|Index||5 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An alien ship crashlands on Moonbase Alpha carrying cryogenic chambers with sleeping humanoid lifeforms known as Kaldorians (led by Christopher Lee!) who had fled their dying planet for Earth, hoping to be accepted so they can live/survive. Crooked politician Commissioner Simmonds (a particularly loathsome Roy Dotrice) is obsessed with getting home to Earth even if it means blackmailing Commander Koenig (Martin Landau) by removing a vital part that keeps the temperature on Moonbase Alpha under control. Lee must endure hippy attire, with long robe and hair colored, and does so by taking his role extremely seriously, speaking all times in a quiet, peaceful tone, very calm and reserved. It is refreshing to have an episode where the aliens are not hostile and do not rush into seeking revenge when Dr. Helena Russell uses a drill to open one of the plastic cryogenic cases containing a Kaldorian, hoping to examine them (they believe the aliens are dead), killing it. Instead, believe it or not, Captain Zandor (Lee) offers one of the Alpha crew a chance to take the place of the Kaldorians' dead comrade, a ride to Earth with a calculated 75 years to enter the planet's orbit. Koenig wants the computer to decide objectively who will take that spot for home but Simmonds, chomping at the bit because he has no place on Alpha due to his status as a beaurocrat, will have none of it. His fate is appropriate and who the computer chooses is just the right bit of irony to close out the episode. There is a strong sequence of suspense where Helena, participating in an experiment to see if humans are compatible in the Kaldorians' cryogenic stasis, could be in danger of succumbing to a severe brain trauma if the process isn't successful. This episode does a swell job of establishing just how everyone feels about Simmonds, considering him a cipher, an annoying nuisance, insufferable and aggravating. The clashes between Koeing and Simmonds further illustrates this.
Wow, I sure didn't expect to see Christopher Lee starring in this
episode as a somewhat hard to recognize alien. However, when his
beautiful voice rang out, it was obvious that someone at ITC had done a
good job of arranging for this talented actor to appear on the show.
Yes, I realize that Lee has possibly more TV and movie credits than
anyone in history (look him up--you'll see what I mean), but he sure
lent an element of class to the show--even if his part wasn't all that
interesting (I would have preferred to see him as a villain).
A ship with humanoids aboard is discovered in the vicinity and the Moonbase folks investigate. They revive the aliens and find that they are a group of pacifists who are, oddly, bound for Earth (what are the odds?!). However, sadly, in the process one of the aliens is accidentally killed. While it should take these aliens another 75 years to reach the Earth, they understood that the death was accidental and are quite forgiving--after all, they ARE pacifists. So, to show they are swell people, they offer to let one of the humans use their suspended animation chambers and come to Earth with them.
Who will take this place is where the episode gets really interesting. While almost all the crew of Moonbase are very professional and are willing to let the computer decide, objectively, who should go with the aliens, the Commissioner (who was last seen in the initial episode) decides HE is the one who should be chosen and behaves like a boorish jerk. What happens next is what takes this episode to the next level--with an ironic twist or two that make the sci-fi show almost like a "Twilight Episode" at the same time! Initially, this show seemed pretty dull--don't believe it! Just sit tight and keep watching.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was never really a fan of SPACE 1999 despite looking forward to every
broadcast every Thursday night in the mid 1970s . As an adult it's very
easy to see the series flaws . It's an extremely deadpan show treated
with total seriousness with aesthetics obviously inspired by 2001 and
yet given any serious thought the science involved collapses . Even if
you suspend any disbelief in the premise of the Moon being blown out of
Earth orbit it becomes more and more implausible the number of alien
planets and cultures the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha meet on a weekly
basis . Also a bit convenient that the Moon never flies in to a star or
passes a supernova. That's always the problem with a serious SF show -
you can't keep changing the goal posts
The problem with series one of SPACE 1999 is that it wants to have its cake and eat it . At least season two threw in its lot and became an international version of STAR TREK but not so its predecessor that concerned itself with mysticism , metephysics and reboot buttons . At least two episodes featured the entire cast being killed off only for them to be resurrected at the end of the episode , a massive cheat that seems to have influenced Steven Moffat's vision of DOCTOR WHO . I suppose Gerry Anderson can defend himself by saying it might have been more original in the mid 1970s but this " Aliens decide to give the Alphans a second chance " still isn't much different from someone woke up and found it was a dream type storytelling
Earthbound written by Anthony Terpillof and directed by Charles Chrichton is almost certainly the best story of season one despite - or more likely because of - its lack of astro-mysticism and metaphysics . It has a very simple story of an alien ship landing on the Moon and the aliens stating they're visiting the Earth , a journey that will take 75 years . There is one space available for an Alphan who they will take back to Earth and it's left for the Alphans to decide who will get the available space . Commissionar Simmonds decides no matter what he will be returning to Earth with the aliens
There are a couple of small problems with the episode . One is the obvious fact that the pay off is all important and not much happens action wise till this point . Another one is the episode might have worked even better is if Simmonds had been a better known character . He appeared in the first episode Breakaway but by the time Earthbound comes along I doubt if anyone would have remembered who he was . Perhaps if he'd appeared in a cameo in a couple of previous episodes abrasively clashing with Koenig his impact would have been assured
But this are slight problems and this episode has one of the most chilling endings in television as Simmonds awakens in his perspex casket only to realise things haven't worked out as planned . This episode is best remembered as having Christopher Lee as the alien leader . Lee is a rather wooden actor but his cold aloof performance seen here perfectly suits the character he plays . Roy Dotrice as Simmonds gives an absolutely superlative performance as Simmonds . A totally selfish and unlikable character but one whose fate is so cruel and terrible that despite being self inflicted not even the meanest viewer will be unmoved as to the character's slow drawn out lonely death . In fact this episode probably contains the worst , most distressing fate of any character featured in a telefantasy series
Some kind of space ship crashes on the moon near moonbase Alpha. Soon
they are trying to open the spacecraft and are trying to rescue those
aliens, but one of them dies by accident. Not knowing how they would
react they are lucky that those visitors do come in peace and were out
to find earth.
This episode is really great. You've got two stories combined, the one with the visitors and the Commissioner who see his change to go back to earth if those visitors would leave the base. The aliens agree to have one human who will travel with them for 75 years to reach earth. But will it turn out as it should be?
This is really great. But it's the master of the foreign race that makes this excellent. Christopher Lee do plays the leader. And he does it will coolness just like he did with Dracula. And just have a look when he comes out of his cage, they way he rises did make me think of Halloween (1978) when Michael is standing up from the floor. I guess John Carpenter has seen this episode. Still, this is worth watching for two reasons, Lee and the story itself.
Gore 0/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 0/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 0/5
Gerry Anderson's second live action TV series was like his first, UFO
(1969-73), of the Sci-Fi variety and one which I recall catching
episodes of during afternoon reruns on Italian TV in my childhood days;
ironically enough, while I have since acquired similarly-set cult TV
series of the era on DVD like STAR TREK (1966-69), BATTLESTAR
GALACTICA (1978-79) and BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY (1979-81) I
have yet to add SPACE: 1999 (1975-77) to the collection and my viewing
of the episode under review, which features the late Christopher Lee,
came via the ubiquitous "You Tube" channel. Although this particular
episode was the handiwork of Ealing Studios veteran Crichton, the
overall feel is a grim one that belies Anderson's earlier fantastical
The plot here revolves around the group of humans fleeing from a war- torn Earth under the leadership of Martin Landau and Barbara Bain both already veterans of a previous TV phenomenon, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1966- 69) coming across some alien pacifists headed by an albino-in-KISS- make-up (Lee); the necessary drama to keep one watching apart from the moderately inventive production design is created by one of Landau's team, scheming politician Roy Dotrice, who wants to join Lee's party and return home and, in his attempt to force himself on the latter, runs amok with a space gun and shoots several humans as a result. Previously, Bain had already put herself at risk while testing whether an earthling can withstand the alien's glass pods for the 75-year journey homeward but Lee's intervention saves the day. Similarly, it was him who ultimately gives Dotrice his chilling come-uppance at the end a very cruel fate that is itself topped by the ironic reveal of the identity of the member of Landau's crew that the computer had decided should be earthbound.
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