Space: 1999: Season 1, Episode 13

Matter of Life and Death (27 Nov. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
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Dr. Russell's presumed-dead husband mysteriously reappears on a reconnaissance mission to a nearby planet.



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Title: Matter of Life and Death (27 Nov 1975)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Barry Morse ...
Lee Russell
Prentis Hancock ...
Clifton Jones ...
Zienia Merton ...
Anton Phillips ...
Stuart Damon ...


While returning from a reconnaissance mission to a nearby planet which appears to be capable of sustaining life, an Eagle team pass out and the ship is brought back under remote control. Upon arrival a passenger is found aboard the Eagle, who appears to be Dr. Helena Russell's husband, long presumed dead after a failed mission to Jupiter five years prior. The Moon Base Alpha crew must determine how this seemingly impossible situation occurred, all the while slowly drifting out of range of the planet which has offered the promise of a new home. Koenig must decide whether to go ahead with the evacuation to the planet before time runs out, but questions remain about the true nature of Dr. Russell's "late" husband, and whether the planet is truly safe. Written by Clay Daniel

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Release Date:

27 November 1975 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Oxley is dubbed by Shane Rimmer. See more »


[first lines]
Alan Carter: Commander, we're getting a reading. Eagle One in orbit and holding.
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User Reviews

One of the worst episodes of the series
19 December 2014 | by (California) – See all my reviews

It's bad enough that, like a lot of Space: 1999 episodes, this one is a 15-minute story dragged out to 50 minutes. But what makes this one truly maddening is the characters' idiotic acceptance of an unbelievable situation: the sudden appearance of Dr. Helena Russell's long-presumed-dead husband on an Eagle--returning from, of all places, an investigation of an inhabitable planet. Dr. Russell accepts without doubt that it is in fact her husband, and (even more maddening) Commander Koenig accepts it, too. And of course this "person" is left unguarded in Medical: They're going to let him rest up and then question "him" later. (I mean, it's not like these people have ever run into any tricky aliens before, right?) A big chunk of the episode is taken up by this person engaging in the obvious nefariousness while the crew of Alpha remains oblivious. Of all forms of contrivance used by lazy script writers, the "stupid character" one is the most annoying, and this episode has it in spades. The only possible value in watching this episode is to see the stupendously bad ending. It's as if the writers woke up on the set after an all-night bender only 10 minutes before the end of filming and made up the ending right there on the spot. Other than seeing what has my nomination for Worst Episode Ending of the Entire Series, avoid this entry unless you're positively writhing-around-on-the-ground desperate for a Space: 1999 fix.

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