Friday, July 26, 2013

Captain's bLog: 0726.13

Not a whole lot to report on this time - I've been very busy with other projects (like my free weekly webcomics Perils On Planet X and Gravedigger) over the last month or so, and it's left me little time to work on this site or any of my other blogs. Fortunately, thanks to the annual geek festival that is San Diego Comic Con, there's been some exciting DVD/Blu-ray news to pass on, so this blog hasn't been entirely dormant.

Personally, I'm most excited about Shout/Scream Factory's Saturn 3 Blu-ray announcement - I've always had a soft spot (in my head?) for that Stanley Donen sci-fi gothic.

Speaking of my weekly webcomics (see what I did there?) the interplanetary adventure Perils On Planet X, drawn by the talented Gene Gonazles, recently wrapped up its first 24-page chapter, "Captives Of the Corsair Queen." Chapter Two, "Flight Into Terror," begins next Friday, August 2nd. Perils On Planet X is a free, full-color serialized sci-fantasy swashbuckler with a new page posted every Friday.

POPX chronicles the adventures of modern-day Earth astronaut Donovan Hawke, stranded on the lost planet of Xylos, hundreds of millions of years in the past. The story is packed with alien monsters, beautiful women and lots of Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers-styled thrills. If you haven't checked it before, now is a good time to go and read the entire first chapter - if you do, I suspect you'll want to hang on for the rest.

A Note Of Thanks: I want to express my gratitude to Star Kid C Raymond Pechonick, who recently sent me the last Berkley Battlestar Galactica and Pocket Space: 1999 novels I needed to fill out those particular paperback collections. I greatly appreciate it!

•  The Usual Plug: Anyone who enjoys my writing and the reviews on this blog should check out my DVD Late Show site, where I have been reviewing B-movies, cult films and genre television shows on DVD and Blu-ray disc since 2005. Among the over 700 reviews on the site are plenty of Space: 1970-era favorites, like Battle Beyond The Stars, Damnation Alley, Starcrash, The Starlost, the Space: 1999 Blu-rays, and many more. I haven't posted much to the site this Summer, but new articles will begin appearing in a week or so, including a full-fledged review of Olive Films' Hangar 18 Blu-ray.


  1. Christopher, love your site and viewpoints (..most of the time..), but your review of the 1999 DVD set is a mixed bag. Thanks for promoting the technical aspects of this DVD release, and all the video/audio preservation work involved, but I disagree with the 'deeply flawed' mention of 1999's premise and execution.

    If you recall the era of which 1999 was done (you seem to be in your 40s or 50s..), so you understand the 'disaster' genre of which 1999 came out of (plus Lew Grade's insistence of Anderson's UFO sequel to be based totally in space, away from Earth), so while totally ludricris the idea of our moon being blasted out in such a manner, folks tend to focus on that WAY too much. It was a 'dramatic vehicle', much like warp drive and transporters were in Trek, a zippy way of getting the characters into action.

    Now I will admit Trek sold those concepts better, both Trek concepts are wholly fantasy in nature. Having logged dozens of hours listening to scientists explain just how unfeasible 'warp drive', by either postulating the use of wormholes or the mechanical bending of space fabric itself, again it was a simple plot device, much like the moon being ripped out. As for continued ignoring of scientific reasoning, I don't see 1999 fairing any worse than Trek or Galactica, like the soundwaves of explosions in space that nearly all shows are guilty of (except Firefly..).

    Visiting planets every week..? Of course ~ It's a TV show. It's like MASH going on for more years than the actual Korean War.., a television schedule is irrevelant.

    As for 'wooden acting', as a young teenager I found it as a conscious, more mature (almost literary) approach by Sylvia, no hammy Shatner acting, which best suited Landau and Bain, and it's actually refreshing. I found both of the 'end of season' narrative episodes by Landau and Bain actually ending the first series on a highnote and it probably would have been worked very comfortably for a second season, had the same creative team in-front and behind(Sylvia, Barry Morse, others) stayed intact. Look back on the acting style 40yrs later, it seems more low-key and reserved than other action shows, but still pretty British.

    Again, good reviews sir, just wanted to share thoughts.

    1. Well, this comes totally out of the blue, since this post has nothing on Space: 1999 in it. :)

      I always appreciate other people's opinions when shared civilly, and if my reviews are sometimes a "mixed bag," well... so am I! I don't usually put a lot of planning into these posts, and write from enthusiasm and my freshest impressions - but then, I'm "deeply flawed" myself: sometimes I'm imprecise, or my opinions change depending on my mood or how tired I was during the most recent viewing.

      But, really, I don't think I've made any secret of my unabashed love for Space: 1999 - or Battlestar Galactica, Logan's Run or friggin' Quark! All of which, I think I'd refer to as "deeply flawed." I love this stuff, but my critical faculties still function deep down in my fanboy brain; every one of these shows and movies had problems.

      Funny how you take exception to my phrase "deeply flawed," yet yourself use the words "totally ludricris (sic)" and admit that when it came to pseudo-science, "Trek sold those concepts better." You also seem to think that I'm unaware of the context in which the show was produced and aired -- you have noted what this blog is about, right?

      And my review of 1999 (are you referring to my Blu-ray review? Since you posted your comment here, I'm a little vague on which post exactly you're commenting on)was ultimately a positive one, as I recall.

      Anyway, I'm sure this reply was disjointed and meandering - I haven't been up long, and I'm rushing to finish before running some errands, but I do appreciate you sharing your feelings, especially since you were both thoughtful and polite. I think you were overreacting a bit, and maybe reading more negativity into my post than I intended, but hey, at least its because you care about this stuff... and that's what this blog is all about.

  2. Chris, thanks much for the super-fast response.. As you know, I admire your diligence in gathering great pics, and your expert digital knowledge making us all better shoppers when it comes to purchasing our beloved shows on Blu-Ray (your Galactica Blu-Ray piece was spot-on and informative, as always..).

    Not sure how you are confused with my post, since I'm commenting on your 1999 review you linked to in your post here under 'Usual Plug'.. I only called attention to rour 'deeply flawed' comment since I know you love the show as others do here. I just get 'mildly annoyed' when folks seem to focus totally on the initial 'moon blast' event itself, and ignore the other great qualities of the show.. These are the folks that forever-praise Trek (even it's pinnacle episodes like 'Spocks Brain'..LOL), yet dismiss 1999 because of this simple 'plot device'.

    Not sure where you suspect my vagueness is, allow me to further explain:

    1) Agreed that the explosion 'plot device' is ludicrous (however you spell it..); so is warp drive and transporters in Trek. My mention is a comparative argument between the different shows and how one seems to be 'cool' and scientific, the other 'silly' (1999). The point is, folks don't dwell on warp drive and transporters in Trek, they're seen for how effective they are in story-telling; the same should be attributed to 1999. Simply put.

    2) Yes, the implausibility of science in Trek is sold better due to great story-telling and a different, more colorful style of acting; I still find 1999's first year more a more dramatic tale of wide-eyed traveling in space for a group of scientists not ready for deep-space travel. As most, I adored how the majestic splendor often unfolding with the chemistry of both classical background music and stylish photography. Flaws..? You betcha. Like you mentioned, we're all flawed. But what a great show it was.

    I trust this clears up any remaining confusion.

    Stay awesome, sir.

    1. The "vagueness" I referred to wasn't in your post, but in that I wasn't sure which of mine you were referring to. The review that apparently prompted your response was written (literally) years ago and for another site, one that doesn't necessarily have an audience quite so intimately familiar with the programs I write about here at Space: 1970. Yeah - there's a link to it in this "Captain's bLog" post, but I didn't immediately realize that that's what you were referring to.

      As to that review - I think you're still reading a lot of negativity into it that isn't there. In fact, although I do state that I find the show "deeply flawed," the very next words in that sentence are "it still had much to offer to television audiences..."

      As to my individual criticisms, I stand by them. Your opinion may differ, but that doesn't make either of us wrong (or right, for that matter). You also seem to think that I dwell negatively on the bad science of the "moon blast," while I don't really discuss it in the review, except in a cursory manner during the show synopsis. My overall review was still a positive one.

      If I didn't enjoy the show, I wouldn't feature it as much as I have on this blog.

      Anyway, the confusion was on my part.