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Space: 1999

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Space 1999

8" Space: 1999 Action Figures from CTVT

February 26, 2012

If you're hungry for collectibles based on the classic original Space: 1999 series, but you don't necessarily have the budget or the time to troll eBay, innumerable garage sales and neighborhood flea markets, looking for the vintage licensed toys originally produced by Mattel and MEGO/Palitoy, look no further than Classic TV Toys.

CTVT currently has a wide variety of 8" Space: 1999 figures that are quite similar to the MEGO 9" line that was originally released in the 1970s.  There are twenty different figures in all (NOT COUNTING their "space crew" of nameless characters in Moonbase Alpha uniform) and most are reasonably well done, with good head sculpts, uniforms and accessories.


The complete set of Space: 1999 8 inch action figures from Classic TV Toys

It should be noted however, that key original series characters Dr. Helena Russell and Commander John Koenig, are NOT INCLUDED in the set.  Apparently, the good folks at CTVT were unable to get the rights to use the likenesses of actors Barbara Bain and Martin Landau, respectively.  But you can always kitbash or customize your own version of the classic couple using bodies and accessories from the toy company.

Further, these otherwise wonderful collectibles were originally produced in India and feature somewhat frail and breakable plastic appendages (in comparison to the EMCE Toys' reproductions that usually rival or surpass the durability of the classic 8" Type 2 MEGO body).  For that reason, the quality conscious collector may want to exercise caution when purchasing these toys.

But fear not... for CTVT's prices are, in most cases, quite reasonable, and if some part of the plastic body does break (which is likely), you can always either get extra bodies from CTVT or a high quality reproduction body from Doc Mego.  Most "Megohead" collectors tend to go this route anyway, and most report that the final product (an EMCE Toys body kitbased with a CTVT head, clothes and accessories) pretty much does the job quite handily.  Happy collecting!

Space: 2099, Anyone?

February 14, 2012

And then, there's Space: 2099.  Originally conceived by Montreal, Canada based film editor Eric Bernard, Space: 2099 is pretty much just exactly what it sounds like; a stylized update of the cult classic series, Space: 1999.

What's different?  Well, in Bernard's well planned vision of the franchise, cutting edge editing techniques and computer generated enhancements are thoughtfully and painstakingly employed to breathe a very powerful second wind into the original material.

By making numerous tweaks to image quality, special effects shots and previously established details great and small (such as the entire series timeline, just for starters), Bernard and company hope to "receive the blessing and approval of the current right's holder, Granada Ventures, to enhance the original series in high definition with new editing and effects as Space: 2099 for public sales on Blu-ray and hopefully to be broadcast on specialty TV networks throughout the world."


From the original negative...

... to all new, digitally enhanced splendor

Yet, despite the fact that a great deal of hard work has gone into the project since late 2007, Granada Ventures has not only not sanctioned this more than worthy fan effort, but most recently, it was announced that the Space:2099 concept is currently being developed by ITV Studios America and HDFilms as an upcoming "reboot" style project.


All new visual elements have been added to enhance the continuity of the original series

Is it disappointing that the Space: 2099 concept will be wholly redone by the owners of the property, rather than them simply giving a much deserved greenlight for Bernard's project?  Yes and no.  Perhaps the most remarkable thing of all, is that a classic scifi series, that has not been widely publicized or distributed for literally decades, has remained fresh enough in the public consciousness over the years to now merit such attention.

The fact that the show has not only stood the test of time, but has even inspired a group of devotees willing to work long and hard enough to see it restored to its former glory is, in and of itself, pretty remarkable.  Despite the fact that everyone seems to agree that the original program needs to be retrofitted in one way or another, to make it more contemporary, this Space: 1999 revival phenomenon surely speaks volumes about the validity AND the viability of the original concept created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.

As the video below, from Bernard's production team, so eloquently illustrates, the Space: 1999 concept is definitely more than worthy of a full scale revival.  Too bad the folks at ITV Studios haven't yet fully endorsed the fan made production, and are instead moving forward with a replacement series.

But then, there is perhaps a great deal to be learned from what happened when actor Richard Hatch and his team of loyal fans of the original Battlestar Galactica series got together in the late 1990s to generate interest in an updated BSG project - all well ahead of the Syfy Channel's "re-imagining" of the franchise in 2003.

Yes, then as now, the fans spoke up and were definitely heard.  Remarkably, they succeeded in proving to studio execs that the core concept of their beloved old science fiction show was still viable.  But then... the owners of the property just ended up doing with the material, just exactly as they so chose.  Which now appears to be in the definite future of the futuristic saga which first began as the Disco era science fiction television series, Space: 1999.


In the end, Richard Hatch's Battlestar Galactica revival got ignored in favor of a "re-imagining"

At this point however, there may be little left to do but say, "C'est la vie."  Yet, one way or another, surely, Eric Bernard and other loyal Space: 1999 fans who've stuck with the show all these years, deserve a well earned pat on the back for their tireless efforts and devotion.  Like the tried and true fans of BSG, against all odds, they actually succeeded in generating enough renewed interest in their favorite classic TV property to effectively jumpstart a franchise that had previously been pronounced dead.  And that folks... is nothing short of extraoridinary.

Which leaves one to ponder whether or not the new Space: 2099 "reboot" project will in fact live up to the high standards of fans of the franchise or... as in the case of Galactica, the final product will end up being so similar, yet so totally different, that it actually ends up alienating the original core fanbase.  Yet at the very same time (if things turn out anything like what eventually happened with Galactica),  breeding a whole new crop of devotees who actually end up having very little in common with their counterparts in scifi fandom.


Even the classic Eagle spacecraft gets a stylish new update for Retcon Studios' Space: 2099

Moonbase Alpha's Legacy: A Return to Our Origins

February 14, 2012

Certainly, if Eric Bernard and his team at Retcon Studios have anything to say about it, the saga will eventually move ahead even further into the future of the future to a time several decades after the events depicted in the original series, when audiences will be introduced to the daughter of leading classic Space: 1999 characters Dr. Helena Russell (Barbara Bain) and Commander John Koenig (Martin Landau).

Surmising that such a part would naturally be a perfect fit for Juliet Landau (herself an accomplished actress with numerous credits to her name), who also just happens to be the real life daughter of actors Bain and Landau, Bernard has even created a detailed backstory for the Juliet R. Koenig character to inhabit as a fully grown adult.

Interestingly enough however, the elder Dr. Russell and Commander Koenig are mostly out of the picture in the proposed narrative, presumably to make way for the story to revolve more heavily around the younger Keonig.  Likewise, there are also plans for the progeny of second season characters Maya (Catherine Schell) and Tony Verdeschi (Tony Anholt), whom it seems, ended up having two children of their own.

Born on a distant planet called Terra Nova, both christened and colonized by the former inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha, Alysse and her brother Anthony Jr. are also suspiciously without their parents in the proposed future of a sort of franchise spinoff that Retcon Studios is currently marketing as, Moonbase Alpha's Legacy: A Return to Our Origins.


Visit www.space2099.com to check out Eric Bernard's highly impressive Space: 1999 update project

Other original survivors of Moonbase Alpha are planned to show up in Bernards's plans for the future of the saga as well.  Both first season series characters Alan Carter (Nick Tate) and Eva (Carolyn Seymour) would feature somewhat prominently, as would the now fully grown Jackie (Jack) Crawford, whom fans of the show might recall, was the only child to have actually been born on the Earth's moon.

Yet what ultimately becomes of the future of the future first depicted in Space: 1999 way back in the mid 1970s, yet remains to be seen.  Until then, here's to the future of the franchise, in whatever guise the Space: 1999 mythos takes on in the thrilling days to come.

Fantastic New Space: 1999 Adventures

February 08, 2012

The exciting new cover of Space: 1999: Aftershock & Awe

Scheduled for release in the fall of 2012, is yet another stunning graphic novel by Andrew E. C. Gaska.  The prolific and highly innovative author of Critical Millennium Volume 1: The Dark Frontier and Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes, has now begun an exciting foray into the Space:1999 franchise.

According to a recent press release, Space: 1999 - Aftershock and Awe: Book 1 is basically divided into two contrasting, yet complimentary scifi yarns.  In Aftershock, Gaska gives readers an overview of the harrowing events that followed when the far side of Earth's moon was rocked by a devastating nuclear disaster in the now obviously alternate universe originally depicted in the cult classic TV production.

It seems that this sudden catastrophe not only caused the moon (and, by natural extension, Moonbase Alpha AND its 311 hapless inhabitants) to
be sent careening out of control into the far flung reaches of space, but it also had definite repercussions for the folks back home.  Tracing the lives of nine such earthbound individuals will be the primary focus of the first half of the volume.

Gaska and his team of storytelling masters (including gifted artists Gray Morrow, David Hueso and Miki) bring all of this to gorgeously rendered graphic novel life in a grand way previously unseen in the much beloved, yet arguably somewhat overlooked Space: 1999 franchise.

In the second half of the book, Awe (also edited by Paul Morrissey, with notable contributions by Erik Matthews, Nicola Cuti and Nina Kester), Gaska does something perhaps even more clever.  He gives his audience a refresher course in the exciting events of the original pilot episode of Space:1999.  This time however, with a whole new twist.

By utilizing the personal accounts of such key characters as Commander John Koenig and Professor Victor Bergman to more fully expand upon the harrowing events of September 13, 1999, Gaska skillfully interweaves into his narrative, additional background details that may have been overlooked in the first televised episode.

The beautiful cover of Muir's Space: 1999: The Whispering Sea

This new offering from Drew Gaska and company certainly sounds like it will really hit the spot for Space: 1999 fans who've waited so very long to see one of their favorite classic scifi shows finally brought back to full futuristic vim and vigor.

What's more, to say that this innovative new take on the Space: 1999 mythos sounds intriguing would be quite an understatement.  The amazing artwork commissioned for the project alone is sure to please.  Hopefully, if you're as big a fan of Space: 1999 as I am, you'll join me in supporting this more than worthy project and help pave the way for further installments in the series.

Also more than worthy of note is that Exploring Space: 1999 author and film critic John Kenneth Muir (who incidentally provides a written foreward for Gaska's tie-in project) has announced the early 2012 release of his latest novel, Space: 1999: The Whispering Sea.

Muir reveals on his Blogspot page that the new adventure falls into the chronology of the second year of the series, essentially taking place between the episodes, "The Metamorph" and "The Exiles."  This is of course a considerabe jump ahead in the established Space: 1999 timeline, compared to the events depicted in Drew Gaska's Space: 1999: Aftershock and Awe.

The Maya character's integration into the regular cast of the show is explored in depth, since the events depicted in the novel immediately follow her self imposed exile from the planet Psychon.  Muir promises that "how she came to assume duties as Moonbase Alpha's science officer" will also be explored in much greater detail than might have been afforded, had the show focused more on that specific plot point in one of the weekly episodes.

Wow!  Two brand new Space: 1999 offerings from leading genre writers in the same relatively short time span!  That's not just good news, it's just plain epic.  Sort of like the ever unfolding adventures of the more than three hundred surviving members of the exciting interstellar mythos originally crafted by the legendary Gerry and Sylvia Anderson production team.

Moonbase Alpha: September 13, 1999

Though the science behind the show has been criticized as being somewhat flawed, in the mid 70s, before Star Wars took the pop culture world by storm, it was pretty hard to find a show that was more fascinating and fun to watch than Space: 1999.

Here's the exciting first season intro.  This may be a bit melodramatic by today's standards, but back then, with few or much of any quality science fiction shows being offered, Space: 1999 was an exciting and visually spectacular sight for sore eyes.

Be sure to visit Space: 1999.Net.  Remarkably, you can browse the site in 6 different languages and learn more about just about anything and everything related to the classic, often overlooked and perhaps even more often under appreciated mid 1970s scifi franchise.

Space-1999/S199N_Logo.jpg

Space: 1999 and all related characters, marks and images, copyright © Granada Ventures - All Rights Reserved
Original Space: 1999 theme music by Barry Gray

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