Space 1999 #32: The Taybor

A space merchant tries to get his hands on Maya.
WHEN: This is one of only two Season 2 episodes not given a date. It first aired on Nov.4 1976.

REVIEW: Meant as a comedy episode - some stations even showed it as part of their Christmas programming, presumably as an inoffensive episode featuring a fat man who comes bearing presents - the strangely named The Taybor makes itself a comedy mostly through the use of bouncy music that drains the tension out of every scene. After all, this is a story where an unscrupulous trader wants Koenig to sell him a crew member as a love slave, and where his wear blind people or act as powerful narcotics. Of course if they HAD played on the suspense and danger more, I'd still be irritated by Taybor, a character that's Space 1999's answer to Trek's Harry Mudd. And no, Mudd isn't as entertaining has his creators think he is either. Willoughby Goddard knows he's in a comedy and is committed to playing his character as over the top as possible, but the gregarious scoundrel is more embarrassing than entertaining, right down to his "funny" drunk scene and "Harry Mudd patented fate worse than death" of being trapped for all eternity with an ugly girl.

The "comedy" is catching, because the Alphans are acting a little strange as well. Or at least Koenig is. I'm fine with his mistrust of Taybor, but the episode plays like Koenig is the villain of this story, waiting until Taybor is distracted to plant machinery on his craft, and so on. As usual, Koenig has read the script; his suspicions are always warranted. But then, this is such a familiar story, the characters seem dumb not to see it coming. Speaking of dumb, why have they never heard of hyperspace? I can believe we don't have the technology, but the CONCEPT exists, surely. But the crew keeps making mistakes, just a step behind the audience all the way through. Except Koenig, of course, who apparently doesn't talk to anyone about his plans, ever.

I'm still wondering where his trading idea came from. Taybor wants Maya and Koenig's mind immediately goes to the idea of constructing a life-like immobile machine with a computer that talks in Maya's voice? This isn't even tech we've seen humanity use before. And it's pointless anyway, since you know Taybor will try to switch them. What we're really left with is a fun-looking ship, both in and out, and random bits of sexiness, only some of them drug-induced (that Solarium is the production's go-to set to get at least some viewers interested while they're going around the channels). The Alphans don't get anything at all, because all the wares they bought are taken back, and oh the laughter, who cares... Yes. Who cares.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - It really depends on how entertaining you find the colorful, heavy-breathing Taybor. Even if you do, there's little to redeem the script itself.


Anonymous said...

All I can say is, thank God we're done with "funny" / menacing visiting characters for a long long time. Not sure I could withstand a back-to-back run of guest threats whose every utterance is a painful embarassment.

Siskoid said...

So here's my question. Which is worse? An over-the=top guest-star, or a guestless threat like the judgy trees from the previous reviewed episode?

Anonymous said...

If my guess is correct, the next episode you'll review is "Brian the Brain", and I think that will give you your answer.

I'm very very sorry.

Siskoid said...

Another Adam, Another Eve before that, but Brian's coming up. I can hardly wait.

I'm not being sarcastic. I've just heard so much about how terrible it is. That's a kind of hype, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Imagine a "funny" robot. Now imagine him with a "funny" nerd voice (Bernard Cribbins of all people) with the annoyance factor turned up to 11. Now imagine him playing all the lame, hackneyed "funny" tropes about robots (like being attracted to a piece of furniture -- LULZ!). Now imagine the Alphans chuckling along like Brian is endearing, until he turns murderous of course. But even after he goes lethal, he still manages to remain every bit as annoying.

The only way to watch this one might be with the sound off, perhaps with the "Ed Wood" audio track playing in its place. Then you can pretend Martin Landau is calling Gerry Anderson a limey cocksucker.


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