Monday, 11 March 2013
Space 1999: Missing Link
'Space 1999’ never fails to raise an indulgent chortle and wry shake of the head, does it? It’s so inherently ridiculous and utterly loveable and, every time I see an episode, I can’t help but smile at its insane inanity.
‘Missing Link’ is a case in point. After an Eagle Transporter crash, Commander Koenig hovers between life and death, only kept alive by a plastic tray with some flashing lights on it. Doctor Russell, despite being in a committed relationship with him, seems desperate to pull the plug for some reason, and is only kept from doing so by the fact that there’s a fight every time she goes to touch the button.
Far from being in a vegetative state, however, Koenig is actually a prisoner on the planet Zenna, the permanent guest of an alien anthropologist called Raan (Peter Cushing, painted gold and wearing a silly hat and daft wig). Raan wants to study him to gain insight into humans, who he believes are the missing link in his own people’s evolution. Raan’s daughter Vana also wants to study Koenig, but from a less scientific point of view, i.e. she fancies him (she’s only alien, after all).
Choc a bloc with fantasy sequences and fights, ‘Missing Link’ is lots of fun, although slightly confusing in the way Koenig seems to so ready to abandon Moonbase and Doctor Russell in favour of a life with Vana. Interestingly, it is this burgeoning relationship that sets Koenig free: Raan might like to study humans, but he certainly wouldn’t want his daughter to marry one.
‘Space 1999’ is a fascinating show for so many reasons, not least for its incredibly ambitious attempt to bring the whole of the universe to us on a budget of £150 an episode. They try terribly hard, but it never quite works out, especially as often their efforts are undermined by sheer shoddiness and lack of attention to detail: costumes that don’t fit; monsters that have zips: life support systems with spelling mistakes… I absolutely love it.