Sights, Sounds & Insights
SPACE: 1999 - Complete Series
The Ultimate Release
Blu-ray, Imprint Television, Viavision
Scott Michael Bosco
I have to admit I have been a consultant for SPACE: 1999 in North American since the late 1970s, through the legal division of I.T.C. N.Y. I.T.C. was one of the original companies behind the production of the series.
I first became involved when CBS/Fox Video mispackaged DESTENATION MOONBASE ALPHA as WARGAMES. I had contacted I.T.C., they quickly broke the contract and I became a consultant.
Again, SPACE suffered from a release from another company that had Sybil Danning introducing two more films as porno. Again, after my call that contract was broken.
Years later SPACE fell in to the hands of a company planning a Laserdisc release, Image Ent. I wrote all the packaging text and all the images were from my collection – however, I had nothing to do with the masters used. They were old, and subpar. Not to mention a warehouse roof collapse that destroy stoke and discs produced in the UK with Laser-rot.
More years passed and SPACE fell into a lost pit held up in legal rubbish. Then, it fell into the hands of A&E (along with other Gerry Anderson produced series.) I became the consultant again, but this time with much more hands-on power.
I over saw all bonus materials, packaging, and again all my visuals were used from my collection. The first season masters sat with no one even looking at them and were approved before I came on – there were awful. I immediately contacted the owning company in the UK and proposed a restoration/re-mastering of the series. The processes was held up for over a year do to another company taking over.
By the time Year 2 of SPACE came up I was able to have the old masters from Year 2 completely re-telecined – for free! The results were incredible. This was for a North American release.
A&E decided to repackage the entire series into a Mega-Set which included both seasons of SPACE. I proposed a Bonus Disc with Audio Commentaries on specific episodes and the fan produced MESSAGE FROM MOONBASE ALPHA.
I was able to get Sylvia Anderson to come out and do a audio commentary as well – it seems her ex-husband Gerry had interfered with speaking in the past.
In all that time the company take over in the UK which owned SPACE had completed and my proposal was issued, and passed. A major undertaking went underway restoring the original 35mm elements and remastering them in HD.
I had made a deal with A&E to partly produce a new HD release along with the UK owners, and new UK based company interested in SPACE. Thank company was Network. A&E decided to back-out (snakes) and luckily Network stepped in. The owning company had it within their plans to do new 5.1 mixes however it would not fit into Network’s planned release date – so Network stepped in an did they’re own 5.1 mixes. The new HD Masters were release first in the UK via Network. Then years later in North America through A&E. This however was only Year 1 of SPACE since it was taking longer to do Year 2 due to more needed restoration.
Year 2 was released by Network in the UK, but A&E had lost the rights to the series.
A complete release was done by Shout Factory in the U.S. Again the same masters for blu-ray, but they had issues with the 5.1 mx. It seems Network played the fool and would allow Shout to use “their” mixes so Shout was forced to make their own – sort of. In the end they’re terrible and dubbed as “new Mixes”.
This breakdown history is limited and a lot of info has been edited out (juicy though it is). I have no complaints about Image Ent; but A&E had a sub-company that did their video release. That company was horrible, unprofessional… and in some cases plain stupid.
My little dealings with Network were unproductive, and rude.
I had no say what so ever with Shout aside from doing an audio commentary.
Why have I gone into history when I should be coving a review of this new disc release? SPACE: 1999 has had a terrible track record. Quality issues, content issues and a general misunderstanding of the product. In order to appreciate the next part of this review all this is truly needed.
As a fan of series since its original premiere, as a consultant for over25 years I am happy to state this release by IMPRINT TELEVISION/VIA VISION is absolutely THE BEST!
Yes, the same masters are used, yes the same 5.1 mixes (more on that later), yes most of the bonus materials are included from different past releases. Still, this presentation stands out.
A&E’s packaging for terrible. I sat for 3 hours with a design team suggesting, layouts, colors, logo and texts, and they ignored everything and re-designed the logo and had horrible layouts.
Network’s packaging was plain and not very interesting.
Now, on the IMPRINT TELEVISION/VIA VISION release we are treated with a bright orange hard box with clever lift top. Inside are two basic containers housing each of the Years. Also in the box is a full color booklet.
I’m told the hard box is limited so if you’re a collector grab it.
The overall presentation is understated, yet classy – as the series itself.
As stated, this release used the same and only masters made. The quality is superb. Color is beautiful. The detail is such wires not seen in 16mm televised prints (original TV viewings) are seen. Detail is amazing – textures on materials/costumes, hair, and yes even make-up are exposed. The designs of the space crafts seen is extraordinary.
The color on planetary vista is extreme as in MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, GUARDIAN OF PIRI, and ALL THAT GLISTERS.
The packaging and all press releases state “New 5.1 mixes”. Well, not really. These are the same as released by Network and A&E, however – tweaking had been done, especially on YEAR 1. It seems higher frequencies have be re-modulated or equalized along with surround levels.
On a strange note, these original 5.1 mixes as released by Network and A&E decoded very well in a Dolby Atmos set-up delivering Atmos effect originally not planned. This is especially noticeable in Year 2 when Eagle spacecrafts fly “over” head. For some reason it isn’t as apparent in the IPRINT TELEVISION/VIA VISION releases.
The main menus are ok, but strangely silent. Weird. The layout is fine and functional. Easy access to all aspects of the menu and bonus materials.
As previously stated, most of the past bonus material are here – very pleased they used all 3 of my Audio Commentaries as well. Thank you.
A wonderful surprise is the inclusion of ALIEN ATTACK, JOURNTY THROUGH THE BLACK SUN, COSMIC PRINCESS and DESTENATION MOONBASE ALPHA! These re-edited features from episodes are not the best quality however – due to simply what was make available from the rights owners. However, this is a first for any release.
The discs are non-region and will play within the North American region. I have an Oppo had no problems.
The main missing ingredient is MESSAGE FROM MOONBASE ALPHA. I know when it was originally produced it was prior to HD so it is not in 1080p, however it could be upconverted raising the quality level a bit. I’m unhappy about it missing, but proud to be the only person to get it for a release I worked on.
I have only one regret – I wish I had worked on this release.
In the end, if you are a fan – get this release. Why? Because as I stated for the packaging for A&E… it’s “An Adventure, As Big As the Universe.”