Would the show benefit from keeping the story as simple as possible?
Space: 1999 was the show that first got me into science fiction as a kid. When I saw the first episode I thought how horrible it would be to be cast off into space. While I hadn't bonded with many of the characters as individuals (yet), I was concerned for the people as a whole and that made me excited to see what happened next. While there are similarities there with Battlestar Galactica and Lost in Space, you can steer a ship and that gives the crew more control. Those shows didn't have the same impact for me (although they were still enjoyable).
And yet there were things about the show that could have been done better. I probably didn't think about it too much as a kid, but now that I look back as an adult there are things I wish were done differently.
First, I think it was a big mistake to have so many different aliens in the show. I think it detracts from the horror of the crew's situation to know the universe is bursting at the seams with life. When aliens drop in for a chat on a regular basis, it's only a matter of time before they're rescued or find somewhere to go. You have to keep making up excuses for why this isn't possible. You also lose the sense of isolation that makes the idea so terrifying in the first place.
Would the show be better with minimal alien involvement (if any)? In my opinion the bigger dangers of being cast adrift in space should be simple survival and the psychological effects on the crew. How do you go on replacing equipment? Do you manufacture more? Would that necessitate mass mining efforts during the limited windows in which you're in range of another body? Do you draft everyone or wait for volunteers? What do you do when people start to snap? How do you cope with a population of unstable individuals that need constant care? What if the serial killer is the guy or girl with the skills you need for a vital job? What if you find yourself short on food? Can you eat that strange algae you found growing on that asteroid, or will it make you cough up your intestines?
That's not to say aliens shouldn't play their part. I would prefer them not to be humanoid though. I would also prefer it if they didn't speak English. What if they decide to set up home on another part of the moon and simply refuse to acknowledge human existence? As long as they're not hostile, can action against them be justified? If your food runs out could you justify eating the aliens? Should you lock them up and breed them first to make sure you have a steady supply? What if the aliens were hoping to do the same to you?
Another issue with the original series was how the moon made it from solar system to solar system in such a short period of time. My question is, do we need other solar systems at all? We have plenty of interesting worlds in our own system that could be good settings for stories. That wouldn't necessarily rule out aliens either - we have no idea if a race of squid people live under the ice of Europa, or whether beings made of energy live within Jupiter's great storm. How about intelligent fungi from Pluto?
One issue of a more local setting is the ability to contact Earth. Of course, this isn't necessarily a problem. It could even be a form of torment as the crew are reminded how close home is but remain unable to reach it. Communication would get slower as you got further away. That's assuming anyone on Earth is listening. Perhaps they're too busy dealing with the natural disasters and other effects of losing the moon. Maybe the people who can hear you have no resources to spare to help you, or perhaps a rescue attempt is made but for some reason you miss the window and pass beyond the range of their ships. Contact with Earth might not be such a blessing if you're only receiving distressing news.
Would the show be better with less aliens, less space battles, and less planets?
I think it could be, but most likely I would watch it no matter what. :P
Thread: If less is more...
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07-03-2012 12:50 PM
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I think it was a big mistake to have so many different aliens in the show.
Another issue with the original series was how the moon made it from solar system to solar system in such a short period of time. My question is, do we need other solar systems at all? We have plenty of interesting worlds in our own system that could be good settings for stories.
I think it's an interesting idea which requires less "bad science" to work -- e.g. all life on Earth is wiped out by a huge interstellar comet impact -- but it does represent a significant departure from Space:1999.
07-05-2012 07:39 PM
I think the amount of alien episodes they had in the original series is just fine for 2099 too! However, let's all keep in mind that TV seasons are now much shorter than they were when Space aired originally -- which, btw, I find to be VERY irritating! I'd like for 2099 to have a 24 episode Season -- just as the original 1999 had as well as the various Trek series. I agree that we should see more non-humanoid aliens (that do not speak English) in the new series.
I tend to think the ONE place (aside from improving the science accuracy) 1999 could use improvement is the in the area of story complexity. We have the opportunity with 2099 to develop multi-episode arcs and develop story threads and back stories that can be spun off into other arcs. That's the way I'd like to see it go, but keep the story telling "British" as the original series was. The writing was very British. 2099 should continue that feel.
The moon should leave Earth orbit or...I like the idea...Earth should be destroyed. Either way, the feeling of helplessness should be a part of the new series as it was the last...
Anything set on a spaceship is just going to be a rehash of things done before. What made 1999 unique was the Moon situation and the "Mysterious Unknown Force" aspect of the series...
At the end of the day, I think Space 2099 stories and situations should be scary, ominous, and wondrous...that should be the tone of the series. The characters can use technology to solve problems, but they should also have to THINK their way out of situations. No dumb "reset button" episodes either. At the end of the episode, a character or the Alphans plight should be changed in some way that impacts where the series goes from there.
Last edited by Dripping Cabot Rowland; 07-05-2012 at 07:50 PM.
Mike CampbellGuest07-06-2012 03:54 AM
In addition to "British" writing, I thought it was often very Serling. Earthbound, Death's Other Dominion, Troubled Spirit, One Moment of Humanity and (don't laugh) Beta Cloud all had that twist ending that made Twilight Zone famous. Earthbound was the very best execution of that device. I really do hope that 2099 takes opportunities for the occasional surprise ending that comes at viewers sideways.
Mike CampbellGuest07-06-2012 04:02 AM
Thinking about my last post just made me realize how superior 1999 was to Star Trek TOS...even much of Year 2. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Trek and still do but, really, there was so much more depth to Space:1999.
Star Trek The Motion Picture, the Next Generation and much of what followed was so clearly influenced by the style, themes, and in some cases, plots from Space:1999. STMP was, to borrow a criticism of The Beta Cloud, a lobotomized version of Voyager's Return right down to, well, Voyager.
Gee I hope there is an online forum in 2042 discussing Space 2099...
07-06-2012 01:07 PM
Yeah, but Voyager in S1999 wasn't looking for it's creator...nor was it a living machine...:-)
Mike CampbellGuest07-06-2012 09:52 PM
True but it was a little like Microsoft endlessly copying Apple's ideas. The could have at least changed the name of V'ger. They even copied the uniforms to an extent ;-)