Michaellevenson's U.FO Rewatch Episodes 1 - 8

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Welcome to my 2021 rewatch of U.F.O. Hope you enjoy these 3 threads covering the series. I'm using my own preferred episode order, using the IKB method, ie I Know Best :emoji_laughing:

1. IDENTIFIED
A good first episode in which we get a good handle on all the elements of the show. The aliens are simply portrayed as humanoid but look weird with their shiny green hair and skin which we learn is only that colour because of the green oxygenated liquid they breathe whilst in flight. The UFO design is simplistic but is very effective due to the rotating outer shell of the craft.
We see all the hardware that SHADO have, submarines, Moonbase interceptors and the Moonbase set is very colourful and look real.
Ed Bishop as Straker comes across as quite a solid leader, a bit unemotional but not cold.
George Sewell's Freeman providing some lighter relief. The plot about aliens coming to Earth to harvest human organs is chilling but the revelation that they're sterile and a dying race that age rapidly in Earth atmosphere presents them as desperate to come here knowing the risks. As Straker says they are driven by the powerful force of survival. Particular mention for Gabrielle Drake as Moonbase leader Gay Ellis, who looks great as do all the girls on the moon. Apparently the purple wigs were Sylvia Anderson's design and meant to be just part of their uniforms with no special relevance. Dancer Peter Gordeno appears in this episode as does children's TV presenter Ayshea Brough.
9/10
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
2. EXPOSED

Interesting second episode as we first see two characters who will be regulars. We delve into the security aspect of SHADO and the lengths that are taken to maintain security. A private corporation is testing a supersonic military plane which inadvertently gets in the way as SHADO shoots down a UFO. One pilot dies as the plane nosedives and the surviving one adamant that he saw a UFO begins to investigate an apparent cover up. Pilot Paul Foster is up against the might of SHADO as they put hurdles against him and discredit him. Michael Billington superbly plays Foster and the wonderful Vladek Sheybal plays Jackson, SHADO"s security man and psychiatrist. As Foster gets closer Straker has to decide what to do with this irritant.
Jean Marsh of Upstairs Downstairs fame appears as Foster's co pilot's sister accusing him of murdering her brother and inventing a bull***t story about UFOS to cover it up.
Nice second story. 8/10
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
3. FLIGHT PATH

The episode with George Cole in a toupee.
Not a bad episode, but the science element in this is a bit dubious . The aliens want flight path info to allow them to skim across the moon surface during sunspot activity staying invisible to SHADO who will be defenceless as the sunspots will render their radar useless. This seems unlikely unless SHADO have really crap equipment.
The interesting part of the story is the scheme by the aliens to blackmail Cole's character Roper into betraying SHADO by threatening his wife. Lots of SHADO hardware on show as Sky1 engages in combat, a nice reveal about a traitor in SHADO working for the aliens because of a probe put in his brain, and a sad ending as Roper alone on the moon surface with a mortar tries to stop the UFO.
Also a little rift between Straker and Freeman on how to treat Roper. Freeman is sympathetic to blackmail victim Roper and Straker not in the least. Overall enjoyable.
7/10
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
4.THE SQUARE TRIANGLE

This is a top class episode with Patrick Mower and Adrienne Corri as a scheming couple intent on murdering her husband but instead murder an alien. We get our first real look at an alien, stalking through some woods in Southern England being pursued by SHADO. We also learn that SHADO have developed an amnesia drug that is administered to people who have found out about aliens and SHADO. So after mistakenly killing the alien thinking it's the husband the conspirators are captured by SHADO and given amnesia drug, Straker believing their innocent story about thinking it was an intruder they were shooting at. But in a twist when they learn the truth it's too late, they've been given the drug and remember nothing. So will they try again to kill the husband? Yes, and SHADO can do nothing without comprising their security . Paul Foster is back after his training and will play a pivotal role in future episodes putting him just behind Straker as SHADO big wheel.
9/10
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
5. CONFLICT

So after an episode as a SHADO sort of ordinary officer Foster is promoted to moonbase commander, as happens again whenever Gay Ellis is off duty. Michael Billington is terrific in the role, and may even briefly been considered as a James Bond. We also get a first encounter with General Henderson though we did see him for the opening pre 1980 scene in episode 1. SHADO has to answer to the Astrophysical Commission which funds it, and Straker's plea for resources to be spent clearing space junk in Earth orbit is rejected by Henderson. Straker though is right in his suspicions that the aliens are using the debris of Appllo missions to hide a craft that is attacking Earth inbound SHADO vehicles. The conflict of the title is Henderson vs Straker. New boy Foster on the moon as commander breaks a banning order of flights between Earth and Moon to try and prove the existence of the alien craft. The resolution to this story is a bit out of left field, and not really shown how Straker reasoned it all out, so a few marks off for that, but otherwise OK.7/10
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
6. E.S.P.


This is a very fast paced and interesting episode, if a bit far fetched. Croxley a middle aged Mr Nobody is slowly going out of his mind due to his growing power of clairvoyance and ESP. This power he has had since childhood is now exponentially growing due to Alien influence as part of a plan to kill Straker. First the aliens crash a UFO into his house killing his wife, then Croxley reads the mind of Paul Foster and learns all SHADO secrets and sends the details to Straker luring him to a meeting where he intends to kill him.
John Stratton plays the tortured Croxley, he appeared in the 6th Doctor Who story The Two Doctors.
There's a great scene of the UFO smashing into Croxley's house, nice fx, and the aliens at the end speak through Croxley revealing their desperate situation and why they come to Earth.
8/10
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
7. THE DALOTEK AFFAIR


This episode is okay but nothing more than that. A private corporation has a base on the moon, and trouble begins after a meteor strikes the lunar surface. SHADO loses radio contact with Earth and a craft crashes killing those on board. The Dalotek corporation uses a geological scanner in its operations on the moon and Straker suspects this might be the cause of the radio loss. Tensions between SHADO and Dalotek as Paul Foster Moonbase Commander is given orders to dismantle the scanner and end Dalotek's operations. But is the scanner the cause? Are the aliens up to no good ? No and Yes. It's a bit cheesy as Foster and the Dalotek lady get friendly and apparently the answer to all this is discovered when Straker watches old TV interviews compered by Lt Ford before he joined SHADO, an interview with a UFO expert, played actually by a real life UFO expert which was a nice touch.
6/10
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
8. SURVIVAL


An alien on foot fires a bullet at Moonbase cracking a porthole and resulting in the death of a SHADO operative. Paul Foster leads the manhunt for the alien on the lunar surface. Things don't go to plan and Foster ends up stranded on the surface with just the alien for company. As Foster has been declared dead by SHADO his chances of rescue look slim. This episode has one of the Gerry Anderson visions of the future that are a tad optimistic, as Straker tells the black Mark Bradley on his promotion to Moonbase Commander " racial tensions burned themselves out five years ago!" really? Tense episode, a sad ending and nice to see an alien with a big role in the story. 7/10
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