I was a young teen when Space 1999 premiered in 1975, and at that age one's smarts are starting to form, blasting one into a 'critical' mindset. Perhaps if I had been a few years younger I might have become smitten with the on-screen events; events often racing against molasses, on my Zenith television as it rendered cool multi-colour Supermarionation-type explosions too often punctuated by a rudimentary, and leaden, sense of drama.
Space: 1999 was re-viewed by my adult self in the mid-eighties when CKVR re-ran it on late-night television, and I saw all of its flaws, of which there are many. This designer wants to go back in time and put some Christmas tree lights into that sparsely-detailed Main Mission set: there's nothing for the actors to do, or to look at. (The actors are forever trading plastic folders with one another.) When 1999 first aired I never got the feeling that it was 24 years into the future. A smart critic at the time noted that it looked more like five years into the future ― true, as my local Radio Shack store had more advanced-looking electronics in 1975. Also, while I watched the show in colour, the monitors onscreen were all in black & white.
Technical concerns, yes.
The scripting was the real issue, as were the characterizations ― the regular cast, that is. Some of the guest casting was inspired. Billie Whitelaw, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Brian Blessed, Joan Collins, and Patrick Troughton were just a few of the stellar guest-shots who gave the programme some much-needed gravitas.
The writers tried to spin profundity by having stories, too many stories, resting all too comfortably and conveniently in ambiguity ― mix it with aliens whispering from behind out-of-focus glistening Christmas tree tinsel, and the viewer can only be swept up in the magic of it all. In Year One, that is. Year Two discovered a sense of fun, and applied it when necessary. And the 'reboot' season more or less eschewed the metaphysical mumbo jumbo.
When the above Blu-ray set hit store shelves in 2019, I snapped it up. Darn right I did. My boss at the time was from Quebec, and he was very much an old fan of Cosmos: 1999. He too grabbed the set....
- The Complete Series -