SPACE: 1999 Season 1 Blu-ray Review

     December 30, 2010

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It is about time that Space: 1999 has been released, not only on Blu-ray, but also as one complete season. This release gives you the entire first season packaged together in a seven-disc set, where it had previously been offered on DVD in numerous volumes.  I mean, who has that much shelf space that they can devote a yard and half of storage to Space: 1999 episodes?  Now you can have the entire Season One of Space 1999, occupying but a mere inch of valuable shelf real estate.  My review of the Season One Blu-ray, after the jump.

space-1999-season-one-blu-ray-coverSpace: 1999 was produced in the UK by Gerry Anderson, who gave the world the gift of “supermarionation” (marionette puppets with a flashy name) that were used to produce children’s sci-fi themed shows Thunderbirds (1965) and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterions (1967).  Space: 1999 ran for only two seasons: 1975-1977, just in time to complete its run before Star Wars (1977) made the scene. The look of the show was most definitely inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Along this vein, one can understand why Stanley Kubrick wanted all his magnificent 2001 miniatures destroyed after the production wrapped, which has been a horrific reality to film preservationists.  Had they not, the miniatures most certainly would have ended up on Space: 1999, something that would have had Kubrick waking up screaming in the middle of the night.  Can you imagine The Discovery repainted yellow, making an appearance as a derelict spacecraft?  Oh wait, that did happen, and it was called 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984).

This neat set offers the show digitally in a restored high definition transfer, with Dolby 5.1 tracks as well as the “as broadcasted’ mono tracks.  Gerry Anderson has commentary on episodes “Breakaway” and ‘Dragon’s Domain”.  Additionally, the bonus features include a great collection of images in HD, including never-before-seen stills.

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The best aspects of this Blu-ray are found on the bonus features, which include demos, alternative opening and closing titles, deleted special-effects scenes and several making-of featurettes from which the titles speak for themselves:  “Memories of Space,” “Concept and Creation,”  “Special Effects and Design.” Additionally, we are given a Sylvia Anderson interview and “Clapperboard,” a two-part special on the work of Gerry Anderson from 1975.

In any case, Space 1999 gives you fan-friken-tastic sci-fi visuals, both from the live-action on-set photography and the super-cool miniature work.  How could any sci-fi afficianado not know what “The Eagle” is?  Hey, if nothing else, Mattel’s Eagle playset provided us with the first 3 ¾” action figures, a trend we have not seen falter ever since.

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The photography for the show is super-crisp and clear, and the clarity is only enhanced by the Blu-ray. The polyester knit bell-bottom uniform trousers along with zippered 2” heeled boots look great as well.  I must get me some of those.  The pacing of the show may be a bit slow for today’s youngsters who are used to faster paced programming, but the original Star Trek-era fans will no doubt always embrace this television classic. A great buy.

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