Space:1999 comes to Blu Ray

Don your flares, set your ray guns to stun and prepare to take off on a High Definition journey on the Eagle transporter with the Blu-ray debut of Space 1999 – The Complete First Series.

The cult Gerry Anderson live action series telling the adventures of Moonbase Alpha will be available to own as a 7-disc set on 1st November 2010.

This is the first time that the series is available in High Definition anywhere (a new DVD release has also been announced) and this set comes packed with several special features – although, not, sadly any of John M. Burns superb strips published in the 1970s comic Look-In.

September 13th, 1999… A nuclear waste dump on the moon unexpectedly detonates, blasting the moon out of orbit and taking the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha on a fantastic (although, we have to say, scientifically ludicrous) voyage of discovery to the stars, fraught with danger at every turn. Martin Landau, Barbara Bain and Barry Morse star in this memorable fantasy series filmed at Pinewood Studios.

Gerry Anderson’s third live action series, Space:1999 sprang from plans for a second season of UFO, which was unexpectedly not renewed despite strong ratings in the US. The first season is a gritty, if often downbeat saga, with critics bemoaning its at times pessimistic storylines when it first aired in the UK.

Like UFO, it suffered from a lack of a co-ordinated network airing across ITV (unlike Gerry Anderson’s puppet series, such as Thunderbirds) and ran for just two seasons – the second revamped to bring in an alien shapeshifter, Maya, played by Hungarian actress Catherine Schell, who first guest starred on the show in another role in  Guardian of Piri.

Although not featured on this release, Space:1999 spawned comic strips on both sides of the Atlantic. Look-In (a title today owned by IPC, although it is no longer published) ran a two-page strip for 81 issues, amongst other strips based on popular tv series featured on ITV, alongside sport and pop articles. Written by Look-In‘s editor Angus Allan, artwork was largely provided by John M Burns and Mike Noble, with covers by Arnaldo Putzu. Mirroring the key date of the series itself, the first episode appeared in Issue 38, cover dated 13th September 1975 and ran for 20 issues.

The strips are regarded by fans as the best Space:1999 comic incarnation, which included a monthly comic published by Charlton Comics in the US featuring early art by John Byrne and in the Italian Farinas-Cardona comics (republished in Zack magazine in Germany).

Special features unique to this Blu-Ray release include digitally restored from new High Definition transfers; a restoration of Metamorph (which saw the debut of Maya) from season 2; Gerry Anderson commentary on Dragon’s Domain, one of the scarier episodes of the first season; trailers for Alien Attack and Journey Through the Black Sun; SFX plates and deleted SFX scenes – with music track; a ‘Concept and Creation’ featurette starring Gerry Anderson, Christopher Penfold and Barry Morse, Christopher Penfold, Brian Johnson and Keith Wilson; and a Special effects and design featurette.

Also included is a “Clapperboard” two-part special on the work of Gerry Anderson from 1975 and “Guardian of Piri Remembered” in which Catherine Schell remembers her time working on the series one episode.

• Releasd by Network DVD
• Release Date: 1st November 2010
• RRP: £79.99
• Discs: 7
• Running Time:1200 minutes (approximately)
• Screen Ratio:1.33:1 colour. Dolby 5.1
• Catalogue No:7957007

Web Links

Space: 1999 in Look-In – Overview
Space: 1999 Look-In Stories Checklist
Space: 1999 Comics Gallery
Gerry Anderson Complete Comic History – Space:1999

Categories: British Comics

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