Space 1999 – UFO – tape 2089

First on this tape, Space 1999. Now, when Star Trek have a concert on board, at least it’s something decent like a string quartet. Moonbase Alpha have to put up with this hipster playing some godawful ambient nonsense. I have two words for you: Man Bun.

Hipster

In the audience, Alan Carter is demonstrating some magnificent manspreading.

Alan Carter Manspreading

Meanwhile, in another part of Moonbase, some people are having a seance to try and contact their dead watercress.

Veggie Seance

Something is working, as the plants in the lab are swaying around like Storm Doris has arrived. And the leader of the seance falls unconscious.

This episode is called The Troubled Spirit. It’s a bit rubbish. The lead seancer seems to be creating a psychic projection. “We only use 18% of our brains” says Bergman. Oh dear.

They decide another seance is just the ticket, and manage to conjure up the projection. He doesn’t look good.

Matteo

Recording switches and we get the end of another Edgar Lustgarten short film The Ghost Train Murder.

Then, UFO. I’ve just noticed that the Lunar Module they use to land on moonbase is landed vertically, like a SpaceX booster. But then, so did Thunderbirds One and Three, so I guess that’s no big deal.

Lunar Lander

Col Freeman (George Sewell) is visiting Moonbase for a routine inspection and assessment. I like the moments when Shado is just like any other job, and you get the sense that these are real people.

But of course, something dramatic happens, an interceptor pilot is killed, and a UFO gets past defences. So there has to be an investigation into what went wrong. This appears to take the form of psychometric testing and psychoanalysis. I don’t think I’d be happy if project post mortems in my field of work were carried out that way.

They determine that the cause of the pilot’s death is because Lt Ellis (Gabrielle Drake) is in love with Lt Bradley (Harry Baird).

We also get some actual aliens, in their slightly fetishy red spacesuits. Yay.

Fetishy Aliens

Next, Space 1999 and it’s jigsaw night on Moonbase Alpha.

Jigsaw Night

That’s Anderson regular (and voice of Scott Tracy in Thunderbirds) Shane Rimmer. He would always pop up in American films shot in the UK.

There’s a giant Space Brain out there, and it might crush the moon, using foam of some kind. I confess I might have missed some of the subtleties of this story, but it does seem to consist mostly of Bergman and Russell spouting sciency sounding gobbledigook, and then, when they enter the Space Brain, they break out the foam machine.

Foam Machine

This used to be a staple physical effect on TV shows in the 60s. Doctor Who used it several times. It’s nice to see it here.

They keep Alpha safe mostly by Koenig barking orders to other people in spacesuits.

Next, it’s an episode called The Infernal Machine. Leo McKern arrives on the moon.

Leo McKern

But they discover that his spaceship is alive, and is the one in control. It’s called Gwent for some reason.

Gwent

Space 1999 really like using the ‘deadly spotlight’ as a weapon. It pops up with great regularity, and loads of times this episode.

Deadly Spotlight

Bergman’s artificial heart runs out of power because of a force field or something, so Gwent has to restart it. Another choice bit of effects animation there.

Starting Bergman's Heart

Gwent wants to keep one of them as his new companion after Leo McKern dies. They attack, but his armaments are a bit better. There’s a distressing number of Eagles blown up during this sequence.

They eventually defeat him by refusing to install the fuel they’ve brought, then persuade him to let them go. It’s all a bit melancholy at the end.

After this, the tape ends.

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6 comments

  1. “Now, when Star Trek have a concert on board, at least it’s something decent like a string quartet.”

    Didn’t Kirk have some hippies on his ship once doing some unspeakable drivel? Not a concert per se, but still. Though at least he had a performance of “Hamlet” once, so…

    1. Well, TOS also had Uhura singing, and Spock playing his pointy harp thing. Wasn’t one of the hippies played by David Soul, or am I thinking of a different episode with different hippies?

  2. The space hippies episode of Star Trek was John Peel’s favourite.

    Cheggers Plays Pop used a foam machine as well. You don’t see them on TV so much now.

    Was it ever explained on UFO why, if there’s a dirty great alien planet seen not too far away from Earth in the end credits of every episode, that the Earthlings didn’t just go on the attack and carpet bomb the place?

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