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Remembering Moonbase Alpha, Fifteen Years Later

On September 13, 1999, our dear Moon experienced a catastrophic nuclear explosion which hurled it out of orbit into deep space. It took with it the brave men and women of Moonbase Alpha. In the years that followed the Alphans encountered Joan Collins, Christoper Lee, Brian Blessed, and whip-wielding women in red catsuits.

Space: 1999 still gets a lot of flak for being cheesy SF TV, but one cannot understate the profound impact the show had on fans in the 1970s. It was the only new effects-heavy space-based show at the time, and a syndicated show at that. It had a fairly diverse cast, at least by 70s TV standards. It featured the distinct Gerry Anderson vibe that had made Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet such eye candy, mostly due to the astounding effects work of Brian Johnson and Martin Bower.

It was the last non-ironic performance by Martin Landau and Barbara Bain as a couple, who followed it up with The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island. MST3K had fun with it. Some still hold that it surpassed Star Trek in many ways. The show also generated a lot of Fanzines.

In our current age when SF, fantasy, and comics are the tentpoles of mainstream TV and movies, it can be hard to remember what it was like back then. Space: 1999 served as a weird connective link between 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars, sufficiently filling the void for SF fans. I, for one, still remember the visceral thrill I got every time the second season opening credits started.

7 Comments on Remembering Moonbase Alpha, Fifteen Years Later

  1. I really loved that show as a kid, especially Catherine Schell. I still have
    a copy of the Moonbase Alpha technical manual

    And of course the complete set of DVDs

    Wow… great memories

  2. the tv companies here in the UK did not have much confidence in it. My local one showed it at Saturday lunchtime, and did not bother with the second series at all. Years later, when I finally saw the second series, I understood why, alas.

  3. Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) // September 13, 2014 at 8:24 am //

    Devil Planet is about the *only* Space 1999 episode I remember. With good reason! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this, Jeff

  4. Dragon’s Domain still haunts me. That was a scary disturbing episode for a 8 year old to be watching.

  5. I remember Brian the brain. He freaked me out but then you feel sorry for leaving him hanging in space like that. Like watching Charlie X fade from the Enterprise . . .

  6. Jeff Patterson // September 13, 2014 at 12:02 pm //

    When 1999 aired, there was no space shuttle program yet, and Elvis was still alive.

  7. I remember one with a sexy alien, turned out she had tentacles.

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