Space: 1999

Season 2 Episode 13

Catacombs of the Moon

Aired Unknown Nov 26, 1976 on
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Episode Summary

An engineer working below the moon's surface in search of a rare mineral needed for Alpha's life support system and the building of an artificial heart for his wife starts to become unbalanced from the stress and pressure weighing on him. To that end, he undertakes a course of action that endangers many even as Koenig wonders if his rantings might be actually coming true.moreless

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  • Typically bad Space: 1999

    Space: 1999 was never a good show, but unfortunately there wasn't any other (relatively) big budget sci-fi on in the mid-1970s, so we took what we could get. It wouldn't be until 1977 and Star Wars that the genre was re-ignited.

    Catacombs of the Moon was an average episode of Space: 1999. Which is to say, it was pretty bad. Moonbase Alpha seems to have some of the worst personnel ever in a paramilitary organization. Every few episodes, there would be yet another rebellious faction openly disobeying Commander Koenig's orders. It's amazing that the several hundred Alphans weren't all thrown into the brig by the end of the series. This episode continues that. Osgood assaults several people including security chief Tony, but by the end of the episode, he's forgiven. Helena takes terranium to save a life even though Koenig strictly forbids it in order to ensure the safety of all the other Alphans, but he just shrugs and accepts it. No wonder there's no discipline on Alpha.

    Most of the scripts made very little sense. Again, it continues here. Osgood wires himself to explode if he releases a deadman switch. So security teams are sent out to find him, with orders to not confront or attack him... except they all have stun guns and laser rifles at the ready in their hands, not even holstered. Brilliant, guys! The writers came up with some kind of strange space storm that looks like a UFO to broil the Moon this time. Why? They could have just sent the Moon a little too close to a star and gotten the same temporary heating. Blame this one on producer Fred Freiberger, who split casts and production teams during the second season to film two episodes at once. In such episodes, Landau and Bain wouldn't share screen time because they were on separate lots. To justify Landau being away, this episode sent Koenig off to investigate the heat source. Freiberger had a reputation for destroying shows, including the last season of the original Star Trek. There's a reason his name became a verbal epithet. To Freiberger a show means to change it so much as to ruin it, to make it jump the shark.

    I won't lie. Many of us watched every episode back then, but only because there were no alternatives. Looking back, this show should never have gotten off the ground and it's amazing that there's enough of a fanbase to justify DVD and Blu-ray sets. Star Martin Landau detested the scripts, usually writing scathing criticisms in his copies. His hatred showed in his acting, which never showed a trace of nuance throughout the show's run. In fact, the bad acting from the two leads virtually ended their careers (with a little help from their roles in The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island). They never got large roles again, although Landau had somewhat of a comeback after his Academy Award win.moreless
Catherine Schell

Catherine Schell

Maya (Season 2)

Barbara Bain

Barbara Bain

Dr. Helena Russell

Martin Landau

Martin Landau

Commander John Koenig

Nick Tate

Nick Tate

Capt. Alan Carter

Zienia Merton

Zienia Merton

Sandra Benes

Barbara Kelly

Barbara Kelly

voice of Computer

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions