May 9, 2017
Space: 1999 “Breakaway” (part 1 of 6)
SUMMARY: In 1999, all of our nuclear waste blew up and rocketed the moon, its 311 inhabitants, and an infinite supply of shuttlecraft out of orbit and into deep space. You didn’t hear? Maybe you were too busy playing Bass Hunter on your Nintendo 64, saying “Whassup!” to your friends, or preparing to celebrate June 9, the day Natalie Portman became legal. That’s what I was doing, in any case. What were we talking about?
Everything was really looking up for science fiction in the 1960s. All of the very silly bucking and rogering and flashing and gordoning had finally given way to more thoughtful entertainment. The first science fiction series that didn’t completely suck debuted in 1966 and it was friggin’ cool, if kind of nuts.
At the same time, Stanley Kubrick directed the most serious science fiction movie of all time. Was it any good? Nope. The New York Times wrote that it was “somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring.” Fortunately, “hypnotic and immensely boring” was exactly the type of experience that drug-addled hippies in 1968 wanted from their movies. It became an instant classic.
As Star Trek grew in syndicated success and 2001 grew in critical acclaim, it was only a matter of time before somebody asked the fateful question, “How can this crap be combined?” Was it possible to blend the cokehead scientific insanity of one with the pothead philosophical insanity of the other?
Oh, yes. It was. Space: 1999 proved it.
The first episode is titled “Breakaway”. An explosion blasts the moon and its 300 or so inhabitants out of earth orbit and towards unknown regions of space. It’s all very exciting, or at least it would be, if done at all competently.