The Catacombs The Merchandise Guide
Blu-ray: USA
Compiled by Martin Willey


Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

The Complete Series (Blu-ray): SKU 826663202045 16 July 2019 $109.95

The Complete Series (DVD): SKU 826663199888 16 July 2019 $59.95

Blu-ray cover

Shout! Factory is a Los Angeles based media company founded in 2002, known for re-releasing classic music, TV series and film on DVD and streaming platforms. In 2013 it agreed a deal with ITV to distribute ITC content to the US market, including Gerry Anderson series. In 2015 they released most of the puppet series on DVD, and Thunderbirds was available on Blu-ray. In March 2018 Shout! Factory and ITV agreed a new multi-year deal. On 30 September 2018 they ran a 34-hour marathon of Thunderbirds on the social video service Twitch. Space: 1999 has been available on their video-on-demand service (here) since 2018, using the 2005 high-definition masters released in the UK by Network (apparently geo-blocked in Europe).

In April 2019 Shout! Factory announced the release of Space: 1999 on blu-ray and DVD. This is a re-release of the A&E Complete Season One set from 2010, and the first US release of series 2.

There are 13 discs, the same number as the Network complete series (5 * year 1 episodes, 5 * year 2 episodes, 3 * extras). The episodes are identical to Network.

Packaging

Packaging

The slipcase is 13.5cm x 17.5cm x 4.5cm. Cover shows Landau (from Collision Course) and Bain (from The Last Sunset) with the Moon (real astronomy photo, not from the series). On the cellophane wrapper is a sticker "All 48 Episodes from both seasons of the sci-fi epic!"

Slipcase spine and the discs.

The back is titled "Attention All Sections Alpha: Prepare for transmission!". There's an odd grammatical error ("the Alphans face the ultimate challenge...: survive and find home."

There is one Blu-ray case for series, each with 6 discs (4 episodes per disc). The case cover of both is Landau/Bain with a Moon background. The Year Two case image is a Year 1 shot (from Earthbound). The back cover lists the six discs with episode titles.

Each disc in a case has a different image, but the Year One and Year Two discs are the same. The images are:

The interior of the disc sleeve is a blurred picture. For year 1 it is the Earthbound Zantor ship; for year 2 it is nuclear waste cans.

The extras case has a negative image of an Eagle with a starry background; the disc itself is another starry image (not from the series). The back lists the four new film features (Bain, Tate, Connor and Muir), with one line for "vintage interviews, promotional materials, featurettes and more!". The interior of the sleeve is from Voyager's Return.

Booklet

There is a 16 page colour booklet in the extras disc box. It includes a two page introduction by Russell Dyball. Dyball is credited as "Blu-ray/DVD producer and Pop Culture Historian". He works for Shout! writing box text, advertising materials and episode guides, including presumably the episode guide that fills the bulk of this booklet.

The episodes are listed by disc, with a one-line description and occasionally an "Extra Space" note, normally pointing out a famous guest star (and some not so famous, including Angus MacInnes in Devil's Planet). The colour photos are printed with patterns, possibly to simulate the moire patterns when photographing television.

Menus

The disc menus show the logo with a horizontal list of options (Play All, Episodes, Bonus, Audio, Subtitles). Clips from the series titles are shown behind. The Year 1 discs have the Barry Gray theme; the Year 2 discs have the Derek Wadsworth theme.

The Year One discs show the opening Moon/Earth shot from Breakaway, followed by the standard "textless" title sequence, minus Landau/Bain. The This Episode clips are from Breakaway, Black Sun and Missing Link. The loop lasts about 1 minute 10 seconds.

The Year Two discs still use clips from the year 1 titles and "this episode" (Breakaway and Black Sun), along with shots from the year 2 titles, and episodes including The Metamorph, The Exiles, The Beta Cloud, The A B Chrysalis and Space Warp. The loop lasts about 50 seconds.

The Extras disc menu uses the Barry Gray theme with a plain "moving stars" background, and is again 1 minute 10 seconds long.

Episodes

The episodes, image and sound, are the same as the UK Network releases. The US set has four episodes per disc instead of five.

The sound is available as the DTS 5.1 mix, and the original mono track. The music/effects tracks are not included.

There are just four photo galleries (one per episode) per disc; some UK discs had multiple galleries per episode (with a second one for behind the scenes/publicity). The Breakaway gallery is the "PR and behind the scenes" gallery from Network; the 80 photos from the "Breakaway" set are not included. Some of the additional galleries are moved to the extras disc. The photo galleries are identical to the Network set, and shown in the same order. Photos that are put in the wrong episode have not been swapped, or there is no fixing of visible dirt and scratches.

Extras

The extras disc is Blu-ray (the two extras discs on the Network year 1 set were DVDs, not Blu-ray). However, most of the extras material is standard definition (DVD quality).

The extras are mostly the same as Network.

The main new features are video interviews with Barbara Bain, Nick Tate and director Kevin Connor, a video guide to merchandise by John Muir (who wrote the 1997 book Exploring Space: 1999), and three new audio commentaries, two by Anthony Taylor and one of Scott Michael Bosco. All the new video extras are High Definition. The episodes selected for audio commentaries are a little odd- Ring Around The Moon isn't the strongest episode, and Dragon's Domain already has a Gerry Anderson commentary.

All three commentaries are general introductions for the casual fan. Someone who doesn't know much about 1970s science fiction or the Andersons may be a little lost; dedicated fans won't learn anything new. There are a few incorrect statements, while other remarks are perhaps over-emphasised (Bosco is right to say Sylvia Anderson's role has been neglected, but surely exaggerates to dismiss Gerry Anderson as the "bean counter" who had no creative input). Taylor's commentary reflects what is happening on screen, but Bosco is rarely scene specific.

Anthony Taylor is a film writer with a particular interest in Gerry Anderson and special effects, and wrote the 2006 book The Future was FAB, the Art of Mike Trim. His two commentaries are general introductions to the series. There are a few errors (the Katherine Ross as Helena story comes up again; he says Greg Jein owns the space station model when I have owned it for over 20 years).

Bosco previously recorded a commentary on the 2002 A&E Megaset bonus disc (not included here). He worked behind the scenes as a consultant to previous releases of the series in the US, back to the 1991 Image Laserdiscs (he talks about it in this commentary). Many of the sleeve photos and gallery photos on previous releases were supplied by him (not included in this release). He talks about Sylvia Anderson, connections to Star Trek the Motion Picture and Battlestar Galactica, year 1/year 2 changes, the mysterious unknown force and episode orders.

The slipcase lists new audio commentaries, but only mentions Taylor, not Bosco. Instead it credits "writer/film-maker Robert Meyer Burnett". Burnett wrote and directed the 1999 comedy Free Enterprise, and writes and produces DVD and Blu-ray extras, including the Star Trek Next Generation Blu-ray. He was involved in a Star Trek fan film, but he was in legal dispute with them in mid-2019, which may explain his absence from this Shout release.

The four interview films are edited and directed by Daniel Griffith for Ballyhoo Motion Pictures. All use Gray/Wadsworth music, clips from episodes and static photos, similar to the Network Kindred documentaries (also on the extras disc, but in standard definition).

Barbara gives a nice Charlie Crichton impression. The editors make an error when she describes how they were looking at blank screens, showing a clip featuring back projection, which was visible on set. Nick Tate gets the order of some events wrong, but he has the best memory of the interviewees.

The Muir interview shows the Mattel Eagle, Dinky Eagle Freighter, MPC Alpha, MPC Hawk, MPC Eagle and MPC "The Alien", lunch box, Mattel playset, cardboard Adventure Playset, Remco stun gun and the Milton Bradley board game.

Discs

Disc Episodes Extras
Year 1 Disc 1
Breakaway
Matter Of Life And Death
Black Sun
Ring Around The Moon
Gerry Anderson commentary on Breakaway
Scott Michael Bosco commentary on Ring Around The Moon
HD photo gallery: Breakaway
HD photo gallery: Matter Of Life And Death
HD photo gallery: Black Sun
HD photo gallery: Ring Around The Moon
Year 1 Disc 2
Earthbound
Another Time, Another Place
Missing Link
Guardian Of Piri
HD photo gallery: Earthbound
HD photo gallery: Another Time, Another Place
HD photo gallery: Missing Link
HD photo gallery: Guardian Of Piri
Year 1 Disc 3
Force Of Life
Alpha Child
The Last Sunset
Voyager's Return
HD photo gallery: Force Of Life
HD photo gallery: Alpha Child
HD photo gallery: The Last Sunset
HD photo gallery: Voyager's Return
Year 1 Disc 4
Collision Course
Death's Other Dominion
The Full Circle
End Of Eternity
HD photo gallery: Collision Course
HD photo gallery: Death's Other Dominion
HD photo gallery: The Full Circle
HD photo gallery: End Of Eternity
Year 1 Disc 5
War Games
The Last Enemy
The Troubled Spirit
Space Brain
HD photo gallery: War Games
HD photo gallery: The Last Enemy
HD photo gallery: The Troubled Spirit
HD photo gallery: Space Brain
Year 1 Disc 6
The Infernal Machine
Mission Of The Darians
Dragon's Domain
The Testament Of Arkadia
HD photo gallery: The Infernal Machine
HD photo gallery: Mission Of The Darians
HD photo gallery: Dragon's Domain
HD photo gallery: Testament Of Arkadia
Gerry Anderson commentary on Dragon's Domain
Anthony Taylor commentary on Dragon's Domain
Year 2 Disc 1 The Metamorph
The Exiles
One Moment of Humanity
All That Glisters
Anthony Taylor commentary on The Metamorph
HD photo gallery: Metamorph
HD photo gallery: Exiles
HD photo gallery: One Moment of Humanity
HD photo gallery: All That Glisters
Year 2 Disc 2 Journey To Where
The Taybor
The Rules Of Luton
The Mark Of Archanon
HD photo gallery: Journey To Where
HD photo gallery: The Taybor
HD photo gallery: The Rules Of Luton
HD photo gallery: The Mark Of Archanon
Year 2 Disc 3 Brian The Brain
New Adam, New Eve
Catacombs Of The Moon
The A B Chrysalis
HD photo gallery: Brian The Brain
HD photo gallery: New Adam, New Eve
HD photo gallery: Catacombs Of The Moon
HD photo gallery: The A B Chrysalis
Year 2 Disc 4 Seed Of Destruction
The Beta Cloud
Space Warp
A Matter Of Balance
HD photo gallery: Seed Of Destruction
HD photo gallery: The Beta Cloud
HD photo gallery: Space Warp
HD photo gallery: A Matter Of Balance
Year 2 Disc 5 The Bringers Of Wonder part 1
The Bringers Of Wonder part 2
The Lambda Factor
The Seance Spectre
HD photo gallery: The Bringers Of Wonder
HD photo gallery: The Lambda Factor
HD photo gallery: The Seance Spectre
Year 2 Disc 6
Dorzak
Devil's Planet
The Immunity Syndrome
The Dorcons
HD photo gallery: Dorzak
HD photo gallery: Devil's Planet
HD photo gallery: The Immunity Syndrome
HD photo gallery: The Dorcons
Extras Disc

Missing Extras

The following extras appeared on Network or A&E, but are missing from this set, probably due to rights issues.

Snow globe

The snowglobe was available with the first 500 orders directly to Shout! (it was not available with orders from amazon or others).

It is 4 inches (10cm) in circumference (so diameter is 1.3 inches/ 3.2cm). The base is 2 inches (5 cm). The Eagle is a quarter of the size of a Konami Eagle, half the size of the Comet Miniatures mini-metal Eagle. Even given the tiny scale, it is crudely detailed, and even the Moon it sits over is vaguely shaped. Some examples have missing leg pods. A Death's Other Dominion Eagle buried in snow might have been a nice novelty, but this is an uninspired bauble.

Photos from David Penn, Gordon Moriguchi


Copyright Martin Willey.