Koenig. It seemed very real and tender. I wish they'd have taken it further, had a marriage in space or something like that.
Supposedly the change in sets was because the Main Mission set was hard to light due to its size, increasing the amount of time needed for shooting preparation.
Its become pretty obvious that year 2 had a much smaller budget than year 1, despite the PR claims at the time that year 2 was the most expensive tv show per episode to date. Indeed some folks have gone so far as to speculate that by the time the last episode, "The Dorcons," was filmed they were running out of money given some of the sets in that one! Money also had an effect on the returning cast. Barry Morse refused to come back when Anderson asked him to take a pay cut. Anton Phillips quit the role of Bob Mathias after the first couple of year 2 episodes in part because they were unwilling to give him a contract. Zienia Merton was also refused a contract and split after 3 episodes, but Barbara Bain later convinced her to come back. Its not hard to guess that the producers figured that by hiring them on a show by show basis they could save on the salary budget, as they could substitute cheaper actors when the need arose.
Bottom line: both season 1 and season 2 are entertaining in their own way, once you accept the fact that they are two completely different shows. And that's the crux of the matter - fans of a TV program revere continuity above all, and find it very difficult to reconcile the two seasons.
I couldn't agree more Mr. Pence - though the endemic refusal by a considerable majority of S1 devotees makes your statement nothing but idealism.
One of the most compelling explanations offered by fans for the differences between seasons one and two is that the Alphans and the moon passed through one of those space/time/dimensional warps like the one in "Another Time, Another Place". This particular warp subtly altered the reality of the Alphans, giving the base a different look and slightly re-arranging the makeup of the personnel. Indeed, in this reality, Bergman, Kano and Morrow and the others who disappeared from season one may never even have existed at all. Helena states at the opening of the episode that the moon has just passed through a space warp, lending credence to this theory.
This theory is actually more plasible (considered in the framework of the series) than the idea that Bergman, Kano and Morrow all died and the Alphans completely redesigned their base and uniforms and that Tony Verdeschi, a character never even seen in year one, holds such an important and visible position in year two.
Perhaps the Enterprise from the original Star Trek also went through one of these warps, it might explain the differences between the pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and the rest of that series.
Here's something you might like to consider: When I watched Season One, I used to look forward to an episode directed by Ray Austin, because he'd always include some different camera shots, like the 360 degree turn in "Mission of the Darians" when the Alphans come out of the Eagle onto the Darian spaceship. There's lots more I could think of - what do you think?
Season One definitely had a more cinematic feel to it, especially with shots like the the one MD,Hpool just described. I think Barry Gray's music (as well as the occasional use of classical pieces) also added to that cinematic aspect. Also, the fact that the music wasn't playing constantly (as in several Star Trek DS9 episode, just for one example) helped heighten the drama, rather than drown it out.
Personally, and this is a general statement not limited just to S:1999, I like a cinematic feel in a tv program; medium shots of characters standing around talking gets tedious after awhile, as does a continuous blanket of bad background music.
As for Season Two, I don't remember any long shots that didn't involve special effects, and the music, though not all that bad, seemed to rely on endless loops of a few riffs rather than actual compositions. (Admittedly, it's been a couple of years since I saw my last S2 episode, but that's the impression I was left with.)
Well, it's a matter of taste, and it may be completely subjective, but it's hard to deny that Year 1 was better made. Overall, it was more carefully crafted and higher production values were evident onscreen. That's not to say Year 1 was an especially well crafted show. Even their best episodes had some clumsy bits of dialogue or performance (their tecnobabble was especially awful). All involved agreed that there were flaws, and that's why they were willing to make such extensive changes to the look and feel of the show. They just happened to make some even bigger mistakes too while they were at it, but even I have to admit that at times Year 2 got it right. "Chrysalis A-B-C" would have made a decent Year 1 episode, for example.
One aspect of Season Two that grated was the lack of characters from Season One. To replace Bergman and Kano we had Maya, and to replace Paul Morrow we got Tony Verdeschi! Nothing against Tony Anholt, but Verdeschi was a terrible character. Wasn't there a scene written but not filmed where he reports to the Medical Center for his regular IQ test, and Helena tells him to sit down while she gets a ruler and two planks? (I'd better explain, I suppose: Thick as two short planks)
Hmmm, interesting! I think Mr. Stoller made a valid point above where he says simply "its a matter of taste". I actually thought Verdeschi's character was well suited to the highly charged action/adventure format of S2. Character and temperament were perfect for the show, as always having the best interests of the Moonbase at heart given the nature of some of the enemies encountered. For me the show worked and I guess I'm in the minority because of it.
I don't honesly believe a Security Chief would have worked within the format of S1 at all - there simply just wasn't the need for it. Conversely, would Morrow's more cerebral, yet seemingly phlegmatic and laid back attitude really have worked in S2?? I doubt it....
I know this is off subject, but has anybody ordered the new book from Powys Media? I preordered ages ago and have yet to receive my copy. Is it any good if you have received yours?
According to Powys website, I guess there was some problem with printing the covers. They apologize for the delay and said preordered books will be mailed as soon as the cover is complete.
Is that the book Alien Seed?
If so its a reprint of an older title.
No, it's the new book called Resurrection. I think the author's name is Latham or something like that.
Cool, I may get it after all. Is this a hardback or paperback. I think I have read my Space:1999 fiction to death, I am only missing one of the old books now.
The End of the Infinite. I have every year one book including Earthfall, and even have the Phoenix of Megaron which wasn't easy to track down in the UK, but this one seems rather elusive. It was never part of Star's UK run which was strange as they printed all the other Year 2 episodes in book form (except for Taybor).
I've just been watching the Fanderson Space 1999 documentary. If you haven't seen it, it's quite fascinating. In the Year 2 section, Gerry Anderson discusses the failings of the second season, and makes the quite valid point that his hands were tied, so to speak. ITC New York was financing the series, so when somebody in power said "Well, gee, Gerry, you just GOT to have bug-eyed monsters in your show, 'cause all the other shows got them" he had to reluctantly include monsters. A couple of months later, they'd see the episodes with monsters and say "What are you doing? We've changed our mind - monsters are out of fashion!" Whatever Gerry Anderson did, he couldn't win, and the series suffered thanks to the meddling and interference of studio executives. They were all right, because at the end of the day, their names weren't on the show, just Martin Landau's, Barbara Bain's and Gerry Anderson's. These cretins could then go and banjax another production. (I use the term "banjax" as a substitute for another, stronger, expletive for which you can use your imagination.)
I hear ya, MD...I'm not sure what it means to "banjax", but I imagine it resembles a two-word phrase that rhymes with "buck up". ;)
Maybe they "belgiumed" it?
"Banjax" is a word I seem to remember Terry Woagan, a Radio 2 DJ using, and it seemed like an acceptable alternative to a word that rhymes with "hall X".
Does anybody know what the DVD sales statistics are for either show?? Which season outsold the other?? That must be pretty indicative...
Not necessarily. I like season 1 better but I still bought all the season 2's as well.
Now that I've had a chance to see all the Season Two's with the new DVDs, my overall estimation of Season Two has been revised considerably upwards. My previous opinion had been based on the few episodes I had seen previously, plus the print versions in the Butterworth novels. I still feel that the major format changes from season one were unforgivable, and of course there are several clunkers, but many of the episodes were much better than I anticiapted them being. "The Mark Of Archanon", in particular is an EXCELLENT epsiode by any season's measure as well as Alan Carter's finest character moment.
Okay now, if Alpha's "second encounter with a space warp" placing Alpha in an alternate reality makes a neat way to explain Year 2's differences, then imagine an episode that involves a temporal discontinuity that must be corrected, causing the events of Year 2 to be wiped from the timeline and restores the reality of Year 1. Think of "Another Time, Another Place" which does something similar. Think of "Yesterday's Enterprise"(ST-TNG) where an accidentally formed timeline must be undone.
How far back could the timeline be restored? Conceiveably the breakaway could be prevented, given another roll of the dice. That could make the entire series close with a cop-out ending, like "War Games", but hey, the Alphans would be home, back in 1999, and we'd be happy for them.
I wouldn't be happy for them - because then there would have been no series!
The clincher for S1 is simply the main theme song. Just got the dvd megaset a few days earlier and can't get that awesome score out of my head. Luckily just finished viewing S1 episodes and that horrible S2 theme song may do the trick of getting it out of my head.
The Series Two main theme is one of the few things that works well in the show, with it's "Hawaii Five-O" inspired rhythm, though the artificially exciting graphics do not (whipping around and firing a stungun; "Red Alert" screens popping on and off.)
The rest of Series Two's score often bugs the hell out of me, particularly the jazz combo tracks backing the action scenes.
I didn't mind the season 2 score in and of itself. I actually thought it worked well in "The Metamorph." The problem was that they used the same score for later episodes and edited it in very poorly.
I found Martin Landau's comments somewhat hypocritical in his 1976 interview about the new format of the show (the interview is the one that took place on the set of 'A Matter of Balance'). In it he gives the mild impression that he is reasonably happy with the changes and doesn't even juxtapose the different attitudes of Koenig as he was in S1 relative to S2; as this was one of his major gripes (allegedly) at the time. It is obvious from more recent interviews he has done that he was harbouring a lot of unrest as seen in the interview in the Space 1999 Documentary. I felt the whole of that Documentary was very anti S2 and felt it could of been a bit more objective in it's approach. I did get the impression that Keith Wilson was very happy designing and constructing the Plasma Creature outfits for the BoW though.....good on him too!!!
I haven't had the good fortune of actually seeing the documentary, so I hope I'm not misinterpereting things here.
Regarding the opening comments of Stuart's most recent post, I get the impression that Landau, in 1976, didn't want to bite the hand that was feeding him, so to speak. Or maybe it went something like this:
Interviewer: "Martin, we're ready to shoot some interview clips for the documentary about the show you're the star of!"
Landau: "Well, I really don't like it anymore, even though it's got some positive changes."
Interviewer: "We'll just edit out that first bit, up through the word 'though'..."
OK, just kidding about the editing thing, but I can't blame Landau for keeping some of his comments to himself at the time, or more to the point, keeping them out of the public eye. Whether he liked it or not, he had to support that which was keeping him employed at the time.
You are perfectly correct and I had that in mind when I wrote the above; but I just felt that he could of explained some more the differences in his own character without coming across as totally negative. I used to own a couple of original S2 scripts I bought off Ebay that were Landau's personal working material and he certainly penned his views within the pages of these as the shooting schedule commenced - very few were positive, so he certainly must have taken a 'take the money and run' stance to S2 (certainly by the time 'A Matter of Balance' was filmed). I maintain the fact that I like both seasons in equal proportion, but still feel there is unwarranted and excessive criticism focused at S2 - but hey, this is Nitcentral, so let battle commence...
In the '76 interviews,both Landau and Bain seem to express an enthusiasm over the Y2 changes in their characters. It's hard to disagree with the opinions expressed by Freiberger. Everything he says makes perfect sense! ....As with many fans, I have mixed feelings when comparing Y1 and Y2. My favorite episode is "The Metamorph",but on the whole,I prefer the first year. I simply miss the grand production values of Y1 when I watch Y2....As a kid,the changes in year two are what really hooked me on the show. I came to care for the characters in the second year ( as a kid, I was upset for weeks because I thought Helena's mental capacity was permanently diminished from the "brain drain" in the Metamorph). My love for the second season allowed me to go back and re-evaluate the first season in later years.
You think Space: 1999 is cool, but there are some things that you would change if it were up to you.
Obviously we can't change anything about S1 and S2, and all agree that there are some good points and bad points.
But if you could make a third season, what would you expect to see?
Here's my list:
-FLASHBACK episode with Victor that explains his death and ideally gives Barry Morse a good death scene. I liked his character, but he was an old man with an artificial heart and a penchant for smoking and drinking.
You could make flashbacks for Paul, Kano, Sandra, and Mathias but I think it is plausible that their absence from the series is a result of a transfer to a different area of base. Paul and Kano are rather disagreable characters, so it's not inconvievable that they could have been transfered. Sandra seemed a rather sensetive type, and may have prefered a lower stress occupation. After all, there are almost 300 people on Alpha and we get to see less than a third of that on the show.
VIDEO-They could save themselves some money and shoot all scenes inside Alpha on video. Chris Boucher said in an interview about Starcops that the contrast of video and film adds to the realism and depth to television shows. In fact, if they spent more time on character development with good dialogue like in Starcops, it would have solved all their problems and Space:1999 would have been perfect.
-EAGLES should be re-designated "Hoppers," since they don't look anything like birds but grasshoppers. Have Brian Johnson build an aerodynamic craft (like the Pan Am Shuttle from 2001) for planetary landing, and call that the Eagle (or Hawk or Condor or whatever.) While they're at it, properly park that moonbuggy that's always on the landing pad!
-ADD-A socially responsible episode where Tony and Alan go off on a joy-ride in a Hopper after getting drunk on Tony's latest (marginally) potable mirco-brew, and DIE. The mouring Alphans hold a wake for them, and form ADD (Alphan's Against Drunk Driving).
-STEER THE MOON-A story where someone attempts to install a drive in the moon like the Daleks and the Cybermen did in the Hartnell years of Doctor who, or more recently Invader Zim.
-SCHISMS-More stories showing internal power struggles on Alpha. Rather than John Koenig getting involed in other peoples problems, I'd like to see some younger and more radical Alphans getting involved in his, and challenging his authoritarian rule. Were a long way from the Lunar Commision, Cmdr. Koenig...
-SEX. With never see any clear evidence of people getting it on on Alpha. Are we excpeted to believe the enterainment facilities are so comprehensive that people won't resort to sex as recreation? Would people not seek solace in each others' arms with the abandon of knowing that a cold death might be waiting in the next episode?
If not, than an epidode exploring the conservative moral climate and prudish attitudes about sex of people in 1999, please (heh-heh).
-CHILDREN-They introduced an alien, an Italian and a Japanese to the cast in S2. Why not children in S3? Rather than being hard-SF, Space: 1999 is really just entertainment that tries to appeal to the whole family, like Battlestar Galactica, so that would have been a logical move to improve ratings. Boxy is what consistently ruins BSG for me, but keeps ST:TNG and DS9 interesting. It would be interesting to see how children would be handled on Space: 1999.
-A CONCLUSION-For the final episode of Space: 1999 maybe the God-like aliens that have both put them into this mess and protected them can return the moon to Earth's orbit, in exchange for an ultimate sacrifice. That might be more interesting than an simple Exodus operation, or killing them all. We've seem them try that enough times that it would be anti-climactic
So think about your masterpice...
Adam Smith, children were mentioned twice. Once in Alpha Child in season 1 where Jackie Crawford was born. I assume that he was conceived prior to the breakaway. Also in season 2, I think its "The Exiles", Helena mentions that they can't allow children as too many people place a strain on the life support system.
Personally I think that Alpha might be able to handle a bit more, but not massive overpopulation.
As to the idea of a challenge to Koenig's rule, have you read the novel "Earthbound"?
I think the introduction of children would have been awful. Just think of ST:TNG's episodes with children. Moronic politically correct lectures to the 'little ones' etc.
Douglas, did you mean the novel "Earthfall"?
Oh right CR, Earthfall, that's the one. I haven't read it in a while.
Hey, you've got me beat; I've never read it!
The music for each season has its own appeal. As a kid, I definately prefered the second season's music. As an adult, I've come to appreciate Barry Gray's work in the first season (which I now prefer). Gray's music has a more 'timeless' appeal. Derek Wadsworth's Y2 music sounds very "seventies".
One thing impressive about the first season's music is its variety. Different styles were used for different episodes; drums for "The Full Circle", sitar for "The Troubled Spirit", classical in "War Games" and "Testament of Arkadia",etc. The music also was more serious and dignified in style. Some nice touches were the harp heard in the opening of "Breakaway" and the music of Beethoven heard along with Martin Landau's narration in "Testament of Arkadia". The opening music for "Matter of Life and Death" has a majestic quality that suggests we are about to see an epic story!
The theme for the first year is one of my all time favorites along with that of UFO. One review derisively refered to the theme as sounding like it came from a 70's Blaxploitation film. I don't agree, but it has a funky fun quality about it.
That said, I have to say Derek Wadworth's music in Y2 will always be fondly remembered. As a kid, after seeing each Y2 ep, my head was filled with the exciting music for days afterward (kid's view these shows with an enthusiasm adults don't seem to have). Some of my favorite bits from Y2...The opening episode credits for "The Metamorph"; the pan of the volcanoes on Psychon is accompanied by a slowed down version of the Y2 theme. The music is synchronised to the bursts of flames from the volcanoes!...."The Exiles"; the opening ep credits feature some music with a "twangy" feel almost reminiscent of UFO (the theme is played to better effect in "Brian the Brain" as the Swift descends to Planet D)...."The Taybor"; includes a nice martial drumbeat to the appearance of the gun platform....and lastly, "Space Warp" features terrific music throughout the entire ep. As to the Y2 theme, supposedly it was inspired by the theme to Hawaii Five-0, which Gerry Anderson liked (what a bizarre inspiration for a scifi show).
Those episodes in Y2 where Wadsworth provide an original score are great. In other eps, the repetition of canned music was a bit tiresome.
All in all, the music for both seasons is highly enjoyable.
The music of each season was suited to the approach of that season. When Barry Gray music from year one was put into "Cosmic Princess" it appeared out of place. The reverse would definately be true. Imagine "Dragon's Domain" with the action music from "Beta Cloud" in the creature sequences on the Ultra Probe...wait, that's to awful to think about!
'That's too awful to think about!'?? Presumably you mean the far superior music of Season 2, being used in the inferior format of Season 1 (and I'm serious too!!)
just an observation but wasn't episode one heavily influenced by the movie 2001 a space odessy, whereas later series were infuenced by star wars, where "realistic" sci-fi just didnt bank money. thats why the dumming down came from, and the "lets have a space battle" and "lets introduce charictors the kids will like" came from.
Here's a clip that mixes season 1 & 2. I especially like the season 2 "This Episode" clips with the season 2 story.
"By john sinclair on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 4:04 am:
just an observation but wasn't episode one heavily influenced by the movie 2001 a space odessy, whereas later series were infuenced by star wars, where "realistic" sci-fi just didnt bank money. thats why the dumming down came from, and the "lets have a space battle" and "lets introduce charictors the kids will like" came from."
Wasn't season 2 made 1975-6, before Star Wars was really known, even if the filming dates overlapped.
Shooting on "The Metamorph" began January 26, 1976. Star Wars wouldn't debut until almost a year and a half later, and therefore had nothing to do with the character of year two.
I have read some fan fics where the authors attempt to reconcile the differences between S1 and S2. Usually, a disaster of some kind destroys Main Mission, killing Paul Morrow, David Kano, Victor Bergman, etc. For some reason or other, Koenig, Alan, and Sandra are not there, so they survive.
Command Center is set up underground, because it is a more secure location. As for the sudden appearences of Tony Verdeshi, Bill Fraser, and the other S2 characters, they get what is called battlefield promotions. Koenig picks them to replace the personel that was lost in the disaster. Tony and Bill were there in S1, just offscreen, because they weren't key personel at that point.
Still, I agree that the show SHOULD have addressed this issue.
Season one aired locally when I was a kid, and I watched it religiously. Season two seemed to slip by the wayside, and I'm not sure why but I am SO very, very grateful. Going back over it all now on DVD, I can honestly say that, although each season had heaping piles of fromage, season two is enough to make me want to gouge my eyes out. And no - it is NOT a matter of taste. There are certain objective measures of worth - mostly rooted in production values. Relative to season one, in two the music was demonstrably cr*p (a string section costs more than a synth,) the acting was cr*p (Yasko? Please - did they pull a hooker off the streets of Tokyo, or was she Frieberger's Asian Love Bride?) the sets were cr*p (main mission vs. command center seems to have been adequately covered above,) the majority of the writing was cr*p (up-tempo action music set against a guy bending down to pick up an inexplicably menacing rock? Come ON,) and the cast shuffle was ludicrous.
Although, perhaps it is a matter of taste. Clearly there are people who would rather eat at McDonalds than the French Laundry if given the choice. I know whose fries I'd want.
I think that was part of the problem. It seemed that Season Two was an entirely different show. They took John, Helena, Alan, and Sandra and dropped them into another universe! Or so it seemed at the time.
I have to agree with most of the opinions about Yasko. In the words of the immortal Simon Cowell: "I think she was absolutely dreadful." Too bad they weren't willing to give Zienia Merton more money, then she would have stayed, and we would have been spared seeing Yasko ruin scene after scene with her dreadful dialog.
I wonder if that actress ever found work again after 1999 ended. Or is she somewhere in the world today saying the immortal words: "You want fries with that?"
Season One blows Season Two out of the water any day. I loved S1 with the metaphyscial storylines and as such. You got the impression that the universe was a dark mysterious place, and that the Alphans were on some kind of predestined journey (Testament Of Arkadia supported that idea).
The worst thing that happened to 1999 was when they lost Sylvia Anderson (who oversaw S1). Granted, I can understand why she left (her marraige to Gerry Anderson was breaking up), but still losing her hurt the show.
Then, of course, Fred Freiberger showed up and turned this great show into a Star Trek wannabe.
Of course, Gerry Anderson must also take some blame. He hired Freiberger and basically gave him cart blanche to change the show any way he saw fit.
Tim, according to the Internet Movie Data Base, Yasuko Nagazumi of Japan, born in 1943, found tv work in 'The New Avengers' in 1977 as Yasko (same name as her 1999 character!), and 'The Upchat Connection' in 1978 as Apple Blossom.
And it ends there.
What's truly startling is that prior to Space:1999 she was on ELEVEN tv series, including FIFTEEN EPISODES of 'The Protectors' from 1972-73! Luckily for us, she's only in 8 episodes of 1999!
According to Wikipedia, she's now a producer and manager in Hollywood.
It's been a long time since I added any comments here. In reality the change from Main Mission to Command Center was made to save time and money. Scripts dictated that the set be used frequently, usually several scenes in every episode. The very large Main Mission & Commander's Office set looked wonderful but was time-consuming to prepare for shooting, and that added to the expense. Year One had a shooting schedule that exceeded a full year, as opposed to the more common nine months maximum. The smaller Command Center set was simpler to work with and did essentially the same job.
Yeah, but they were crammed in there like sardines!
That was another problem with Season Two, why did they have to work so fast? The doubling up of episodes, shooting two at one time, really hurt the show. Devil's Planet comes to mind here, Koenig is there, but all the other regulars have vanished, without even an explanation as to their wherabouts (they were off shooting Dorzak).
Season One may have taken longer to make, but at least they had quality.