Monday, March 27, 2006

Things that went bump in the night, Seventies-style

I picked up dvds of the two series of Space:1999 over the weekend, but I'm now worried about watching them.

The first and most obvious reason for this is that, being a show I loved as a child, they might turn out to be rubbish on re-viewing. In the main I've found childhood favourites like Doctor Who, Catweazle and even Pipkins have stood the test of time brilliantly, but occasionally something like The Tomorrow People comes along and I end up watching a couple of episodes, slack-jawed and faintly embarassed, before putting the DVD in that section of my bookcases which in a library would be labelled 'of archival interest only'.

The less obvious reason for my reluctance to ssart watching is that a specific episode of Space:1999 is one of the three most scary television moments of my youth and I'd hate to watch that episode and discover that the delicious horror I remember is, in truth, composed of bad acting, dodgy haircuts and obviously painted plywood backgrounds.

To make matters worse, one of my two other Youthful Horror Moments has already turned out to be rubbish. The season 1 episode of Blake's 7, Time Squad, which gave me nightmares for months after watching it aged eight, is in fact plain awful and about as scary as that kids virtual reality show Knightmare.

On the other hand, the whole of the first story in the Sapphire and Steel series was just as incredibly creepy and full of iconic moments (Sapphire going into the picture being the best one) as I remembered.

So which is to be - crushing disappointment or forgotten classic? I suppose I'll have to watch it to find out (and it doesn't help that I can't remember what the episode is called - only that Barbara Bain gets one of her fingers chopped off in some kind of on-planet ritual. Possibly.)
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2 Comments:

Blogger TimeWarden said...

At first I thought you were referring to "Dragon's Domain", a forerunner of "Alien", featuring the excellent Michael Sheard, and regarded by many as the only episode the production team got right!

But, with your reference to a finger at the end of your piece, I believe you are talking about "Mission of the Darians". It is another character who is missing a finger but Barbara Bain is involved in the ritual which takes place on board a vast spacecraft. It scared the hell out of me too, as a teen, as the tribe chants "mute" and the victim is placed in a disintegrating chamber!

Incidentally, the wig Joan Collins wears in this episode is the same one Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee wear in their individual episodes! On the whole, season one is much more poignant than its successor, which to me is like a different series under the influence of Fred Freiberger who also oversaw the last season of the original "Star Trek", and you will probably feel the same embarrassment when watching "Devil's Planet"!!!

4:50 am  
Blogger Stuart Douglas said...

That sounds like the one - I remember the disintegration chamber now that you mention it. I really want to watch it now.

re Fred Freiberger - I'd forgotten he was the man behind Spock's Brain and similar 'high' spots of the original series of Star Trek. His presence on a show really is the death knell for quality television...

11:00 am  

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