Space: 2099. Wait…WHAT?

Thanks to numerous folks on Facebook, I was made aware of this little bit of news from io9:

Space: 1999 remake will be called Space: 2099

Rumors about a possible remake of the cult-favorite 1970s science fiction series–either as a new series or even a film–have bounced around the ‘net for years. I’m actually quite surprised no one has taken a run at it before now.

For those two or three of you who have no knowledge of the original series, it goes like this: September 13th, 1999 – at this point in time (looking way ahead into the far-off future of 1975), the Moon is home to a permanent installation–Moonbase Alpha–which is manned by a multi-cultural crew of 311 men and women. In keeping with prevailing theories of the time, the Moon is to be the launching point for manned exploration missions to other planets; not Mars in this case, but a planet from which a communications signal has been received: Meta.

All of that goes to shit when radioactive waste dumps on the far side of the Moon explode, driving the Moon out of Earth’s orbit (not, as should be the case, right into the Earth itself) and plunging it and the “Alphans” on a crazy journey across the universe. Whether due to passage through a seemingly unending supply of wormholes or guided by some other force, the Moon travels from solar system to solar system, allowing Commander John Koenig and his crew to get into all sorts of trouble week after week.

When I was a kid, this show kicked ass. Now? Eh…….not so much, but I’ll confess to having a nostalgic soft spot for it. Though the plots of most episodes bordered on the ridiculous and the acting tended to lack anything even remotely resembling “life,” there were still a few gems here and there. The special effects–particularly the Moon and base exteriors–impressive for their day, still look pretty cool, and I’m not afraid to say that the Eagle transports the crew used to get to and from the Moon still hold their own among the coolest of SF ships. Recognize:

So, a remake?

According to the io9 piece–and assuming this isn’t just another unsubstantiated internet rumor–Space: 2099 is supposedly in development by the same crew who brought us the recent “re-imagining” of V. Okay, I’ll try to give them a fair shake with this new project, even though I wasn’t all that impressed with the prior effort. As for any new adventures of wayward Moonbase Alpha, speculation surrounds how the storyline(s) might unfold. Will the Moon travel from planet to planet, or will things move along at a much slower pace, with the Alphans forced to put up with each other’s shit for weeks and months on end until something crazy happens?

Personally, I wouldn’t mind if the “event” which sends the Moon on its merry way didn’t happen right away. Give us a chance to see everyday life on Moonbase Alpha. Let’s see a few episodes with them prepping for other missions, such as sending a ship to Mars or one of the other planets, or even “Meta” or its re-imagined equivalent. Then, at some point, light the candle and kick the Moon’s ass out of orbit and we can truly get the party started.

Just please don’t dick up the Eagles. That’s all I ask.

Anybody else with opinions on this, or am I alone in my geeky apprehension?

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About Dayton Ward

Freelance word slinger, husband, daddy, Trekkie, Tampa Bay Bucs fan, Rush fan (the band), observer and derider of human behavior. I know where my towel is.
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20 Responses to Space: 2099. Wait…WHAT?

  1. Definitely apprehensive. And yes, leave my Eagle alone. I love those shuttles.

  2. If history is any guide, they will almost certainly “dick up the Eagles,” which I agree, are one of the most awesome TV spaceships of all time. Even the Galactica remake, which I generally loved, managed to suck most of the awesome out of the original spacecraft designs. And of the “reimagined” Lost in Space Jupiter 2 from the movie, I simply cannot find the words.

    Actually though, Space 1999 is the sort of thing that SHOULD be remade: a reasonably cool idea poorly executed, but with enough nostalgia-value and brand recognition to possibly launch the project. (Actually, a TV series built mainly off the first half of the movie “This Island Earth,” would be great, for pretty much the same reason. The aliens are already here, and of COURSE they would choose to make first-contact through the internet…)

    Anyway, here’s my take. Of course, the whole “explosion knocks the Moon out of orbit” thing has to go, but the idea of the Moon wandering through space is too awesome to throw away. Maybe some kind of experiment gone wrong or alien artifact discovered sends the Moon jumping (wormholes, space warps, some other hand-waving) from gravity well to gravity well in a way that is random, and yet logically has them encountering habitable planets and other civilizations.

    Or maybe it’s not random at all. That this just happens at the moment we’re launching our first interstellar probe, and that we’ve supposedly gotten a signal from another civilization, isn’t that a bit of a coincidence? Maybe in the beginning we don’t know what’s skipping the Moon around, or why, or how. Maybe that’s a mystery to be solved over the first season or two. Maybe there IS an explosion, or something else strange that happens at a nuclear waste dump. Maybe it’s connected, but maybe not the way some hysterical people think in the beginning. And maybe there’s a guiding force or intelligence behind it all. And if the Moon’s jumps aren’t random, maybe there’s a way to control them. Maybe there’s a lot more to the universe out there than we know, and maybe we’ve just opened Pandora’s Box — from the inside!

    Of course, there was already a modern TV series that used a lot of the same concepts, called “Stargate Universe,” and we know how well that all turned out.

    But still, as with so many things (and of course, odds are this will never make it to series) I will reserve judgement, and hold out a little bit of hope that it won’t totally suck, or that it won’t be wonderful and die a slow and painful death before it plays out.

    • Dayton Ward says:

      I’m firmly in the “cautiously optimistic” camp. This one, like The Six Million Dollar Man, is one of those shows I’d like to see re-done, with a proper updating of the basic concept.

      • Dennis Bain says:

        You know Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, etc) is actually writing an updated “Six-million Dollar Man” comic titled “The Bionic Man”….

        And yes, please Hollyweird, keep your bloody mitts off of the Eagles, infact show us some Hawks!

        • Dayton Ward says:

          I’ve been reading the comic, and read Smith’s script several years ago. I’m enjoying it well enough, but–as even Smith said he was told when he submitted it to studio execs–it is a bit *too* “comic booky.”

    • There’s a novel called “Pushing Ice” by Alastair Reynolds; loved it — but there’s an angle to it that would help make the whole “moon traveling through space” thing make more than a bit of sense — won’t ruin the plot here, but think slipstream.

      Once I believe someone brought up a whole Q type thing for why the moon was traveling the way it did.

      The alien artifact thing has merit — maybe the Alphans can discover one; something that opens up a kind of stargate to them. I don’t know, something like a huge black monolith with dimensions of 1 by 4 by 9…

  3. Big fan. I wonder what an updated Maya would be like? I would like to see the obligatory cameos by Landau and Bain and, of course, Catherine Schell. And an update of either Derek Wadsworth or Barry Gray’s theme would be awesome.

    Incidentally, whatever happened to Moonbase Alpha? This tribute presented at the Space: 1999 Breakaway Convention in LA on September 13, 1999 explains nicely: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nox6XjsS7Bs

    • Dayton Ward says:

      That was actually one of the pieces included in a “Bonus Features” DVD that A&E made available when they sold the “DVD megaset” of the entire series. For a time, you were able to buy the bonus disc by itself.

  4. Sightsnbytes says:

    The Eagle has landed. I loved this show so much. I watched a few episodes online a few months ago, and I must say, much of the excitement I had of a child was not there. I suppose we are spoiled those days, and we live in a world with so much technology, that we are not easily impressed. That being said, I truly hope that Hollywood does not ‘F’ up yet another one of my childhood memories.

    • Dayton Ward says:

      Well, if they can do something ala the new Galactica (I don’t mean the same type of stories), giving a serious spin to the overall premise and removing some of the cheese, it could work. I’m not opposed to the notion of a redo; it’ll all come down to execution.

  5. El Guapo says:

    Saw this, thought you might get a kick out of it (if you hadn’t seen it yet…)
    http://io9.com/5884500/why-space-2099-wont-be-a-dark-and-gritty-reboot-of-space-1999

    • Dayton Ward says:

      Everyone who’s ever done a remake has always said how much they love the original, or how they’re a fan of it, etc. I quit putting stock in such comments long ago, because it always seemed as though the harder they tried to push that point, the worse their remake ended up sucking.

      I’ll watch it if it happens, and then we’ll see :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Eagles were cool, leave them alone. Another cool ship from that same era was the Interceptor from UFO

    • Dayton Ward says:

      I wasn’t as much a fan of UFO, but my understanding is that what eventually became Space:1999 started out as plans for UFO’s next season. I don’t know if that’s just fan-myth, or whatever.

Lay it on me.

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