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Space 1999 - The Rules of Luton

episode 2.8

UK 1976
produced by
Gerry Anderson, Fred Freiberger for ITC
directed by Val Guest
starring Martin Landau, Catherine Schell, Tony Anholt, Barbara Bain, David Jackson, Godfrey James, Roy Marsden, Yasuko Nagazumi
screenplay by Fred Freiberger (as Charles Woodgrove), created by Gerry Anderson, Sylvia Anderson, music by Derek Wadsworth, special effects by Brian Johnson

Space 1999

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Commander Koenig (Martin Landau) and alien shapeshifter Maya (Catherine Schell) of Moonbase Alpha on earth's runaway moon land on the planet Luton for a survey mission - and are promptly condemned to death for picking some flowers and eating some berries ... because you know, the dominant, the intelligent species on Luton are plants, and therefore the judges are all trees. But the judges know at least rudimentary mercy, and pit Koenig and Maya against three evil (non-plant) aliens who have also been condemned, for a fight for life - problem is, the Lutons have given the aliens superpowers, one (David Jackson) has superstrength, the other teleporting abilities (Godfrey James), while the third can render himself invisible (Roy Marsden), while Koenig and Maya have to only relie on their wits - oh, and Maya's shapeshifting abilities, naturally. Anyways, it doesn't take our heroes long to take out Mr Teleporter and Mr Invisible (Maya just turns into a dog to sniff that one out, actually), but then Koenig is injured and starts getting delirious - and while turning into a bird to look for water, Maya is caught by Mr Strong. And even though the two of them don't want to fight each other, Mr Strong and Koenig, well, fight. And even though not quite the healthiest, Koenig defeats the strongman with a DIY primitive weapon ... but refrains from killing him, even if the judges ask him to - instead he tells the judges that they could have stopped him and Maya from picking flowers and eating berries, thus saved lives instead of sending the perpetrators to death. Now all plants revolt against the judges, who grudgingly let Koenig and Maya go ...


In writing, all of this might sound great, intelligent plants revolting, tree judges and the like. On screen, all of this looks disappointing, because the plants are not doing anything much. The trees are actual trees that just, well, stand there, the revolting plants just wave their leaves around a little, and there are next to no plant-related special effects (buit at least a few expectedly great miniature effects). So no, the episode isn't half as trippy and/or outrageous as it could have been, and furthermore it's rather badly paced, with a long sequence of Koenig and Maya reminiscing taking the steam out of the proceedings, and some rather badly made up aliens on top of it.

Not really worth your while, actually!


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD