The Catacombs Episode Critics
Compiled by Martin Willey

9. Force of Life

though it suffers from a lack of clarity and one of those open mouthed endings...a strangely gripping tale (David Scott, DWB, 1992)

Johnny Byrne's Force Of Life owes a great deal to Gerry Anderson's previous series UFO. This is due in no small part to the director, David Tomblin, who brings some of the old magic to a rather aseptic Space 1999. This story has the Tomblin feel to it, interesting camera angles, weird lighting and sweating guest stars. It's a real pity that Martin Landau and Barbara Bain had to be there to spoil it. This is the best you are going to get from this series as Tomblin manages to work within the constraints of the series and still delivers something well worth watching. Rating 9/10 (Anthony McKay, DWB, 1992)

Unsettling and distinctly eerie, particularly the scene where Zoref walks the Alpha corridors sucking the energy from the lighted wall panels as he passes. A memorably horrific end for Zoref and an unexpected conclusion. A- (Chris Bentley, SFX 20, 1996)

...expertly directed, splendidly visualised... (John Kenneth Muir, Exploring Space: 1999, p45)

Another Outer Limits style show, with McShane as an Alphan who endangers everyone by his sudden, unexplained need for intense heat. **- (average) (James O'Neill, Sci-Fi On Tape, p271, 1997)

Johnny Byrne's script is completely successful in presenting the drama and horror of the episode, in constructing a constantly engaging show set entirely within the confines of Moonbase Alpha, and in challenging the viewer to consider (along with the Alphans) what the evolutionary journey of this life force might be. 9.5/10 (Bob Wood, The Future Is Fantastic, 2001)

A nicely done, surprisingly tense take on the now traditional "possessed by an alien ball of light" episode. 3/5
Sidebar: Worst scene (Zoref is shot and opens reactor door.) Gets the nod as much for the ease with which he opens the door as it does for the total lack of reference to the events later on. (Alasdair Stuart, SciFiNow #10, 2007)