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Space: 1999 –The Complete Season One Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS 5.1, English Dolby 2.0 Mono,  Isolated Music Track Dolby 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Region: A
  • Discs: 7 (5 x Blu-ray + 2 x DVD)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 14, 2010
  • List Price: $99.95

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BestBuy.com:
Space 1999: Complete Season 1 (6pc) -

Purchase Space: 1999 The Complete Season One on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4.5/5]

It’s odd to me that this mid-70’s sci-fi cult classic actually flew under my radar all of these years, only revealing itself to me when this Season One collection came to me for review, being that I have been a science fiction fan as long as I can remember. Perhaps it is due to the series itself being so heavily overshadowed by its similar (and earlier) counterpart, Star Trek, or that I never took much to creator Gerry Anderson’s other big watershed work, The Thunderbird’s. One would think, however, that having Martin Landau and Barbara Bain in the leads alone would be enough to get this series a notice, but, for whatever reason, it went unnoticed by me — until now.

Space: 1999 ran from 1975 to 1978 and for those unfamiliar with it, you can think of it as Star Trek with better acting, or even a thinking man’s Star Trek, at least that’s how this first season struck me. It was far more cerebral, and seemed a bit weightier in tone and overall character, but in general, stayed close to the same scientific, theoretical, and social boundary pushing themes of Star Trek. Toss in just a bit of the darker undercurrents of Doctor Who (the show on the whole is far more British in character than Star Trek), and you have here an intriguing and often thought provoking sci-fi series that has been worthy of its cult status all of these years.

The premise of the series surrounds the Moonbase Alpha, a research facility nestled atop a nuclear waste facility on the Moon. On September 13, 1999, magnetic energy builds up on the base causing the Moon to blast out of the Earth’s orbit, setting the research facility adrift with it. Headed by Commander John Koening (Martin Landau) and Dr. Helena Russell (Barbara Bain), the multicultural colony are forced to face the unknown of deep space on their moon, coming across strange new life forms and unusual phenomena they are ill-equipped to handle.

The series has ever-evolving plotlines and loads of what were at the time cutting edge special effects from Oscar-winner Brian Johnson (Alien; The Empire Strikes Back), making it both a cerebral and visual treat that still translates well today, despite being obviously dated, but thus is the nature of science fiction. It still remains a must see for any sci-fi fan and if you missed this the first time around, or, like me, somehow never managed to catch wind of it, you owe it to yourself to see what the buzz is all about.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Season One of Space: 1999 aired in 1975 and was filmed on 35mm, being restored here in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray, it looks like it hasn’t aged a day. The AVC/MPEG-4 encoding retains the 1.33:1 framing and provides a nearly impeccably clean picture with solid details, a vivid 70’s color palette filled with bright primaries, and the deep black backgrounds of space. There’s enough detail in this transfer to show up the texture in those stylish jumpsuits, the makeup on actors’ faces, and even the obvious cables used to get those spaceships flying.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

There is no lossless audio option provided, unfortunately, but three programs of a very respectable quality level are provided. The original monaural soundtrack is offered in Dolby 2.0 and a newly mixed 5.1 soundtrack is offered in DTS. Lastly, there is an isolated track of the cerebral score by Barry Gray in Dolby 2.0 Stereo.

The Monaural mix is what it is, a straightforward affair from 70’s television that offers clear enough dialogue, but sounds a bit drab. The new 5.1 mix does effectively open up the soundstage and help to reveal more of the “bleeps” and “blurbs” of the spaceship, while also adding a bit more bottom to many of the explosions and engine blasts, but it does also reveal more clipping in the dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

The two bonus DVDs packed with featurettes might have been enough to yield favorable marks for this set’s supplements, but add to that two audio commentaries from Gerry Anderson, additional text-only commentaries and hundreds of hi-res photos and it’s a real boon for fans.

The supplements provided with this release are:

Disc 1:

  • Images (1080p):
    • Breakaway
    • Breakaway PR and Behind the Scenes
    • Matter of Life and Death
    • Matter of Life and Death Behind the Scenes
    • Black Sun
    • Black Sun Ageing Makeup Process
    • Ring Around the Moon
    • Earthbound
    • Earthbound — Lew Grade Visit and Behind the Scenes
    • Earthbound — Roy Dotrice [This is Your Life]
  • “Breakaway” audio commentary with Gerry Anderson

Disc 2:

  • Images (1080p):
    • Another Time, Another Place
    • Missing Link
    • Guardian of Piri
    • Force of Life
    • Alpha Child
    • Generic and Portrait Gallery

Disc 3:

  • Images (1080p):
  • The Last Sunset
  • Voyager’s Return
  • Collision Course
  • Death’s Other Dominion
  • The Full Circle
  • Behind the Scenes and Original Contact Sheets
  • “The Last Sunset” w/ Text Commentary

Disc 4:

  • Images (1080p):
    • End of Eternity
    • End of Eternity Deleted Scene
    • War Games
    • The Last Enemy
    • The Troubled Spirit
    • Space Brain
    • Models and Model-Making
    • Storyboard Breakdown
  • “Space Brain” w/ Text Commentary

Disc 5:

  • The Metamorph (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 0:51.00)
  • Images (1080p):
    • The Infernal Machine
    • Mission of the Darians
    • Dragon’s Domain
    • The Testament’ of Arkadia
    • Bassett Sweet Cigarette Cards
    • Donruss Chewing Gum Cards
    • Unfinished Opening Titles
    • Textless Opening Titles
    • Textless End Titles
  • Textless Episode Material (Mute)
  • “Dragon’s Domain” audio commentary with Gerry Anderson

Disc 6 (DVD w/ Bonus Features):

  • “These Episodes” Featurettes (Selected Individual Episode Analysis) (1:35.12)
  • Memories of Space
  • Sylvia Anderson Interview
  • Textless Generic Titles
  • Concept Creation Featurette
  • Special Effects and Design Featurette

Disc 7 (DVD w/ Bonus Features):

  • “Clapperboard” Two-Part Special on the Work of Gerry Anderson from 1975
  • “Guardian of Piri Remembered”
  • Barry Gray’s Theme Demo
  • Alternative Opening and Closing Titles
  • Martin Landau and Barbara Bain US Premier Intro and Outro
  • SFX Plates and Deleted SFX Scenes — With Music Track
  • Alien Attack Trailers
  • Journey Through the Black Sun Trailer
  • Ad Bumpers

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

This is vintage sci-fi restored to excellent quality on Blu-ray from A&E. Anyone revisiting the cult classic in this package will definitely wonder aloud why we haven’t seen a reboot of this marvelous sci-fi series after all of these years; perhaps one is around the corner?

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right”]B003ES5JDI[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Space 1999: Complete Season 1 (6pc) -

Purchase Space: 1999 The Complete Season One on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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