Friday, April 2, 2010

Space:1999 Y1 Ep8: Guardian Of Piri

Science fiction set design really doesn't get more peculiar than the sort found in this entry of Space:1999. Welcome to the weird, wild, wonderful reality of Space:1999.

It's FAB FRIDAY people! It's back to the fantastic universe of all things Gerry And Sylvia Anderson!

A splendid shot of the Eagle interlocking with one hung in suspended in mid-air.
Here we are at Space:1999, Year One, Episode 8, Guardian Of Piri with an early sneak peek of things to come for Space:1999 Year Two [sort of]. Why might you ask? This is the first appearance of actress Catherine Schell. Her guest spot here is unique. But, Schell would later return to Gerry Anderson's Space:1999 Year Two as beloved alien shapeshifter Maya. She was beloved to me. Her character left a sizable impression on my young mind and one that remains indelibly seared.

While Year Two is probably the more significantly maligned of the two years of Space:1999's run, I still have such vivid memories of some of those installments. Catherine Schell's role as Maya is part of the reason for those ongoing memories. I'm not alone. I have a friend who named their German Shepherd after her. I was shocked to learn their dog's name was actually Maya and that this casual friend of mine was a Space:1999 fan. You see, this is the impression Year Tow left on many Space:1999 fans despite the drubbing it received. It's bad enough Space:1999 has had to work hard to receive acclaim long after its run by the likes of proponents like myself, but Year Two receives a layer of criticism all its own. Many felt the series lost its hard edge established in Year One's science fiction. My inner child enjoyed the second year as much as anything from Year One. Perhaps that says something about Year Two right there. Year One brought me two favorites that instantly spring to mind, Force Of Life and Dragon's Domain, while Year Two brought me The Beta Cloud and The Bringers Of Wonder. Maybe Year Two was driven toward the innocent, child-like wonderment of a pre-pubescent audience. Maybe it was the monsters. I like monsters. I like monsters alot. Time will tell if the criticism was fair or not and whether these episodes still rank on the pedestals of my childhood memory. Either way, I'll be bringing you my thorough analysis in the months to come. For now, prepare to be wowed by the beauty of one Catherine Schell. Barbara Bain eat your heart out, but I still love you.

The Boy Wonder adds his two cents regarding the opening montage credits. "They only show the exciting bits and then the rest of the show is boring." WOW. The youth is wasted on the youth. You are so wrong I tell him. It's not like that. Yes, they do show some physically exciting moments, but this is thinking man's science fiction I explain. This is for the mature science fiction fan. "In other words, it's boring." Ouch. Double WOW. These kids are just spoon fed some of the worst television ever created. I watch it closely folks, but it is a battle to expand the young man's mind.
Some of my fellow sci-fi friends here have referred to Space:1999 as "campy." This, of course, simply isn't accurate. It is very much the culmination of years of unfair, misinformation and mis-anlysis by the pro-Star Trek sect. Is this conceit ultimately correct or debatable? I defend with the latter. Space:1999 isn't campy like 1970s vintage era Godzilla or films like Return Of The Killer Tomatoes. I turn to the New World Dictionary Of The American Language to guide my defense. Camp [n]: Banality, mediocrity, artifice, ostentation, etc. so extreme as to amuse or have a perversely sophisticated appeal. Since banal means 'dull' the Boy Wonder might agree, but there is too much in play mentally for me to concede to such an untruth.
While Martin Landau and company played the series for serious, the scriptwriting serves up stories that are anything but commonplace or cliched. There is much to unearth for the fan of science fiction and nothing is played here with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge. While a mistake in logic might transpire from time to time, I don't find myself eye rolling as the antics of Dr. Smith in Lost In Space might have inspired. Further, the visual effects and miniature work is of such superior quality it could hardly qualify as mediocre or pretentious. It is a visual tour de force.
Thematically, the world of Space:1999 is dark, severe, grim, grave- call it what you will, the lives of our dear Alphans are adrift in dire times. There's no winking at the camera here. In the end I rarely find the proceedings so perverse that I am moved to laughter or ridicule. The sophisticated science fiction here is, like any series, sometimes successful and sometimes not, but it is certainly no more ludicrous than anything presented on Star Trek: The Original Series. It may be deliberate, measured, somber and even tedious at times, but I certainly don't find it camp. I suppose that's for you to decide, but my vote is in. I concede the tedious to the reaction of the Boy Wonder, a partial creation of this allegedly brave, new world of special effects television. Wait until I show him Dragon's Domain. The lights will not go out.
The Moon and Moonbase Alpha pull within striking distance of yet another colorful planet. Commander John Koenig questions David Kano about Computer. Computer is scanning the surface of the planet, but is unable to provide evidence of human sustainability. Kano is very loyal to Computer and might effectively defend it to his dying breath. Kano informs Koenig Computer can't act irrationally and "guess." Koenig and company await feedback from a probing Eagle and its two pilots who are arriving on the planet's surface. A miniature Eagle flies above the planet's surface populated with wee little models that look like a field of Poppy plants. The visual designs are rather ordinary and not entirely life-like, and while I'm not a fan of this installment's look, the planet's appearance is very much by design and quite logical. In Main Mission, Alan Carter assesses the Eagle's speed is simply too great in its approach of the planet. Kano's Computer indicates g-forces are normal, while Carter and Koenig's eyes tell them something to the contrary. The pilots appear to be having a jolly old time on board the Eagle. Could those objects actually be poppy plants? As the laughter continues the Eagle's transmissions cease and no readings are received in Main Mission. The Eagle has simply disappeared. Here is one of those grand openings the Boy Wonder actually had the audacity to mock. He is a trip.

Director Charles Crichton [A Fish Called Wanda] returns for the latest entry in the Space:1999 canon. Carter is hot with Kano over the Computer's malfeasance. And this is new how? Koenig cannot understand why the pilots had no sense of danger despite the Computer's misinformation and miscalculation. Koenig orders Carter to fly manually to the planet with no reliance on Computer. It speaks to Koenig's distrust of modern technological assistance with reason. Koenig also instructs Carter to obey any order given to Carter from Paul Morrow even if it flies in the face of rationale. Carter certainly has great trust in Paul. "It'll be a pleasure commander."

Professor Victor Bergman presents a construct of the Moon's approach to the planet. It runs counter to some of the data supplied by Computer. Bergman falls unconscious. The planet is clearly having a deleterious effect on the Alphans. Dr. Helena Russell indicates the monitor's readings of Bergman are fine, but she is analyzing her own readings including "rapid heart beat." Wait a second. Doesn't Bergman have a mechanical heart? If so, wouldn't a mechanical heart remain static in its function? According to Russell, the Alphans' hearts are adjusting to changes while Bergman's mechanical heart did not. Hmm, I'm not sure about that one. I'll go with it. So the oxygen level within their atmosphere was decreasing and Bergman did not react well [stating the obvious]. Once again, Space:1999 questions normal science and physics and is finding it near impossible to rely on Computer. Computer simply isn't helping their cause. Out in Space:1999 space, the rules just don't apply. Koenig knows Computer cannot be trusted. Koenig checks on Bergman indicating he's alright apart from "a few strange fantasies." Bergman, played wonderfully by Barry Morse, is a bit of an eccentric type. Koenig smiles as he reports. Perhaps those fantasies affected the lost Eagle's pilots. Bergman informs Koenig he has a good instinct for Piri, the planet in question. Koenig will need more than "fantasy" to be convinced. Dr. Bob Mathias informs Russell one of the patients has died. Computer did not alert the Main Mission team to this clearly extreme equipment malfunction.
Meanwhile, in his Eagle, Carter approaches Piri. He reaches the site of the missing Eagle where it literally hangs suspended in the air. Could there be Gerry Anderson strings there? If so, I cannot spot them. Nicely done. Such realities defy physics and logic and this speaks to the excitement of Space:1999 and the mind bending fun. Carter literally docks his Eagle in mid-air while his co-pilot keeps the girl steady. Carter finds the other Eagle's cockpit empty. The pilots are gone. Koenig orders Carter to get out of there and return to Moonbase Alpha.
Koenig calls Kano into his office. He wants some answers. Kano is at a loss. It really isn't pleasant to be in Kano's shoes in these instances. I feel for him. Kano is given a reasonable reprimanding, but he simply cannot find fault with his beloved Computer. Unfortunately, for Moonbase Alpha, Piri offers our reluctant heroes the unpredictability of space and time that runs counter to the logic of fact. Koenig knows Piri is affecting Alpha's Computer. Kano tells Koenig "there is only one way." Koenig asks Kano if he's willing to go through with a process once tried in his past.
In the medical lab, Russell explains what it is exactly Kano will undergo. Kano was one of the rare individuals who underwent an experimental program on Earth. The medical operation performed implanted "a complex of fiber sensors in the cortex of his brain." Kano will link to Computer to find out exactly what is happening. He will be one with his friend. Koenig hopes Kano can determine why the planet is affecting Computer. Kano isn't exactly enthused about the procedure. Apparently he is one of the few survivors. Three other patients that underwent the surgery wound up as mindless vegetables. That's comforting. There's nothing like the possibility of becoming a space amoeba. This is a pretty big risk by Koenig placed upon Kano. It's clearly a command decision and maybe not the easiest or most welcomed one, but he makes the hard calls. I sure hope he has a backup Computer technician. "Yours was the undeniable success story," smiles a comforting Russell. Koenig confidently wishes him well. If things go awry, Bergman will become a multi-tasker.
The process is activated and Kano wretches in pain. It all looks fairly unpleasant. The link is made and Russell and Koenig smile. Suddenly, without warning, Kano disappears. The edit and effect in creating the illusion is actually pretty seamless. Well done. And the mystery continues on Space:1999.
At Main Mission, Carter has returned. Bergman reports to Koenig that Alpha is in orbit around Piri. Bergman is fairly optimistic about it. Koenig can't makes sense of his attitude given the problems incurred on Alpha. Could Piri gain control over the electronic or artificially intelligent? It would seem Piri is capable of impacting those in contact with technology. Koenig is not encouraged and remains skeptical about the planet. Carter returns to Main Mission thanks to maintaining manual control over his Eagle. Koenig refutes Computer's findings. "That Computer seems to be telling us just what we want to hear." Bergman is a little too positive about the findings. Bergman's character shift is notable and Koenig is aware. Koenig tells Carter they are flying to Piri together.
Carter and Koenig touch down on Piri. Carter is ordered to remain with Eagle. Carter looks out at the white bulbs on the planet's surface and jests with Koenig as he exits, "No place like home." The sets are impressive despite the artificial look. Koenig reports to Main Mission. He's going to check for anything unusual. Sandra Benes kind of laughs because she's thinking what we're thinking. Aren't white bulbs on a checker board-like surface unusual enough? If the surface doesn't have trees or running water count me out. Next planet! Koenig finds his two Eagle pilots who are standing in a deep trance. Kano is there as well. Koenig smacks Kano in an attempt to break him free of his mental imprisonment. Kano reports, "Computer is right. Piri is just perfect for all our needs." Bright lights flood the area. Koenig shields his eyes. A vision of beauty arrives in the form of one former James Bond girl, Catherine Schell. She is a splendid, exquisite specimen. In fact, if the Alphans weren't lured to Piri by the poppy plants by now she might just do the trick, at least for the male populace. I know one thing. I would be as good as doomed, a mere pile of mush pudding in her capable hands.
Koenig is approached by the female humanoid. He holds his fastened weapon in caution. I can't say that I blame him. Koenig is on the ball. She informs Koenig she is sent to allay his fears and bring peace. Of course, what else? How about a big fat wet one! She puts her lips right on Koenig and kisses him. He kisses her back [by the way]. Who wouldn't you? I'm beginning to think we have a real Captain Kirk in our midst here. With this kind of greeting Piri might not be so bad after all. But then, if it's too good to be true it probably is as they say. This is his second conquest in two episodes including Missing Link.

The woman has presented herself to Koenig in this form so he might understand her "presence." She's got presents all right. What is wrong with me today? "What worries me is what I don't understand, what I can't see." She is the Servant of the Guardian. Interestingly, Schell's part in Guardian Of Piri will remain radcially different than her starring role in Year Two. It's a tribute to her performance. Schell's transformation into the character of Maya for Year Two is a remarkable one when held in contrast to her work here.
The Guardian wishes for the humans to settle on Piri to relieve their human suffering. The Servant notifies Koenig that the planet was once populated by a race with great technical skill. Machines were built to operate routines so the people could enjoy living. The Guardian was created to control the machines and actually making decisions for the race. Koenig argues humans are imperfect and cannot be maintained. As I'm watching I can't help but note Schell's striking beauty. She is a siren of beauty leading Alpha to certain disaster. In place of song, she has the alluring body that just won't quit. She's simply gorgeous. Sorry, I was in entranced by the Servant for a minute. Koenig calls life fleeting. She counters with "absolute perfection lasts forever." She's pretty darn close to perfect. Why was the Eagle suspended? Why do the pilots and Kano appear spellbound? The Servant tells Koenig the Guardian has suspended time. The Servant tells Koenig his men are at peace. "Time is stopping for them." Koenig irritated, "Life is stopping for them." I love when Koenig gets fired up!

The Servant indicates perfection is the Prime Directive. Koenig's Alphans are succumbing to the toxic world of Piri's grasp. They are all going loopy. It's a bit like Director Ishiro Honda's Attack Of The Mushroom People [1963] in space, sans mushrooms. Carter has lost it and begins piloting the Eagle haphazardly to dangerous effect. He is infected with the Piri elixir. Koenig grabs the controls from Carter. The two go round and round in a battle of dizzying, physical struggle as fisticuffs fly inside an Eagle flying out of control. Badly injured, Koenig subdues Carter and regains control of the ship making haste back to Moonbase Alpha. Koenig reaches out to base personnel, but his calls of distress go unanswered. Main Mission is empty because all personnel are in the midst of one gigantic, joyful party. The Eagle lands but there will be no medical crew awaiting Koenig's return. The Alphans have all clearly been reduced to servants of the Piri's Guardian. Why is Koenig unaffected? Could it be his opposition to technology? While the punchbowl is busy and the dancing continues, Koenig arrives via Travel Tube to learn what the hell is happening. You couldn't possibly feel any worse than you do for Commander John Koenig in this sequence. He remains the sole Alphan hanging onto conscious choice. Once again, philosophy enters the world of Space:1999 and the concept of free will.

A wonderful shot of the Eagle hangar bay.
In the Medical Section, Koenig awakens to find Mathias is clearly enjoying his profession a little too much. You know things are bad when graffiti adorns the Medical Section's walls with the word "PIRI." Mathias attempts to serve liquor to Koenig. He refuses. Mathias drinks it. Moonbase Alpha is indeed in a stupor.
Koenig arrives in Main Mission to find the place teeming with activity. The Alphans are clearly preparing for evacuation. As Koenig observes a command conference in session it is duly noted there is an air of playfulness about the proceedings. No one is deliberating anything with any degree of gravity. Operation Exodus is clearly in effect. Koenig is desperate.

Koenig covertly moves to disable portions of Moonbase Alpha's systems. He gives orders to Computer. It is announced that the Commander's orders are in direct conflict with those programmed by the Guardian. Computer has been hijacked, infected, a genuine '70s virus if you will. Koenig begins ripping motherboards out of Computer. Tanya Alexander tries to intervene. Alexander is an underutilized, certified hottie. She is tossed aside. Paul attacks Koenig to halt his actions. Russell sneaks up on Koenig and knocks him unconscious with the infamous, classic shot insertion.
Later, Koenig wakes, but he is essentially confined and imprisoned to his quarters by the Operation Exodus Committee. Koenig asks who has sanctioned the order? Dr. Russell has given the order. "Grounds?" Computer responds, "Diminished responsibility. Your freedom threatens the safety of Alpha." Oh boy. Koenig would like to tell Computer a few things. Koenig assures Computer 'it' is the real threat to Alpha.
Russell and Bergman converse about Koenig in their own childish, numbed fashion. Bergman assures Russell Koenig will remain in an Eagle and he will come around and join them in his own good time.
The ultra-hot Catherine Schell as the Servant.
It is dark. A door opens to Koenig's quarters. He looks out upon the Moon to witness a fleet of Eagles flying toward Piri. Things must truly feel lost for Koenig. He must be overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness. Yet, Koenig is actually quite composed about matters and never gives up. His mind is still working. He can still think and feel. What will his next move be?
It would be unfortunate to see the human race end like this. Can you imagine humans losing their will to live? Koenig attempts to communicate with Computer, but it too has relocated to Piri. He looks down upon a bottle of pills. Sudenly, the Servant arrives. She indicates he has been taking sleeping pills for three days numb to his loss. The Servant asks how long he will sustain this. She points to the Alphans on Piri who are essentially frozen in scenes of joy. The Servant continues her seduction of Koenig by first erasing his wounds and removing his arm cast. The Servant offers Koenig paradise alongside Russell. Koenig smashes a computer monitor. The Servant moves to remove the pain he feels, but Koenig denies her instead preferring to remember he is human and that he can still feel pain. The Servant offers some explanation regarding why Computer was so unhelpful at the very start of the installment. The Guardian encountered Computer as near flawless of all the intellects on Alpha. Computer was quickly assimilated into the Guardian's ranks when it entered Piri's orbit. Koenig attempts to reason with the Servant.

Schell has more dialogue in Guardian Of Piri than she ever had in James Bond's On Her Majesty's Secret Service [1969]. Koenig takes an Eagle to Piri. Maybe a few well executed laserbeams into the Guardian might do the trick. Russell lays with Bergman enjoying life without the worries of "day to day subsistence." Koenig arrives in the Eagle.
Koenig tries to speak with Benes and Paul but they are too far gone. Carter is running around half-naked. Koenig wants to know where have all the Pirians gone. Bain is in a blue robe and short skirt and looks very good for an old girl. Koenig brings her aboard the Eagle and applies different frequencies to her brainwaves. It works and Russell is freed from the Guardian's grip snapping into the real Russell. Russell tells Koenig there are no signs of life here. The revelation for Koenig is, there is no life on Piri, thus the set design established for this cold, artificial world.

The Servant gathers the Alphan crowd and informs them that their happiness and peace is in jepordy by one amongst them. The Servant whips the crowd into a frenzy ordering Koenig be destroyed. They must do it for the Guardian. There's a certain message about cult of personality and the stupor-like condition people can easily fall prey to when it comes to charismatic figures. Carter begins firing on Koenig and Russell exploding the bulbous poppy thing-a-ma-bobs. These are later noted to be giant white balloons; you will see one pop in the video clip below. Set for stun, Koenig stuns Mathias and Carter. Russell takes out one of the mindless rabble of drones too. "Where are your own people?" questions Koenig. This really wakes up the folks.

The Eagles lift off and exit [with strings]. I love those strings. Explosions and styrofoam peanuts blow all around Piri as the fleet returns safely to the Moon, which is now leaving orbit. In the final moments it is clear by the appearance of greenery, plants and shrubs that life is returning to Piri following the Guardian's destruction. The Servant was the Guardian. With the technological bubble destroyed, time has also been restored on Piri along with random bubble-blowing. With time restored the Moon moves passed the planet more rapidly. Kano, through the now equally restored Computer, reports Piri now has life, vegetation, water, "everything." Maybe it's time to turn around. "We brough a dead planet back to life, maybe we should have stayed." It's a solid ending as the Alphans bring life to a lifeless planet and can't even go back to use it. There's a kick in the pants for you. Life is really funny like that. Speaking of life being funny, I'm still not entirely sure why Koenig remained the fly in the ointment for the Guardian. Did his love for free will and choice maintain his physical freedom. Space:1999 ends on another positive. Now if they could only get this Moon turned around.

Guardian Of Piri: B

Writer: Christopher Penfold
Director: Charles Crichton

Author John Kenneth Muir [Exploring Space:1999] offers some additional points of interest that generated further consideration for me beyond my viewing experience. His ideas were definitely a springboard for some additional thought.

Muir points to the striking detail of the Piri world and its uniqueness to most other worldly creations across Year One and Year Two of Space:1999. How about science fiction in general? It is a truly original creation. Even the sky and airspace surrounding the planet apepar as pure simulation. Piri is synthetic to the bone. Muir points to the alluring work of Catherine Schell as the ultimate sterile, icy cool "temptress." As he points out, in an interview with Schell, her performance was as calculated as her character is calculating. Schell indicates she had some "difficulty" navigating the part with Director Charles Crichton. She was concerned she would be seen as "one-dimensional." On the contrary, and as Muir points out correctly, her performance is indeed "memorable" and even more impressive than Peter Cushing's performance in Missing Link.

Muir points to the overarching theme of the episode, which generally underlines that the human life is the one "worth living." Certainly the clarity of this episode's theme and focus runs counter to a handful of the earlier episodes that lacked this kind of cohesive idea. This is a success by comparison.

Muir points to the final moment when Koenig remains "tight-lipped" and essentially blows a hole through the Servant's head with very little notice. He refers to that moment as a "simplistic solution" and while that is true, it is, I would argue that Koenig had made several ovations to reach the Servant through reasoning in the hopes of influencing the Guardian. The Servant simply would not relent and alter course and given Koenig had lost his entire Alphan population to the lure of this "siren," as Muir refers to her, he was indeed a desperate man. Perhaps in those isolated, lonely moments in the darkness of Alpha he realized there was no other option. He had no recourse but to meet the machine head on with brute force. It's an entirely human reaction to counter the manipulations of the machine. So with little in the way of talk, an exasperated Koenig turns to violence submitting a brutal, emotional, human response against the machine. His last ditch effort to get his people back to Alpha required risking it all. It worked. Granted, I concur with Muir on one point, why was there not a more advanced defense system in place to "guard" against the Guardian's demise. Could it be the Guardian via the Servant certainly provided a powerful system of luring lifeforms to its planet? Could it be Piri no longer registered the threats of a living race? Perhaps this was a loophole in its system. Maybe it never expected to run into a lifeform resistant to this particular system. Koenig was an aberration of sorts, perhaps he was the anti-virus to the virus, the antidote. After all, nothing is ever entirely secure.

Speaking of the "siren," Muir points to the Guardian Of Piri as a kind of modern day reflection of Homer's classic The Odyssey. Muir always lends great insight into science fiction pulling from the literary classics. He points to the lure of the sirens in The Odyssey. Schell's character is the perfect example of this great story retold within a modern sci-fi context.

This reminds me of my love for Homer and a brief life moment. The Odyssey and The Illiad are both epic works and rank up there with the likes of beauties like Beowulf and The Epic Of Gilgamesh. I'm reminded of one summer day when my brother and cousins wanted to go to the ocean for some relaxation. My cousin had something to read, my brother probably had nothing to read, but there I was with Homer's The Illiad. My cousin said, "Are you reading that for school?" I looked at him and said, "No, I'm reading it for fun." He looked at me with humored disdain, a roll of the eys and an overall 'good grief.' It was then that I knew I was different from the others. :)

Muir makes a case that the Alphans blaze a positive trail of impact along their journey. There are several examples including Piri where there is no detrimental effect. This is certainly an interesting current through a series that is dark and often leaves questions. There are moments like this that offer hope and paint a positive portrait of humanity. The future often portrays an unflattering possibility and here the creators serve up a conclusion that speaks volumes about the good in us without preaching. This all happens amidst a very cold, electronic tale. Space:1999 certainly presents, through its characters, a distrust and betrayal of technology, Piri's Guardian and Computer included. It is the human touch and reason that prevails and offers salvation.

The stunning Catherina Von Schell.
Special Guest: Catherine Schell [1944-present]. Hungarian born. She was born into royalty as Catherina Schell von Bauschlott. Her career was initially credited to Catherina Von Schell including her brief appearance in the single James Bond adventure to star George Lazenby, the sixth 007 film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service [1969]. She had a few thoughts regarding the sixth Bond film in Fanderson magazine FAB #42. "I know that it is considered to be one of the best Bond films now." Really? Where did you hear that? "I didn't think a great deal of George Lazenby - he was rude and primitive, and it really wasn't the right part for him." She would undergo the name change for Space:1999 as Catherine Schell. She was one of a harem of women in the 007 film dubbed Blofeld's Angels Of Death. She was one of two women James Bond would bed from the angels. Can you blame him? I mean geesh! Schell was indeed on her majesty's secret service to be sure. She is a hottie. Enjoy this early appearance and, no, she's not naked.

I believe she was the most striking of the Bond women in this 007 entry.
Schell would play Maya in Space:1999 Year Two. Film appearances include a rare Hammer sci-fi film Moon Zero Two [1969], reminiscent of Gerry Anderson's UFO and Space:1999, and The Return Of The Pink Panther [1975] opposite Peter Sellers. She had a lengthy career in television including a role on The Persuaders! [The Morning After] and figured prominently in eleven episodes of The Adventurer as Diane Marsh. She starred opposite Roger Moore in Return Of The Saint [The Imprudent Professor], garnered a role in Tom Baker's Doctor Who [City Of Death] [1979] [listed in Doctor Who Magazine's The Mighty 200! as the #8 best episode of all time] and appeared in an episode of Lovejoy [Raise The Hispanic] opposite Ian McShane [who guest stars in Space:1999, Year One, Episode 9, Force Of Life].


John Kenneth Muir said...

Another fantastic Year One review, with accompanying great choices as far as photographs.

Over the years, I like "Guardian of Piri" more and more. It has some weak moments early on I think (particularly on Alpha, and Mathias's weird outburst in Medical...) but the visuals are stunning.

There's just nothing like this "world," Piri, in other science fiction television, and this is a critical reason why I often return to the show.

It was too much trouble, apparently, for the recent BSG to bother with world-building...but Space:1999 did it convincingly -- and mind-blowingly (if that's a word...) on a weekly basis.

Just looking at "Missing Link" and "Guardian of Piri" back-to-back, that creativity, that visual aplomb, that imagination, is obvious. No Hummer vehicles here!

Great job,
John Kenneth Muir

SFF said...

Thanks JKM! I know what you mean. The universe of Space:1999 was thoroughly convincing. The investment into the Alphans' world was done down to the detail. The creators really bring you to a place you've never been.

This is no copy cat series of anything I recall.

Speaking of BSG... it's funny. The Ronald Moore series did reel me in initially and then around Season Three the allure began to wear off and by Season Four I was scratching my head at times. That series fizzled.

Further, I know what you mean by your comparison. BSG had some serious special effects. They were devastatingly good in the space battles, but beyond that it was all surface gloss. Any location shooting could have been done in your backyard and I think some of it is lazy. They would stick a lens on the camera and change up the color, but it was not original like those places created in Space:1999.