Friday, 28 November 2014

Space 1999: The Bringers of Wonder (1977)

It’s blobtastic monster time!
There were an awful lot of monsters in the second series of Gerry Anderson’s SPACE 1999. In fact, it was almost as if someone panicked and thought the first series was just a bit too cerebral, a bit too bleak and a bit too cold. So, with producer Fred ‘The Terminator’ Freiberger brought in to cheer things up a bit, SPACE 1999 became warmer, more action packed, and filled with the kind of zipper-suited monsters all us fans of Doug McClure Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptations were loving at the cinema at the time. We’re going to have to wait until Autumn 2015 for Network’s Blu-ray restoration of the entire second series of Anderson’s show, but as a taster they’re releasing this two-parter so we can see what the new transfer is going to look like.

Commander Koenig (Martin Landau) goes nuts and crash lands an Eagle near nuclear waste dumps on Moonbase Alpha. Dr Helena Russell (Barbara Bain) sedates him and hooks him up to a special brain processing machine. Meanwhile a spaceship has landed filled with people from Earth who all have some connection to one or more of the Alphans. They claim a faster-than-light drive has been developed and that return to Earth is now possible.

But wait! Could this just all be a bit too good to be true? Might these friends from Earth actually be enormous melty blob monsters, the last remnants of a dying race who need the radioactive waste stored on the moon to rejuvenate them? Have they in fact put all of Alpha under some sort of mind control to which Commander Koenig is impervious because his brain has had a good clean with that wavy machine thing?

THE BRINGERS OF WONDER is a lot of fun, even if it is fun of the daftest variety. You’ll constantly wonder how these enormous one-eyed creatures are able to get through doors, fit in the same room as even one other person, and how members of Alpha can put their arms around them. When Maya the Metamorph (Catherine Schell) becomes one it’s the cue for a blobby monster chase scene of such snail-like proportions that you’ll want to watch it again and again. I will freely admit to loving this story when I watched it on its initial broadcast. I also loved all of Series 2 more than Series 1. But I was ten years old and back then all manner of daft monster costumes were far more appealing than the more cerebral antics of what I now realise is the far superior first series.

Network did a stunning restoration job on the first series of SPACE 1999 and it looks as if series two is going to look just as good. It’s hard to believe it was made in the 1970s, and I think you would be hard pushed to find any other television series of the era that looks as glorious and as sparkling as this. The disc offers both episodes of BRINGERS OF WONDER, as well as the feature-length edit DESTINATION MOONBASE ALPHA as an extra. There’s also a trailer for it. I have to say it was immense fun to revisit one of my fondest childhood TV memories, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the series looks like.

SPACE 1999: THE BRINGERS OF WONDER is going to be available exclusively through from 8th December 2014. Everyone who orders it before that date will be entered into a competition to win the entire SPACE 1999: THE COMPLETE SECOND SERIES. 

If you want to be in with a chance then click HERE to pre-order

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