In the mid nineteen seventies, it seemed like mankind was destined for the stars. It couldn’t be long before there was a moon base, a space station, deep space probes, and habitable planets reachable in days instead of centuries. Then on September 13th, 1999, all that came to a screeching halt when a catastrophic explosion blasted the moon out of Earth’s orbit and into deep space. Three hundred and eleven people populated Moon Base Alpha at the time of the breakaway, each holding out for a chance to leave the moon behind and live out a “normal life” elsewhere (because having weird adventures around whatever planet Earth’s runaway moon settled into each week just wasn’t cool enough.)
“Pristine” is the word that best describes this seven-disc set; the show never looked this good on broadcast. It isn’t widescreen (Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1) but it is HD and beautifully restored. Seeing the episodes like this, the interior sets hold up amazingly well (with the production design obviously inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey) while the exterior model shots (state-of-the art effects for their time) are revealed for the highly detailed miniatures they were. This revelation in no way diminishes the painstaking work that went into creating the exteriors and in fact showcases the tedious work that went into creating them.
The show itself, a British production shot at Pinewood Studios from 1975 to 1976, was perhaps better received with whatever might have been the popular recreational substance of the time. Younger fans of the show (baby boomers through gen x) might be a bit surprised how sparse the stories were and how little science was part of the fiction. But hey, it was set in SPACE, and that’s all that kind of mattered. Even if the weekly encounters with alien life forms seemed far out, it was all grounded by a believable moon habitat, plausible spacecraft, and lead actors (Martin Landau and Barbara Bain) that made it all seem real. If you were expecting to see the alien shapeshifter Maya, however, she doesn’t show up until the second (final) season, so you’ll just have to wait until later enjoying these 24 episodes and all the bonus features included in this set.
Will you buy it for yourself? Human decision required.