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 [show more]
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