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When it was first broadcast in 1975, there had never been a more lavishly produced science fiction TV series thanSpace: 1999, a British production whose budget for the first of its two seasons ran an astounding £3.25 million. What keeps us fans enthralled after all these years has only partly to due with the first-rate production values, the plausibly constructed spaceship models, and expert special effects. The tone of the show is one of scientific dispassion, setting it apart from its TV sci-fi predecessors such asStar Trek, whose mood was more convivial. Our heroes here are in dire circumstances that require cool heads as a survival trait. Those circumstances: the 311 crew members of Moonbase Alpha experience a cataclysm that causes the moon to break away from Earth's orbit and travel endlessly through space, turning our heroes into unintentional explorers. No TV series has created a more palpable feel of hard science fiction than this.

Of course the show is not without its detractors; it has been soundly lambasted for its many scientific errors. No less august a figure than Isaac Asimov criticized the show for its premise in the opening episode, "Breakaway," which had nuclear explosions on the "dark side of the moon" somehow propelling it out of Earth's orbit and flying through space without regard to any physical laws. In "Earthbound," aliens traveling to Earth state it will take them 75 years to reach their destination, making one wonder why it didn't take the moon that long to encounter the aliens. While these are serious complaints, fans tend to remember the scientific seriousness of the series and the sense of awe created by the many strange creatures and phenomena that the crew members encounter on their journey through the galaxy.

The Space: 1999 30th Anniversary Mega Set collects all 48 episodes broadcast over the show's two seasons, contained on 17 DVDs that include vintage interviews, production stills, TV promotional spots, and interactive menus, and some material that was not seen in the original U.S. broadcasts has been restored. The episodes do not use the 2005 high-def remasters, so this is essentially the same as the 2002 Mega Set, but at a fraction of the shelf space (the Thinpak packaging is nicely compact) and a fraction of the price. --Jim Gay

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CastBarry Morse, Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Nick Tate, Catherine Schell
DirectorKevin Connor, Val Guest, Bob Brooks (III), Robert Lynn (II)
Genre:  Television
DVD Release Date:  July 31, 2007
Runtime:  2496 minutes
Studio:  A&E Home Video
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