UFOcast – 05 – Survival

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Paul Foster is stranded on the moon.

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UFO – Volumes 1-4 Collector’s Edition [1970] [DVD]

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2 thoughts on “UFOcast – 05 – Survival

  1. Every science fiction show has a ‘survival ordeal’ and ‘Enemies become allies’ episode, and it they are usually very tedious. Survival manages to rise above the crop a little bit thanks largely to the (for 1970) superb Moon sets and toweringly excellent model work. This was the first episode Michael Billington shot as Foster. A ridiculously handsome man, Billington does not however manage to look good in the silver Moonbase commander suit. (Harry Baird does, though.) Mike shows he is better, at this very early stage in his UFO stint, at walking around in a hot spacesuit than he is at doing lines. He only avoids being labelled wooden because everyone else this show emotes like human robots too. (Do not get me wrong with these comments: “UFO” is more of a religion than a TV series to me)

    It amazes me how every sci fi fan out there adores the 80s movie ‘Enemy Mine’, even though the premise of that movie was old hat when The Outer Limits did it twenty years earlier. (Enemy Mine IS great, though.)

    Notice that the SHADO spacesuits have no visible oxygen tanks, something that has always annoyed me. How are they breathing, *what* are they breathing…and how can a tiny Alien cylinder contain enough air to keep Foster going for hours? Why are there not emergency locator beacons on the suits? Why did the Aliens go to all the bother of flying a Spinner to the Moon just to shoot one bullet through a window? Why did they not have him take pot shots until every window was punctured?! Infuriatingly, the rescuers just gun the Alien down even though it demonstrates no hostile intent and despite ‘capture alive if at all possible’ surely being in effect at all times.

    The fact that this Alien can just swap sides like he does is puzzling. Can all Aliens choose to do this? Or was the plan to get to Moonbase as a supposed friend, then run amok at the first chance? That would have been a far better and even more ironic ending. But again, if that WAS the plan, why did the Alien not just shoot the base up to begin with…arrrrgh. That is pure Tony bloody Barwick for ya.

    Straker’s “I don’t care what colour you are” speech is well-meaning and progressive for 1970, but to 2017 ears and eyes it comes across as slightly patronizing and clumsy. Not to mention a violation of the show’s continuity – Bradley says in Computer Affair that he has never encountered racism in SHADO, but now just a coupla episodes later he’s all touchy about being held back from promotion due to his race!!

    The mention of the race war that ‘burned out’ prejudice circa 1975 has led to events in the world that we are only shown hints of. For instance, notice that the cars in the series all drive on the right side of the road, and when money is mentioned in the show (eg Court-Martial) it is always dollars. The big implication from these small clues: sometime between 1970 and 1980, perhaps as a result of the 1975 war, Britain became the 51st state of the USA. We know there a British Prime Minister in the 1970 section of Identified, but by the 1980s it’s hot dogs, Pat Boone, hula hoops and all that American stuff. Discuss (Ten marks)


    1. Agree completely with you on the illogic of the aliens’ sneaking a UFO down near Moonbase only to have their man fire a conventional rifle bullet through a single window. With the element of surprise, he could have easily taken out the whole place using a grenade launcher or some such. That would have been the end of all their groovy inflatable furniture and mini-skirts right there.

      About the driving, have you noticed that they weren’t always consistent? Some shots have them driving on the left now and then. Or perhaps a section of film has been reversed for some other reason as was done sometimes on original Star Trek? Does anyone know? Don’t let my nitpicking fool you. I simply adore this series. I luxuriate in seeing them whir down a country lane in their sleek turbine-powered cars. The pleasure of such moments illustrates, I think, this show’s strength when compared to Space: 1999 (which I also enjoy). The edict against setting any scenes on earth cost the latter greatly if you ask me. The characters on UFO can spend time on earth going on dates, visiting their homes, etc. and then go on to perform a lunar EVA all in the space of single episode. This lends a great deal of richness and scope to the series I believe.


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