UFO - Review Thread

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Well this is a bit erm..unfortunate. The idea of this thread was to revive the review group The Sages and do a UFO rewatch, but it didn't work out. We had two reviews from a member below, and that's interesting, I enjoyed reading them ,but no one else and only two episodes, oh well. I've completed my review of all 26 episodes, link below to part 1 of 3. This thread sadly abandoned. :emoji_disappointed:
EDIT - Maybe not abandoned, here's hoping.

 
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Doctor Omega

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I will be joining in on the reviews soon - starting in next few days, as I have long wanted to see this series.

I will skip reading your reviews of the first three episodes - so far - until I have posted mine and will come at them fresh.

The Sages won't be the same without Mad Pac, but somehow I think we will manage.
 

Doctor Omega

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Ep 1. IDENTIFIED




Before watching....

UFO has always been a bit of a mysterious series to me. I love "Space 1999" - which I have found out is actually a kind of mutated offspring from UFO, expanding on the Moonbase idea from that series. So it should be interesting to finally watch this show.

The only other strong memory I have of UFO is an annual that lay around our house for a number of years while I was growing up. It had photos and text stories etc from the show and made it seem a very bizarre - and quite scary looking production. I had to concoct what I thought the show was about from that lone annual, so let's see how the actual show itself fares in the cold light of day, away from what I imagined it to be, with it's terriying aliens etc.


ufo.jpg



So onto this opening episode......


Nice punchy edited intro. They knew how to do title sequences then, getting the set up/format of the show across to the audience in as short a time as possible. Like the music too.

What a brutal start to, not only the episode, but the entire show. Three people executed ruthlessly.

I do wonder if they ever considered doing this with puppets as a supermarionation project?

More alien aggression as our hero's escort cars are attacked. Straker can't seem to get from A to B without being set upon. So far the aliens in this show are not showing themselves in a good light - to put it mildly.

Cast names popping up on screen now. George Sewell I mostly associate with REMEMBRANCE OF THE DALEKS and Gabrielle Drake I know of as the sister of the famous and doomed musician, Nick Drake.

Was that a nod to THE AVENGERS at 6:35. Sure looks like it.

With that slow pan in to the moon, I could not help thinking that the moon is now an egg. Damn New Who. And then the buildings on the moon surface made me think of - to my mind - similar lunar living environments shown in MOONBASE 3.

I wonder what the logic and reason behind the purple hair/wigs is? Is it just to look futuristic? Is it meant to be a dyed hair fashion statement? Or are people really somehow born with that hair colour now due to some bizarre offscreen explanation? It looks striking and memorable to be sure, but seems perhaps a little bit the wrong side of daft? I have always wondered about this re: UFO.

This series seems to have a very healthy budget, in the way in which we leap from set to set, various environments, outside location filming, detailed sets and vehicles and planes, etc.

To be honest it seems a little bit all over the place at the moment - a bit restless - at the expense of getting to know characters properly yet. Not a gripe, but looking forward to it settling down in it's location/scene hopping so that we can pause for breath and get to know the regulars a bit better.

Wanda Ventham. Didn't know she was in it. As a guest star in just this episode or as a regular remains to be seen.

Yes, this is starting to feel very much like a shop window display store front episode for the forthcoming rest of the series. Not a criticism or a bad thing - just an observation. We are shown the day to day operations in each of the bases and glimpse how they behave during their casual down time too.

Blimey! I thought that that was Zen, the Liberator computer from BLAKE'S 7 at 25:00.

Thanks goodness they are saying "Get me Alec Freeman" - instead of Alan Freeman the disc jockey. Dedicating records to the aliens just would not work in a combat situation.

Having SHADO being beneath a movie studio has the potential for fun in at least one episode. Hope they do something with it at some point, with the aliens infiltrating a movie that is being made up on the surface - something like that. Hope so anyway.

I am fairly sure - from the long distance shots - that that is the snide villainous guy from REVENGE OF THE CYBERMEN in the submarine periscope scenes. Time might tell.

The finding of the body moves the plot along. I didn't expect us to actually see an alien in custody at this stage of the series, so that's a surprise. But will he live through the operation?

Must admit, am slightly confused and wondering if this is an actual member of the alien race - or perhaps a human captive that has had his internal organs transplanted and tampered with, along with the side effect of the green skin in order to throw humanity off the scent of the real aliens? I suspect that I am overthinking things and that he really is an alien. I was slightly disappointed when the contact lens blank eyes turned out to be... ermm ... contact lens blank eyes - with very human eyes underneath.

Oh dear, he's copped it. Well that's that then.

And he was an alien.

So they have come to Earth to harvest our organs - much like the organ stealing aliens in STAR TREK VOYAGER.

Poor Peter, with the bad news about his sister.

So, overall, nice pilot episode - and I finally, after decades, have a better understanding of what the heck was going on between the covers of the above annual. Ed Bishop makes for a charasmatic lead and had a nice outro speech.

It's nice to finally start catching up on the SPACE 1999 prequel-ish series.
 

Doctor Omega

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2. EXPOSED



So, on to Episode 2.

I do remember reading an article that said that the character of Straker goes on a journey throughout the series, developing and showing different aspects of himself - so it will be interesting to see that play out.

Blimey! Seven minutes in and we are still doing credits. I thought that just started with stuff like Hill Street Blues, years later. :emoji_alien:

I had to look up the actor playing Paul Foster and the name Michael Billington seemed familiar. I was sure he must have acted in a Classic Who, but it seems not, although he popped up in THE PRISONER amongst other things.



Interesting that the character we should be rooting for - Paul - is a problematic thorn in the side of our "heroes" - who are blatant liars and cover-uppers. Unusual.

I can't help but wonder if the "What have you done?!?" guy who runs the film is deliberately doing a Peter Lorre impersonation? He is almost a dead ringer vocally, to my ear.

Jean Marsh! Jean bloody Marsh! She has a thing for murdered brothers, if this episode and Brett Vyon are anything to go by.

Ah, I just noticed on IMDB that the Paul Foster character is in 21 of the UFFO episodes, so either he remains a thorn in their side all the way through, or they admit him onto the team. My money's on the latter. If they can't beat him, they might as well let him join.

He's no idiot and won't be convinced of something, no matter how plausible they make it sound. He saw a UFO - end of story.

POINTLESS REWATCH RESEARCH: I think this is the 1966 edition of one of the books that is next to Paul while he is watching the slideshow at 28 mins in....

uo.jpg



Our heroes are sending in the heavies to deal with Paul. Are we sure we should be liking Straker and co. at all?

Either that or the set decorators on UFO didn't know the meaning of subtlety and staying off camera.

I know they are only trying to put him off the scent, but that doesn't stop the scene with Straker and the gun in Rupert Square from being both threatening, sinister and uncomfortable. If this were a movie we were watching from Paul's viewpoint, Straker would definitely be the head villain?

Phew! Thank goodness Straker has dropped all pretence. Although I still think he was a dick for shooting the gun at Foster. How would he like it if the situation were reversed? I do feel he could have played this game - or at least this particular showdown - less dramatically.

Rubbish slow car things in the corridor that were the bane of a few WHO stories. Why not just walk. It would probably be quicker.

So even Jean Marsh was in on it.

Ah, in retrospect this has been a clever way of showing us the workings of SHADO - and how they operate in relation to the real world. Also we now have a new recruit who we can identify with - and I guess we would ask ourselves if we would have the right stuff to work for SHADO. Am thinking I would have been deterred along the way and not made the grade. I doubt they would have offered me the job.

A good episode as we've journeyed with Foster and seen him join the team.

It will be interesting to get to know other members of the team as human beings too. Hopefully that will happen.
 

Doctor Omega

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Well this is a bit erm..unfortunate. The idea of this thread was to revive the review group The Sages and do a UFO rewatch, but it didn't work out. We had two reviews from a member below, and that's interesting, I enjoyed reading them ,but no one else and only two episodes, oh well. I've completed my review of all 26 episodes, link below to part 1 of 3. This thread sadly abandoned. :emoji_disappointed:


Not abandoned, Michael; just very, very slow at my end - for which apologies. It probably is a good idea to have this as a separate thread though, given my tardiness. I am still planning to watch all the episodes in the same order you have though, so will do that on this thread, rather than as an abbreviated run of highlight episodes. I just hope they are/remain on Daily Motion long enough though. :emoji_alien:
 

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Not abandoned, Michael; just very, very slow at my end - for which apologies. It probably is a good idea to have this as a separate thread though, given my tardiness. I am still planning to watch all the episodes in the same order you have though, so will do that on this thread, rather than as an abbreviated run of highlight episodes. I just hope they are/remain on Daily Motion long enough though. :emoji_alien:
Okee dokee I await with bated breath. :emoji_laughing:
 

Doctor Omega

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Episode 3: "FLIGHT PATH".




I am making a point of not reading any synopsis - or tv guide type summary - of each episode as I watch it, so am literally going in cold. Which is hopefully for the best?

So, to start, we have what looks like a S.H.A.D.O. operative stumbling through the woods back to his vehicle.

His name is Dawson it seems and he is reporting as a medic of some kind on the communicator.

Now we are on the moon and George Cole is one "Paul Roper". But he's not on the moon for long. One quick space trip and he is driving down a Buckinhamshire road, while being blackmailed on the telephone to do something, on threat of his wife's safety.

Very dramatic light switching off scene. Perhaps the screaming a bit over the top. I did expect George Cole to stick his head in the door after that and say to his wife "I've told you before about leaving the lights on darling!"

George Cole is home for real now. I expected the house to be empty and his wife kidnapped, but no, she is still there.

So, the implied threat to his wife is enough to convince him to go along with something nefarious when they ring up again. And he certainly smoothly talked his wife into not worrying the next morning. What can it all mean?

He is back at work now, doing some kind of mental test involving a tv monitor. Are they trying to find out if he is psychic or something?

Oh, they have been debriefing him with a "decision" test.

George Sewell bumps into him and suspects something is off.

What all this has to do with the title "Flight Path" is yet to be revealed.

I notice that the car door shuts with the same noise they would later use in "Aliens" with much heavier doors.

Okay, I am completely baffled now. George Sewell is hanging round the hedges and is shown to be the one trying to extort and blackmail George Cole.

TIME OUT: Just guessing here, but I am suspecting that this episode is to show that S.H.A.D.O. test people by any and all means to see if they are vulnerable or have any weaknesses that could be exploited. I suspect that they realised some time ago that George Cole - Roper - was vulnerable and could be compromised and are testing his loyalty to see for themselves if their fears are justified.

I might be totally wrong though.

BACK TO THE EPISODE: Perhaps I was overthinking it. Roper is being interrogated by Straker.

Now he has been released in an attempt to draw out the traitor at the tv studio,

The montage of putting the various bases on alert perhaps highlights a problem with UFO the series. Unlike SPACE 1999, we have more than one location as a base, with not enough focussing on all of them. Perhaps they should have done away with the moonbase idea for starters. Certainly they spun it off into SPACE 1999, which was able to do it more justice? Just too many bases to my mind....

Finally a shot of a UFO in action. The shot of it zooming over the roof of the car is great. I love the design of the UFO, probably a memory of that annual cover above.

PAUSE: No way can George Cole survive his car flying in the air and spinning/crashing like that?

Yes he did. He must have been thrown clear. Lucky George.

The UFO copped it. So they are not invulnerable.

I think George Cole could have done more with this guest appearance than he does. He seems a bit apathetic in the role... low energy, as if phoning in the part. Just imagine what a Bernard Horsfall could have done with it. A man on the edge. Just not enough of that here in George's performance imo. A pity.

Our heroes are a bit slow in considering the safety of Roper's wife.

I like the design of that clock, about 30 minutes in.

Poor old Dawson, controlled by a probe inserted into his temple and then shot.

Straker's figured out the coordinates. An attack by the aliens using the Moon to make them undetectable.

PAUSE: George Cole is suited up. Methinks he will die a hero's death and redeem himself by the episode's end?

I was right. He copped it heroically.

Certainly a watchable enough episode - and is paced itself nicely. And George was more okay in the role than I indicated earlier. He died well.
 

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Nice review of Flight Path, here is a few thoughts. UFO didn't mind killing of " heroes" as Roper's death shows. Straker seemed a bit callous or sort of " oh well if he dies I don't have to tell him his wife's dead" Straker is quite cold, Freeman tried to give Roper a bit of a head start by letting him go earlier than Straker wanted, who wasn't too pleased with Freeman. I have a feeling this overan on filming because we didn't get to see how they got onto Dawson. There are plenty of episodes to get really into the other bases, there's watery episodes set mainly under sea, and a few moonbase oriented stories, imo some of the best sees Straker on the moon. Freeman in the hedges was of course him checking on Roper after Straker found out he flunked his debriefing test, he had a directional listening device with recorder built-in. I've ever only seen George Cole in Minder or the St Trinians films, OTT roles, so it's just unusual seeing him in something like this, oh yes he was in a Return of the Saint episode, The Armageddon Alternative which I have actually transcribed in the TV reviews section.
 
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