Friday, June 29, 2018

UFO (In Black And White)


Here are just a handful of black and white images from UFO, ironically, from the colorful wonderful world of all things Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.

Putting aside all of those gorgeous purple wigs and the colors that brought the Gerry Anderson series UFO (1970-1973) to life, we give you some behind the scenes shots of the women of UFO and one with the late Ed Bishop as fearless commander of SHADO Ed Straker working with the late, great Gerry Anderson himself (alongside Peter Gordeno).

It's unfortunate the planned second season of UFO never lifted off and inevitably morphed into Space:1999. Wouldn't both unique and special series have been perfect to air side by side for a time?

The women of UFO were positively gorgeous as seen here with both Gabrielle Drake and Antonia Ellis (both below) as well as mother of actor Benedict Cumberbatch, the stunning Wanda Ventham (above).

It's a FAB FRIDAY indeed!

And the UFO Moonbase that would inspire Moonbase Alpha for Space:1999 (1975-1977).

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Stargate SG-1 S1 E11: Fire And Water

"When you're lives depend on each other you form very deep bonds."
-General Hammond-

Creature designs, effects work, production design are all top notch in this season one Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007) entry. While generally one of the least embraced of the season Stargate SG-1, Season One, Episode 11, Fire And Water is a deliciously dressed episode in its use of production design, lighting and color.

It's color palette is best in keeping with the likes of the excellent The Torment Of Tantalus (S1,E9) in its effort to step up the production side of the series. There are colors and design work in play that work almost as a kind of precursor of what would become a regular part of the pastel look of Stargate Atlantis (2004-2009) one day.

With Daniel Jackson the prisoner of an alien creature, and thought potentially dead, Jack O'Neill, Samantha Carter and Teal'c, at the request of General Hammond, are asked to go through Daniel's personal belongings.

Fire And Water, if this writer is not mistaken, is the second entry to see SG-1 enter into civilian life away from the SGC outside of Cold Lazarus (S1, E7).

As the SG-1 team essentially mourns the loss of Jackson they struggle with reason to think he is still alive.

The alien creature has programmed the SG-1 team to essentially believe Jackson is dead and gone, but the effort to suppress the truth and their memories fails.

The alien has been impacted by the series ongoing villain the Goa'uld further underscoring the impact of this insidious race upon the galaxy as a genuine scourge.

The surviving team members are torn between Daniel being both dead and alive. Their memories create a dual reaction to previous events that is troubling to the team as they attempt to come to terms with their previous expedition.

Meanwhile the alien creature, a kind of contemporary rendition of the Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954), in a visual sense, though once threatening Daniel with death apparently wishes him no harm at all, but keeps him hostage underwater. The creature needs closure.

Daniel offers the creature access to his genetic memory to determine the outcome of this alien's long lost love on Earth. She died during the Babylonian Empire. The creature fears harming Daniel if a Vulcan-like mind meld is performed.

Daniel works against self-preservation by volunteering his life suggesting there is no other choice. Of course, Jackson could simply forego this mind extraction and the old codger alien could simply go without answers, but that isn't Jackson's style as he is forever learning and embracing and reaching out to other races throughout the Stargate SG-1 series. "He murdered my love" cries the alien in agony over the discovery of his beloved's fate at the hands of the Goa'uld god Belos.

The pacing is indeed slow for Fire And Water. To make an analogy it's a bit like wading chest-deep through water. Still, fans of the series and its wonderful quartet of characters will nevertheless enjoy the proceedings overall. Amanda Tapping offers a particularly tender performance among the always strong set of turns by the foursome.

The episode was written by Brad Wright and Katharyn Powers. Powers isn't a personal favorite as Emancipation (S1, E3) and Thor's Hammer (S1, E8), both by Powers, are not high on my list, though I prefer the latter. Fire And Water falls somewhere in between for me. Fire And Water certainly continues to weave the mythology of the Goa'uld infestation and the impact of this race on various life forms across the galaxy whilst capturing elements of a love story or lost love rather affectingly here as did The Torment Of Tantalus. The empathetic Daniel Jackson, having lost Share, is certainly a good choice for commiserating with the creature, for this generally flat, even mostly humorless affair.

The installment looks amazing as a production effort yet is a bit of a bore. The coral colors of sea creature NIEHM's practical effects and design work and its lair's production design are impressive and marks the second terrific monster effects work of the season after the Unas in Thor's Hammer. Looking like some humanoid descendent of Sid and Marty Krofft's Sigmund And The Sea Monsters (1973-1978), Sigmund would be proud and approve of the sea creature entirely. It would be the last we see of NIEHM on Stargate SG-1 in its ten season run.

Still, Fire And Water is a decent story and continues to offer the building blocks to a rather impressive Season One in science fiction when one considers how tricky a season one can be.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Twilight Zone S2 E17: Twenty Two

Enjoying a look back at some of the lesser known episodes of The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) featuring beloved actors of the era. This writer missed this one featuring Jonathan Harris opposite actress Barbara Nichols.

The Twilight Zone, Season Two, Episode 17, Twenty Two falls short of the more impressive story featuring Harris we covered here at Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic called The Silence (S2, E25).

Twenty Two is interesting if just to see Harris offer a laugh to his special thespian brand, but the story based on a ghost story anthology from 1944 (The Hearse Driver) and before that a short story called The Bus-Conductor by E.F. Benson (1906) is a mostly underwhelming entry.

The overall 65,000 dollar budget per episode was cut well in half  for six episodes of The Twilight Zone's Season Two. One of those episodes was Twenty Two along with Bill Mumy's appearance in Long Distance Call, ironically S2, E22 (episode twenty two).

The visual limitations are notable, but the story isn't quite as effective as some of the best despite a solid concept of a haunted actress unable to distinguish reality from nightmare.

The entry was directed by Jack Smight, the man behind The Illustrated Man (1969) and Damnation Alley (1977).

Writer: Rod Serling. Director: Jack Smight.