UFO episode reviews... [spoilers]

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Klaus, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. Ptrope

    Ptrope Agitator Moderator

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    I like a lot of the ideas of the remake/continuation, although I don't see the purpose of making it so insular that people are born into it and live apart from society. It would be great to have it current-day, but by making the personnel live in the 'real world,' it would keep some tension in their need for secrecy, as well as provide more potential for 'B' or even 'A' storylines that take place amongst the civilian populace.

    I'll get on with buying my lottery tickets so this can be funded ... ;). James Purefoy (Resident Evil and A Knight's Tale for Paul Foster ... ). Might even bring back Nehru jackets!

    NewStraker's car

    NewFoster's Car
     
  2. Hoshi_Mayweather

    Hoshi_Mayweather Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Wouldn't that be something like: Star Trek meets Lost In Space meets nuBSG meets 2001?

    Basically, what Voyager could have been...and what nuBSG is somewhat like...
     
  3. solariabsg25

    solariabsg25 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I definately feel that UFO could be remade today.

    And having the Aliens as humanoids that need healthy transplants, hence abducting people, is a rather sinister reason for their coming, but is a lot better motivation than usual alien invaders. Also, it could explain why they simply don't invade Earth en-mass, they want the humans to live breed and provide them with organs.

    It also creates huge story telling possibilities. What if scientists discover a cure to cancer, but SHADO finds out it was provided by the aliens to ensure there would be more healthy doners?? Do they allow the cure to be used and save millions, or stop the alien plan?
     
  4. Captain Gandalf

    Captain Gandalf Commodore Commodore

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    Here's another vote for a UFO remake. I'd certainly be the first to watch it.
     
  5. Hoshi_Mayweather

    Hoshi_Mayweather Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Neal McDonough(sp?) for Straker!:techman:
     
  6. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    “Computer Affair”

    From the wide-ranging reach of the pilot we move to a fascinating character-based episode which is much more typical of the things the show does on a regular basis and opens up an ongoing theme of the place of computers in the modern world. For the geek in us, we also get to see the final part of SHADO’s defense triad in action, the ground forces and their famously cool-looking tracked “mobiles”.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The episode opens with Alec Freeman arriving at Moonbase for a routine inspection. He reviews Lt. Ellis’ report on current operations, finding everything in order, and is sitting with her in the pilots’ lounge wrapping things up when a UFO alert goes off. He sees her personally hand one of the interceptor pilots his helmet and wish him good luck as they hop into their launch chutes, and it’s obvious that this hint of a relationship immediately attracts Freeman’s interests. They return to the control sphere and Ellis settles into the conn to guide the assault. All three fire their missiles, but the UFO survives and things immediately go wrong as the UFO is now on a collision path with the flight, and Ellis has to give them individual course adjustments on the fly. Interceptor One urgently requests help, but she calmly sticks to the order she’s using, sending first Mark Bradley [the pilot she gave the helmet to] and then the other new courses as One continues to desperately request a new vector… she gives him new numbers at last but it’s too late and the UFO wipes out Interceptor One.

    Back on Earth Freeman tells an obviously-unhappy Straker that he’s not sure whether or not human error was involved, and Ellis and the surviving pilots are ordered back to Earth. The UFO got through the second line of defense using a “radar blind spot” and landed somewhere in northern Canada, where an aerial search is underway… Sky One overflies a placid lake and the camera lingers there after it leaves and night falls to tip off the viewer that this is where the UFO is lurking. On Moonbase we get a memorable line when someone comments that the recalled folks are lucky to soon be back on terra firma and Lt. Harrington responds “If by terra firma you mean Straker’s carpet. Rather them than me.” We see one of the other pilots, Lew Waterman [who will be a future Skydiver captain], consoling Ellis that it was an accident and she needn’t feel responsible.

    As Ellis, Bradley, and Waterman are standing on said carpet, Bradley opens by claiming sole and complete responsibility for the incident as Interceptor flight leader – which Straker notes is a gallant gesture but out of line. They know what happened, but he needs to know why.

    The UFO rises from the lake under cover of darkness and is quickly picked up by SID… it appears to have been damaged by the Interceptors and is not at top speed. On Skydiver Captain Carlin puts down his cigar :lol: and the sub races to get in range.

    Back at SHADO Control we learn that the psychiatric analyses are done by a combination of human interviews and computer tests. As Ellis and Waterman take the computer tests the doctor talks to Bradley [after offering and lighting a cigarette for him :D], and while facing away but watching him on a video screen, opens by saying “Before we start, I’d just like to get one thing straight – I have no liking for you blacks.” Bradley is unperturbed, and the doctor turns and asks “Have you ever heard that phrase or something similar on Moonbase?” Bradley calmly answers “No, never”, and when asked if he was surprised by the doctor’s statement says he didn’t think it was meant seriously, to which the doctor smiles and replies “Good”.

    Sky One launches after the UFO while Straker and Freeman drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, and look anxious.

    At Bradley’s interview we’ve moved to word association, the most interesting part of which is his answer to “geometry” – “variable”, which gives the doctor pause for a moment until he observes “Of course, you were a pilot before you became an astronaut”.

    Then we see Ellis and Waterman, sitting at school writing-desks and noting responses to a series of images on a computer screen which look like one of those online IQ test with a lot of next-shape or next-number/letter combo problems. We also see Ellis distracted and watching Bradley through the window from the next room while doing her test.

    Sky One hits the UFO but it’s only a flesh wound, and it drops trailing that Tang-colored smoke.

    Waterman, Bradley, and Ellis meet, and Waterman tells them he has been cleared and scheduled to return to Moonbase but doesn’t know what’s up with them. In the next room they can see the doctor looking over a printout, and we cut inside to reveal that he can hear them, though they don’t think he can! Waterman sarcastically asks if there’s anyone checking on the doctor, and Bradley replies that if they did it’d probably be a computer, which gets a general laugh. Ellis is called into his office.

    The UFO lands back in the Canadian forest, and Straker dispatches Freeman [who’s pounding down a drink from the autobar :lol:] to lead the ground forces and tells him he wants the aliens alive. He also says that the doctor has finished his report and wants Freeman to deal with talking to Ellis and Bradley before he leaves.

    We cut to the doctor and Freeman watching a video of Ellis in her word association test, and the doctor points out her response to “black”, which is to pause, and only after being prompted “black” again does she respond with “bird”, and smiles unconvincingly as she repeats “blackbird” in case he missed the point. The doctor shows the printout which reveals five times the normal stress level as she avoids giving the standard reply of “white”. Freeman is not impressed by just that, and the doctor replies that his conclusion is based on eight hours of exhaustive tests, twenty years of experience, and what the computer says – and he picked that example as one which even a layman might understand. He hands Freeman the report and leaves as Bradley and Ellis come in. Freeman summarizes the conclusions for them – it was Ellis’ responsibility to decide the course of action, and she is cleared of any problem there “provided the decision was not influenced by emotional factors", at which point Bradley looks at her but she continues to look straight ahead. Waterman is cleared on all counts, Bradley is listed as “emotional .48 paranormal”, clear on other counts”, Lt. Ellis “stress factor 1.28 paranormal, emotion count .35 paranormal, clear on other counts”. These anomalies are attributes to an emotional attachment between Ellis and Bradley, and ends with a confidential recommendation as to what action should be taken. Freeman tells them that we can only hope this “sorts itself out” and that Straker has decided to return Bradley to Moonbase but to keep Ellis at SHADO HQ for now.

    Straker asks Freeman who he’s taking to Canada, and he replies that it includes Ellis and Bradley. Straker says “your decision?”, and Freeman replies “my decision, without the aid of a computer”, and tells him they’ll be back for their new postings after the operation.

    A cool-looking SHADO transport jet lands in front of some matte paintings of the Canadian Rockies, and we get our first glimpse of the SHADO mobiles as they roll off the plane’s ramp and into action.

    [​IMG]

    The control mobile with Freeman and Ellis remains at the airfield to coordinate the action while the other three, including one commanded by Bradley, head off for the UFO. One of the them makes first contact with the downed UFO, but as it tries to move into position a laser blast from the alien craft takes it out. Ellis orders Bradley’s mobile to close next, and they come out with small arms and engage the aliens [who have also emerged from their ship] in a firefight in the woods, which they win despite losing one man.

    Back at the command craft afterwards, Ellis tells Bradley that she sent him into action even though the other mobile was in better position in order to prove to Freeman that she wasn’t influenced by her feelings for him, and that as Bradley says, “Straker and the computers were wrong.”

    One of the aliens survived the fight and the doctors succeed in reverting him to air-breathing once more, though the accelerated aging they’ve seen before has some effect. Straker decides they need to try to get information from him and orders the doctors to try an experimental drug over their objections, which causes the alien to die after a particularly-disturbing scream of agony without answering any questions.

    We see Straker at his desk with his head in his hands, and his day doesn’t get any better as Freeman hands him a letter of resignation. When Straker protests that it was a calculated risk, Freeman replies that it’s not just the alien, but that all his decisions are based on cold logic and computer projections.

    Bradley and Ellis are having dinner at a restaurant, and he wonders if in twenty years’ time the computers will have taken over completely. She suggests asking them, since they have all the answers, and he says “we build them, program them, and they tell us what we’re going to think before we know it ourselves.” She tells him “you’d better make that phone call”.

    Back in office Freeman is downing another whiskey and tells Straker he’ll sleep on the resignation, and as he’s about to leave Bradley’s call comes for him. We don’t hear what Bradley says, but from Freeman’s reaction it seems clear that Bradley is going to resign or do something which confirms the judgement that the relationship is a problem. He tears up the resignation and says “looks like you were right”, but as he goes to leave again Straker slyly says that he should tell Ellis and Bradley they’re to return to Moonbase and resume their normal duties. When a puzzled Freeman notes that wasn’t what the report recommended, Straker says that there was a second report analyzing the flight paths which concludes that if Ellis had followed normal procedure, all three Interceptors would have been lost instead. Freeman asks if that means her decision wasn’t influenced by emotion, and Straker smiles and says “you tell me”.

    ---

    The B story of this episode is essentially a distraction for the main plot, which is the interaction between Ellis’ and Bradley’s relationship and SHADO’s view of it. We see that fraternization between SHADO personnel is not strictly prohibited, but having such relationships affect operations is obviously unacceptable. There is no judgment passed on their union per se, but the expectation is that as professionals of the highest character as well as the highest ability [as Straker reminds them] they will not allow it to compromise the overall mission. Sadly, future relations between SHADO team members will not be handled so maturely, but we can enjoy this while we have it.

    The interracial aspect of the relationship would be window-dressing if not for the comments of the doctor to Bradley and Freeman… it may seem odd to our “modern” ear that he brought the subject up at all to Bradley out of the blue since this is a plot about an affair, not racism, but we will find out the larger context for these comments in a few episodes when the state of current race relations in general will be discussed. For those who haven’t seen them or don’t recall I’ll not spoil it. The implications of this episode’s approach to race will be more-profitably elaborated then. :D

    Those who want action will probably find this a slow episode, but for those who are interested in the world being built for us by the show it is crucial background indeed. The tension between computer analyses of human behavior and “gut” instincts in one which will form a major part of the show’s identity. It also makes me sad that Freeman didn’t stay for the entire series, as his interaction with Straker brought more out of him than anyone else.


    Next up: “Flight Path”

    A SHADO technician gives the aliens information which may allow Moonbase to be attacked!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  7. Australis

    Australis Writer Admiral

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    Cool review. :techman:

    I just remembered today, I once had a novel called UFO2'. Can't remember the author, and I think it was 3 eps in novel form. Pretty good for pre VCR days :D
     
  8. LaxScrutiny

    LaxScrutiny Commodore Commodore

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    Jeez, we should be paying you for this, that was outstanding. Thanks.
     
  9. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have both of them, and posting pics actually was the inspiration for getting the DVDs finally and starting this project.

    I bought them off the newsstand myself in 1973. :D

    [​IMG]

    back cover photo, same on both:

    [​IMG]

    They're actually quite affordable on Amazon... I'm going to reread them when this is done I think. :D

    ty very much! Donations are always welcome! :lol:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Andrew_Kearley

    Andrew_Kearley Captain Captain

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    I've always interpreted this that Ellis and Bradley go back a hotel after the Canada mission, and become lovers, which they hadn't been up until this point. Thus proving that the computer had been right about them all along. Hence Bradley's line: "they tell us what we’re going to think before we know it ourselves." The phone call to Freeman is therefore to inform him that the computer assessment was correct.

    I guess the title refers to the fact that the love effect only exists within the assessment of the computer.

    Err... that's a description of "Exposed"...
     
  11. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's a very interesting interpretation, and explains the phone call a little better perhaps... I'll have to think about it.

    Hard to get good help! :scream: I've fixed it.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Captain Gandalf

    Captain Gandalf Commodore Commodore

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    If you're asking me if McDonough would be my choice for Straker, I'd have to say yes; he has an uncanny resemblance to Ed Bishop, and as an actor he's good enough to pull it off (I will always remember him for his role as Buck Compton in Band of Brothers, one of my favorite mini-series).
    As for Paul Foster, I noticed Michael Shanks looks a lot like him, and he's a good actor, so that would be my choice.
    Those are the only two roles I care about.
     
  13. The Squire of Gothos

    The Squire of Gothos Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ahhh, Mobiles, fuckin' A. Gerry Anderson knew how to spoil us :D

    I love the smoking of cigars and random drinking that takes place too. Allegedly, a British MP banned the issuing of rum in the Royal Navy in the 60s or 70s and accidents on board ship plummeted thereafter. I wonder what Straker would have made of it all? :lol:
     
  14. ITL

    ITL Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Straker could drink, smoke and womanize all at the same time as he drove his sports-car at breakneck speed on his way to a bare knuckle fight with commies and aliens as laser-death-mayhem erupted around him and still get back in time for cocktails at the bar.

    And then eat a huge steak before more womanizing, drinking and smoking at a nightclub of his choice.

    And have a fight on the way home.

    :D
     
  15. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    To me he's Hawk from ST:FC, and of course David McNorris from Boomtown. :techman:
     
  16. Ptrope

    Ptrope Agitator Moderator

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    Just couldn't resist. Cross your eyes ...

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Andrew_Kearley

    Andrew_Kearley Captain Captain

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    You're describing Foster and Freeman there, perhaps, but not Straker. He smoked cigars like a chimney, but he was tee-total, and pretty much avoided contact with women. He's still pretty bitter about his divorce, and the only time he gets close to a woman in the series, she betrays him.
     
  18. Australis

    Australis Writer Admiral

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    Hmm. The 'UFO2' I had had no hyphen, a black cover and in the font used in the opening credits.

    Google being my friend, I found it:
    [​IMG]

    Ah memories! When paperbacks were 70c or 20p.

    Being the same author, I think it must be the same story.
     
  19. ITL

    ITL Vice Admiral Admiral

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    True, true.

    I prefer my inaccurate portrayal, though. He's very good at slamming his fist down onto his desk and saying "DAMMIT!"

    :D
     
  20. cylkoth

    cylkoth Commodore Commodore

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    Book covers, like movie posters, are often redesigned for different markets...you'll note in the corner of the back cover, the US is not listed, so this was the alternate used for everywhere else...
    I've always lamented that the various alternate book covers and movies posters seems so much more interesting than what's ultimately selected for the US. :shifty:

    As for 'The Computer Affair', I didn't like it as much when I first watched it (I got the box set a couple of years ago, never saw the show before then), but could never figure out why until now. I always felt that it hurt the characters of Ellis and Bradley coming so early in the run. Maybe if it had been shown a bit later, than than the 2nd ep, it would've come off better.