Space: 1999 (1976) – Space Brain, and The Troubled Spirit

A Christopher Penfold script takes us farther out into the universe this week with Moonbase Alpha, in this story that first aired on 29 January, 1976.

And in what seems to be a recurring theme throughout the first season, a member of Alpha is taken over by an alien presence, one that is a big solid mass floating in space. Things begin to seem strange on the moon when Computer begins displaying strange glyphs.

As Koenig (Martin Landau) and his people begin to investigate, they discover the approaching being (?). And of course the way it makes contact, and proves itself a threat, is by taking over one of the Alphans – the Eagle pilot who flies to investigate the origins of the signal – convenient that it’s not Alan (Nick Tate) who seems to be the first in the seat every other mission, doesn’t leave much hope for the survival of the pilot.

Amongst the Eagle pilots is familiar character actor Shane Rimmer – and he is the subject that the brain uses to converse with and take over Alpha!

But is it trying to destroy them, or contact them to help them, even as it risks itself. Koenig endangers his own mind to find out, and some strange things start to happen on Alpha as the story kicks into high gear.

The model work continues to excel in this story, and while the episode itself is rather lame, its execution is conducted pretty well. Who though a swarm of soap bubbles, could be so dangerous!!

spacebrain

The Troubled Spirit features, guess what, an Alphan being possessed by an alien presence. First airing on 5 February, 1976, this episode was penned by Johnny Byrne and sees Dan Mateo (Giancarlo Prete) Alpha’s botanist believing he can communicate telepathically with his plants, but in fact he has been overcome by a malignant alien presence which disfigures him and is going to use him for its own murderous ends.

The intro works rather well with the music that is taking place in a rec area of the station, and it plays like a bit of a silly gothic horror, in fact it uses all the typical haunted house tropes you would expect from a Saturday matinee horror show – temperature drops, seances, strange shadowy figures and exorcisms. I think with a somewhat better script, and stronger execution this could have been a pretty solid tale, as melding science fiction and horror, as we know has worked successfully a number of times.

There is some cool factors in this episode including the true nature of the being that resembles Mateo and what it really means as well as a pretty decent makeup job on Mateo.

Next week we come to the final two episodes of the first season, and we’ll see how things wrap up for Moonbase Alpha before we launch into the second and final season of Space:… 1999!

troubledspirit

 

 

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