Category Archives: 99 on ’99

99 on 99

99 on 99: “Dragon’s Domain”

99on99023bSPACE IS F-ING TERRIFYING! In a format breaker – flashbacks and narration, strong focus on guest Gianni Garko as tormented Tony Cellini – Koenig is inexplicably devoted to a guy that led a disastrous planetary probe. A shrieking Cthulhu turned his shipmates into dessicated corpses? Yes, and it’s SCARY AS SH**! The spaceships’ graveyard and cobwebbed probe are eerie visuals, but reliable actor Michael Sheard is wasted, the probe appears far from its original position with no explanation, and the literary parallels are too heavily underlined. He’s “very happy to know he put new life into an old myth?” Doubt it!

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ENTIRE FIRST SEASON: SPACE 1999: SERIES 1
THIS EPISODE: “Dragon’s Domain”

99 on 99: “Mission of the Darians”

99on99022bToo many recycled sci-fi clichés at the end of the season; here’s another mash-up reminiscent of countless DOCTOR WHO episodes. Impressive models and matte paintings, as well as a great early 360-degree shot, can’t mask the tired plot of a generational ship split between sophisticated pretty haves and primitive dirty have-nots. There’s a macabre bit of cannibalism too, but guest stars like Joan Collins and Aubrey Morris – yesss! – are wasted. One again Koenig is more like STAR TREK’s Kirk, solving this culture’s dilemma with one half-hearted speech. And of course, Collins goes for the alpha male (no, not Koenig).

BONUS EYE CANDY:
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ENTIRE FIRST SEASON: SPACE 1999: SERIES 1
THIS EPISODE: “Mission of the Darians”

99 on 99: “The Infernal Machine”

99on99021bHumanity chafing against confinement and slavery, an alien genius downloading his personality into a computer, Koenig pulling a Captain Kirk and outwitting a machine mind, one last note of awkward sympathy as a lonely being commits suicide – this is an episode assembled from a host of worn-out sci-fi clichés, with even the stalwart regular cast only going through the motions. The proceedings are made barely interesting by some nice set design – great use of space and the color red – and the presence, both corporeally and aurally, of guest star Leo McKern. Paul was lucky to sit this one out.

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ENTIRE FIRST SEASON: SPACE 1999: SERIES 1
THIS EPISODE: “The Infernal Machine”

99 on 99: “Space Brain”

99on99020bAlpha goes through a lethal galactic car wash! A guest shot by ubiquitous “American” in ’70s-’80s movies, Shane Rimmer, doesn’t amount to much. The silly string-covered Eagle rock is a cool idea, Koenig is by turns his usual self (expressing regret over a preemptive strike) and reckless (going out alone to retrieve the nuclear Eagle), and there’s something about Alpha having a puzzle competition that feels really depressing. We also get two crashed Eagles and a bit more mythology on a living, interconnected universe. The final sequence with foam flooding Main Mission is as fun as it is ridiculous.

EXTRA NOTES (QUESTIONS, REALLY): Still impressed that someone keeps replacing the printed labels on the Main Mission monitors to signify the various Eagle pilots; does Alpha have a Kinko’s? Did DOCTOR WHO’s Ice Warriors lend the production their foam? And when Koenig says, “We’re about to enter the area of the Space Brain,” how did Landau ever do that without laughing hysterically?

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ENTIRE FIRST SEASON: SPACE 1999: SERIES 1
THIS EPISODE: “Space Brain”

99 on 99: “The Troubled Spirit”

99on99019bTHE HAUNTING OF ALPHA HOUSE as an Italian zombie-like ghost terrorizes Alpha. Koenig and company are just pawns in a predestined game. The wordless opening sequence packs a lot of ‘70s into five minutes with an electric sitar solo (by episode’s composer Jim Sullivan), and a séance to communicate with plants led by Chico Marx…sorry, Dan Mateo (Giancarlo Prete). The Alphans employ a high-tech exorcism in search of a solution; I was waiting for a wide-lapeled Leonard Nimoy to walk in. There’s a nice distinction between supernatural and paranormal, and the ending is quite the neat little time twister!

EXTRA NOTES: Alan really manspreads, doesn’t he? The recital almost made me feel like I was watching a STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION for a second. And oh Victor, don’t perpetuate that “we only use part of our brain” myth while being all creepily chummy with Kano.

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ENTIRE FIRST SEASON: SPACE 1999: SERIES 1
THIS EPISODE: “The Troubled Spirit”