Gerry Anderson, the creator of “Thunderbirds,” “Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons,” “Space: 1999” among many others popular series died last year, though the profile producer was working on numerous projects for as long as he was capable.
The first of those projects, “Gemini Force 1,” is being released via Kickstarter as a series of books. If they reach their goals, it will become a television series though I am not sure if it would be puppets, live-action or CGI.
“A Very Entertaining, Though (Seemingly) Unoriginal, Voyage Of The Starship Enterprise”
Let me say for the record I am not a Trekkie. While more people are probably into the work of Gene Roddenberry I preferred Gerry Anderson and shows like “Space: 1999,” “UFO.” and “Space Precinct.” That ’s not to say that I didn’t respect the multi-cultural future Roddenberry portrayed, though it struck me as a bit Stepford-like.
Everyone dressed essentially the same, even non-Federation people, though this may have been due more to budget limitations than anything else. The inhabitants of Rodenberry’s universe even seemed to think the same and if “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and ’Deep Space Nine’ were any indicator, spent way too much time on holodecks imagining some swashbuckling event from the past, as if the future were so bankrupt it stopped generating stories and ideas of its own.
When Gerry Anderson died in 2013 I assumed that also meant that not only would there be no more series like “UFO,” “Space: 1999″ or “Space Precinct” but without his leadership there wouldn’t even be an Anderson Entertainment.
It seems that I am wrong because the company’s web site not only went live recently and hints that there are not only future projects in the pipeline, but that one of those projects will be revealed very soon.
What’s also interesting is that, while the Anderson Entertainment website is run by his son, Jamie, I have no idea who’s currently running the company itself.
The point is that whomever is behind the company will hopefully have the clout (and financial backing, because Anderson’s past series aren’t known for being inexpensive) to continue Anderson’s history of innovation.
And speaking of which, what are they producing? Will this upcoming project be a new series based upon their existing catalog? An entirely new series? Movies?
The possibilities are almost endless, and while the following trailers – which are homages to past Anderson productions – don’t answer any of those questions, they are pretty cool in their own right.
“Space Precinct,” arguably one of Gerry Anderson’s more controversial series, mainly due to the $1.5 million per episode cost, which made it the most expensive show in Britain at the time. Yet, despite all the money spent, the ratings were only average, which I suspect had more than a little to do with the terrible time slots the show was stuck in, as opposed to the series itself.
I witnessed this personally. It was one of my favorite shows growing up, and I recall trying to force myself to stay up till it aired, which was usually around 12:30 on Friday morning.
Besides the issue of times slots, the show’s greatest problem is that it didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be, which gave it an oddly schizophrenic tone. For instance, an episode would sometimes start off with hardcore scifi, then somehow end as a family drama.
When Gerry Anderson died last September, I not only was saddened, but felt somehow betrayed. I am not arrogant to believe that his health is any of my business, but knowing would have clarified for me why it is that he left the Pinewood Studios lot, and the selling of the memorabilia that he had accrued over the years.
I assumed that it was just because he was no longer as productive as he once was, which, in a roundabout way, was true.
Though the truth was deeper, sadder, than I would have guessed.
The last thing that I was aware he was working on was “Eternity,” with Steve Begg, who also worked with him on “Space Precinct.” Begg, like other special effects people who have cut their teeth on Gerry Anderson productions, eventually went on to bigger things, such as the effects work on “Skyfall,” among others.
I suspect I know the answer to the question above even before I wrote it, but part of me refuses to believe that a movie based upon Gerry Anderson’s “UFO” is probably not going to happen. Sure, there’s been no news for almost a year now–the site has been live for a bit over two–but just because it’s still live says to me that SOMEONE wants to see it (other than me, that is).
Then again, you only know till it actually happens, but I am going to keep an eye out.
On the other hand, I would rather have it not happen at all than for someone to come and treat it in the awful fashion that Jonathan Frakes did with his version of Anderson’s “Thunderbirds.”
Here’s the opening for the original series to whet the appetite.
And if the movie ever comes about, please, please, please let someone with the range of Barry Gray do the music.
For quite a while now I was wondering what was going on with “Space: 2099,” the reboot of Gerry Anderson’s “Space: 1999,” because I haven’t heard any news on that front for four or five months. I was worried that it suffered the fate of the UFO reboot, which appears to be caught somewhere in development hell.
Luckily that appears not to be the case because I just read a recent interview with Jace Hall, who’s spearheading the reboot.
The interview mainly goes into why Hall chose to reboot the series, and while it doesn’t say anything about how the development is going, it also doesn’t seem to imply that there are any problems.
Some may consider the image circled in red as ‘stealing’ – it’s the front section of an Eagle transporter, from Gerry Anderson’s “Space: 1999″ – which from a certain perspective is understandable.
Though, if you look even closer, there’s innovation involved.
When you’re working with a limited budget, sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. Gerry Anderson’s “Space: 1999″ was at the time, the most expensive series on television, but if you didn’t have the benefit of such a relatively large budget, you’d have to do with whatever you could throw together.
I mention this because the screenshot above is from Luigi Cozzi‘s (credited as ‘Lewis Coates’) Starcrash. Before the advent of computer graphics, it wasn’t unusual for model makers in in science fiction films to use off-the-shelf parts to build their ships, though they were usually better at disguising the fact.
The theme of recycling carries to other aspects of the film as well. The soundtrack is by John Barry, which if you listen carefully sounds like his theme to Disney’s “The Black Hole” in places.
In fact, if parts of the “Starcrash” soundtrack had replaced that which was used in “The Black Hole,” that film would have benefited because there’s some beautiful music, most of it more subtle that that used in the Disney film.
I have always assumed that the question of whether or not there would be a reboot of Space: 1999 was more a question of when, than if because, if television or feature films have taught us anything, it’s that updating something that already exists is easier than spending the time, money and effort to actually innovate.
That’s meant to be only partially snarky, because the remake of “Battlestar Galactica” improved significantly upon a series that was little more than a blatant “Star Wars” clone.
Jace Hall’s Space 2099, the version of Gerry Anderson’s original series most likely to reach production, due to the backing by iTV and Hall’s own HDFilms, is actually not in terms of actual development.
That honor would be reserved for Moonbase Alpha’s Legacy, developed by Eric Bernard
Unlike Hall’s Space 2099, there’s video available that illustrates how far Bernard’s version has progressed, and it’s pretty brilliant.
Space: 1999 is being rebooted, if Deadline is accurate. I don’t know if Gerry Anderson will be involved, though I hope that he is. Anyone that has followed my blog knows that I have been following this project, in its various forms, since its inception, and I am glad to hear that there will potentially be a new series.