Date: Mon, 5 Feb 1996 18:15:10 -0800
From: (Gareth Randall)
Subject: Re: Command Center/Main Mission

>I thought the reason why they changed to Command Center was because they 
>started shooting the series at another film studio and didn't have the space 
>to build the Main Mission set

To the best of my knowledge, both series of S:1999 were shot at the same
studios; live action at Pinewood and models at Bray. Main Mission was a
standing set (i.e. a set that remained permanently erected throughout
production), and the primary function of standing sets is to be used
frequently and quickly. Main Mission was obviously used frequently, but it
could not be used quickly because its unusually large size meant that
lighting it was a nightmare, especially when the cameras had to follow the
movement of characters covering lots of floor space - for example, from
Koenig's office to Paul's desk. It didn't help that Martin Landau always
insisted on being cross-lit, and Barbara Bain on being soft-lit. This
created unexpected delays to the production schedule, which contributed to
Freddy Freiberger's decision to change the nature of the set, but the
primary reason was to increase the potential for tension.


Date: Tue, 6 Feb 1996 01:39:44 -0800 From: William Lloyd Siebart Subject: Re: Command Center/Main Mission Fellow Alphans: I have a hard time buying the explanations for this change. IMHO, this change was done for cost reasons. Command Center looked cheap compared to Main Mission. There was far more "tension" in season 1 and Main Mission. Whether this was due to lighting, the extra space, the score, superior plot, etc. we can discuss ad nausium. In "Collision Course", when Koenig and Carter attempted to stop the detonation of the nuclear charges of "Operation Shock Wave", they showed an Alphan on the balcony of Main Mission. It was obvious he was going to try to jump one of them, you just didn't know who and when. When they made the change, why couldn't they spend 10 seconds and explain it in Alphan terms: Too much surface damage, Main Mission always subject to attack, let's move underground where it's safer. My $.02, Bill
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 1996 13:53:52 -0800 From: (Gareth Randall) Subject: Re: Command Center/Main Mission Keith Wilson, the set designer for both seasons, along with Johnny Byrne and several other members of the production team, confirms that Freddy did it for "dramatic" purposes. It was also a time-honoured management technique for stamping his authority on the show; by demonstrating that he had the power to radically alter established concepts, he sent out signals that he was not to be trifled with. Season 2's budget was actually higher than that of Season 1, which allowed for more location shooting and FX sequences. >When they made the change, why couldn't they spend 10 seconds and >explain it in Alphan terms: Too much surface damage, Main Mission >always subject to attack, let's move underground where it's safer. Because Freddy's maxim was always "Don't worry, no-one will notice." And he really believed that! Gareth
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 1996 18:50:09 -0800 From: Michael & Shannon Campbell Subject: Re: Question wrote: > > Would someone clear up for me the issue with season 1 having sandra, losing > her in part of season 2, but getting her back in Bringers of Wonder. Or did > she leave the series midway through season 2 and all the episodes I've seen > are in the wrong order? Sandra appeared in several Year Two episodes. I don't think any particular explaination was ever given as to why her duties were apparently shared with Yasko. BTW, I usually lurk but the thread on Year One vs. Year Two has been particularly enjoyable to follow. As a child, I remember being very disappointed that the changes were not explained in "The Metamorph." I think as an adult I'd be just as upset. Freiberger aside, I enjoy Year Two because I think they tried to develop the characters more. I think that the writers tried endow the characters with some quirks i.e. Maya's sense of humor, Tony's beer-making hobby, Koenig's iron-willed philosophies, Helena's medical tenacity, etc... I don't sense these qualities in the Year 1 episodes save Bergman; I think that Barry Morse's acting abilities probably added more dimension to that character than the writers did. As for Maya, I will concede that her monster of the week was a weak plot device but it is used any less than what Starlog referred to as "the mysterious unknown force" which always seemed to save Alpha? Don't get me wrong, I was hooked on the show from Year 1 but, jeez lets be honest, there were probably as many clunkers in Year 1 as in Year 2. Was "Space Brain" any weaker than "Space Warp"? It was the seventies for heaven's sake. For whatever changes Freiberger made, I challenge anybody to watch "Six Million Dollar Man", "Bionic Woman" or (shudder) "Battlestar Galactica" episodes and show me a single episode in style or substance that can compare with the worst of either season of 1999. Yes things could have been done better (and I think that 1999 might have even hit its stride with another season- remeber STNG took about three years to get rolling) but I don't think we need to over analyze what might have been without Freiberger. From what I've read, Lew Grade (SP?) had no interest in long-running series. If you look back over the years, I think "The Muppet Show" was probably the longest running series to come from ITC; this was surely due more to lucrative merchandising vs. comparatively miniscule production costs than to outstanding ratings. I wonder if anything could have saved 1999 other than to have been produced through some other corporation than ITC. Mike
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 1996 07:12:26 -0800 From: (Jeanette Quimby) Subject: Re: Question >>and why did they start calling her "San", i always find this very >>annoying.... >> >>david After quite a few months in space, instead of being "formal", you might start calling folks by a nickname (as long as it was decent). Although, I could never see calling Alan carter "Al" (shades of Al Bundy). John Koenig being commander would still garner the respect and not be called Johnny. Helena - could have gone to "well", Helen . Tony is probably short for Anthony (which the old Tech manual is at home folks, so I can't verify that one). Bob Mathias, was probably really a Robert. So again, I would think it was a nickname for Sandra; and considering their length in time and closeness of relationships/friendships at that point, she may have preferred to start being called by her nickname instead of being formal. Jeanette Quimby CMO Houston
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 1996 12:20:15 -0800 From: (Gareth Randall) Subject: Re: Question Zienia Merton was under contract to appear in every episode of Season 1, but one of the first things that Freddy Freiberger did was to pull the contracts of almost all the secondary characters, and instead employ them on an episode-by-episode basis as he saw fit. At least, that's how Zienia herself describes it. Gareth
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 1996 12:20:09 -0800 From: (Gareth Randall) Subject: Re: Question >From what I've read, Lew Grade (SP?) had no interest in long-running series. FWIW, Martin Landau's explanation for the non-appearance of the planned third season was that Lew Grade was beginning to get into movies in a big way, and the budget that would have otherwise financed S:1999 happened to be just what ITC were looking for to fund the promotion of said movies. Gareth
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 1996 12:01:59 -0800 From: Ronald Dudley ( Perhaps Space:1999 should be understood relative to other ITC productions: What possible lucrative merchandising could have come from "The Prisoner" a show that ran for only 17 episodes? Luckily, a Fred F. was never imposed on that show to "fix" it. FF could never have created it either. I seem to remember "The Muppets" running 4 seasons (1976-77, 1977-78, 1978-79, 1979-80). Jim Hensen and Frank Oz never altered the show as Fred F. did to 1999. Consistency payed off. Muppets moved on into films, after The Muppet Movie (1979). FF would probably tried to make it more like "Hee Haw" which did after all run for 19 years! "The Avengers" (definitely cult-tv, but not exactly Sci-Fi) ran 6 seasons (~1961-1969), but didn't change as radically as 1999, despite the rotation of Patrick Macnee's starring partners. FF. would have tried to turn it into "Mission Impossible" or "Man from Uncle" in order to appeal in the USA. Perhaps it was easy for ITC to overhaul "Space: 1999" because at the same time (1976), it was making new versions of "The Saint" (with Ian Ogilvy in place of Roger Moore) and "The New Avengers" (with yet more new partners for Patrick Macnee). Perhaps the executives thought revamping Gerry Anderson's original into a "New Space: 1999" (with Catherine Schell in place of Barry Morse) fit in with how they were continuing other (originally great) shows in altered forms. Aside from Gerry Anderson's "Space Precinct", did ITC ever try science fiction again? The only unconventional ITC show I can think of to make it to the USA in the last 20 years is "Hammer House of Horror" (1980). What do these people produce nowadays? Sitcoms and Ensemble Dramas? What was their longest running show? Ronald Dudley
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 1996 09:51:58 -0800 From: Subject: Disappearance of Victor Bergman/Barry Morse from Season 2 >Just a question about Barry Morse. This may be a FAQ and if it is I apologize >but I have little to no access to the web these days to look in the FAQ file. >Anyway, why didn't Barry Morse return for season 2? Was it our old nemesis, FF? >Since there was no explanation of Victor's disappearance, I was wondering why he >didn't return. As a kid I didn't like his character much, but now that I'm >older I think it was one of the most vibrant characters in season 1. > >Kevin As I recall from some article I read during the show's run (Starlog perhaps?), Fred F. wasn't enthusiastic about Barry Morse's character (wanting to inject some "youth" into the show, and possibly considering that his story functions would be redundant and could be just as easily handled by the new character of "Maya"), but did offer Barry Morse a contract anyway. Barry and his agent countered with a request for more money and the two parties couldn't come to an agreement, hence Barry's/Victor's disappearance from the series. While I think Fred's IDEAS were mostly on the money to make the show more accessible to American audiences (and thus to American money which the, then, expensive series needed to succeed)), his IMPLEMENTATION of those ideas and his complete lack of understanding of the fan mentality and respect for the fans' intelligence, plus the cool reception received in America for Season 1 (after much initial interest and excitement) did the show in. Few people even tuned in to Season 2 in America to see the changes at that point, and those who did, as I recall, found the character of Maya to be cartoonish and left again. What was interesting to me at the one convention that I attended at the time Season 2 was initially playing in the U.S. was the complete resentment of the Star Trek fans, and their feeling that Maya was just a "Spock" ripoff. I think it was also hard for American audiences to relate to Space's passive premise (they can't steer the moon [which also seems a problem with DS9]), plus the characters in Season 1 SELDOM seemed to have emotional reactions to death, to feel any kind of warmth for each other, etc.; and this made it hard for U.S. audiences to bond with the characters. Long after Season 1 was over in its initial run I STILL didn't know who characters like Paul or Kano or Tanya were or what they cared about, what their passions were, how they dealt with their situation, etc. Alfa seemed staffed by emotionless automatons to most people, and Americans seem to admire people who "do" rather than people who "discuss." (Our cowboy mentality, perhaps.) Oddly, to my mind anyway, the Star Trek fans didn't seem to be able to put into practice all of that stuff about acceptance that was so important to Gene Roddenberry. As for myself I have always liked the show for its visuals, sets and model work, for some of the principal actors (I admit, mostly Series 2 [and Catherine Schell greatly, as I think Maya rose above her cartoon character beginnings based on Catherine's performance]), for the music (both seasons), and for its particular English something. Still, the best Space: 1999 in my mind would have been something halfway between Season 1 and Season 2, and would have been produced by people who kept an eye on the details. (Remember when Maya was trapped in a cage in the form of a bird and could only hold that form for an hour and was in danger of being crushed? She couldn't turn into something smaller [like a mouse] and get out in that episode (The Rules of Luton), apparently having to take her natural form in between changes, but in (I think) all other shows she could change from one form to another at will. This kind of ongoing lack of continuity, the complete lack of explanation about the changes in Season 2, stories from Season 1 that didn't pay off the viewer as we in America are used to but instead left us wondering what they were trying to say, and things like that infamous opening window in Main Mission lost the show a lot of respect and left fans scratching their heads and saying "Huh?" Talking down to the audience, I think, ultimately did the show in. Nobody wants to be bewildered. We look to drama for entertainment and enlightenment. I also didn't realize until I watched all of Season 2 in the course of a few days how much Koenig yelled at everyone in Season 2. I know Fred wanted emotion, but someone trying to suppress anger is much more interesting to watch than someone blatantly screaming -- ultimately though this is the producers and directors fault, not the actor's. Still, there is much to be admired here: the mood, the visuals, etc. Something hooked us and continues to hook us to this day (or why would we be writing to each other here?) Best regards, Robert Ruiz
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 1996 13:16:52 -0800 From: Subject: Re: Paul, Victor, and Sandra Redux writes: >During my last trip to Toronto, I found a book entitled "Ufo/Space:1999" at >the World's Biggest Book Store. The book includes plot summaries, character >outlines/profiles and information about the show. In the character profiles, >it states that Victor died from a malfunction in his artificial heart, and >after Paul died in an eagle crash, Sandra converted to Buddhism and changed >her name to Sahn. The book is published by ITC corporation, with a copyright >date of 1994 Interesting, wondering who publisher is and also ISBN #. I too had heard re Victor about the artificial heart/space suit explanations, and the Paul/Kano eagle crash. News to me about Sahn's Buddhist conversion though. I think we have to accept that the moon has gone through one space warp too many and that maybe all of it's true. Maybe series one is one reality and series two is another, and one series' John, Helena, et al. aren't the same as on the other series.