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"Space: 1999" Breakaway (1975)

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A very good start...even if the plot was amazingly impossible!

8/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
22 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When "Space: 1999" ran in its initial syndication, I watched it regularly. While even as a kid I could see the program had problems (it was way too sterile--the sets and acting and the plots), it WAS sci-fi and there was frightfully little on TV back then. Now, decades later, I am re-watching the show to see if my opinion has changed. As for just this first episode, it was pretty good--even if the science behind it is dubious, at best.

The first thing you'll notice about the premier episode is that the special effects are not up to today's standards. BUT, for the 1970s, they were amazingly good--and hold up reasonably well today. But you'll also probably have a laugh at how advanced they postulated that our space program could be in only about two and a half decades! Even by today's standards the advances were monumental! It begins with Commander Koenig (Martin Landau) taking command of the moon base. It seems (but isn't clear from the plot) that he had been in command some time ago but that this position rotates--and a Russian guy had been in charge in the interim. Regardless, the high muckity-mucks in the space program have sent him as a trouble-shooter of sorts. It seems that some weird sort of 'space madness' is driving some of the personnel crazy--and they soon die from this unknown disease that looks a lot like radiation poisoning.

One of the first things Koenig notices is that the Earth authorities (in particular the flaccid Commissioner) are concerned about the illnesses--but not nearly enough. Only when it is too late do the moon base people realize that the dumping of tons and tons and tons of spent nuclear fuel on the moon's surface is causing this illness AND have resulted in a time-bomb that seems ready to explode. In fact, near the very end, it does and this massive explosion tears the moon from its orbit--setting the stage for the ensuing episodes as the moon goes on its merry way through the solar system and beyond.

While the plot is hard to believe, it's actually handled quite well. In other words, they took an impossible idea and made it seem almost possible thanks to decent writing and acting--and lovely special effects. Regardless how claustrophobic the series seemed later and how sterile the uniforms are, this was a dandy start for the series and it's a shame the momentum wasn't quite maintained. Well worth a look--especially if you love sci-fi or like looking at a time capsule into the disco era!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

what a great start for something that will become cult

9/10
Author: trashgang from Midian
9 June 2014

I'm getting old i suppose. When I heard that this was finally out on a restored Blu Ray I picked it up. It was the first series i followed as a child growing up. So this was surely going to be a trip down memory lane.

That Space 1999 has become a cult series can be seen in the pilot, Breakaway. You can see that the cast was sublime and that the acting was above mediocre. But the effects used and the way it was shot never gave you nowadays a feeling that this was made mid seventies. They had a lot of money to invest in this series and it was going to be the next big thing but it failed and it spawned only 2 seasons.

The first episode is what it's all about, on 13 September 1999 there's something going terrible wrong with the moon. A big explosion made it possible that the moon went out of orbit from earth and the people left on Moonbase Alpha are left in deep space on their own. The contact with earth is over and they have to survive in space.

The effects as I said earlier were really well done for the time being. Just for a series they used miniature sets, it shows, but it do works. And they weren't afraid to add a bit of gore to the infected people, their eyes do have a weird look and two have some kind of burned skin. Nowadays you wont turn your face away for this but back then it was something to talk about.

Not a moment that made you think, this is slow or boring. Just have a look for yourself. High tec gadgets used, see the mini televisions, no effects used it's the real stuff, amazing.

And if you want to pick it up be sure to catch the restored Blu Ray, it looks amazing and has 5.1 sound! Filled with a lot of never seen before extra's.

Gore 1/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 4/5 Story 4/5 Comedy 0/5

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Space 1999--Breakaway

7/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
6 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Magnetic energy caused by atomic radiation disposal over time on the moon may halt the plans of Moonbase Alpha in sending a probe to a planet which could sustain human life. Pilots and astronauts who were in the Area 1 disposal site had fallen prey to brain disease which soon caused sudden violent outbursts and ultimately total brain death(the eyes white, face mutated). Magnetic bursts are increasing in magnitude and strength and it could be the accumulative effect of flying over Area 1 over a routine basis which led to the deaths of those who piloted over there to get to Area 2. Magnetic radiation leads Commander Koenig to make a frightening statement, "We're sitting on the greatest bomb man's ever made." The unstable atomic radiation sets off a string of explosions with enough G-force to send the moon out of orbit of the Earth. The trajectory of the moon as it accelerates away from Earth places Koenig in a precarious position--to risk an attempt to exodus the moon for Earth could lead to total failure so perhaps their future lies in the habitation of a new planet, Meta for which the Moonbase Alpha were preparing the probe(which explodes during the G-force catastrophe)to land on. This was the exciting, visually stimulating pilot for the short-lived cult sci-fi series where the 311 crew members on Moonbase Alpha faced/experienced unforeseen complications and many numerous lifeforms both dangerous and friendly. With nifty gadgets, large sets, and cool models(the Eagle space vehicles), all very similar in style to 2001:A Space Oddysey, SPACE 1999 provided something quite alluring and entertaining for fans of science fiction. And the mostly British cast, not to mention, Martin Landau with the strength, leadership, and intellect needed to guide his crew out of many sticky, difficult situations throughout the 48 episodes, added quality to the presentation. Gerry Anderson was finally able to bring his talents from the world of marionettes to live action, it's just too bad he had producers who infiltrated the show, depriving SPACE 1999 of a long tenure. Barbara Bain is the chief medical officer, Dr. Helena Russell, Barry Morse as Professor Victor Bergman(Koenig's cerebral colleague whose knowledge and wisdom comes in mighty handy during moments where such is needed), with Nick Tate, Prentis Hancock and Zienia Merton rounding out the cast as important members of the crew whose expertise Koenig depends on. I imagine just the sets alone cost a fortune(notice the wall that separates the bridge from Koenig's office, that neat little addition, the way it moves when he needs to communicate to his crew immediately, as a "for instance"), it's not surprising the show(like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA afterward)didn't last. The acting, thankfully, is reserved and subtle, not overwrought or theatrical which would become an asset the show would later depend on when the plots and monsters become burdens. A great couple of Eagle crashes into the lunar surface and the humdinger shockwave when the Moonbase Alpha is rocked by the explosions sending personnel flying throughout the different areas of the moon station are definite highlights.

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What might have been..

Author: oopboys from United States
15 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Martin Landau made a convincing Commander ...I couldn't believe that they were thinking about putting Robert Culp as the leading man..no disrespect of the Late Mr Culp but I can't see him in that role he just wouldn't have been a good fit...Mr Landau his wife Barbara Bain made a good head nurse, and the rest of the characters did will to form what was Space 1999 crew..Love Barry Morse (Victor) John's confident..to bad the network/show PTB wouldn't give him the price he wanted to stay on the show. I felt season 2 lost something without the voice of reason/wisdom of Victor..As for the pilot the beginning of it all.It was a build up to the moon blowing out of earth orbit..the writers did forget how to sometime have the crew not look soo serious..Helena was stiff.robotic like at times..but this was the 1975..shoot My show to was Starsky and Hutch. I love that show..almost 29 years later they are now playing it on TV again and the acting Is sooooo bad even though I never missed a episode when I was a TEEN. I even sneak down stairs, when everyone was a sleep to watch it during a school night. I didn't think the acting sucked at all I thought the show was awesome .now I can not bare to watch It because of what I didn't notice when I was young How bad the acting really was...so back in 1975 the acting was that at the time..so getting back to my review of Space 1999 overall It was a great beginning..a heck of a imagination to have the moon blow out of orbit to begin their adventures..so thumbs up..except Simmons. I am glad he gets it eventually in another episode his fate couldn't happen to a nicer guy.. So finally In my opinion they should have tried and made a season 3..we will never know if the 3rd try was the charm to the show.. a show that had promise, but was let down by terrible writing and plots and the to drastic change in main characters, Victor, Paul and Kano..to name a few..not taking any thing from Maya or her Boyfriend Tony..but the change of the core characters that centered around John and Helena was too noticeable..due perhaps money problems and cost cuts..I still think they should have gave it one more go ..maybe even gotten Roddenberry involved in it to save the show..but as the old saying goes if..If or buts was candy and nuts what a party we would have..I wish they had the What Ifs and Buts...

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"People are dying up here, John!"

10/10
Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
26 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The first episode of one of the greatest science fiction series ever made.

It is September 9th 1999. John Koenig ( Martin Landau ) resumes command of Moonbase Alpha at a time of crisis. Astronauts training for a mission to the planet Meta are going insane and dying. Radiation from the nuclear waste dumps on the other side of the Moon is responsible. Koenig orders the waste be distributed over a wider area, but it is too late. The dumps ignite, causing a mighty explosion that propels the moon like a rocket away from the Earth and out of the Solar System...

Production on 'Space: 1999' commenced in 1973, and creators Gerry and Sylvia Anderson could not possibly have foreseen that the N.A.S.A. space programme would end as abruptly as it did. It seemed reasonable at the time to predict that lunar colonies would someday become a reality. We are still waiting...

1999 may have passed, but this holds up well as a strong start to the series, although would have been better as a 90 minute instalment. The 'Meta' subplot is never satisfactorily resolved, for instance. Issac Asimov did not call this 'scientifically preposterous'. Though he nitpicked about some of the science on show, by and large he was positive on the subject. '2001: A Space Odyssey' was undoubtedly a major influence on the series in its first year, and not just with regard to special effects. Many episodes, such as 'Black Sun' and 'Collision Course', end ambiguously, as did Kubrick's classic. Landau is excellent, and is ably supported by the late Barry Morse as crusty scientist 'Dr.Victor Bergman', the latter becoming a father figure to the Alphans over the series. Barbara Bain's 'Dr.Helena Russell' is harder to like, but does not unduly damage the series. That fine Welsh actor Philip Madoc is seen fleetingly as 'Commander Gorski', the man whom Koenig has replaced. Roy Dotrice plays the bureaucratic 'Commissioner Gerald Simmonds', a role he reprised in 'Earthbound'. He should have appeared in more stories. With the Alphans almost permanently behind Koenig, Simmonds, who never gave up hope of returning to Earth, stood out. He would have brought authentic dramatic conflict, rather like 'Avon' in 'Blake's Seven'. The character was woefully underused.

The tension established in the opening moments never lets up. When the waste dumps ignite, it is like watching an Irwin Allen disaster movie set in space. The special effects are superb, of the sort we were not used to seeing in British sci-fi shows. I can recall watching this one Friday night in 1975 and thanking my lucky stars we upgraded recently to colour television. Barry Gray's grandiose music complimented the show perfectly. A critic at the time complained churlishly of the lack of humour in this episode. When you are in the kind of perilous situation the Alphans are in here, laughter is probably the last thing on your mind. Another compared the acting in the show to Anderson's 'Supermarionation' classics. To think someone actually got paid for making a cheap, predictable jibe like that.

The 'Eagle' spaceships were what every sci-fi loving boy wanted in his stocking that Christmas ( I'm talking about Dinky toy replicas, not the real thing! You'd have needed one big stocking for one of those! ).

As the Moon is sent spinning into deep space, Koenig decides against a mass evacuation. Despite the impressive hardware, it is ultimately a human decision that sets the events of the series in motion. Man's greatest adventure has just begun...

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Episode Summary and plot.

Author: rslegion from United Kingdom
26 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Set in the year 1999 Commander John Koenig (Martin Landau) arrives on Moonbase Alpha to uncover the reasons why members of crew and meta prob astronaut's are falling ill and to get the Meta probe launched on schedule. Soon he discover's that it's magnetic radiation from the Nuclear waste dump's that is causing brain damage on the effected crew and that the waste dump's are about to explode, the larger waste dump explode's on the dark side of the moon and force's the moon out of earth's orbit and into space starting it's journey. The crew of Moonbase Alpha are now looking for a new home. The meta probe is destroyed by the explosion.

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