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Author Topic: 21 Jump Street vs. Space: 1999  (Read 3480 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: November 13, 2005, 11:16:51 AM »

I bought recently the entire series of 21 JUMP STREET on DVD as an "irony" purchase, and was surprised at how great and watchable the show is all these years later - it was surprisingly entertaining and gets a definite recommendation from me, especially in this DVD set.

My one complaint is that if anything, 21 JUMP STREET in an age of LAW & ORDER: SVU, lacks the ability to create shock value from criminal depravity. Thus, stories centered on using depravity to shock just can't spook the way they did when Fox was breaking barriers for crassness.

Amazingly, there is not as much unintentional humor as I expected there to be. But it is there. My favorite was by far the hunky, smouldering Johnny Depp in disguise as an "undercover nerd." But just when one thinks things couldn't possibly be more laughable, in comes Holly Robinson with the hugest, most hideous eighties perm ever seen, nearly the size of a soccer ball, so bad it looked like she stuck her finger in an electrical outlet. I don't know who looked worse: undercover nerd, or the Bride of Frankenstein.

I also had the opportunity to buy SPACE: 1999 on VHS at the local Goodwill - apparently, somebody there had the biggest crush on Martin Landau: there was SPACE: 1999 and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE entirely on tape from start to finish.

SPACE: 1999 also has held up well. The thing I liked best about it was that it did some episodes that were in the 2001 style, plausible and low-key, with a subdued soundtrack and no sound in space, like for instance, one story about a plague on the station. Then...

They went around and did these completely insane Buck Rogers stories about metamorph alien princesses that turn into cats, and illusion-casting monsters that look like a cross between toxic waste and shrubbery.
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Klar Ken T5477
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2005, 02:18:52 PM »

You know if the moon was actually jarred from it's orbit there wouldnt be too much sunlight on the moon and yet............... :roll:
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nightwing
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2005, 05:43:49 PM »

As a kid, I kind of liked the second season of 1999 with its greater emphasis on action.  But I agree it doesn't hold up as well.  (If memory serves, the new approach was thanks to the addition of producer Freddy Freiberger, who'd added similarly looney twists to Star Trek in its final year).

Poor old Space: 1999 gets the short end of the stick every time.  When it came out it was mercilessly attacked by Trek fandom and soon after it went off the air we got Star Wars, so it's pretty much been written off and forgotten.  While I wouldn't call it my favorite, it was at least different from most other SF.  And I still have my little die-cast "Eagle" ship...what a fun toy!

And speaking of "different," how weird would you have to be to have a crush on Martin Landau?  I mean the guy's a great actor, but let's face it as hunks go he's no Valentino.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2005, 06:24:45 PM »

Quote from: "nightwing"
As a kid, I kind of liked the second season of 1999 with its greater emphasis on action.  But I agree it doesn't hold up as well.  (If memory serves, the new approach was thanks to the addition of producer Freddy Freiberger, who'd added similarly looney twists to Star Trek in its final year).

Poor old Space: 1999 gets the short end of the stick every time.  When it came out it was mercilessly attacked by Trek fandom and soon after it went off the air we got Star Wars, so it's pretty much been written off and forgotten.  While I wouldn't call it my favorite, it was at least different from most other SF.  And I still have my little die-cast "Eagle" ship...what a fun toy!


The thing that is MOST interesting about SPACE: 1999 is that it's what televised science fiction would be in an alternate universe where 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, not the space opera shows TREK and WARS, became the model for televised science fiction shows. It had this subdued tone: no loud dialogue, no one moves quickly even at tense moments (which ironically raises suspense because you feel like telling Martin Landau to RUN, MAN, RUN!) and almost no music, certainly not the bombastic orchestra music used by other science fiction shows.

Many people come down on the recent remake of BATTLESTAR: GALACTICA. I for one, don't, because it is not only unique from its predecessor, but also unique in terms of televised science fiction. Like SPACE: 1999, it has none of the defining traits of space opera on TV: every shot appears from a handheld camera (sort of like CNN in space), and they don't break the "no sound in space" rule, giving space battles a peculiar "feel."

Interesting the old TREK fans would smack 1999 down. Do you remember the root of their complaints, exactly? TREK fandom in the early days was an interesting and weird monster, by all accounts.

I remember hearing that they wanted Martin Landau as a "backup" for Mr. Spock back in the first year of the show. Does that mean Leonard Nimoy would have been star of SPACE: 1999?

Quote from: "nightwing"
And speaking of "different," how weird would you have to be to have a crush on Martin Landau?  I mean the guy's a great actor, but let's face it as hunks go he's no Valentino.


The most wonderful thing about being a famous actor is, no matter how unknown you are, or how unattractive, there's probably some bad girl in a miniskirt that's your #1 fan.  :lol:

But...yeah, that would be pretty off, wouldn't it? Of all the actors in the WORLD...
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2005, 07:50:20 PM »

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Interesting the old TREK fans would smack 1999 down. Do you remember the root of their complaints, exactly? TREK fandom in the early days was an interesting and weird monster, by all accounts.


As I recall, it basically boiled down to a resistance to anything other than Trek.  On the part of high-profile Trekkies like Asimov, there were complaints about bad science (hilarious given Trek's own transgressions in that realm) but the rank-and-file Trekkies were mostly griping about how different everything was from Roddenberry's vision of future people and things.  Landau's Commander Koenig, for example, is a brooding and low-key figure who often questions his own judgement and doesn't seem particularly thrilled to be in charge...as opposed to the ever-ebullient, hyperactive and supremely confident Kirk.  And so on.

Also, "Space" had a decidedly dark and downbeat mood to it...I've seen it described as Gothic Horror in Space.  Stories didn't always end happily and some of them didn't even have endings you could figure out.  That didn't sit well with Trekkies, who always liked the more accessible, upbeat, hopeful mood of ST (personally, the one thing I always liked about both shows...at least in their first seasons...was that nagging sense of fear and dread that seemed to go with space travel).

But in my opinion, 1999's real transgression was that it simply wasn't Trek.  Star Trek fans in the mid-70s were trying like the devil to get their show back on the air in some form or other, and I think they were afraid that if another SF show was as successful, or even more successful, that it would forever relegate Trek to the dustbin of history.  History proved them wrong, of course; it was the success of Star Wars that brought Trek back from the dead, as Paramount wanted a franchise to compete with Lucas' works, and someone remembered they already had one!

I should mention that the Trekkies also tore the original Battlestar Galactica to pieces, and for a lot of the same reasons.  Maybe it's a bit of revenge now that the new Galactica is the darling of SF fandom while Star Trek is in the morgue.

I should mention I'm a big fan of Star Trek:TOS, despite how this post might sound.  But variety is the spice of life, and frankly I'd rather have a dozen different shows than a dozen Trek spin-offs and imitators.

If you're really interested in the history of Space: 1999 and the SF fan community's backlash against it, check out the book, "Exploring Space: 1999 : an Episode Guide and Complete History of the Mid-1970s Science Fiction Television Series", by John Kenneth Muir.  You might find it in your local library.
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