Space: 1999 - The Complete Second Series [Blu-ray]

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All 24 episodes from the second series of the popular sci-fi show. In 'The Metamorph' a team of Eagle pilots are captured on the planet Psychon by the ruthless Mentor (Brian Blessed). 'The Exiles' has the Alphans revive two aliens who turn out to be rebel leaders. 'One Moment of Humanity' sees Helena (Barbara Bain) and Tony (Tony Anholt) abducted by an alien (Billie Whitelaw) who plans to use them as blueprints for killer androids. In 'All That Glisters' Koenig (Martin Landau) leads a mission to a nearby planet in search of a mineral vital to the life support system on Moonbase Alpha. 'Journey to Where' has Koenig, Helena and Carter (Nick Tate) attempt to teletransport themselves to 22nd century Texas and end up in 14th century Scotland instead. 'The Taybor' sees Alpha visited by a travelling trader who wants to add Maya (Catherine Schell) to his collection of beautiful artefacts. 'The Rules of Luton' finds Koenig and Maya in trouble with the locals during a visit to Luton. 'The Mark of Archanon' has the Alphans discover two aliens frozen beneath the surface of the moon. 'Brian the Brain' sees the moonbase visited by an old Earth spaceship piloted by a lone computer called Brian (voiced by Bernard Cribbins). 'New Adam New Eve' finds Koenig, Helena, Maya and Tony caught up in the plans of one Simon Magus (Guy Rolfe), a cosmic magician who is attempting to discover the secret of life. In 'Catacombs of the Moon' engineer Patrick Osgood (James Laurenson) searches for a rare metal essential for the construction of the replacement heart needed to save the life of his wife Michelle (Pamela Stephenson). 'The AB Chrysalis' has Alpha surrounded by a mysterious ring of moons. 'Seeds of Destruction' sees Alpha endangered by Koenig's evil double. 'The Beta Cloud' finds a huge and terrible creature (Dave Prowse) on the rampage at the moonbase. 'Space Warp' has Maya afflicted with a terrible sickness which causes her to transform into various space monsters. 'A Matter of Balance'

Many fans don't rate the second series of Space: 1999 as highly as the first. Responding to audience feedback, as well as the separation of producers Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the programme makers drafted in new producer Fred Freiberger, the man responsible for the third and weakest season of the original Star Trek. Under his guidance the storylines drifted away from the hard sci-fi of the first season in favour of more action and a faster pace. The theme music, sets and costumes all changed, as did some key personnel. Out went professorial (and very dull) Barry Morse, in came dashing Tony Anholt as security officer Tony Verdeschi, while the glamour quotient was upped considerably by Catherine Schell as the shape-shifting Maya (a much-needed change, since the frosty Barbara Bain had reduced the show's sex appeal to nil in Series 1). Series 2 also introduced lots and lots more aliens kitted out in badly fitting costumes and dodgy glam-rock era makeup. Responding to yet more feedback from American TV executives the protagonists now had to encounter more highly unconvincing monsters than even Dr Who ever dared imagine: "The Beta Cloud", for example, is a classic rampaging-bloke-in-a-suit scenario. That said, this second season has more emphasis on characters other than the headline stars, as various stranded Alphans are allowed to come to the fore instead of just blankly following Commander Koenig's orders. It's all good fun in a silly, nostalgic sort of way, and fans of the more vintage Season 1 will find it hard to resist this second season as well.

On the DVD: There aren't many extras here, although sundry interviews with principal cast and crew are scattered across the six discs in this complete box set. There's also a commentary on some episodes with special effects man Brian Johnson, a couple of deleted scenes, production stills and some text features. Each disc has a small booklet that gives some useful background information on the episodes. The remastered 4:3 ratio picture and mono sound are fine. --Mark Walker

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