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Star Critics

Stars of rival shows were asked by contemporary science fiction magazines to give their opinions on Space: 1999. As might be expected, they were critical...

William Shatner (Star of Star Trek, 1967-1969) Starlog 3, p35

My opinion of Space 1999 is that its very well dressed, it has good sets, it has some handsome actors and no story. But we're comparing it, unfortunately, to Star Trek

Gene Roddenberry (Creator & producer of 'Star Trek' series, 1967-9) TV Sci-Fi Monthly #2, p1

As far as the show itself is concerned, I generally agree with Asimov's criticisms. The basic error they have made is that they have relied too much on special effects and not enough on developing the characters and the relationships between the characters. But I understand they are overcoming some of these problems in the new series, and I wish them nothing but well because I love sci-fi. I don't want to be known as the only person who tried to do something!

Tom Baker (Star of Dr Who, 1975) Starlog #34, p37

I've always thought that most of the science fantasy or science fiction things that I look at are rather devoid of any irony or humour. Let us think of something for which one cannot say one single thing, except that it employed a lot of people. Space 1999. Now, that was an exercise designed, it seems to me by accident, to put the whole viewing public into a coma. There wasn't one single redeeming feature to it. In spite of the fact that the expertise that went into it was stupefying! Marvellous designers of costumes and sets, excellent actors, lovely music, lovely special effects. Why didn't it work? I think that somehow when they set out on that project, they were actually impressed by the project! Why don't they just tell a few adventure stories within the formula of Space: 1999? No! There were these actors with their hearts on their sleeves being- damn it- so sincere - and it was so ponderous. There was nothing silly about it. Now, if there's nothing witty or funny or silly or something, it's utterly devoid of any resemblance to reality. My view is, I cannot conceive of any situation, which is real or imaginative, which isn't all of those. If you want to work with an alien or a group of aliens in outer space, you've got to look for irony and humour and silliness, embarrassment, a sense of verve, dynamics. But you cannot roll in it as if it were the first time anybody's ever heard the Fifth Symphony. It starts in: Ba-ba-ba-boom! As though it were some new thing with something really important to say. Since when did television actually think it had something important to say? Time to switch it off, actually start talking to each other.

Contents copyright Martin Willey