DVD Review: Gerry Anderson's Space Precinct: The Complete Series
Release Date: November 23, 2011
Distributor: Image Entertainment
· Ted Shackelford
· Rob Youngblood
· Simone Bendix
· Jerome Willis
· Nancy Paul
· Official Space Precinct Web Site
· IMDB: Space Precinct
by Darren Goodhart
Published: December 26, 2010
In the year 2040, Demeter City on planet Altor has become a hub for interstellar commerce and trade. Populated primarily by two alien races, the Creon and the Tarn, they've recently been joined by humans from Earth as the third largest race starting to settle the planet. Because of it's importance to business and trade, Demeter City has become rife with crime and is policed by the officers of Space Police Precinct 88, whose satellite headquarters is in a stationary orbit above Demeter City. New York police officer Patrick Brogan has transferred to Altor, bringing his wife and two children with him. Brogan partners with a rookie, Jackson Haldane, and attempts to keep the peace in and around Demeter City.
This is the premise for Space Precinct, the last series from the legendary Gerry Anderson to see broadcast in the United States. Space Precinct ran here in syndication in 1994-1995. It only lasted one season and I'd expect that a lot of viewers aren't altogether that familiar with it because in most cases it was run in a graveyard time slot (either very late at night or very early in the morning).
Recently, the entire series has been released by Image Entertainment on DVD, and while the set is a pretty bare bones affair, for Gerry Anderson fans, it should be pretty welcomed.
I am a Gerry Anderson fan, with my own personal favorites amongst his shows being Space: 1999, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterions and Thunderbirds. I'm also a huge fan of his 1969 movie, "Journey To the Far Side Of The Sun." I've always liked the look of his projects, having a sleeker, more optimistic feel for the future and some pretty impressive production design. I watched a few episodes of Space Precinct when it was originally shown here in St. Louis, though I didn't get a chance to see the whole run, primarily because the station that was running this kept shifting the timeslot and of course it was before the days of the DVR.
I liked the show, but not to the same extent as the above mentioned prior Gerry Anderson productions. I think part of the reason for it was the casting of Ted Shackelford (from Dallas) as Brogan. He just didn't strike me as particularly dynamic at the time, though now watching the episodes again I appreciate what he did more having had the chance to watch more episodes together. Compared to some more modern sci-fi shows, these come off as somewhat pedestrian and diversionary entertainment more than anything else. There is a charm to the show though, and while I don't think it'll be as special to some as other shows, it's still worth watching.
The series does have nice production design and pretty well done effects, again taking into consideration the time in which this was made. Of particular note, the use of extensive facial prosthetic make-up for the aliens was something, at least in my mind, that was new for an Anderson production. Oh, it'll appear cheesy to present day viewers, but I think Anderson fans and fans of classic science fiction will appreciate its charm.
This new DVD set presents all 24 episodes of the series in what I'm assuming to be the broadcast order rather than the production order (according to The Complete Gerry Anderson: The Authorised Episode Guide, the first episode on the set "Protect and Survive" was actually the second episode in the production order). I don't think this will make much difference in your enjoyment of the show as there wasn't necessarily any sort of heavy continuity running through the entire series, though there are a couple of two-part episodes in the run (not to worry, those are in the right order). The video quality is pretty nice, though I don't believe there's been any sort of re-mastering done here; still, the quality is far nicer than the original broadcast quality. The sound is clean and clear and presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital.
After that though, there's nothing further, no special features with this set. All that you get is a message on each disc to go to their web site for a complete listing of episodes, cast and trivia for the series (and we've provided the link over to the right). Still, while this is bare bones, it's just good to have this out there at all, so I certainly appreciate that.
It's a decent series, something I'd put right along CBS' short-lived Space Rangers show, but as far as I'm concerned, it's not as far up the Gerry Anderson scale as shows like Space: 1999, UFO or Captain Scarlet And The Mysterions. Still, I'm glad that Image has released this and I do believe it'll be welcomed by Anderson fans and classic sci-fi fans. All others might find it on the cheesy side, but I'd like to think they could also see the charm in it as well. Now if someone could just released the CGI version of Captain Scarlet here in the United States, I'd really be happy.