The Complete UFO Megaset – $69.95
“UFO” was a short-lived sci-fi fantasy TV series created by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson. The premise of the show was that the governments of the nations of the Earth discover that a dying, extraterrestrial civilization has been paying clandestine visits to Earth with the sole purpose of kidnapping & killing humans to harvest their body parts. The United Nations authorizes and funds a highly secretive international organization nicknamed SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defense Organiztion) to combat the alien threat.
Under the command of Colonel Ed Straker (played by Ed Bishop), SHADO creates several different means of protecting Earth from the aliens:
1. A sosphistaced underground computerized headquarters pretending to be a major film studio in the heart of London.
2. A manned base on the moon (called Moonbase) armed with three fighters to attack UFOs before they reach Earth.
3. A sophisticated control & radar tracking satellite called SID (Space Intruder Detector) orbiting the Earth to detect incoming UFOs.
4. A fleet of submarine fighter carriers (called Skydivers) called upon to attack UFOs in Earth’s atmosphere should the Moonbase fighters fail to destroy UFOs in space. Each Skydiver is capable of launching a single fighter called Sky One (or using some other numbered designation).
5. A fleet of sophisticated armored personnel carriers called Mobiles to seek out and destroy UFOs that manage to land.
6. Other support craft like moon rovers, the Lunar Module (used to shuttle Moonbase personnel between the Earth & moon), and other support aircraft.
The 26 episodes of the series focus on several recurring themes:
1. SHADO’s continual attempts to avert the alien’s plans & attacks.
2. The various ways in which the aliens attempt to destroy SHADO or its commander, Colonel Ed Straker.
3. The effect that being a SHADO operative has on one’s personal life, often focusing on Straker’s personal life, but also Colonel Paul Foster’s (played by Michael Billington).
4. SHADO’s attempts to obtain more information about the aliens.
5. Security threats to the secrecy of SHADO.
6. Ongoing funding issues for very costly SHADO expenses (usually battles between Straker and General Henderson, played by Grant Taylor).
“UFO” very much has the look, music and feel of the 1960′s, since that is when it was filmed: the infamous purple wigs that female Moonbase personnel wear, the occasional hippy party, the exuberant use of bright colors in homes and go-go boots. None of that takes away from the quality of the writing. The dialog may not have always been top notch, but the consistency with the plot as well as the revisiting of previous storylines made for a very engaging, character-driven series. In comparison with the Anderson’s later TV series “Space 1999″, “UFO” was far more consistent and interesting. “Space 1999″, which was originally set to be the second season of “UFO”, never achieved the same level of character development or consistency, though its special effects were improved.
The 26 “UFO” episodes are as follows:
2. “Computer Affair”.
3. “Flight Path”.
7. “The Dalotek Affair”.
8. “A Question of Priorities”.
10. “The Square Triangle”.
11. “Court Martial”.
12. “Close Up”.
13. “Confetti Check A.O.K.”.
14. “The Responsibility Seat”.
16. “Kill Straker!”.
17. “Sub Smash”.
18. “The Sound of Silence”.
19. “The Cat With Ten Lives”.
21. “The Man Who Came Back”.
22. “The Psychobombs”.
23. “Reflections in the Water”.
26. “The Long Sleep”.
People who are more accustomed to expensive, computerized special effects of today may not enjoy “UFO” as much because its special effects are far less sophisticated; but don’t let the lack of funds and lack of technology spoil your enjoyment of this well made TV series. Overall, I rate “The Complete UFO Megaset” with 5 out of 5 stars. Other memorable characters in the series include Col. Alex Freeman (George Sewell), Col. Virginia Lake (Wanda Ventham), Lt. Gay Ellis (Gabrielle Drake), Gen. James Henderson (Grant Taylor, 1917-1971), Nina Barry (Dolores Mantez) and SID (voice of Mel Oxley).
- COMPLETE UFO MEGASET, THE (DVD MOVIE)
Produced in England, this cult fave sci-fi series debuted in 1970 and starred Ed Bishop as Col. Ed Straker, head of SHADO, a secret organization defending the Earth against alien invaders in the future year of 1980(!). Great special effects highlighted the Gerry Anderson creation, which co-starred George Sewell and Gabrielle Drake. <