We live in a time when special effects in motion pictures and in television have really advanced beyond anything we could ever previously imagine. Realistic worlds. Spectacular alien beings. Awesome plotlines thaqt draw millions of fans to message boards and to Internet fan sites for discussion and discourse.
Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, you didn’t have major computer-generated special effects. In those instances, you worked with great writers to create awesome concepts that made the scripts read like gold. Look, for example, at most British sci-fi TV shows – Blake’s 7, Sapphire and Steel, even some mid-70’s Doctor Who may have had cheap special effects, but they also had awesome writing and scripts to work with what was available. Even the super-cheapo Canadian sci-fi show The Starlost still had some amazing writing – heck, Harlan Ellison wrote the pilot episode – so there’s that.
But what if you’re dealing with a triple whammy of cheezee cheapee special effects AND formulaic writing AND wooden acting?
Brace yourself. I’m going to show you the Australian 70’s sci-fi drama Phoenix Five.
Let’s at least start with the opening and closing credits.
No, I did not just show you a cosplay sci-fi fanfic. I swear I didn’t.
But if you want to see more of this cheapo show… here, let’s watch an episode of Phoenix Five together. This show has all the classic vintage sci-fi tropes … the jut-jawed captain, the brash young ensign, the compassionate and comely female officer, and the big bad leader from a foreign world.
You think the producers of this show watched a few episodes of Lost in Space and of Star Trek: The Original Series before making Phoenix Five? Wow… seriously wow.
I’ll be nice. I’ll show you one more episode – this was the series finale of Phoenix Five, although some of the show’s actors and concepts would later appear in another cheapo sci-fi program, Vega 4.
I think my brain hurts from watching this. The only way I could watch more of these clips if it somehow the lower right portion of the screen was taken up by Crow, Tom Servo, Gypsy and Jonah from MST3K.
Thought you might enjoy a little laugh this morning. And just think … they made 26 episodes of this program. That’s nearly twice as many Firefly episodes.
You have been warned. 😀