One of the fond memories of my childhood is that of me sneaking around and trying to watch Space 1999 late on Sunday nights. This was after the original run of the series on prime time, and it had gone into syndication. My mother did not allow me to stay up that late on a school night to watch the show, so I had to conceive of MANY creative ways in which to thwart my mother's attempts to keep me from watching this show. While she was able to catch me many times and send me back to bed, there were enough instances where I did get to see enough episodes to fall in love with the series.
Previously, I have owned some DVD copies of the series, but was always a little let down and how underwhelming the series was when compared to modern shows. The colors were always washed out, and the sound was very tinny, as it was never meant to be played with a surround system. If you're a fan of the show, and you currently own any of the previous DVD versions of this series, you will want to toss them after seeing 1999 on Blu-ray. I was not prepared for the crisp colorful images that began to flow across my screen after playing the pilot episode. The picture is truly stunning, and I would say that it even rivals that of the remastering of the Star Trek Original Series. On the old DVD's the interior of Moonbase Alpha always seemed so bland and monochromatic. While there are still a lot of creams and whites around, you will now notice splashes of color all over the place in computer displays and flashing instrument panels.
In addition to a major improvement in picture quality, the sound remix is AMAZING!!!!! Of course this series was released long before people began to hook their TV's up to surround systems, so on the original DVD's the sound was much as I remembered hearing it on a small black and white TV in our living room. When the first explosion occurred in the pilot episode, I was very surprised to hear a deep bass coming from my subwoofer. Of course these sound effects have either been tweaked, or completely re-recorded for this hi-def release. If you prefer the original mono soundtracks, never fear, there is an option for that. While the original sound effects are really closer to my memories, the new surround effects really add to the enjoyment of this series.
OK, now for my biggest surprise. While I did love this series as a child, watching it on DVD was a little of a let down, because the special effects seemed very dated. I expected that any restoration in hi-def would only amplify what I remembered as cheesy effects. I was SHOCKED to see that the extra clear image provided by blu-ray really does 1999 a favor by showing the details of the models used for the special effects shots. This show was not an offshoot of Star Wars as some may think. 1999 came out a couple of years before Star Wars was released. While you may see an occasional wire attached to a character to help simulate the reduced gravity on the moon, the ability to see the details in the models is what really got me excited. High definition actually makes these models look more life-like. That was an unexpected treat with this new restoration.
Now we come to the star on the top of this wonderful package. In addition to some special features spread out over the 5 blu-ray discs in the set, there are also two DVD's chocked full of extra features. Many of these features are released here for the first time in the US. There are audio commentaries, text commentaries, making-of featurettes, interviews, still photos, etc.
Bottom Line: If you enjoy good science fiction, and can overlook some conflicts with scientific reality, then take a step back in time and see what good TV was like 35 years ago. This set brings back so many good memories for me about my childhood. I remember all of the elaborate tricks I tried to play just to be able to see this show, and it brings a smile to my face now that I can pop in a disc anytime and watch this wonderful show in a way that is far better than anything I ever expected. Just in case I start to feel really nostalgic, I can switch on the mono sound track and sit up really close to the TV so my mother won't hear. I swear that woman had bionic hearing!!! Oh yeah!!!!! Just one more plus to this new set......Instead of taking up several inches of shelf space for the DVD's, you now get the entire first season in a nice shiny package that takes up less than one inch of shelf space.