Tuesday, August 12, 2014

UFO: 2099

Whether they'll ever be made remains to be seen, but I'm nonetheless excited by the prospect of new UFO movies and a new space opera television show, Space: 2099, based on Gerry Anderson's original 1970s creations UFO and Space: 1999. UFO was a well-made, well-acted, suspenseful slice of space opera action, while Space:1999 boasted absolutely amazing production design (hampered by leaden direction, acting and screenplays and a ludicrous premise).

I would prefer it, however, if the creators somehow found a way to merge the two concepts, as was originally intended. What became Space: 1999 was originally intended to be UFO's second season. So what if you combined all the best elements of UFO - the suspense, the SHADO organization, the creepy aliens and compelling stories - with Space: 1999's superb production design? You'd have UFO: 2099, in which SHADO commander Straker and his cool, competent Earth-based team would work together (and often butt heads) with Commander Koenig and his assemblage of maniacs on Moonbase Alpha, defending humanity from invasion. (This time, the Moon would remain in Earth orbit, so perhaps the Alpha characterizations wouldn't be as nutty.)

The two concepts work together seamlessly - probably because one concept originally grew from the other. Retain the conceit that SHADO is fighting a secret war with the aliens, all knowledge of extraterrestrials hidden from the public, and you have an interesting recipe for tense, paranoiac SF, with stunning visuals. Good scripts would illustrate some of the more important issues of our time - secrecy, surveillance, terrorism, torture (if you capture an alien, is it immoral to waterboard it for information? It's not human, after all), and perhaps even climate change and responsible resource development if the cover story for the moonbase is harvesting Helium-3 for Earth, for example.

Man, I should write a series bible.


1 comment:

"Dark Jeff" said...

DON'T...

... say that you're going to write something and then not follow through!

A bible for that would be amazing, but a lot of work. A brief story written by you along the lines of your James Bond short would be exactly what the Universe needs to transcend to a higher plane. And if not exactly Space 2099, then a thinly-disguised analogue. I would go nuts to see how SHADO and Moonbase Alpha would try to work against the alien threat - I had no idea they were supposed to go together. Most people wouldn't be familiar with those sources anymore, but I am certain that kind of SF would resonate very well today, as long as the stories were taut and intimate, treated with reverence, and devoid of city-smashes.