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SPACE: 1999

Updated on March 13, 2014

"What's happened to us out there in space is beyond explanations..."

On September 13, 1999, a nuclear accident blasted the moon out of the Earth's orbit and sent it sailing off into space.

Or at least that's the way it happened in SPACE: 1999, the 1970s tv show from British producer Gerry Anderson.  Running for just two seasons, this series explored the encounters of the wayward moon colony as its residents adapted to life away from Earth. 

The Premiere of SPACE: 1999

The show really did premiere on September 13th, only the year was 1975. That day also happens to be my father's birthday, and at the appointed time, he, my uncle and I (the three sci-fi geeks in the family) all trooped down to the tv room to line up on the couch to watch the premiere episode.

The birthday cake had already had the candles blown out on it, and my mom came down with slices for everyone during a commercial break.

Part of the excitement was that Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, both known from the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE tv show, were a real-life couple at the time, playing a couple on the show as well. Landau was Commander John Koenig and Bain was Dr. Helena Russell. This was the most expensive British television show in production at the time, and a variety of the elements of the show were manipulated to retain American investment and audiences. Star Trek fandom was a new and nonetheless hot thing at the time and the hunt was on for the next big sci-fi show.

By having the accident on the moon happen suddenly, it gave more latitude for age and diversity in the cast. This wasn't a crack team sent into space for exploration, it was whoever just happened to be at Moonbase at the time of the nuclear disaster. With the moon moving through space, carrying a colony of people, storylines shifted between character stories and situations on the base, and encounters with aliens and various space phenomena.

Get Into Space: 1999 - the entire series on DVD

In the spring of 2012, I decided it was time to rewatch the entire Space:1999 series, from start to finish. Turns out the biggest issue is the fan debate of whether it's better to follow the tv production episode order or the broadcast order. I opted for the production order as that tended to have less continuity errors and strange cast switches compared to what happens when you use the original US broadcast order.

Each season really feels quite different and you can tell that decisions were made to take the show in a different direction and give it a different emotional context for season two.

Space: 1999 Action Figures - Alphan and Alien Figurines

One of the best things about Space: 1999 are the aliens. There are tons of groovy humanoids, often alternating with more monstrous encounters, as the Moon hurtles through the Universe. The actors who portrayed many of the alien beings that the Alphans encountered is a stunning Who's-Who of the day: Brian Blessed, Christopher Lee, Joan Collins, Peter Cushing, Ian McShane, Julian Glover, Leo McKern and many more.

Most of the favorite characters and aliens are available as collectible figurines.

Where To Suspend Your Disbelief

Ok, so the BIG argument was "hey, if an explosion on the Moon had really happened like that, they wouldn't have gone flying off into space!"

You have to really let go of a lot of physics and space theory if you're going to watch and enjoy this show. Chances are nearly impossible that an explosion could really knock the Moon free of the Earth's gravitational field and send it off on a trajectory through space. Chances are much greater that the Moon would either be blown apart and become space debris or that the debris would rain down upon the Earth.

People who also want to argue that the Moon wouldn't go flying off in a straight line into space, and that there is no way that it would pass so many planets without becoming ensnared in some gravitational field, will find there's no much argument against them. They're right, but remember, this is a fictional tv show so that's why the Earth's Moon went flying off into space with 311 people on it, having adventures and alien encounters.

Clips and Teasers - snips from the tv show, esp episode trailers

How Was Your Visit To Moonbase Alpha? - comments and questions

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    • schwarz profile image

      Rae Schwarz 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @robertred24: That's awesome!

    • robertred24 profile image

      robertred24 4 years ago

      I still remember the hours passed on the TV watching Space 1999 and my Eagle transporter drawings when I was a kid.

    • Explore LM profile image

      Explore LM 6 years ago

      Thanks for an interesting lens!

      I just recently started watching Space 1999. I'm about halfway through season 1 and I'm really enjoying it. Much better than I thought it would be.

    • christopherwell profile image

      christopherwell 6 years ago

      Fun show! Thanks for making the lens.