These days it seems like every beloved science-fiction franchise from the past five decades is getting a modernization with varying degrees of success. We’ve had four Star Trek spin-offs, Syfy’s much-loved Battlestar Galactica update, and ABC’s recent V revival, and there’s the eagerly anticipated Star Wars: Underworld series heading to the airwaves soon.
Now comes the news that the mid-1970s British-made television series Space: 1999 is getting a 21st century revival and will be titled Space: 2099. The new series will be a joint venture of ITV Studios America and HDFilms.
“Science fiction is a powerful format capable of visualizing the human condition in thought-provoking ways,” said Jace Hall, president of HDFilms and an executive producer on Space: 2099, according to THR.
“While we are indeed re-imagining the franchise and bringing something new and relevant to today’s audiences. I feel strongly that some of the overall tones set by the original Space: 1999 television show represent an exciting platform to explore possibilities.”
Hall was also an executive producer on the short-lived V remake and has worked extensively in the video game industry.
Paul Buccieri, ITV Studios International managing director, had this to say about the project:
“After more than 35 years, we are thrilled to be developing a new vision of our much beloved franchise for audiences worldwide. Historically, the Space: 1999 brand has entertained and fascinated millions of people.”
The original Space: 1999 told the story of the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha, an Earth scientific research station on the Moon that is propelled into space by a nuclear explosion on the far side of the Moon, setting the now-stranded humans off on a dangerous and spectacular journey into space to worlds unknown.
Space: 1999 was the brainchild of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the British creative visionaries responsible for the popular marionette-driven adventure series Thunderbirds and Fireball XL-5 as well as the live-action alien invasion drama U.F.O. The show starred then-married American actors Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, who had previously co-starred together on the original Mission: Impossible, and a supporting cast of noted British thespians. During the show’s two season run from 1975-1977 it featured guest appearances from Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings), Peter Cushing (Tales from the Crypt), Joan Collins (Dynasty), David Prowse (Star Wars), Ian McShane (Deadwood), Billie Whitelaw (Hot Fuzz), Richard Johnson (The Haunting), Patrick Troughton (Doctor Who), Sarah Douglas (Superman II), and Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon).
The show’s visual effects were supervised by Brian Johnson, who had served as an uncredited special effects assistant on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (a film whose visual aesthetic was highly influential) and would later serve as the special effects supervisor on Ridley Scott’s Alien and its 1986 James Cameron-directed sequel Aliens.