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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Space: 1999: The Complete Season One [Blu-ray]

 

(Creators: Gerry Anderson, Sylvia Anderson, 1975-1977)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Television: Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

Video: A&E Home Video

 

Disc:

Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Average Episode Runtime: 0:52:08.000

Disc One Size: 44,309,023,104 bytes

Episode One Size: 8,713,144,320 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Chapters: 11 per episode

Case: Thick, multi-disc, Blu-ray case inside slipcase

Release date: November 30th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 matted to 1.78

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS Audio English 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Gerry Anderson Audio Commentaries on "Breakaway" and "Dragon's Domain"
Music-Only Tracks on All Episodes Except "Breakaway" and "Dragon's Domain"
Extensive HD Image Galleries of Rare and Previously Unseen Stills
HD Image Galleries of Gum and Cigarette Cards
HD Restored, Textless Titles

On 2 DVD discs:
"These Episodes" Featurettes - select individual episode analysis (1:35:18)
"Memories of Space" Featurette (7:16)
Sylvia Anderson Interview (16:13)
Season 1 Textless Generic Titles (1:44)
"Concept and Creation" Featurette (12:38)
Special Effects and Design Featurette (16:52)
Text Episode Commentaries on "The Last Sunset" and "Space Brain"
"Clapperboard" Two-Part Special On The Work of Gerry Anderson from 1975 (38:58)
"Guardian of Piri Remembered" (1:36)
Barry Gray's Theme Demo (1:23)
Alternative Opening and Closing Titles (2:58)
Martin Landau and Barbara Bain U.S. Premiere Intro and Outro (1:54)
SFX Plates and Deleted SFX Scenes with Music Track (11:41)

Alien Attack Trailers (3:36)

Journey Through the Black Sun Trailer (1:53)

Ad Bumpers (:38)

 

Disc One Bitrate:

 

 

Product Description: In the year 1999, a spectacular explosion at a lunar nuclear waste dump sends the moon out of Earth’s orbit. In this seminal sci-fi series from producer Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, UFO), the men and women of Moonbase Alpha are suddenly propelled on a treacherous journey across the universe in search of extraordinary new worlds. Left with no way home, the Earthling citizens are forced to embark upon the greatest adventure of their lives, encountering bizarre life forms and strange phenomena as they struggle to survive among the awe-inspiring wonders of outer space. All 24 first season episodes of this acclaimed space adventure have been restored in stunning high definition and presented with newly-created 5.1 surround soundtracks, and hours of brand-new bonus features.

With its progressive plotlines, an outstanding cast, and astonishing special effects from Oscar® winner Brian Johnson (Alien, The Empire Strikes Back), SPACE: 1999 has secured its place as one of the most thought-provoking series of the 20th century—and beyond.

DISC 1:

Breakaway / Matter of Life and Death / Black Sun / Ring Around the Moon / Earthbound
DISC 2:

Another Time, Another Place / Missing Link / Guardian of Piri / Force of Life / Alpha Child
DISC 3:

The Last Sunset / Voyager’s Return / Collision Course / Death’s Other Dominion / The Full Circle
DISC 4:

End Of Eternity / War Games / The Last Enemy / The Troubled Spirit / Space Brain
DISC 5:

The Infernal Machine / Mission Of The Darians / Dragon’s Domain / Testament Of Arkadia
DISC 6: Bonus Features

 

 

The Show:

The underlying story line of Space: 1999 centres on the plight of the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha, Earth's Space Research Centre on the Moon, following a scientific cataclysm. Mankind had been storing its nuclear waste in vast disposal sites on the far side of the Moon. The accumulated waste reaches critical mass and, on 13 September 1999, detonates in a massive thermonuclear explosion, initiated by a build-up of an unknown form of magnetic radiation. The force of the blast propels the Moon like an enormous booster rocket, hurling it out of Earth orbit and into deep space at colossal speed, thus stranding the 311 personnel stationed on Alpha. The runaway Moon, in effect, becomes the 'spacecraft' on which the protagonists travel, searching for a new home. During their interstellar journey, the Alphans encounter a vast array of alien civilizations, dystopian societies, and mind-bending phenomena previously unseen by the eyes of mankind.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

While the image quality of Space: 1999 on Blu-ray is not always consistent - I'd say overall it is extremely impressive. A lot of work has gone into the improvement (restoration at the BBC studios) with both automated and manual cleaning and the best quality sources were involved for both this and the UK Season One Blu-ray set (HERE). I expect this would be like The Prisoner - another 35mm television broadcast show that looks exceptional in 1080P. Detail and color are highlights and the higher resolution doesn't expose the effects to a negative degree (no hidden wires etc.). There is over 20-hours of Space: 1999 episodes on the 5 Blu-rays. I doubt anyone has seen it looking this good even when it aired. The HD bump has done wonders for the visuals. It's almost like a new show.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

No lossless audio but we do get a 5.1 DTS bumps for those keen. It sounds okay - a bit forced - with mild separations but I'm very happy the original mono is an option as well. Generally things sound very clean as if restoration work there was also done. Supposedly the similar UK edition has optional English subtitles but they are absent in this package. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

The supplements may appear to stretch to the moon and back but there is some fluff here too like the image galleries with an unnecessary load of behind the scenes photographs - seemingly for all 24 episodes (that's a lot of stills) - many are black and white and look interesting (Gerry Anderson discusses this in the first commentary). There is other more viable extra material though - in the two Anderson audio commentaries he sounds pretty darn old (I know he's over 80 now but these were recorded earlier - for the 2005 DVDs). I appreciate the information about the evolution of the show - basically because his UFO series was, essentially, cancelled and they had all these, relatively, lavish sci-fi sets. Anderson went to Sir Lew Grade (Boys From Brazil and Capricorn One production fame) and got the go-ahead for another series. It, initially, developed without a name. He talks about his concessions and some production details (ex. slower speed stock that they used) - it is quite good but there are long gaps. The 'music only' tracks are a nice touch too - the series had some super electro-music that sounds funky when isolated (where's my disco ball?).  The 5 Blu-rays have other bits and pieces (textless titles, Gum and Cigarette Cards etc.) but there are also 2 separate DVDs in the package solely with supplements. These are repeated from the past DVD editions (many with 'Network' logos) and give about 2.5 hours worth of video supplements. Some are better than others but fans of the series should be content (if they don't already own them).  

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I watched this quite regularly when I was growing up - doing some math, I guess I was about 13-years old. I didn't know at the time that this series, like UFO, was a Gerry Anderson creation. He also did children's animated classics - that I wasn't around for - like Stingray (1963) and Thunderbirds (1964). It shouldn't have been too hard to guess the link to UFO though. Actually, I bought the UFO Complete Megset HERE on DVD, but am still plodding my way through it. I may have enjoyed Space: 1999 a bit more as an early teen but both shows are very dated. I don't really consider that a negative - it kind of adds to the nostalgic charm with hokey uniforms and decent, for the time, space effects. It's a better show that I would have given credit for in recent years. Indulging in the Blu-ray will depend solely on your appreciation of this type of, mid-70's sci-fi, TV show. Each disc was getting better for me as I sunk deeper into the stories, characters and restrained-science plots. Morse, Landau and Bain are great and the supporting cast is excellent as well. The package is done up to the '9's and those keen should temper their judgment based on the appeal that the show had/or will have for them - it certainly hasn't gotten any better but it retains its charm. Not surprisingly the show has a huge following who should be pleased that it's a solid Blu-ray effort and worthwhile production package for a/v and extras. I'll definitely be indulging in the Second Season too. 

Gary Tooze

November 24th, 2010

 

 

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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