Space 1999 #27: Journey to Where

Contact is made with Earth 2120, but an attempt to bring the crew home strands Koenig, Helena and Alan in the past.
WHEN: The episode is one of only two not provided with a date in Season 2. Tony does say they've been flying through space "for months". Objective time on Earth is 2120 A.D. Using the calendar of the time, the three lost Alphans are stranded Mar.24 1338/Mar.25 1339. The episode first aired on Sept.18 1976.

REVIEW: Space 1999 hits a new low, as far as I'm concerned, with this lame-brained time travel story from which the only respite is a just as lame "Tony makes bad beer" subplot. Where do I even start? Well, how about with the simple notion that, when offered the possibility of returning to the dead and blasted Earth of 2120, they jump on it. I mean really, if no one you knew was still alive, nature was gone, sports had been outlawed (so God knows what else), and people ate pills for dinner, would you really think it's a better fate than staying on Alpha? Yeah, fine, it must be a lot less dangerous than flying through space. I mean, if you don't count the absurd exploding earthquakes.

Though the crux of the story is Koenig, Helena and Alan beamed to 14th-century Scotland, where Helena gets real sick and prolongs her life by eating fungus (but not penicillin - is that word trademarked?) while the boys fight barbarians in MacBeth outfits (literally), this is still a story about people looking intently at screens. It's like a bad episode of Time Tunnel when you think about it, and about as loose with history as that show was. When Koenig asks Dr. Logan a historical question to verify his identity, the show actually gets the answer wrong (Gagarin WAS married). Worse that its history, the episode's science confuses words like galaxy and constellation, and probably neutrinos with tachyons. It also asks us to believe Alpha can use watches to track crew members across space AND time, and if that's what Logan would have homed in on to retrieve the lost Alphans, it forgets two of those watches were taken by Scots. And what, no alarm in Main Mission when those two signals went dead? Quite beyond plot problems - and I haven't even mentioned the unjustified business with tremors affecting the experiment - the show gets virtually nothing right. The super-future set looks like some kind of terrible interview show (see above), Logan's assistant has the worst wig ever, and how about that hackneyed anti-pollution message that makes the Alphans go "bah, who needs nature?". Look, this is an episode that ends with Helena basically saying "screw Earth". Yes, screw us all to hell for ever making this piece of crap.

Cast changes of note: Dr. Bob Mathias is no more, with no explanation of course. He's replaced by Dr. Ben Vincent who mans the watch monitor during this episode and slots into Mathias' role for the rest of the series. I don't have anything against this new character, but I'll miss Bob's steady presence. I'm not as ambivalent about the other change, though at least, it's not permanent. Replacing Sandra Benes for 8 episodes in the season is Yasko, played by a mortifyingly bad actress by the name of Yasuko Nagazumi. Oh my. Just awful.

Ok fine, here are some redeeming features. Koenig sharing a passionate kiss with Helena while she is dying, ensuring he will share her fate. Seems odd, but it's dreadfully romantic. Season 2 has been showing us new sections of the Moonbase model, and who doesn't like to see a world expanded on? And I'll give props to Catherine Schell's bird-like movements, something she seems to have incorporated into the character of Maya even when all the script wants her to do is flirt with Tony and deflate his ego with ugly transformations. There. Happy?

HEY, ISN'T THAT... Freddie Jones is Dr. Logan; he's appeared in Erik the Viking, Young Sherlock Holmes, Russell T Davies' Casanova, and David Lynch's Dune, to name only a few credits. Isla Blair is Carla; she'd previously appeared on the show's War Games. Jeffery Kissoon is Dr. Ben Vincent; he's been on Spooks (MI-5), but I only recognize him as Fortinbras' captain in Branagh's Hamlet. A shot of Texas City was used in the Wonder Woman episode "Time Bomb".

- Dead on arrival. There is virtually not one department that doesn't fall on the job with this one.



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