The Catacombs Episode Critics
Compiled by Martin Willey

10. Alpha Child

a story very similar to the Star Trek The Next Generation episode The Child, but while the Next Generation is undoubtedly the better series, Alpha Child is probably the better treatment (David Scott, DWB, 1992)

Julian Glover plays Jarak as well as can be expected in a pair of silver shorts and a wig borrowed from I Claudius. This is a standard story with few surprises. Rating 7/10 (Anthony McKay, DWB, 1992)

Julian Glover...raises the unimaginative script from the mundane. (Richard Houldsworth, TV Zone, 1992)

The precredits sequence is suitably shocking and the business with young Jackie is disturbing while it emulates "The Midwitch Cuckoos", but it all becomes a bit so-so when he becomes an adult. B- (Chris Bentley, SFX 20, 1996)

To its credit, Alpha Child successfully evokes the same kind of fears that the Roman Polanski film Rosemary's Baby did in 1968. Unfortunately the horror in Alpha Child is mitigated somewhat in the final act by a story development out of left field. If the end of the story had concerned this fearsome child and his strange powers, the episode might have been more compelling. (John Kenneth Muir, Exploring Space: 1999, p49)

A Space 1999 version of Rosemary's Baby. Hayman plays an Alphan woman who gives birth to a baby possessed by an evil alien entity. Not bad. **- (average) (James O'Neill, Sci-Fi On Tape, p270, 1997)

The direction and lighting are outstanding- atmospheric and unusual. This may just be a TV series, but it was often filmed as a piece of art. From the beginning this episode is a filled with subtle details, minor character interactions, and a wealth of characterisation. For the first half of this episode, this is an outstanding show. Young Jackie transforms into the grown form of Julian Glover, and the episode itself transforms from excellent to inferior. Some of the effects are very nice. Some of the effects aren't that special. Whatever. Just be glad it ends. 6/10 (Bob Wood, The Future Is Fantastic, 2001)

A surprising and twist laden take on the "star child" story, this is a genuinely pleasant surprise. 4/5 (Alasdair Stuart, SciFiNow #10, 2007)