From: South Central (Tamazunchale@web44tv.net) Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 09:32:10 -0800 (PST) Subj: Space1999: ExE
This week: Devil's Planet!
From: South Central (Tamazunchale@web44tv.net) Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 09:37:26 -0800 (PST) Subj: Space1999: Devil's Planet
So why didn't the Alphans settle on the main planet? I realize that there were millions of dead people but they were not "ambulatory"!
The Alphans could have settled somewhere in the countryside and little by little taken over the planet. In a years' time there would be nothing left of the bodies but the skeletons anyway.
The disease had no effect on humans and even if the prisoners returned to the main planet (with a cure) their number would not impinge upon the planet's resources.
They don't even discuss it!!
From: Mark Meskin (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 16:10:36 -0600 Subj: Re: Space1999: Devil's Planet
Quite possibly the moon was moving out of range by the time Koenig returned to Alpha.
From: Petter Ogland (email@example.com) Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 13:28:09 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Devil's Planet
So why didn't the Alphans settle on the main planet?
While a completely valid question, it is something that could be asked in almost all the episodes (Y1 and Y2) where the Alphans approach a new planet.
As far as I'm concerned looking for a new earth was the issue of MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH. With the comments from Helena about happy to be home on Alpha at the end of BLACK SUN, very much the question of finding a new home has become illusory, although ANOTHER TIME/ANOTHER PLACE, GUARDIAN OF PIRI, THE LAST SUNSET and THE TESTAMENT OF ARKADIA all deal seriously with this initial theme initiated by the epilogue of BREAKAWAY.
To me DEVIL'S PLANET seem to be a fable on the relationships between men and women just like its counterpart THE LAST ENEMY of Year One, and, I must admit, as far as I'm concerned DEVIL'S PLANET comes across as everywhere as good as LAST ENEMY.
Contrary to most Y2 episodes, DEVIL'S PLANET is a story written to make full use of the Y2 production values, and just like the next installement in the series, THE IMMUNITY SYNDROM, it happily makes minimal use of the transformation abilities of Maya. In fact DEVIL'S PLANET makes minimal use of both Tony and Maya, which in my opinin, is a sign of quality letting the focus of the episode deal with the inner life of grown-up people.
Even though I'm waiting with suspence for Simon to fill us in on the background of Michael Winder and things that might explain his fascination with whip-wielding women in red cat-suits, I cannot wait to throw in a few comments on why I like this episode. In fact, at the moment I think DEVIL'S PLANET, along with the very interesting ALL THAT GLISTERS, is one of the best episodes of the season, definitely a top ten, perhaps even a top five if I do not feel temptated to range it as the very best episode of the season.
Emma wrote, commenting Ellen [from this thread]:
On the other hand, I liked the outfit Catherine Schell wore in the Guardian of Piri episode, and I also have a fondness for the uniforms on "Devil's Planet" (which labels me as not quite balanced, I'm sure)Hmm, yes, that makes two of us. Who said men were the only ones who liked those sorts of costumes? ;)
More efficiently than the similar cat-suit in LAST ENEMY, the type of "red light district" flavour and style to DEVIL'S PLANET makes it much more efficient, I think, although, even though visually more stunning that LAST ENEMY, costumes are interestingly designed by a woman during the second season, Ms. Porter, working, I assume, in collaboration with Keith Wilson, the script is far from as daring as the costumes would suggest, I feel.
One of the strong points of LAST ENEMY, I feel, was that it was a collaboration between Barbara Bain and Bob Kellett, a male/female approach that could have worked miracles if they had only stuck with the original THE OTHER SEX script which was much more psychologically complex and interesting than the somewhat more mild production draft.
As commented upon earlier, my feeling is that THE DEVIL'S PLANET would have benefitted largely by enhancing the central issue of the episode, the powerplay between men and women by a more artistic and less conventional type of direction. Although Tom Clegg is far from bad, think of what Waldrian Borowchik could have done with it.
In order to create somewhat more tension certainly somethink like bringing Koenig to the prison cell by going through a corridor of female showers, with interesting examening close-ups of his face while there are obscure nudes in the background would have been excellent ammendments, I feel, bringing more attention to the central issue of the story.
I also think the whipping is far to tame. While obviously not much of a threat in physical terms, the combination between female beauty and power is the thing that should have been enlighted here. The psychological power the females have over the men on this planet could have been much more efficiently illustrated by Eliza having one of the men crawling on the floor, demanding him to watch her starting to get undressed, perhaps having two of the other amazones undressing her, but as soon as it is about to be interesting kicking him over or humiliate him in some other fashion.
There is much to be said about this episode, I feel. Can't wait to continue, but I have to hear how others experience it first.
From: "Petter Ogland" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 11:57:11 +0000 Subj: Space1999: Devil's Planet
As there has not been all that much said about this episode yet, I though I might add a few more of thoughts on how I perceive it before the rest join in. Simon, where are you? Emma?
The final film in Pier Pasolini's trilogy "the joy of life", THE CANTERBURY TALES (1976), contains what is an adaption of Chaucer, I suppose, that in the filmed version, the last of the tales Pasolini uses in his suite, although apparently inspired by medival Flemish artist Bosch, looks very much like DEVIL'S PLANET with vicious little red devils running around with whips humilating and tormenting naked people working in what seems to be a coal mine.
I can't remember the music Pasolini chose to use in this particular installment, it certainly can't have been instrumental renaissance music of the Byrd type as was used in the early sequences, but probably something more like the Stravinsky ballet-music from the Paris period.
In order to get the message of DEVIL'S PLANET better across I also believe that the use of music could have been better chosen. Just think of how much the Bartok string quartets did for Kubrick's THE SHINING (1979).
In fact, DEVIL'S PLANET is one of those episodes that if made during Y1 probably would have had a score similar to END OF ETERNITY, electronic music embodying chaos. Not that the modernistic score for RING AROUND THE MOON was not chaos enough, the type of thing that Allan Willis did for END OF ETNERITY, recycling much of the music from FORCE OF LIFE, of course, a similar episode in many ways, not at least the emotional aspects of it, would illustrate the torments of Koenig et al and the chaotic and savage way of life on the planet communicated in a more suitable manner than the one chose would have enhanced the episode tremendously, I feel.
If the sort of thing with whips and amazone women should work reasonably well, I suppose it would be of extreme importance that the psychological aspects of the drama are drawn out to its full extent. Most everything that can be said about DEVIL'S PLANET could also be said about THE LAST ENEMY, although, perhaps due to LAST ENEMY being very much an episode from a womans point of view, I suppose, Barbara Bain at this moment, there are no female spectators in DEVIL'S PLANET, holding the same type of role as Helena did in LAST ENEMY.
Apart from Pasolini, an Italian director who gained a lot of international reputation for investigating this sort of highly intensified drama, a type of drama surely in the legacy of Strindberg I suppose, was Tinto Brass with SALOON KITTY (1976), known as his masterpiece in the genre where he goes for displaying the intimacy between political powerplay and powerplay between the sexes. As this is apparently one of the nasty onces, so I've heard, I've avoided that, and avoided his reportedly even more extreme CALIGULA (1979), although I though his THE KEY (1980?), being a sort of reponse to Bertolucci's LAST TANGO IN PARIS (1972), was rather interesting, just like another of the films he made in the 1980's reflecting the style of Fellini in both style and content using life in a brothel as an allegory of the recent history of Italy. I can't remember the name of the latter one, although I think it made some waves at the time.
Although Winder and Clegg seem determined enough in their investigation of the sort of WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRIGNIA WOOLF themes that are being investigated in a more abstract manner with this installment, as we know that, particulary in Year One, SPACE:1999 often borderlined what was acceptible as TV entertainment, several episodes being trimmed or left out in different countries, in DEVIL'S PLANET, an episode that would have been an extremely interesting vehicle in the hands of someone like Ray Austin, what feels wrong with it is mostly its unwillingness to go the whole way.
Just like the sequence with use of subjective camera with the model aeroplane attacking Koening in END OF ETERNITY and the explicit and visual referecnes to cannibalism in MISSION OF THE DARIANS, if Austin had headed DEVIL'S PLANET he would surely have included something like Koenig being forced lick the boots of Eliza, first recenting, of course, in the normal Koenig manner, then, by the use of whips and electro-shocks perhaps, being forced down on the floor, and forced to craw over the floor, done perhaps in a similar fashion and with similar strain as in BREAKAWAY, finally encountering the leather boots with Eliza bending down, stringing him gently through the hair and whispering softly "...and now, lick them!", Koenig looking as exhausted as he did when trying to reach Alan's Eagle during the climax of BREAKAWAY.
I see now there is much more to build on here. As with Pasolini, Brass, Bergman and others, the point is, of course, not the actions in themselves, but the degradation that are inherit with them, the display of power and the excess of psycholical power and nuances that are explored as the problems concerning, anger, guilt, loss of power etc. are being investigated in a suitable framework.
From: "Ellen C. Lindow" (email@example.com) Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 08:02:39 -0500 (EST) Subj: Space1999: Devil's Planet
Maybe I wil find something to like in it this time around.
How about the grey jumpsuite on John? And Roy Marsden too. (I love Marsden, in all his roles-- obviously I have this thing about bald men)
Really, the politics in this episode are interesting, too bad the Alphans didn't come across this world a little earlier-- like before all the sane ones died.
I agree with Mateo, It seems the Alphans could have found a home here. The usual excuse is that they couldn't evacuate Alpha in time. It's probably valid, but they did seem to be able to evacuate pretty quick in Seance Spectre. The Alphans seemed to get picky about where they were going to stay.
From: Robert Gilbert (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 14:30:06 -0600 Subj: Re: Space1999: Devil's Planet
No kiddin' eh? It was almost as if the moon was better than _anywhere else_ they found!
Robert C. Gilbert
From: TERALISHA@aol4tag.com Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 21:42:33 EST Subj: Space1999: RE: Space: 1999 Devil Planet
Hello everyone! Hope all is well with everybody.
I did it, I watched this episode in it's entirety for the 1st time.
Interesting grey jumpsuit, interesting costumes.
Storyline? Well, political problems plot = ok
Alphan character usage = ah....., well...., um.... let's not go there, shall we?
Alibe usage = nice scene in the Eagle sorrowful looking
Bill usage = well... not one of his better moments - perhaps he wasn't feeling well when they taped this one.
Missing Alphans = Yes, I have to wonder.. Where in the H.... were they all? Recovering from inhalation of too much Verdeschi brew #30 or whatever # Tony is on by now?
Oh well that's right - Helena did do intro days(years? how many?) speech - which is a whole matter that I still wonder about & have slightly discussed elsewhere......she definitly was taking too many of her own meds to keep accurate records?
Missing Tony = OK, THE credits said he was to be there, my episode tape doesn't have him there once, so unless that millisecond or what ever was edit out by sci-fi channel......
Eagle crash = at least Carter didn't crash another one, did a good job of tearing up the inside for after crash scenes.
nice people (as in characters, not their overall behavior)
deduction for Fraser's believability
deduction for missing Alphans
deduction for Alphan's not taking advantage of empty planet
Overall score (1-10 - 10 being best)
that's all for now folks.
From: Jim Small (Eagle1@mts4tag.net) Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 21:44:34 -0600 Subj: Space1999: Devil's Planet- The Other Take.
We-e-e-ell, may as well put my two dollars (inflation...remember?) worth on this ep. Ready? Strap yerselves in! This one's gonna be real UN-PC!
Gotta say it's one of my favourite episodes.
Well, first of all we get to see a way-cool-far-out-solid'n'right-on Eagle crash. I was always a big fan of Eagle crashes. Crashes and scenes of mass destruction are always a mainstay of a good action flick, and this ep didn't let me down. This one happens with all the flair of most Season II Eagle crashes, and is especially cool cuz it happens in a forest, just like in "The Immunity Syndrome". Crashes in forests are always super cool, cuz lots o' trees get broken, and helps out all those people runnin' 'roun' lookin' for kindlin' to put in their fireplace after the shot's done. Saves a hell of a lot of swingin' with the ol' axe! Also, the trees would act as a cushion (for the plot too) and help to explain why the main characters survive an' escape from a spacecraft (with no wings by the way) outta control doin' a zillion miles an hour an' pancakin' into the surface of a planet.
Second, and most importantly, we get to see a whole whack o' beautiful ladies runnin' aroun' in tight red spandex leotards for most of the show! An' for a young guy just diggin' puberty at the time it was first aired, that was an OKAY way ta go! YEAH!!! Hell, I enjoy it even now! (don't tell my wife)
Only one dumb- I say, really dumb- part o' the plot though. Koenig is actually trying to escape so he can go back to Alpha! Wai-da-minni-i-i-it! I thought these guys were tryin' ta get OFF Alpha so they could live on a planet an' continue to live a fine life! Well, Koenig was captured by these whip-wielding cat-women and told he had to stay and do nothing but have sex with the "queen" (who's a major babe by the way!). So why'd he try to escape?! Gads! What more could a guy want? ...Spend the rest of my life... with a gorgeous woman... who wants to do nothing but have me "pleasure" her? Most men (and teenagers with hormones run rampant) would KILL fer that opportunity! So where the hell do I sign up??? Sheeesh! An' Koenig was tryin' to escape! Why!? So he could go back an' live on a rock that could smash into a sun at any moment?!!!
Yeah, right!! I know where I'd be hangin' my commlock!! (again, don't tell my wife)
Oh, *ahem* "Elizia" dear? Have you tried on that red catsuit yet that I got ya fer Christmas las' year?... No, huh? Well, sh...... C'mon hone-e-e-e-e! Oh, guess I'll have to watch "Devil's Planet" again. The tape's almost worn out already!......Hey! Stop it! That whip hurts!!!!!!
(I wish she'd try these things in proper order!....)
.....My ten bucks worth (remember... inflation).
From: actingman-jc@World44net.att.net Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 00:18:33 -0500 Subj: Space1999: Devil's Planet
I think this is one of the best episodes of the series.
This episode shows what could be considered a mix of year one and year two. I find the scenes where the prisoners are arguing philosophy with Elizia very British (or very year one.) Add to that the music and the physical aspects of year two, and you get a successful hybrid.
Koenig is pointing the wrong end of his comlock to televise pictures back to Alpha (Fraiser holds it correctly in Beta Cloud when he shows Sandra his work building the electrical barrier.)
The guy who materializes infront of Koenig and Maine looks like the late comedian Andy Kaufman.
Without knowing about the double filming, it is a little confusing with no one else in the episode. The scenes in Command Center were very short...they could have freed up Anholt for those few hours of filming I would think...even just to send Fraiser and Alibe on their way. And speaking of Fraiser, he would have been more believeable if he had phoned it in.
On the other hand, Hildegard Neil as Elizia was simply brillant.
Sometimes they call it a planet, sometimes a moon. I've heard the original title was Devil's Moon, which I think was a better title, since it is a moon, and it ties in with Devil's Island.
Transbeamer? Someone's joke combining transporter with beaming down?
My only complaint is the poor choice of music at the end when Koenig was walking to the eagle. They used the light-hearted lite-pop stuff when they should have used either the music when the humans are removing their masks after the androids were beaten in One Moment Of Humanity, or the music at the very end of that episode when the andriod Zarl "dies".
I usually just comment on plot problems and filming flaws, but I think this episode is just one of the best.
Another strange thing: The American laser disc gives the title as Devil's Moon. Again, how are they coming up with discarded working titles 14 years after the programs were made?
The former email@example.com
From: Petter Ogland (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 11:40:07 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Devil's Planet- The Other Take.
Jim Small wrote:
We-e-e-ell, may as well put my two dollars (inflation...remember?) worth on this ep. Ready? Strap yerselves in! This one's gonna be real UN-PC! Gotta say it's one of my favourite episodes.
Excellent! There is nothing as interesting as a letter starting like this, now is there?
Well, first of all we get to see a way-cool-far-out-solid'n'right-on Eagle crash [....] and is especially cool cuz it happens in a forest, just like in "The Immunity Syndrome".
It's very similar, isn't it? They didn't use the same sequence twice? To me the sets seem quite like in these two episodes too. Perhaps they were recycling in order to prevent going over budget?
Second, and most importantly, we get to see a whole whack o' beautiful ladies runnin' aroun' in tight red spandex leotards for most of the show!
An' for a young guy just diggin' puberty at the time it was first aired, that was an OKAY way ta go! YEAH!!! Hell, I enjoy it even now! (don't tell my wife)
Splending entertainment. Definitely one of the highlights of the season the way I see it, no doubt about that.
In fact in an episode like this I feel the use of colour, type of music, costumes, perhaps even type of acting, although not too sure about that, and most everything I found as a move in the wrong direction from Y1 proves to work excellently given the right context.
I don't know what Freiberger felt about this episode, perhaps he had gone asleep by the time they reached this third to last installment, he explained in interviews, I believe, that he was less concerned about the scripts as the series progressed, obviously one of the reasons Johnny Byrne managed to get his IMMUNITY SYNDROM produced as well.
If DEVIL'S PLANET had been representative of the change of direction from Y1 to Y2 I believe I had been very happy indeed, one of the very few episodes that makes excellent use of the camp elements now inherit in the series. Not only is this a good Y2 episode, it is an excellent example of SPACE:1999 at it's very best and a wonderful display of Keith Wilson's magnificent visuals. The castle interiors with mirror walls and checker floor is one of his most successful creations, I think.
As stated in earlier posts, however, in order to trancend the ridiculous, wonderfully described by Jim in what is probably the funniest letter I've read on this list since the days of John Boomershine, there should be more focus on content, more like in THE LAST ENEMY, I suppose, not only the slightly perverse style.
Just like in, say, Philip Kaufman's 1988 adaption of THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING, where the male protagonist asks or rather demands in a calm, deep, forceful voice the shy female lead to undress in front of him, a wonderfully tense scene isn't it, similar types of action should have been added to DEVIL'S PLANET, a psychological depth that would fit with Keith Wilson and Frank Watt's magnificent visual style.
Obviously most of the action would have to take place indoor, and as the prison cell seem to have been constructed as a sort of ante-chamber to hell, why not have a worried Koenig walking about in his cell hearing shrieks of pleasure coming from the next door. Then we could have cross-cut some scenes with Helena, just like Bob Kellett did so magnificently in THE LAST ENEMY, adding to Koenig's worried soul and having him narrow his eyebrows obvisouly in distress but without much clue on what to do. Perhaps he would walk towards the prison door, quickly, in his normal nervous manner, only to see a delegation of amazones leaving the next door room, and have one of them, Elizia no doubt, suddenly enter camera in close-up, smiling snake-like and saying something like "...but for you, John Koenig,..." moving her hands gently over her own face and her body.
The difficult thing is to make it sufficiently ambigious, I suppose, not to bad handled by Bob Kellet in THE LAST ENEMY, which apparently was a much more interesting episode judging from what have been said and written about the first draft, although Kellet obviously did not manage to contextualise the more delicate erotisism suggested by Barbara Bain.
From: "Petter Ogland" (email@example.com) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 11:53:59 +0000 Subj: Re: Space1999: Devil's Planet
This episode shows what could be considered a mix of year one and year two. I find the scenes where the prisoners are arguing philosophy with Elizia very British (or very year one.) Add to that the music and the physical aspects of year two, and you get a successful hybrid.
Well said J.C., definitely a best of two worlds here. It is surprising really, how many on this list who seem to like this particular episode. Never mind, absolutely top notch in SPACE:1999 terms the way I see it, and excellent starting point for the fan fiction writers I suppose. It will be interesting to here what our writers on this list think of it and if it is an episode that is being frequently referred to in those circles.
[...] On the other hand, Hildegard Neil as Elizia was simply brillant.
Brilliant. One of the best actresses of the season, I feel, and one of those that managed to add something to her role. Brilliant, probably following the Brian Blessed school of acting, as I've understood that they are (or were at least?) married in real life.
I usually just comment on plot problems and filming flaws, but I think this episode is just one of the best.
Excellent, J.C., no doubt your most fascinating contribution to this list so far, in my opinion anyway. Excellent!
From: "Ellen C. Lindow" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 07:52:23 -0500 (EST) Subj: Re: Space1999: Devil's Planet
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who likes this episode. To answer your question, Petter, about what fanfic writers think about it, to be perfectly honest, it's too good. The best stories come from those episodes that are so bad that you're screaming by the end of the episode that you could do better than that! Although I've never done a specific count, Full Circle inspires an awful lot of fanfic. I have to admit that I recently started a story that takes place right after the end of Devil's Planet.
There are some plot holes that need to be fixed by we fanfic carpenters. The main one being: where is everybody! My main speculation in the current story is that the planet was really too far away for an effective Op Exodus and Koenig's survey was mainly for resources they could trade and bring back to Alpha. I also speculate that Helena would immediately pop him, Alibe and Fraser into medical isolation until she had worked out that it wasn't a fluke that they weren't effected by that plague. We really wouldn't want to find out that humans just had a longer incubation period.
Now, I know the planet looked like a good place to settle, but I could certainly understand them not wanting to risk both exposure to plague and all the nasty secondary problems that come from having _lots_ of decomposing bodies around. It would have been nice to work something out with the survivors on the moon. This _does_ appear to be the best chance they've found so far. But you have to remember, this is episodic TV and we just _can't_ change the major premise of the show that much. This did make the show rather limiting. They needed to look for a home, but they couldn't be allowed to find one.
As for Koenig wanting to stay behind, fortunately, he wasn't a teenager (and yes, I can't imagine any teenage male not wanting to stay.) Koeing was sophisticated enough to realize Elizia was looking for a new boytoy, and that she was the type that wasn't particulary careful with her toys. Once he began to bore her, he would not be put on a shelf, she would obviously think up something spectacular and most likely painful. I have no doubts that Koenig could be a good boytoy, but I doubt he would ever be a happy one. (Which probably was why Elizia was so intrigued by him. She obviously didn't like the passive kind.)
From: "Bill" (email@example.com) Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 00:53:20 -0500 Subj: Space1999: Devil's Planet
Devil's Planet - now who thinks that Brian likes this story? How many of you can hear that cold shower of mine running in the background?
The episode had the same effect on me way back when, probably still would if I saw it again. Someone on the list a while back gave the eagle crash on this episode his vote for best special effect, and I'm inclined to agree. Even thepost crash view of the smoldering eagle amidst the foilage was well done.
Overall, I think that the story suffers from a lack of Alan, Maya and Tony -one could have been more forceful in getting to Ellna and searching for John while the others could have gotten everything ready for Op Exodus to Entra. There was the ideal place for them to go - infratructure all in place, just the previous occupants to remove.
More good points, though technically, they were in the episode during the brain scan of Koenig. Freddie even got to include the obligatory metamorphosis that way. I really liked the Exodus aspect, that would have been a good thing to consider. If you saw THE STAND, though you'd have gotten a good glimpse of how unsavory the cleanup might have been just to make use of the infrastructure.
From: Sciffynic@aol4tag.com Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 20:59:05 EST Subj: Re: Space1999: Devil's Planet
So, has no one commented on the possibility that just because the planet wasn't immediately fatal to the Alphans, doesn't mean there wouldn't have been long term effects. Maybe to be lethal to them, the poison would have to accumulate in their systems.
Better safe than sorry. Although, they would have had all the benefits of their scientific knowledge at their disposal, as well as their industry, living spaces, stored foods, etc. etc.
-militant diabetic/crazy cat lady-in-training
From: "Simon Morris" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 13:35:13 -0000 Subj: Space1999: DEVILS PLANET
I'm not quite sure what it is about DEVILS PLANET....I don't watch it as often as I do some Y2 episodes and I never really look forward to it. I always thought the lurid title was pure B-movie hokum and the essence of the story seems to hark back to that style too.
Yet I enjoy it once I start watching!
Before anyone says it(stay in your seat Brian....) I admit there is a certain thrill in watching a number of attractive ladies in skin tight costumes running about the place. Not so keen on the whips mind you..... But there is more to the episode than that. There are some good performances from Hildegarde Neil and Roy Marsden and the story doesn't particularly suffer from the loss of Verdeschi,Maya and the rest-though it is strange *not* to see some of them in the episode. There is also(at least for me) a strange sense of isolation about the episode in that Alpha is barely featured except in the opening minutes and not at all once Fraser and Alibe have left to find the Commander.
The episode is largely devoid of the usual Y2 humour and I think that this works well. There is some unintentional humour: I always laugh when Dr Ed Spencer warns them to keep away from the people beaming down in case they are contagious,and Koenig and Maine leap theatrically back(serious overacting here). I also tend to crack up at Alibe.....I put it down to her inexperience(not as bad as Yasuko Nagazumi),but while I quite like the character I wasnt wildly enthusiastic about Alibe Parsons' performance. Two examples which for some reason always set my teeth on edge:
" We'll track you Eagle 1...Over and Out!" This is poor writing IMO. As someone who uses 2 way radio on a daily basis I always ask myself who,in this day and age(let alone 1999) says "Over and Out"?! The other problem shows when the Eagle is being swept by a beam of light,and Alibe intones seriously:
"We're being scanned!" No kidding Alibe?
The alien Craal has some intelligent dialogue effectively performed by Roy Marsden,who is a mix of intelligence,compassion and cynicism and realism. I'm not sure how well Roy is known outside England,but he remains an experienced tv and stage actor who continued to star on the Ruth Rendell detective/mystery series as Commander Adam Dalgleish. He also makes a fortune doing voice-overs for tv commercials!. In DEVILS PLANET its nice to see an alien fighting bravely and against the odds for the rights of his fellow prisoners...he'd probably have gone down well on Moonbase Alpha. His main interest of course is survival...but not just his. He is brave enough to try and defend prisoners against Elizia's tyrrany even though he knows he's never going to beat her.
Hildegarde Neil seems to relish her part and I don't think she hams it up either. Not only is she physically attractive,but she imparts a very sensuous persona while at the same time being a complete and utter bitch. She's pure evil and I can't see anything much in her favour apart from her physical attributes.(You'd have a lot of fun with her while you could stand the pace,but once you'd flagged-probably less than a week!-you'd probably wind up dead and be grateful for it,heh heh). The Head of Security clearly has Elizia's card marked when she sees Elizia's reaction to Koenig's brain probe.When she says it is "interesting",the Head of Security asks sardonically: "His spacecraft,his friends,or his romances?" This was a deft line of dialogue delivered with the perfect degree of dryness by Dora Reisser.(By the way,what's a German accent doing on this planet? Reisser,incidentally,was occasionally seen on tv in the seventies as Chief Inspector Craven's ex-wife in the Thames TV/Euston Films series SPECIAL BRANCH).
There are exchanges between Elizia and Koenig that sparkle in my opinion(not just Koenig,some of her scenes with Craal are well done too. I especially liked the scene where Craal mockingly claps her and applauds her for her understanding of human rights,which earns him a whip round the neck and a chilling reply: "How fortunate you never cease to amuse me Craal...."). As far as her relationship with Koenig goes,this exchange sticks in my mind:
"Stay with me and and you will experience undreamed-of pleasure...until I tire of you".(Typical woman:-)
To which Koenig acidly replies: "What's your boredom quotient?" "That would be determined by you!"
There is,you can see, a fair amount of character conflict in the episode which to me is a big plus. I also liked the strategy by which Koenig defeats Elizia. By occupying the transbeamer unit,he protects himself from capture and /or death by pure logic.....if her guards follow her orders and destroy the unit,they will forfeit their chance to go home. So obviously they refuse to obey! Mr Spock couldn't have done better.....
One problem with the script-and it goes back to the 'sense of isolation' point that I mentioned-is that I didn't find the scenes terribly effective where Fraser and Alibe believe their commander is dead(I bet they didn't give a toss about the co-pilot..).To be truly effective there should have been scenes inserted,however short,of some of the regulars back on Alpha being overcome by grief or something. Surely such scenes could have been quickly shot and edited in? All we get in reality is a half hearted scene on the Eagle where Fraser stares leadenly ahead while Alibe cradles her head in her arm....it doesnt work as well as it would if it had been Sandra Benes for example,who had worked with Koenig for a long time. Alibe has only just appeared on the show and could not IMO muster the same emotion borne out of a long working relationship. Plus you don't even get a scene where they relay info back to Alpha that their beloved Commander is dead.....!
But apart from that,this is quite an effective episode behind the basically hokey surface story. Martin Landau carries the episode more effectively that Tony Anholt or Barbara Bain are able to when Landau is absent and there is a solid story behind the basic ladies-with-whips premise.I liked the way the story ended as well,though I'd have been interested to see a Y2-humorous epilogue commenting on how Koenig had felt about getting whipped by some sexy women in boots....'Twas not to be though!
I don't know much about the writer Michael Winder,other than he did write for tv series of the time and I'm sure I remember seeing him credited for a sci-fi film screenplay(but can't remember what it was). I recall an interview with producer/writer Brian Clemens(THE AVENGERS etc)in which Clemens said he thought Winder went to America to work but that he was not listed as being in the Writers Guild any more,leading him to suspect he had either left the business or died.....
From: MIKEATL5@aol4tag.com Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 01:38:00 EST Subj: Space1999: Devils Moon
I hope you don't mind my "better late then never 2 cents worth" on the episode Devils Planet. This is one of my favorite episodes of the second series. The action and pacing are excellent. The music really keeps this baby moving just like in Senance Spectre. I have come across a few interesting bits on DP so...
Well let me get down to business. I have a copy of the final shooting script. From the start there is confusion. BIG TIME CHANGES!!! Has anyone ever wondered why in all of the episode write ups for Devils Planet they all say something like, "Moonbase Alpha picks up a distress signal from a nearby planet"? Doctor Russells status report never mentions this - she only says that this is just a recon. mission to 2 nearby planets. In the final shooting script the line reads.
HELENA narrating "Moonbase Alpha. Status Report! Dr Helena Russell recording. 2306 days after leaving Earth orbit. Exactly five days ago we picked up a distress signal from the East Quadrant . . . The signal consisted of just two words: Save us. Commander Konig has lifted off in Eagle One to investigate. With him is Blake Maine of the Medical Rescue Team."
My guess is that the opening may have been too much like Dorzak so they changed it - ALSO - I think the action scenes took up too much time so they had to cut back on quite a few lines and change the show around. But in doing so made other things not make sense. Why does only Konig and Doctor Blake Maine from the Medical Rescue team go on a recon mission? Blake not doing much? Had a little time on his hands?
There are several scenes cut from the show as well. I have taken the time to point them out.
Scene 21 - 23 Ben asks Blake to "Take a blood specimen...bring back samples of the soil...vegetation... And, Commander, some photographs of the bodies, please." Scene (29-31) slight changes Maine: Sensor readings show satellite of mother planet has same atmosphere...vegetation Koenig: ...hold it! Sensors pick up humanoid-type life forms! We're going down low...make a pass over this moon...see what more we can pick up. Ben: Not too low, Commander. They could be carriers...the ones who sent out the call to be saved. Koenig: I read you, Doctor. Will check back in. Sahn: Will track you, Eagle One. Over and out. (34) Maine: Looks just like old cowboy country down there. Malfunction...main drive. (37) Sahn: Bill...I could do a lot better if I was with you. Fraser: You've got exactly one hundred and twenty seconds to be at the launch pad. (50) After Eagle crashes on planet. Shot of Eagle 2 lifting off pad. Fraser: ETA? Sahn: Forty hours, twenty one minutes and fifteen seconds. But... Fraser: I know. The chances of their survival are two points less than nil. (55) Koneig and Maine seeing the chase: Koenig: Like hounds after a fox. Maine: Do we just stand and watch it? Koenig: No. This is where Maine dies. (57) Sares: He almost reached the Sanctuary Column. Elizia: ...almost. Elizia: I have no choice but to find you guilty... Crael: I beseech you... Elizia: (turning to Crael disdainfully) ...to be merciful? And smiling, aims Koenig's laser at the PRISONER. Elizia: I shall be. She fires. Elizia: Dead? Crael: Unconscious . . . stunned. Elizia: Too bad. He might have died instantly. That would have been merciful. He is also fortunate he has no family on Ellna. There would be reprisals for his actions. (tosses laser aside of PRISONER) The Hunt for him. Crael: It's inhuman! When will you end it? Elizia: Inhuman? A chance for freedom? To return to Ellna! ? Crael: One out of a hundred survive the Hunt. I call that inhuman. Elizia: Offer any one of them the chance . See how many will accept the challenge. Crael: And I say it is inhuman! Barbaric! To satisfy the whims of... Elizia: Perhaps your next defence of a prisoner will be more successful, Crael. Crael: I doubt I will ever be successful. Elizia (seductively): You know you only have to ask...and you can go home. I will let you set in and go back to Ellna. Crael: My place is here to help my people as best I can. We all make our own prisons. But I thank you anyway... (smiling wrly) You kill me with kindness. And Elizia's return smile is almost one of beautific innocence. Elizia: That's one way I haven't tried yet... (77) Broadcast: The wife of Prisoner Branik gave birth to a sone at midtime on Solarday. Both are doing nicely. Congratulations, Prisoner Branik. Warm winds from the channels off the eastern banks of Ellna, sent temperatures rising and created a hot spell, sending Ellnans to the cooling regions of the uppper canal zone. There was a large party given by the family and friends of Strat Distil, celebrating his beam back from the penal colony at Entra on Monday... (78) Jelto: So everybody is dead on Home Planet - and poor old Strat Distil died the minute he stepped out of the Transbeamer... Broadcast: Home Planet Security Head Inver reports another drop in resistance and disagreement with the Government by Opposition. (79) Jelto: But only you;ve immunity, spy, alien... Broadcast: Home Planet Security Head Inver predicts that at this rate, all Opposition will soo die out completely... Jelto: Lets's see how imune you are to a noose around your neck. end (82) Elizia: Which proves my contention that prisoners who try to think are dangerous. (83) Koenig: I have committed no crime; I came in answer to a distress signal. Elizia (nods): A computerized distress signal activated when disaster struck Ellna. You are the only one who ever responded. Koenig: We can't harm you, it is not in our character to commit violence. We came to help. (This is the missing line Elizia refers to later in the show ) Elizia: It is too late to help those on the home planet. Koenig: Yes. I know that now. If you will permit me to contact my Base.... scene continues as is... end (95) Elizia: Your philosophy will not permit you to do that. Fraser: Try us. You have one minute to decide. (96) Elizia (to interrogator): He is bluffing. Interrogator: Dare we take the chance? Elizia: You said it wasn't in your character to commit violence. (Reference to cut line of Koenigs) Koenig: It isn't Elizia: Are you lying now? Koenig: We are not like you. We do not commit mindless violence. Elizia: How you do deprive yourself of pleasure. (to interrogator) His memory banks...do they show war? Interrogator: We have the history of his race... as he knows it. (97) We now see a rundown of the warlike history of Earth. (98) Elizia: You lied. Koenig: No I didn't. That was past... end (99) Elizia: You are cleared to land. GO on automatic; our Controller will see you touch down safely. (100) Elizia: Lower the shield. Let them land. Let them see the wrecked ship. Interrogator: When they find out... Elizia: They will only find evidence of two deaths... cut (103) Crael: Ready? Phirly: All ready. Crael: The Boots. Phirly looks down at his bare feet, grins, and squats on the ground and puts on the boots. Phirly: What's the idea of all this, Crael? Crael: We had unwelcome alien visitors the other day - we are expecting their friends. Phirly: So...? Crael: One walked into the fence. Elizia wants it to appear as if the other me a like end. Phirly: Else trouble from their friends? Crael: You guessed it right. Phirly has finished fastening the boots - now he rises to his feet. Crael: Now walk straight ahead, leaving a path of tracks that lead to the barrier fence. Phirly: Then what's the clothing on for? All we need are the boots. Crael: You'll be passing through shrubber - shrubbery collects particles of clothing. - We've wiped out any signs of a struggel...his foot-prints - now I want you to walk over there. Phirly: Up to the fence - that's it? Crael: TO the fence. Crael: Into the middle. (scene continues as is) (119) Fraser: The Pilot Section isn't totalled. They survived... Elizia: They did survive the crash...but unfortunately did not survive the... Sahn: Will you take us to their graves...please? Elizia: Graves? Sahn: We bury our dead... Elizia: Ah...that primitive custom. Sahn: Will you take us to where your custom... Elizia: I regret that neither your custome or our's has meaning in theis situation. (120) Fraser: You said you regret...? Elizia: After your space ship crashed... and before we were able to reach your pilots, they through ignorance, stumbled into one of our boundary fences... It is not visible to the naked eye. The fence is a force field and has the property of disintegration. (to interrogator) Please show them. Interrogator: As you can see, these tracks... as one went in this direction. And walked into it here... (scene continues as is...) (168) Tower Guard v.o.: He has thrown away his only weapon. CLOSE UP ON ELIZIA. She smiles wickedly. Elizia: He knows he is beaten...and hopes for mercy. Elizie into communicator: Interrogator... the Alien is trturning to our custody. Permit no-one... (scene continues as is) (170) middle scene Elizia: He lies. If all were dead on Ellna, why would he want to go there? Koenig: Elizia plans to torture me. Sh enjoys cruel and lingering deaths. Elizia: Yours would give me special pleasure. Koenig: If there isn't death on Ellne, the Elizia can follow and bring me back.
All else is as is in the Episode. Like I said - I think this was all cut due to time. Quite a different show really and what it was suppose to be.
Hope you enjoy
From: "Simon Morris" (email@example.com) Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 11:33:34 -0000 Subj: Space1999: DEVILS PLANET(Original Script)
Thanks to Mike Jones for providing some extracts of the original script for this episode when it was entitled 'Devils Moon'...again there is some nice dialogue here. Presumably some changes were made when it was discovered most of the regular cast would be shooting another episode and hence unavailable for this one?
Interestingly,much of the original draft is incorporated in the Michael Butterworth novelisation of the episode,where he intercuts it fairly successfully with the 'Seance Spectre' episode(again,based on an earlier draft than that televised)
From: actingman-jc@Worldnet.att4tag.net Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 02:01:57 -0500 Subj: Space1999: Script Drafts
I would like to know where people find these early and final drafts of the scripts, and is there anyway to put them on line for one and all...assuming we don't violate the Ultraprobe directive?
From: David Acheson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 22:19:25 EST Subj: Space1999: Devil's Planet
I read some of the Devil's Planet comments and I will just say that I thought it felt more like the hokey 1950's B films. Ever saw QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE with Zsa Zsa Gabor? This may actually be part of its charm. I admit it didn't have the embarrassing humour of the sillier period of year two when we were subjected to episodes like BRIAN THE BRAIN. Nothing wrong with some of the guys enjoying the women in tight costumes running around but it doesn't do anything for for me.
The one noteworthy thing about this episode for me is that it introduces us to the newest recurring character - and the last in the series - Alibe. Now that Zienia Merton departed, Alibe Parsons made a great replacement. Here was a kick ass girl who did a lot more than look stunned like Yasko used to do. I only wish they had more time than the final three episodes to utilize this character.
As for the reasons why the Alphans didn't bother to go down to Ellna after Koenig's rescue? Probably so much time went by that Koenig returned to Alpha just near the end of the window of opportunity. I don't think the Alphans were being picky about where to plant their flag.
I have heard that the actress Hildegard Neil (who played Elizia) is/was married to Brian Blessed. Does anyone know anything about this?
Two episodes left everyone!!!!
Related Threads (in typical Thread Pages format):
Next Chapter: "The Immunity Syndrome"
Return to Episode by Episode
or to Space: 1999 Metaforms