The science fiction television
series Space: 1999
produced 48 episodes during its original two-year syndicated run--24 episodes in its first season (production to end of broadcast) (1973
) and 24 in the second season (production to end of broadcast) (1975
). The synopses are the original ITC descriptions of the episodes.
In addition to the series' television run, a number of feature films were created out of multiple episodes--some with additional footage--and a semi-official series denoument was filmed for exhibition at the Breakaway 1999 Convention, held in Los Angeles during September 1999.
Individual episodes were intended to be broadcast in almost any order. The only guidelines are that "Breakaway
" should be the first episode, followed by Season 1 episodes. Then "The Metamorph" should be the first of Season 2, followed by the remaining episodes (there is a two-part episode in the second series). Different regional and national stations showed the series in very different orders. In some cases, this included mixing Season 1 and Season 2 episodes at random.
One preferred order is to use the original production order, to account for subtle changes in sets. For Season 2 episodes, the number of days since the Moon left Earth orbit is often provided in dialog, although this number does not always progress consistently. DVD releases have followed this order as well.
| Production number
|| Original air date (ATV, UK)
Notes on Season 1
- Although not broadcast until the fall of 1975, production of the first episode, "Breakaway", actually began in 1973.
- The description for "The Black Sun" is modified from the original ITC summary, which states that the moon is on collision course with an asteroid that turns into a black sun. In the episode an asteroid changes course and is destroyed by what the heroes discover to be a "black sun" or black hole.
- The cynical "War Games", said to be the highest-budgeted single episode of any TV series up to that time, was an overt commentary on humanity's combative nature. Alpha finds itself under attack by an unstoppable alien force that kills much of its population. Yet in another of the series' metaphysical twists, the Alphans are given a second chance at the end, reverting to mere moments prior to the attack so that John Koenig (Landau) can rethink his fateful decisions. (In a reworked version titled "God's Will" created by Canadian video editor Eric Bernard and shown at the MainMission:2000 convention in New York City, this ending is changed so that there is no second chance after Bergman, Kano and Morrow are killed, making the episode a "bridge" between the two seasons. Characters introduced in Year 2 are digitally added to certain key scenes.)
- "Dragon's Domain" and "Force of Life" were more typical variations on the alien monster theme, although both took a more metaphysical bent. "Dragon's Domain" became essentially a retelling of "Saint George and the Dragon", while "Force of Life" raised questions about what exactly life is, and what forms it could actually take.
- "Voyager's Return" was essentially an allegory of whether someone who causes death and destruction in the pursuit of knowledge—whether knowingly or not—can truly redeem himself and/or can be forgiven. It also touches on whether an entire populace is responsible for the actions of one of its members.
- "The Testament of Arkadia"' predated the original Glen Larson Battlestar Galactica by almost three years, in delving into the "life here began out there" concept. The episode also addresses one of the sub-plots that were briefly touched upon throughout Series 1, in that the journey of the Alphans might not have been as happenstance as it appeared to be.
- "Death's Other Dominion" deals with the question of what price is too much for the advance of medical science; in this case, the search for the cause of an immortality that has already been achieved for reasons unknown.
| Production number
|| Original air date
Notes on Season 2
- The number of days since leaving Earth orbit might allow an interpretation of the calendar date; however, even if the Alphans still use the Gregorian Calendar, Earth has moved forward considerably in time, as evidenced by "Journey To Where," where it is 2120 on Earth. The series was not consistent in how it used this number; the two parts of "Bringers of Wonder", for example, are said to take place hundreds of days apart, which is not possible. If the number of days mentioned throughout the second season are accurate, then the episodes of year two take place over a period of more than five years. Additionally, it is stated in "Dragon's Domain" that it has been 877 days since the moon left orbit.
- Season 2 aired on ATV over the course of more than a year. Due to the long mid-season gap, some sources consider episodes 2-17 to 2-24 to be a third season. In some parts of Britain, the final episode, "The Dorcons", did not air until the summer of 1978; in others, it was not shown until the 1998 BBC "repeats". Season 2 was available in other markets before Britain - CBC in Canada where Season 2 was completely aired by May, 1977 and 10 episodes were aired before being aired in Britain.
Motion picture releases
Four films were culled together from various episodes of the series in the 1970s and 1980s. One aim was to provide content for new US and European Cable TV
and Satellite TV
stations (and, potentially, for theatrical release which occurred in several European countries). A fifth film, Spazio: 1999
, was created specifically for theatrical release in Italy
. These films (with the exception of Spazio: 1999
) were released to home video
years before any episodes were officially available in that format.
- Spazio: 1999 was a 1976 Italian release made up of heavily edited segments from the episodes "Breakaway", "Ring Around the Moon" and "Another Time, Another Place". This obscure release is notable for having a musical score by noted film composer Ennio Morricone, replacing the original television score by Barry Gray.
- Destination: Moonbase Alpha, released in 1978 by ITC London, was the first widely available re-editing of the series, based upon the two-part second season episode "The Bringers of Wonder." In many countries, this episode could only be seen in the movie form, as it was removed from the syndication package (though the two episodes were restored for the North American DVD release).
- Alien Attack, released in 1979 by ITC London, retroactively introduced foreign audiences to how Moonbase Alpha came to be travelling through space, by combining the by-then six-year-old pilot episode "Breakaway" with another episode, "War Games", but moving the events far into the 21st Century from 1999. This feature also included new footage shot for this release, specifically scenes at offices of the International Lunar Commission on Earth.
- Journey Through the Black Sun (1982) made by ITC New York combined the first season episodes "Collision Course" and "Black Sun", though some scenes were cut from both episodes, such as Alan Carter confronting Koenig in "Black Sun".
- Cosmic Princess (1982) also made by ITC New York, focused on the second-season character Maya and featured the episodes "The Metamorph" and "Space Warp" combined together. The alien's dialogue from "Space Warp" is altered, and the alien's difficulties, and Maya's condition, are staged as being directly related to the events of "The Metamorph" as if they occurred only days before. A small number of scenes such as Maya's father Mentor chiding Maya for what he sees as her misuse of her shapechanging abilities were cut. This release was featured on an early episode of the cult TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000
Some US home video editions of the English-language releases included specially filmed introductions by b-movie queen Sybil Danning. Series stars Martin Landau and Barbara Bain were reportedly upset at this re-packaging and launched legal action.
Message From Moonbase Alpha
At the Breakaway 1999
convention held in Los Angeles, California
in 1999, a short featurette
entitled Message from Moonbase Alpha
premiered on, appropriately enough, September 13th. Produced by fans and written by former Space: 1999
story editor Johnny Byrne
, the short film features a tearful monologue performed by series regular Zienia Merton
in character (and costume) as Sandra Benes.
The premise of the film is that Alpha's life-support systems, after decades of travel, have finally begun to fail. Fortunately, a space warp has propelled the moon within range of an Earth-like planet, dubbed Terra Alpha, and following a vote (which was contested by some), Koenig has made the decision to evacuate Alpha and settle on the planet before the moon travels out of range. Operation Exodus is a gamble, Sandra says, as the planet is an unknown factor; the moon is determined to be entering an orbit of sorts, though it won't return to Terra Alpha for another 25 years.
Meanwhile, Maya has devised a way for Alpha to send a message back to Earth using another space warp, and Sandra - the last Alphan to leave the moon - is given the task of sending a message, although it is not known when or if the message will ever arrive. The film ends with the Meta probe signal featured at the end of the pilot episode "Breakaway," indicating that the first signal the Alphans receive from space is, in fact, one they have sent to themselves from the future. The featurette was shot on a small set using design elements from both Years 1 and 2, and includes character and special effects footage from several episodes, some of which was slightly altered for this featurette.
Aside from Sandra, the only series characters mentioned in the present tense (meaning they are still active at the time of arrival at Terra Alpha) are Maya and John Koenig. Sandra also eulogises several notable Alphans who are now deceased, in particular Professor Bergman and Paul Morrow.
Johnny Byrne devised Message so that it allowed the possibility of a sequel series. According to Byrne's revival concept, the series would take place some 25 years after the events in Message, and feature the children of the Alphans who leave Terra Alpha when the Moon and its Moonbase mysteriously return. Although there was some press and fan speculation at the end of 1999, there has been no more proposals or development to date.
Initially, it was announced that Message from Moonbase Alpha could only ever be shown at conventions due to licencing issues, however A&E home video was able to obtain the rights to the short and it is available as part of the complete Space: 1999 DVD boxed set.