Saturday, July 21, 2012

Space:1999 final analysis

After several months, I finally finished all the episodes of Space:1999. I remember seeing commercials for it when the SciFi Channel originally started, with Martin Landau saying, "We do not commit mindless violence." I wanted to like this series. I really did. I love old 60s-70s Doctor Who. I love Star Trek. I love bad science fiction in general. This show wasn't very good.

I just now finished the last of 48 episodes. I was renting the discs every once in a while through Netflix. It's a 17-disc set. I just couldn't bring myself to keep watching them night after night--I needed breaks in between discs. That's why it took several months.

Space: 1999 had no character development. The stories were okay, overall, but as I write this, I can't help but remember how many times that episodes just seemed to drag on in the middle, as if they were stretching their idea to fit into the 50-minute window. I felt that a lot. And those are the areas where they could have added character development.

Who were they as individuals? I simply don't know. I know the Martin Landau character Commander John Koenig as a moral yet oftentimes hotheaded character. I know nothing of Barbara Bain's Dr. Helena Russell character. Poor Alan--who seems to get pushed aside by other new characters midway through--all we know about him is that he's a pilot from Australia.

They barely, barely by gossamer wisps, touched on the growing love between Koenig and Russell and between Maya and Tony. But it just comes across as couples that are together for sheer sake of there only being 300 people left as it is.

The best glimpse into some character development is Tony's beer. He liked to try to make that homemade brew that everyone, including Tony, found disgusting. We needed more of that.

I don't know Koenig. After 48 episodes, I really couldn't describe him to you. He could be replaced easily. In fact, in some of the episodes that Landau was not in, for whatever reasons, you don't miss him. Imagine watching original Star Trek without a Spock. You'd miss him. You simply don't even notice when Koenig is not there.

They took away, after the first season, the doctor character played by Barry Morse. He made a good sounding board for Koenig. I could look up the answer as to why they got rid of him--off-screen between seasons, mind you, with little fanfare--but if they don't tell me in 48 episodes they were simply stupid. See, this could have been a bit of character development there, as they coped with the loss. Something. It was barely mentioned.

I liked the dozen or so last episodes--they were much better. Maybe this is when I resigned myself to the fact that there would be no development. I watched knowing that the characters simply didn't matter. They were all interchangeable. They could have a new pilot, a new doctor, a new commander, at any moment--and did most times--and it did not change the storyline.

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