Space: 1999

1975-1977, Group Three Productions

Born out of a never-finished second season of UFO, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's bizarre space opera—the most costly British television series to date—was their last production as a couple. Starring the husband-wife team of Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, it followed the adventures of the inhabitants of a colony on the Moon as it drifts through space after a nuclear waste explosion ripped it out of Earth's orbit. Right.

Like its immediate predecessor, 1999 is thickly 70s, all polyester bellbottoms and long sideburns, although it lacks purple-haired space babes. Every story is a Debbie Downer: success is perpetually being snatched away from our heroes at the last minute, creating an overall sense of hopelessness and futility. The series' two seasons were starkly different: the first attempted to be noble and stuffy in a cheesy kind of way, like 2001 meets Lost In Space, while the second was significantly retooled, owing to a strong American influence, becoming more flashy/trashy and action-oriented. A third season had been planned, but the cast—particularly Martin Landau—was at odds with the producers.

It's challenging to find any plusses in the series. It may be fondly remembered by those who saw it during its initial run, but viewed today it simply fails to impress, even a little, on any level. Unfortunately, it's not charmingly goofy like UFO; it's just a sad, somewhat embarrassing reminder of what entertained us in the 70s.






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