The Catacombs Space: 1999 Catacombs Essays
Space 1999: The Awards
by Martin Willey

Welcome to my First Space: 1999 Awards. We are here to honour the best of Space: 1999: the best episodes, the best characters, the best special effects and so on. The series has produced many fantastic moments which we hope to highlight today. Our scrutineers have carefully supervised my voting, but even I was surprised by some of the winners!

Best Special Effects Sequence

A close run category, with many worthy contenders. Highlights include:

But there is a clear winner:
it's the breakaway in the first episode. A tremendous sequence of well choreographed spectacular explosions and crashing spacecraft. Wow!

Best Regular

The most outstanding regular actor is... Nick Tate as Alan Carter.
Heroic, determined, resourceful but also amiable and humorous.

Most Frightening Sequence

There are some truly gruesome creatures, make-up effects and atmospheric horror. Honourable mentions to Missing Link (eerie scenes of the deserted Alpha and of course the nightmare creatures who attack Koenig), the shock ending of Death's Other Dominion, and the very atmospheric ghost story The Troubled Spirit (especially when Mateo is followed in the travel tube by the shadow... very chilling).

The winner is.. Force Of Life, when Zoref strides purposefully through the Alphan corridors, the lights fading behind him, and the Alphan girl runs in terror. Very stylish, very creepy.

Best Guest Star

There were some superb guest stars, the best being Roy Dotrice as the creepy Simmonds in Earthbound, Brian Blessed as Rowland in Death's Other Dominion and Leo McKern as the sad Gwent in The Infernal Machine.

The award goes to: the remarkable, very moving performance by Judy Geeson as Regina in Another Time, Another Place.

Best Costume

Memorable costumes range from the exotic (the hairy Beta Cloud creature), to the weird (Vindrus's yellow underpants and cape in Matter Of Balance), to the downright kinky (those girls in tight red leotards with whips in Devil's Planet).

The winner: a stunning, colourful but functional design, the Alphan spacesuit.

Best Set

Space: 1999 has many astonishing set designs, contributing to the distinctive and innovative style of the series. The Alphan sets are brilliantly simple but functional, the best being the huge Main Mission/ Command Office set. The Eagle cockpit is also a very impressive and realistic spaceship cabin.

But my favourite is the bizarre, brightly coloured planet surface in Guardian Of Piri. An extraordinary set.

Best Monster

The Alphans had to fight many imaginatively designed rubber suits over the course of the series. The tentacled dragon in Dragon's Domain is superb, and the horned Thaed in Matter Of Balance is also quite striking. But the winner is:

the slimey, vile, putrid glob-aliens in Bringers Of Wonder. Ugh!

Best comedy

There were some sublimely funny moments in the series, but one episode stands above them all. New Adam New Eve is an hilarious episode, with a supremely witty plot acted with relish by all concerned, especially a wonderfully comic performance by Guy Rolph as Magus ("It's alright, you don't have to bow down and adore me.").

Best Spaceship

There are some wonderfully imaginative, realistic spacecraft designs in the series. The Swift from Brian The Brain. The Ultra Probe from Dragon's Domain. The Daria in Mission Of The Darians.

But the award goes to...
The Eagle. The most distinctive and exciting spaceship of any science fiction series.

Best Fight

Well, the series started with a nice fight in the Nuclear Disposal Area, and there were some terrific scraps throughout the series. Some episodes were practically non-stop stunt men throwing each other around: Beta Cloud, Space Warp, and Bringers Of Wonder part 2 are especially noteworthy.

But the punch-ups I liked best were in End Of Eternity: very stylishly done with tense but undramatic music and no sound effects, and stunt men flying everywhere.

Best dialogue

There are many examples of sparkling dialogue I could mention here, and in fact I will mention a few...

But the best line of all is Victor's elegiac epitaph to Alpha as they leave the base in War Games:
"We have learned many things. But most of all, we have learned...we still have much to learn. Goodbye Alpha."

Best episode

Almost every episode is a "best" in some way or another, but there are some clearly superior episodes where everything comes together perfectly. Bringers Of Wonder part 1 is one dazzling example, with the exceptional reunion scenes, exciting action and a captivating plot. The Infernal Machine is another, creating genuine pathos for the tragic Gwent. And the clever Earthbound is another superior episode with a neat twist at the end.

But my winner has to be Dragon's Domain, which brilliantly creates a poignant story on a mythic level, compelling characters, witty dialogue and dramatic action.

Contents copyright Martin Willey