Earth's Moon has been ripped from its orbit by a massive nuclear explosion and cast adrift in unknown space. The more than 300 surviving personnel of Moonbase Alpha find that the drifting ... See full summary »
Earth's Moon has been ripped from its orbit by a massive nuclear explosion and cast adrift in unknown space. The more than 300 surviving personnel of Moonbase Alpha find that the drifting Moon on which they are situated has become locked on a collision course with the giant planet Astheria and then is pulled into the center of a black hole in space. The intervention of a higher power saves the Alphans from destruction in both instances. Written by
Kevin McCorry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Back in the early 1980's some enterprising producer had the idea of filling airtime by packaging together two episodes of the "Space 1999" TV series each into two-hour "movies", with some quickly-shot silly wraparound scenes to make it look like the two episodes were somewhat related. Other Space 1999 "movie" titles include COSMIC PRINCESS, ALIEN ATTACK and DESTINATION MOONBASE ALPHA.
Now, I loved this program when I was in junior public school (and concur with the majority that the second and final season was awful). Today, it delightfully holds up. The technical design is still superb, the science in the fiction is plausible, and whereas "Star Trek" offered hope for the galaxy, "Space 1999" was an appropriately dark portrait of a bunch of people trying to survive in an unknown environment. The admitted fault of the show is not that the crew's uniforms have bell-bottoms (who knew they'd be back in style in 1999?), but the poor writing. Sometimes the show was so esoteric that it was uncomfortable. The gaps in logic worked sometimes (but ONLY sometimes), as these mortals experienced phenomena which was beyond their understanding.
This particular compilation strings together "Collision Course" and "The Black Sun" (which was what they used to call black holes), and thankfully doesn't have any of those awful newly-shot add-ins which feebly attempt to explain away the connection between the two episodes. Instead, it just feels like you're watching two episodes back to back, which suits me fine, thank you. The first finds the renegade moon on a collision course with some huge planet. However, a flagship which orbits this great world containing the princess Ara assures Commander Koenig that the planet will not hit the moon, because just prior to the impact, the planet will "evolve" into another state of being. The only one who believes him is Alan Carter, whose state of mind was altered due to flying through some strange cloud or something. The second features the moon en route to a black sun, and as the majority of the crew awaits their fate, a computer-selected group of six fly the opposite direction in an Eagle in the hopes of furthering the human race elsewhere in the cosmos.
What is also striking about this series is that the characters consistently have to confront their own mortality. A routine mission to destroy an asteroid which is blocking the path of the moon is begun with a somber "Good luck", as though they're not expected to return! By comparison, the crew of "Star Trek" seem superhuman. The characters within Moonbase Alpha are refreshingly flawed, vulnerable, real people. Also, even back in the 1970's, this was a rare program which refreshingly represented all aspects of the human race, as African, Eastern European, and Asian people were always seen on the base, and in nicely uncliched characterizations.
Looking at this "movie" again this past winter for the first time in years, I was taken too by how much this series communicates that space is COLD. This effect is not only brought to life by the superbly creepy feeling you always got from this program, but also when they have to power down on the moon to keep their haphazard gravitational device, they're desperately trying to keep warm. It also helps too, that I saw this during the winter at 4AM one Saturday night, with all the lights off, with a blanket and some Southern Comfort.
I'm happy that someone has finally released "Space 1999" on video, but I don't want to plop down fifteen bucks per episode.
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