From: "Simon Morris" (email@example.com) Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 13:25:47 +0100 Subj: Space1999: New Adam,New Eve
Well,once again we have a Y2 episode that could hardly be called original. A powerful being tries to dupe our heroes into thinking he is God for his own nefarious means. (Well,I know *I've* heard that plot before!). Nonetheless,I have always had a soft spot for this episode. As John Muir points out in "Exploring Space 1999",the cliches certainly do fly "thick and fast",but IMHO,who cares?
Some critics(mainly in England)have criticised Guy Rolfe's performance as Magus,saying that he would have been more at home portraying a seedy next door neighbour in a sitcom(you'd have to have seen some of the crap British "domestic life" sitcoms to see what a wounding comment this is...). I don't agree myself. Rolfe gives a faintly amusing and fairly self-mocking portrayal to my mind. I enjoyed his scenes at the start of Act 1 with Martin Landau: "You don't have to bow down and adore me"/ "That's not our style"...etc I like the verbal sparring between the two. OK,so his claim to be God isn't original,and neither is Koenig's complete scepticism to the claim. But in my view the scepticism is entirely realistic! As Koenig tells Magus: "We've learned to mistrust appearances",and if you look closely as Landau delivers this line he gives a quick bemused glance at Magus and the gear he's wearing. Priceless. Its a small thing but details like this in Landau's performance always lift an episode.
Landau is one of the main reasons I like the episode in fact. Through facial expressions throughout the episode he looks totally pissed off with Magus. I daresay his nose was put out of joint when he couldn't pick the team to go down to the planet(not,of course,that it would have been different to Magus's-seeing as how its the four main stars. Maybe Magus had seen their contracts....).It must have been galling for Koenig to have been told "I am Commander of a great deal more than this speck of dust". I just wonder if there is not the faintest whiff of satire throughout this episode,and I certainly wouldn't be surprised if this was the intention of the writer Terence Feely. I'm not a great fan of over-analysing Space 1999 but it just seems to me that there is an edge to some of the dialogue(especially between Magus and the Alphans)in this episode that is normally absent. Of course,it could always be a result of the actors interpretation of the lines and if this is so then again I would praise Landau and Rolfe for their input....
I suppose in announcing his plans to do a little genetic engineering, Magus goes into the same camp as a lot of vicious figures in Earth's past history. The Nazi Dr Josef Mengele springs readily to mind. Another cliche that appears readily from this comparison is "The end justifies the means". Well,cliche it may be,but its *still* the battlecry that has preceeded all kind of bloodshed in centuries gone by. So its nothing new with Magus,is it?
Neat move in pairing Koenig/Maya and Verdeschi/Helena off via magnetic field cocoons. There's a few dance halls where that could come in useful :-)
I loathed the yecchy sequence where the syrupy music plays and the four Alphans try to fight Magus's influence over them. The scenes are overly soft focus-almost as if someone has tipped a bucket of gel over the camera(or more likely Tony Anholt vomited at what the script was calling on him to do?)
Things go downhill a bit with the appearance of the alien mutant(a ridiculous monster outfit as usual)and also the plainly stupid gorilla that appears in a few Y2 episodes. This shows up how episodes could be sabotaged by poor execution. Also there is a bit of laziness in the writing. I have difficulty accepting that Magus would be so stupid as to let it slip that he could "Ill afford the energy" to keep a forcefield up. And I can't believe that he would not have sensed Maya scanning him. Any one of us is automatically aware of someone so close that they are invading our personal space. Magus wouldn't have needed any special powers to be aware of it,so why did he appear ignorant of Maya giving him the once over? Dramatic licence,that's why!!
The shots of the lizards in the cave(plainly magnified natural history footage cut into the live action footage)have no real place in the story and are gratuitous phantasmagoria which seem suspiciously like padding.("More monsters!!! We must have more monsters!!)
Koenig finally realises that Magus can't stand the dark and its a good job he does,because there's no sign that the other three had any clue. I wonder what sort of intelligence tests had to be done to get posted to Alpha? This leads to the suitably devious method of finally defeating him and my only quibble here is how they managed to create such a deep pit in a few hours(and in the dark?). Still,Magus is finally defeated and (we hope)destroyed...though as Koenig points out in the final seconds of the show,who'd like to bet on it? Incidentally I thought the episode again played better without the laboured "humourous" epilogue which was tagged onto most Y2 episodes,and Koenig's final sardonic comment just about sums it up. He really didn't like Magus,did he?
Anyway,I liked "New Adam,New Eve". Nice performances and some nice dialogue countering some lousy monster outfits and the occasional laziness in some of the plotting.
I shall be away on a course for 2 weeks at the end of this week so will miss the next 2 episodes(can't recall offhand what they will be but I think one may well be "Seed of Destruction" which is one of my Y2 favourites). If I get time I shall try and comment on these when I return,albeit a bit late.....
From: "Petter Ogland" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 08:51:58 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: New Adam,New Eve
I have wondered why Muir doesn't like this episode, but on the other hand I find many of his opinions highly contrastive to mine and what others on this list express so personally I do not consider his opinions to be the SPACE:1999 canon. In fact, somebody like Pierre Fageolle seems to come much closer to my impression of the connoisseur of SPACE:1999.
Personally I don't think NEW ADAM/NEW EVE is all that bad at all within the scope of Y2 standards. In fact, the focus on prophets of the Simon Magus kind is quite a fascinating cut into the contemporary common conciousness of the 1970s I think.
From my point of view it seem sWilson and Porter have modelled the appearance of Magus upon Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali (1904-87). In fact, some of the tableaux are almost as drawn out of his world. The introduction of Magus, for instance, seem very much like the religious works of Dali of the 1950s, I think.
Anyway, if one were looking for inspiration of people who would present themselves as God, Dali would certainly be a natural choice. I believe with the advent of LSD in the late 1960s his work became increasingly popular in avantgard circles as portraying the world of LSD without using drugs. Dali points this out himself in "Dali on Dali" (1970) where he also explains how he was very opposed to the idea of taking drugs himself but rather felt aroused by using his normal perception his knowledge of psycho-analysis and modern science.
It must have been galling for Koenig to have been told "I am Commander of a great deal more than this speck of dust". I just wonder if there is not the faintest whiff of satire throughout this episode,and I certainly wouldn't be surprised if this was the intention of the writer Terence Feely. I'm not a great fan of over-analysing Space 1999 but it just seems to me that there is an edge to some of the dialogue(especially between Magus and the Alphans)in this episode that is normally absent. Of course,it could always be a result of the actors interpretation of the lines and if this is so then again I would praise Landau and Rolfe for their input....
I think these were splendid thoughts, and very much in line with how I see things. Terence Feely also wrote the satirical BRINGERS OF WONDER but is perhaps more known for his work as a writer for UFO. As I haven't seen any of those I don't know if there were any satirical edge there, butI have no doubt that Simon possesses expert knowledge on Feely's career. I wonder what kind of shows Feely has worked on apart from these two.
The insulted Koenig is a humourously strong point of the episode, I agree. The hierarchical command structure in Year Two plays a vital role in this, I feel, and the near fatal consequence of this type of structure is also commented on in SEED OF DESTRUCTION which also makes great use of Landau's ability as an actor and the dangerous power Koenig has over Alpha in Year Two.
The conflict of power also the topic in BREAKAWAY and EARTHBOUND, and showed Koenig in a more ruthless mode trying to get away with Simmonds in order to achieve hegemony on Alpha. Other episodes, COLLISION COURSE for instance, showed how Alpha could intelligently respond to problems in the internal social structure.
In some ways, I think, the change from Year One to Year Two are nicely illustrated by the ideas of William Golding in his "The lord of the flies" (1954) of civilisation only being inherit in a culture to a certain extent. As the schoolboys live long enough on a desolated island, or the Alphans live long enough desolated in outer space, primitivism is bound to set in.
The killing of Piglet in Golding's novel could perhaps be parallelled by the killing of Bergman in SPACE:1999.
From: "Simon Morris" (email@example.com) Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 17:00:15 +0100 Subj: Re: Space1999: New Adam,New Eve
Terence Feely also wrote the satirical BRINGERS OF WONDER but is perhaps more known for his work as a writer for UFO. As I haven't seen any of those I don't know if there were any satirical edge there, butI have no doubt that Simon possesses expert knowledge on Feely's career. I wonder what kind of shows Feely has worked on apart from these two.
I really don't think BRINGERS OF WONDER was in any way satirical Petter(or intended to be),but I can certainly tell you more about Feely. He is a prolific author and playwright,his work spanning film,tv,novels and theatre. He probably is best known worldwide for his contributions to various ITC action series,but has been prolific in the British domestic tv market as well.
One of the earliest tv series Feely worked on was NO HIDING PLACE(1959):a British videotaped crime series. Since then,he has produced and story edited the spy series CALLAN (ThamesTV,1967-72),script-edited the BBC anthology series of the late '60's,MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION,created the filmed tv action series C.A.T.'s EYES(Covert Activities Thames Section:a secret crime fighting unit set up by the Home Office;notable for being staffed by women only)and wrote the stage play of THE AVENGERS(based on Brian Clemen's plot).
Other series on which he has writing credits:
SHOESTRING (BBC Detective series,1979-80)
BERGERAC (BBC Police series,1981-1991)
THE PROTECTORS(ITC/Gerry Anderson,1971-3)
THE AVENGERS(early videotaped episodes)
THE NEW AVENGERS (1976-77)
ARTHUR OF THE BRITONS(Harlech TV, 1972-73-historical adventure-wrote 11 out of 24)
THE GENTLE TOUCH (London Weekend Television Police Drama,1980-84)
THE PERSUADERS ! (ITC Action series,1971)
RETURN OF THE SAINT (ITC,1977)
THRILLER (Anthology series ATV/ITC 1973-76)
Interestingly, the prolific(and extremely good)British scriptwriter and producer Brian Clemens (THE AVENGERS, THE PROFESSIONALS, THRILLER etc) had this to say of Feely:
"He's good on dialogue but very poor on action and plot".
I wouldn't say he is *bad* at action and plot (part 2 of BRINGERS OF WONDER isn't quite as good as part 1 and disolves into a series of spectacular but tedious set pieces)but I think probably his dialogue is better when he is allowed to show it. This is why there are chunks of NEW ADAM NEW EVE that I think are quite amusing.Interestingly,in interviews Feely always makes it clear he had a great time on UFO and SPACE 1999. In fact he also got on "like a house on fire" with Fred Freiberger and tells how he had had "a good experience" doing NEW ADAM NEW EVE (but that he was annoyed with how BRINGERS OF WONDER turned out on the screen after his script had been worked on.........)
From: "Ariana" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 14:48:13 +0100 Subj: Re: Space1999: New Adam,New Eve
I don't have a lot to say about this episode, since it's been a while since I saw it and I basically agree with Simon's analysis. I did want to cast a vote in favour of it, though, and mention that this was one of the episodes I remembered best from the show (along with "The Beta Cloud"). I was always pleased when they repeated it on television. As I said before, I'm a sucker for romance. ;)
In fact, I liked the concept of the forced pairings so much that when I was writing TNG stories, I toyed with the idea of having Magus meet the Enterprise-D and try some genetic engineering there. The fact I couldn't work up any enthusiasm for Picard/Troi or Crusher/...er, Riker or Worf pretty much sunk the project. :P
From: Chris Hlady (email@example.com) Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 19:54:38 -0500 Subj: Space1999: New Adam, New Eve
Series 2, Episode 10. New Adam, New Eve
Written by Terence Feely
Directed by Charles Crichton
Summary: Magus tries to match-up Tony & Helena and Koenig & Maya
There is something out there.
Punch through it.
It's like thunder here.
Who are you?
I am your creator.
You doubt my credentials.
Pure protein. Tastes like nectar.
One glassful is food for a month.
Skeptical cynical one.
(other species?) They'd be on their knees by now.
What do you want from us?
I'm going to give you something that i've never allowed to any other species. (a second chance)
We've learned to mistrust appearances.
Your wanderings are over.
I suggest you send a team to survey it.
Mr. Verdeschi, he is a farmer at heart, like his ancestors before him.
We'll get down in one of our Eagles.
Tony, check the spacesuits.
(magus transports the eagle down)
You had to have it your way.
That is one of my privileges.
Shall we disembark.
The air is totally without pollution.
No one else will be coming down.
You are my new Adams. My new Eves.
Up there is your past.
Down here lies your future.
You know who I am. Do not diminish my respect for you.
I've been monitoring you for a long time.
you plan to do a little genetic engineering.
It's bad psychology, not to mention biology.
Dr. Russell, your natural aristocrasy.
Love, I know all about love. I created it.
You'll like it here.
(romance among the miscasts)
That atmospheric dispersal. It's very interesting.
His methods, I don't know. Two plus tow. It doesnt make four.
Very ingenious. Magnetic field cocoons.
He's paired us off.
Here we go, that little old matchmaker in the sky.
I think I'm going to get some wood for the fire.
I wonder who does his arrangements.
Comparitive universal theology used to be my hobby.
Our universe is just a part of it all.
If we learned to explain it, understand its mechanism, would we regard it as divine.
You know we're being manipulated.
It's simple brainwashing: the music. It doesn't mean a thing.
After all, we can't fight city hall forever...
You are forbidden. Why do you disobey? Go back.
Asking interminable question and injuring oneself.
Congratulations. You're the big, big physicist.
Got to get out of this zoo.
There's some kind of power source inside him.
Maya, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.
Additional boosters in place.
I'm going for full power.
An owl. I thought you were all extinct down here.
The more I live, the more I learn.
Which way now?
Please shoot, you'll be doing what I desire.
He won't let us die.
Magus is the last of a line of cosmic magicians. He wants to be able to create life.
We are the children of other species he's trapped and brought to this planet.
You take your revenge like a child.
Strong. Resourceful. Brilliant. Dedicated.
You're a bungler that creates nothing but deception
We will work on the great myster of creation as a team.
Hou will help me to do it.
Help you to do that?
Why? To put pressure on John.
you are a realist. We will discuss this tomorrow.
He had us whipped. He knew it.
Superman afraid of the dark.
His power comes from light....to harness the power of light.
Being primitive. It's the last thing he'll expect from us.
One's mistakes are often more valuable than one's successes.
No. This is the best thing for me.
From: "Petter Ogland" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Thu, 20 Aug 1998 09:23:21 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: New Adam,New Eve
I really don't think BRINGERS OF WONDER was in any way satirical Petter(or intended to be),
It depends how one looks upon it, I suppose. Personally I felt the scenes where Alan plays golf and the rest of them indulge in other leissure activities viciously ironic as it at the same time shows how they are ruining the Earth. In fact, I think this was one of the more witty episodes of the series in this respect, although very dark, in a sort of WHOOPS APOCALYPSE style.
but I can certainly tell you more about Feely. He is a prolific author and playwright,his work spanning film,tv,novels and theatre. He probably is best known worldwide for his contributions to various ITC action series,but has been prolific in the British domestic tv market as well.
The writers for the second year of SPACE:1999 certainly seem to have been selected from a wide variety of people. NEW ADAM/NEW EVE grows increasingly interesting, for me at least, as I get to know Feely more.
Interestingly, the prolific(and extremely good)British scriptwriter and producer Brian Clemens (THE AVENGERS, THE PROFESSIONALS, THRILLER etc) had this to say of Feely:
"He's good on dialogue but very poor on action and plot".
Rather interesting comment on a man who seem to have made a living out of writing police- and action series! Highly surprising, but I suppose Clemens working closely with Feely for years must have somewhat more insight than those of us who only know him from his work for SPACE:1999.
I wouldn't say he is *bad* at action and plot (part 2 of BRINGERS OF WONDER isn't quite as good as part 1 and disolves into a series of spectacular but tedious set pieces)but I think probably his dialogue is better when he is allowed to show it. This is why there are chunks of NEW ADAM NEW EVE that I think are quite amusing.
I wouldn't say "good on dialgoue, poor on action and plot" would be a very adequat description of his work on SPACE:1999 either. It never struck me that his contributions were particulary poor on action and plot. Freiberger may perhaps have thought so as the BRINGER OF WONDER idea was something he spoke about a lot, at least according to Johnny Byrne it seems so, and I understand he had significant impact on how this episode turned out.
I agree with your earlier points however, Simon, about the verbal qualities of NEW ADAM/NEW EVE, and just having read Cris Hlady's compilation of verbal highlights I have no difficulty with Brian Clemen's comment on "good on dialogue". There seems to be a lot of interesting things here to investigate.
Interestingly,in interviews Feely always makes it clear he had a great time on UFO and SPACE 1999. In fact he also got on "like a house on fire" with Fred Freiberger
and tells how he had had "a good experience" doing NEW ADAM NEW EVE (but that he was annoyed with how BRINGERS OF WONDER turned out on the screen after his script had been worked on.........)
Thanks for sharing incredible knowledge and insight Simon! This will certainly become useful when commenting on Chris' interesting letter of compiled dialogue.
From: South Central (Tamazunchale@web44tv.net) Date: Thu, 20 Aug 1998 11:40:20 -0700 (PDT) Subj: Space1999: Music in New Adam, New Eve
I don't think it has been said already so... THAT MUSIC DURING THE GROVE SCENE IS BEAUTIFUL!!
I was sorely disappointed that it was not included on the Y2 promo disc. I wouldn't want to lose any of the pieces on it but if I had had to I would have gladly traded the "action music" from Space Warp for this piece.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Triggers a thread on The Music of Y2 (Not Yet Uploaded).]
From: Roberto Baldassari (email@example.com) Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 09:31:53 +0200 Subj: Space1999: Non-Wadsworth Music used in "New Adam, New Eve"
I've seen "New Adam, New Eve" last week and I noticed they used a beautiful piece of music for the imfamous full-moon-romantic-night sequence.
Does anybody knows what piece of music is that one? It is clarly not Wadsworth but it is not listed in the non original music for year two on the web.
From: Dances With Chicanos (Tamazunchale@web44tv.net) Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 10:13:36 -0700 (PDT) Subj: Fwd: Re: Space1999: Non-Wadsworth Music used in "New Adam, New Eve"
Why do you say it is not Wadsworth. The orchestration seems very much in Wadsworth's style. By that I mean the mixture of electronic and traditional instruments seems very typical of Wadsworth's other music for the series. I have always believed it was his music--and still do.
THAT is the music I was referring to, and that started off this thread. It is truly beautiful music!
Can anybody ask Wadsworth? Aren't the people who are coordinating the MoreSpace campaign in touch with him?
From: Roberto Baldassari (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 19:21:23 +0200 Subj: Space1999: Non-Wadsworth Music used in "New Adam, New Eve"
Hi Mateo, all:
I was referring to the sequence that starts with the moon rising behind the mountain when the four alphans are round the campfire.
According to the Year two promo CD's booklet notes, Wadsworth only scored five episodes for the second season of Space:1999. The only episode missing in the promo CD (the Taybor) does not include that same piece of music, so I deduced it was not Wadsworth.
The Impressionist music used in the campfire sequence in "New Adam, New Eve" sounds a little bit like Ravel to me. When I first heard it last week I thought it could be "Venus, the Bringer of Peace" from Holst "The Planets". The two pieces of music share the same athmosphere but they are not the same.
From: James Smith (email@example.com) Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 16:37:45 -0800 Subj: Space1999: New Adam, New Eve creature
I really hate the rubber suit creature in this episode--he looks like the Michelin Tire Man's cousin from Chernobyl.
From: Chris Hlady (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 21:42:58 -0500 Subj: Re: Space1999: New Adam, New Eve
Should Tony have been able to touch Maya when she was an Owl? If the answer is yes, then that should have been a clue the characters would comment on.
This is one thing I noticed about this episode. By this time, I was finding the bloopers particularly funny.
Of course, it made a pretty picture.
From: David Welle (email@example.com) Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 02:14:00 Subj: Space1999: New Adam, New Eve
Ack, waiting until the last minute again. This is one of my favorite episodes, though, so I really wanted to try getting to it one way or another.
Interference patterns -- magnetic turbulence, appear. Some people start to faint, and a planet seems to be visible through the patterns. The patterns get artistic (not unlike what was in "The Taybor," it seems to me).
Nit: In one of those gestures that has long since been annoying, everyone gets up, one by one -- even Maya (Sandra's standing up in Y1 seems to have been contagious). Interference or not, emotions or not, this seems too carried away, and has been repeated so often I wonder why the commander hasn't come down on them for what strikes me as being sort of like abandoning one's post.
Then, a being claiming to be the Creator -- God, in effect -- comes to Alpha in a light and wind show, from which steps the self-claimed Creator. He talks, acts, and dresses like he might be who he says, alternately acting fatherly and violently demonstrative, not unlike what's in the Bible.
I love the battle of words between the visitor, who calls himself Magus, and the commander -- between a being claiming to be *the* Creator (calls himself Magus, and a skeptical, primitive human. Helena seems aghast at John's dismissal and attitude, and while not seeming to be totally convinced herself, certainly sees John's behavior as disrespectful of the possibility of the being's claims, while being caught up in the wonder that Magus might indeed *be* God. Between Magus's obvious "presence," power of character, and physical powers, he seems to have an almost Biblical mix of fatherliness, wrathfulness, and everything between, seeming just barely patient with his sometimes stubborn children. Then, again in an almost Biblical gesture, Magus gives a great gift to "his" children, in this case an entire new planet.
Magus seems to take little notice of Maya, addressing himself almost exclusively to and about his "Earthlings," until he begins dictating an exploratory team that includes her, John, Helena, and Tony.
In a scene that was entirely cut from the Sci-Fi Channel copy, all five -- including Magus -- board the Eagle that John argued they'd take, only for Magus to instantly transport the whole Eagle to New Earth, claiming privelege with his obvious power. Koenig gets even more irritated, but Koenig has at least had his own way in one way: they have an Eagle with them, which will become important later. They cannot talk to Alpha anymore, though.
Without this scene, the episode jumped from the scene in CC where Koenig gets his way with the Eagle, to them being on the planet with the Eagle, with Alan, much later (not immediately), seeming confused and saying that the four Alphans must be down on the planet, as if he had some doubts. A bad edit on SFC's part, punching a seeming continuity hole into the plot.
A little detail of which no apparent notice is taken, but which builds doubt in our minds and perhaps furthers Koenig's doubts: Magus's vagueness about the interference that is preventing communication with Alpha: "Perhaps my way of transporting you has interfered."
New Earth seems to be a paradise, but there's a catch: Magus will not allow any other Alphans to the planet, declaring the foursome the New Adams, New Eves. Now, all four have gone from a mixture of doubt and joy to suspicion and distress, concerned about the Alphans being left behind (though Koenig is undoubtedly beginning to think *them* the fortunate ones).
Koenig confronts Magus with a stun gun, but the latter demonstrates more power, "taking" Koenig's weapon away, before returning it. Holy cow, though, I just noticed a very bad edit by the original editors. I thought I saw something, back up the tape, and sure enough. There's a moment, just after the stun gun instantaneously (and convincingly) disappeared from Koenig's hand, where someone's arm and hand is putting the gun in Magus's hand! It's there for only six frames (a fifth of a second), but... wow, that's bad! One half of the effect is perfect, the other half is dreadful -- a not so special effect. I think SFC must have edited those frames, because I never noticed this before.
Magus then points the weapon at his head, becomes engulfed in white light, the stun gun returning to Koenig, who watches Magus reappear, unharmed, and in a good mood, declaring the four blessed, and that they are in effect experiencing the first day of creation. That brings up another point. God is not particularly noted for appearing to people directly, and walks among them even less frequently, but the parallel is with New Earth -- a new Eden -- and God having walked on the (old) Earth, in the Garden of Eden, in Genesis, so Magus is in fact paralleling that, not leaving his open appearance as a possible doubt. Yet that points out something that does leave some doubt: Magus's name. God does not drop names. It was one thing for Magus to refer to himself as "the Creator," but he went beyond that to give a name. It was not something that the Alphans took visible notice of back in Command Center, but is perhaps something that bothers them subconsciously, or maybe added to Koenig's doubts. I say something *should* have been mentioned in the episode, even if it's something that takes Koenig hours to realize consciously.
Meanwhile, Magus drops the next bombshell, declaring that John is to be paired with Maya and Tony paired with Helena. All four are immediately outraged, and Helena gets up to where she was sitting near Tony and goes to John's side as she speaks her outrage, as does Maya to Tony in another moment, as Maya states that they're not even sure they (Psychon and human) are compatible. The Alphans are, through body language, declaring who they are paired with, while declaring with words that they are disturbed by Magus's idea of doing a little "genetic engineering," as Helena puts it (which is not denied by Magus, either).
Tony's now as upset as Koenig, and even less restrained, calling Magus "Santa Claus," which raises the ire of Magus, who loudly declares that humanity is his, while John that "humanity belongs to no one" -- or so John believes, as he declares that humanity makes his own choices, with Magus countering "much less often than you think." John is very skeptical by now, apparently especially after having seen so many "superior" species waving around their seemingly magical powers.
Magus is playing the genetic engineer Helena labeled him as, picking out particularly major qualities: Maya's "iron intellect... typical of your species, interbred with the commander's iron will, so typical of his"; and Helena's "natural aristocracy allied with Mr. Verdeschi... a man rooted in the rock of the Earth." It's like Mendel's pea plants, only with psychosocial measures rather than physical characteristics. John and Maya will make a "fascinating interplanetary mix." Maya bluntly states that her and John's qualities may get in Magus's way, as if to gauge his reaction, but Magus seems to entirely ignore this, going on about his plans.
Though John finds Maya beautiful, he is totally disgusted with the idea of being paired with her in this way, but Magus cuts him off to declare that he is aware of their preferences but cannot "sanction" the unions they'd want, eventually declaring that their offspring -- by Magus's pairings -- will be remarkable.
Helena states that the Alphans are not rabbits, and prods him to recognize that one special factor. Magus promptly fills it in -- "love" -- then declares that he "knows all about it" and that he "invented it." It's too glib, and Tony and Maya look at each other with doubt in their eyes. They're not sure who he is any more, but none of the four think he's quite who he says he was.
He does not "wish" them to leave the glade. Magus continues to seemingly fit the role of The Creator, stating important wishes that seem arbitrary to humans (sort of reminscent of the Tree of Knowledge, it seems).
Magus then looks at the setting sun and rushes off, declaring, "It will be good to have a moon. We've never had one before. You will feel quite at home here." Notice the tense on his first sentence -- "will be" -- as if the Moon's going to stay there, circling New Earth, while the Alphans, cut off from New Earth, slowly die as Alpha runs out of the extralunar materials it needs. The second sentence has Magus talking in the plural, either hinting at the trinity, or that there are other intelligent beings on New Earth. The third sentence is his by now almost insulting fatherly nature coming back out, this time in effect telling the Alphans how they're going to feel.
I think it's very interesting that these little clues or just interesting little moments and statements are being dropped here and there. The story seems to me to be well-written. The audience is being favored with clues they we might not notice right away, just as the Alphans are being given clues they may not consciously notice right away either, but which build up their unconscious or semi-conscious feelings of distrust.
Before Magus totally leaves the glade, he reappears for a moment to declare who the Moon's "romantic effects" are still there, alluding back to his choices for "pair bonding." He's hinting that he doesn't want them to wait at all, as if they'll instantly comply with what he wants.
The thing is, they do, shortly. First, though, they approach the Eagle, only for it to disappear under the force of what Maya recognizes as "atomic dispersal." Tony wonders if Magus is God. They all wonder, but the doubt -- especially at Magus's methods -- remains, growing.
Alan tries taking an Eagle off Alpha, but for all the thrust, it doesn't lift off.
Tony tries to give Maya one of the cups of liquid Magus left behind, only for them to electrically shock each other. Maya has them test all male-female combinations, and they discover that only the pairs that Magus "sanctioned" can touch each other. The Moon rises, which Tony, after Magus's earlier words, calls it "the little matchmaker in the sky." (Nit: when the Moon rises *behind* the mountain, the near face, which should remain in shadow for awhile, immediately starts to light up). Already, in about half or a whole minute that the SFC cut, it seems to be having an effect, for Maya and John stare at each other intently, stumbling over their words, obviously feeling some unexpected attraction.
Yes, there's the kind of silly soft focus thing, but after it's being so replete in other shows from the 1960s and 1970s, I hardly notice (okay, I don't mind the effect on Maya, either :-) Then John goes to get more wood, and Maya instantly stands up, and after some glancing about nervously, follows John. It would have been obvious to a Tony that already tends towards jealousy, but under the obvious influence of outside forces, he doesn't take the slightest note, instead striking up a conversation with Helena.
I was bemused about the direct reference to the music. So often, there's background music, but we rarely notice it consciously, so to have it pointed out by the characters was rather surprising, and when I saw the episode for the first time in 16 years, back in 1993, I remember it took me a moment to even fully realize what music they were refering to! It could seem silly, yet it fit perfectly. They were being manipulated so thoroughly that music coming from the sky, a sort of atmospheric Muzak, was just barely noticed (or is Magus playing the music directly within the Alphans' minds?). It seemed silly for a moment, then seemed clever.
Tony and Helena are falling under the same spell as John and Maya. They are gathering sticks together. Maya talks about Psychons having found their god, only to find he had a god, and so on. Psychons seem to believe there are universes within universes, almost like each electron and quark is a universe. Not knowing much about "eastern" religions, I think there was a Hindu (Veddic?) concept of "maya" (!), curiously enough, which states something to the effect that what we see -- the universe -- is an illusion, a dream in a god's mind, who in turn lives in another universe that is "maya" too. Hmmm, if I got that right, someone (Terence Feely? Fred Freiberger?) was playing a game on Maya's name.
Maya: Another point about divine power. If we learned to explain it, to understand its mechanisms [pauses] I mean... would we regard it... as divine?
Even Psychons, having their beliefs, don't know everything, don't know the nature of what they believe to be their god or his god. Her words also become an intriguing prelude to what will later become known about Magus.
In the meantime, though, John and Maya realize they are being manipulated, but as with Tony and Helena noticing the music, and now recognizing it as brainwash, all four are helpless under the influence of Magus, and begin kissing. Their protests of hours before are gone. Magus seemed to tolerate their protests before, as if having let them rant like (as he probably saw them) foolish children, while all along, he knew he'd have his way later.
Yet instead of driving them instantly into each others' arms and pushing them to instantly consumate his wishes, Magus sets a romantic pattern. Sure, the former couldn't really be shown on television, of course; but I think it is more than apparent that Magus wanted their new pair bonding to start on a romantic note, trying to induce emotional love first. There's no way to tell for sure how fast he wanted them to move (would he have let them marry first?), though, as we soon find out; but it seems like he was leaving a small measure of decorum, or at least a small semblance of decency. Again, he's firm yet tender. He will not be thwarted, but within the confines of his desires, he allows some measure of the love he claims to have invented. The situation is a gilded cage.
Yet we don't get to find out just how fast Magus is going to push them, because the mood is shattered by animal screams. The Alphans rush to a scene of an ape attacking some bizarre alien creature. When the ape sees the Alphans, it rushes towards the new target, only for John to shoot it. A second (probably the first's mate) lurks, though, and catches Helena for a moment before Maya becomes a jumping lizard creature to battles it. Tony and John can't get a clear shot with Maya around, but she eventually wounds it herself. I like that she reverts while Helena appears to pass in front of the camera; it's a simple but effective trick.
John wants to follow the bizarre-looking alien's tracks into a cave, but the Alphans have already strayed out of bounds, and Magus's image suddenly appears large over the distant mountain, and drives them back with lightning and laser-like bolts from his eyes.
The next morning, Magus blows back into the glade, appearing before them and promptly declaring the human species "perverse." Magus says the rule about staying in the glade was for their protection, but when Tony asks whether the danger is from the apes or "those other things," Magus evades the question by once again speaking in terms of familiarity with human foibles, saying he's long noted the human species for asking endless questions and injuring itself. Koenig talks of free will, but Magus declares it doesn't exist. After some more argument, Magus angrily allows that free will is the right to TRY to leave the glade, leaving it to Koenig to run headlong into a force field. "Congratulations, you're a big, big physicist," the commander retorts.
Maya takes the initiative, scanning Magus as he is distracted as the other Alphans speak to him, immediately giving away one clue: he is not omniscient, or he would have detected Maya's attempt. Either that, or he simply doesn't care about that. Yet it quickly becomes apparent that he had reason to care. In regard to the forcefield, he lets it slip that he "can ill afford the energy." Under constant verbal onslaught from the Alphans, he's starting to slip, in this case unintentially admitting he's not omnipotent. He's obviously not perfect, either.
Once Magus leaves, things come into place as the Alphans discuss the latest encounter. Maya has discovered "his powers are physical, not psychic," for her scan has turned up that he has a mechanical power source inside of him.
On Alpha, Alan tries to launch an Eagle, this time with added vertical boosters, but all the energy goes for naught, because we see Magus on New Earth, straining, trying to keep the Eagle in place, just as John and Maya have realized that he must also be straining to hold New Earth together against the gravity of an unexpected Moon, drawn foolishly close. He then turns towards the local sun, as if soaking up the rays (and curiously giving the image that it is like he is worshipping another god, a sun god, so to speak).
More chinks appear in Magus's armor, as John discovers the vaunted force field of Magus has a hole in the top. Maya transforms into an owl, but the magnetic cocoons Magus has been using don't seem to recognize Maya in another form, allowing her to perch on Tony's arm for a curious moment that show how completely Tony has accepted Maya and her unusual ability. (He also later states, "For you, I'll try anything." Yep, he's crazy about her.)
The lack of recognition for Maya continues, for Magus spots her in flight, forces her down to perch on his arm, then releases her, believing her to be nothing more than an owl, demonstrating complete lack of knowledge that Psychons are metamorphs! He is definitely NOT omniscient.
"The more I learn, the less I know." An ironic statement, considering what the Alphans later discover about him.
Magus has made another mistake, for part of the force field apparently rests on top of a rock formation, but a cave goes through the rock formation, and the Alphans hope this allows them an escape from the glade. The encounter with the giant lizard in the cave is new to me though, as the SFC cut it. Probably one of the few cuts that really hurts nothing (and in my mind even eliminates a largely unnecessary scene).
The Alphans are then attacked by the bizarre alien they saw earlier. It attacks, then begs to be killed, and finally recounts a horrifying story.
Magus is last of the "cosmic magicians that perform miracles through physics." Little had Helena realized how close she had hit to the truth when she had earlier asked Magus if he was doing a little genetic engineering. He's doing much more than a little, and has in effect been torturing generations of intelligent beings until their genes have been "mutilated" -- and who won't even let them die.
The Alphans are stunned and horrified, not only at what Magus has already done, but what he had intended for the four of them.
When they emerge from the cave into the other side, Magus is there, and stuns Tony. Maya tries to touch him, only to be reminded not to by Helena, and Maya's anger turns towards Magus, declaring his act "immature and irresponsible." Magus turns around and tells her, "the last time we met, you were an owl" and he's ashamed that her "species' mastery of the molecular trick slipped my mind." Helena goes on the offensive stating that he takes his "revenge like a child," randomly targeting the first Alphan he sees, with his anger. The Alphans go on the offensive, tearing down the "Creator" edifice Magus had built around him, essentially stating he's a destroyer, creating nothing but misery.
I'm reminded of Magus's own words: "The more I learn, the less I know." It seems hopelessly true of Magus and his attempt to learn the secret of life: for all that he's learned and tried to learn, he has discovered how little he's been able to discover.
When confronted about his intent for the four Alphans, and his horrifying bungling to this point, he declares the Alphans' descendents wouldn't meet the same fate, that he wanted to work with them as a team to discover the secret of life, that he needed their help and was even willing to eventually invest their descendents with his power, almost as if he wanted surrogate children, new "cosmic magicians." The Alphans don't believe a word of what he says. He tried acting like the Creator, calling it a "harmless deception" to gain their trust, but now has less than nothing to show for it in that regard. He does have familiarity with humans because he's been among them many times.
Now, feeling on the defending end of the Alphans' verbal offensive, Magus starts attacking Alpha, to "put pressure on John," as Alan says. John shouts to stop, and when Magus asks if John agrees to his terms, John tries to stall. Magus has the upper hand, but abruptly leaves, failing to press home his advantage.
John wonders about this, then comes to the conclusion Magus is afraid of the dark! They put it all together, and Maya realizes the implant is a "light decelerator," giving him great power. It's like Arthur C. Clarke's statement that "any sufficiently advanced science will appear indistinguishable from magic," if I'm quoting correctly.
Now, what Maya said to John earlier becomes even more intriguing. "If we learned to explain [divine power], to understand its mechanisms... would we regard it... as divine?" They've explained Magus's mechanisms, and discovered he wasn't divine to start with, which curiously but not unexpectedly says nothing about other divine or mysterious forces -- just about Magus, who was nothing more than a sort of charlatan. Unlike many other so-called psychics' claims of powers, Magus actually has powers, but his weren't paranormal either, just mechanical in his case, which makes him a sort of very advanced illusionist. He contended with Moses, but what the episode doesn't mention is that it was a battle in which Moses won! The Egyption court magicians (with this episode positing Magus as a contender, probably the leading one) managed to reproduce some of the effects after the fact, but faltered and then fell far behind when plagues started befalling the Egyptians.
Not only does Magus present somewhat mediocre Earth-based credentials, but the command personnel have seen enough of the genuine mystery in space that they are no longer too terribly impressed with him now, though the Alphans of course realize he is still just as dangerous.
Knowing what gives Magus his powers, however, they discover a way to combat him. Magus keeps talking about humans as if they're children, so it's a wonderfully ironic turnaround that they choose to "get primitive" to defeat him, building a pit trap covered with branches and reeds, which when Koenig names terms and then insults Magus, he steps into. Denied his light, Magus's power evaporates. The planet, held together by Magus against the Moon's gravity, starts falling apart explosively. The Eagle, its atoms held apart by Magus's dispersal field, reappears. John tries to save the mutants, but they are so far gone and lost that they simply want to die.
The Eagle lifts off just in time, before the cracking earth nearly swallows it, and the Alphans make good their escape, though not without wondering about the long shot of the explosion's light re-energizing Magus and allowing him to escape.
Despite a couple minor nits, I have always found this to be a great story. The plot was well-written, except for little bits like the giant lizard. The music was excellent. The effects were good. The ape suits were, well, just ape suits, but I've long since filed that under "suspension of disbelief." I thought the alien mutant was well-done, though, and Maya's jumping lizard wasn't bad. The acting is excellent all around, not only for all four Alphans (plus for Alan's moments too), but also by Guy Rolfe, who played Magus perfectly, with all the mannerisms and tones one would expect with the character he portrayed. The dialog is absolutely wonderful, and even employed foreshadowing in how some statements by Maya, Helena, and Magus took on greater light, in analysis, after other events unfolded. Dialog-wise, I especially loved the arguments between John and Magus, but all the characters interacted excellently. The romantic scenes work perfectly, capturing both the romantic and the manipulated aspects of the pairings. The little things are also captured, like Helena and Maya moving to John's and Tony's sides at one point. The story raises interesting questions with its religious overtones. In the end, despite Magus's (eventually demolished) claims of godhood, the Alphans really know nothing more about the strange powers in the universe, just that one power that was far less than it arrogantly claimed to be.
I give it a 4 out of 4, or an A. Eliminate the couple of nits I noted, including the giant cave lizard, and I would have given it an A+. Had I still been rating an SFC-edited episode, with the couple of continuity holes SFC punched into the story, I would have given it an A- (despite SFC's getting rid of the giant cave lizard). The nits that existed were all minor, and simply didn't detract from a story I enjoy.
Oh, one final note about the plot, regarding Maya in particular. Despite Magus's claims of her biological (i.e. reproductive) compatibility with John -- and by extension to Tony, I doubt she'd feel the question was really answered, considering the source of the declaration, and all the evidence of past failures. After all, maybe he was just curious to see what would happen crossing Psychon with human, which with either success or partial or total failure could reveal important facts about life to Magus (and he did state that even failure can be learned from).
My 1.999 cents,
P.S. I play on aspects discussed here about Magus, and other aspects of his character, to some degree in my fan fiction, namely in "The Transfer," though that story really isn't about him, as mention of Magus is just a small (perhaps underdeveloped) part of the story.
From: David Welle (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 02:42:31 Subj: Re: Space1999: New Adam, New Eve
At 11:28 AM 08/21/98 -0400, email@example.com wrote:
I like that Alan can be completly distracted by the beautiful serving girl and take the drink (apple?) until Koenig stops him.
Does Koenig, on the eagle, say "Carter to Alpha?"
Yep. Didn't even notice until I went back to check. He was calling to Yasko first, and probably just meant to do the same with Carter's name, but mixed it up.
Saying what kind of children Koenig and Maya would produce made sense, but they seemed stuck as to describe what kind of offspring Helena and Tony would have.
The way Magus was pairing the two sets seemed different. Pairing Tony and Helena seemed like a pairing of opposites, in the main (if superficial) characteristics Magus mentioned; while John and Maya seemed a match of similars, at least in the sense of both having "iron"-something-or-another.
It's funny, but at the time this episode was produced, some southern U.S. tv stations were not running certain episodes of Trek and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea because they were uncomfortable with certain messianic and/or satanic implications...and here is Maya saying "yeah we found the universal creator...and he has a creator also." I don't remember hearing if stations refused to run this episode.
I wondered about that to. Never heard anything either.
The soft focus is too much after awhile in the "mating" sequence...although it would have been less so if the characters commented on it the way Tony mentions the music.
That could have been funny, but probably would have been pushing it -- from "it fits the manipulation" to "this is just too much."
I like the way Maya's change back was accomplished by someone walking in front of the camera...it worked. Interesting to see they were experimenting thoughout the series on how to change her back.
You noticed that too.
Should Tony have been able to touch Maya when she was an Owl? If the answer is yes, then that should have been a clue the characters would comment on.
Good point. People sometimes don't consciously notice clues right away, but it does still seem like something they should have noticed, even if it wasn't until after Maya returned and was talking about how Magus released her. ("And did you notice that...?")
From: "Ariana" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 15:39:33 +0100 Subj: Re: Space1999: New Adam, New Eve
This is way out of date, but just something that sprang to mind as I take a look at old mails I heven't answered...
Nit: In one of those gestures that has long since been annoying, everyone gets up, one by one -- even Maya (Sandra's standing up in Y1 seems to have been contagious).
Have you also noticed (and this applies to Y1 and Y2 equally), how everyone backs away from the view screen when there's something horrible happening on it?
I noticed this in Collision Course: they're approaching the planet so everyone rushes to the back of Main Mission. Logical... the planet is bound to hop through the screen at them. A similar situation in The Beta Cloud, where the screen shows the creature bashing its way through a door (before it gets a fire extinguisher chucked at it and exclaims "Oh f... God!" ;), and Sandra not only leaves her post, but backs away from it.
Er, hello, folks, it's just a *screen*.
From: South Central (Tamazunchale@web44tv.net) Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 07:00:00 -0700 (PDT) Subj: Re: Space1999: New Adam, New Eve
It is done for the same reason, the Eagles whoosh by in the vacuum of space.
Also as kids, watching scary stuff on TV, didn't we all back away from the screen (or hide behind the sofa)? I have been known to throw my hands up in front of my upper body and face in a particularly frightening and ENGROSSING film TO THIS DAY! You get so into it that when something jumps out at you--even though it is on the big screen (pun intended) you instinctively move to protect yourself.
I see your point though--I just don't want to get stuck by it. :-)
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