Discussion of Breakaway

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Discussion of Breakaway

Post by Commander Koenig on Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:55 pm

So lets start right at the beginning and discuss the first episode 'Breakaway.' Personally I think this episode was a tremendous opener, full of great special effects, fantastic sets and suspense. Also with a powerful message about the dangers of nuclear waste which certainly wouldn't be out of place in todays world. I would have been more than happy to see a feature length episode with more background on the major characters, perhaps more details about the intended exploration of Meta, more on the breakdown of trust between Simmonds and Gorski (why was Gorski's command taken away, what was behind this). Great acting from Martin Landau and Roy Dotrice - loved the contrast between the two characters - the politician who really hasn't got a clue what's about the happen and the commander who is trying to avert disaster. The particular scenes that stick in my mind are the ones where Simmonds is telling Koenig that he must issue a communique and Koenig telling him in no uncertain terms that right at the moment he has more important things to think about then issuing a communique! The other scene I really like is the one where Koenig asks the computer to assess the possibility of returning to Earth and being told by the computer that a human decision is required. I just love the way Martin Landau plays that scene, and how he turns to Simmonds as if to say 'Well who makes the decision here, you or me' knowing full well that it is down to him. The speech to the rest of the Alphans is fantastic, you really feel for Koenig at this moment in time, having to make such a difficult decision.

Love to hear other people's thoughts on the episode.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by CalgaryAlphan on Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:24 am

Well, my review of "Breakaway" from my upcoming book is posted on my website, so I may as well post it here as well. This is an excerpt of the section on "Breakaway" from "Destination: Moonbase Alpha - The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Space: 1999"...

Review: Taking place between the dates of September 9 and 13, 1999, Breakaway is a spectacular opening episode presenting life on Moonbase Alpha in as realistic and believable a fashion as possible. Some may complain about the scientific implausibility of the Moon being able to withstand the shockwaves of an explosion large enough to rip it out of Earth orbit, but once viewers accept that (and, after all, this is science fiction and suspension of disbelief is a prerequisite!) they are ushered into a truly realistic and highly detailed world.
This sense of detail is demonstrated by the presence of video cameras in the Nuclear Waste Area, providing the video feeds watched by the crew in Main Mission, and used by Dr. Russell and Prof. Bergman when they’re monitoring the astronauts Steiner and Nordstrom. As well, commlocks are actively used to open doors and communicate with Computer (as in Medical Centre scenes with Dr. Russell). This is a clear presentation of defined technology and creates a real degree of believability to life on Moonbase Alpha. There is a general ‘buzz’ of background noise and activity throughout the show that lends an additional aura of reality to Moonbase Alpha – unfortunately, this element will be gradually left behind over the subsequent episodes.
The special effects contained within Breakaway are light years ahead of anything previously seen on television, and many of them hold up remarkably well all these years later. The laser barrier at the Nuclear Disposal Area is particularly effective, especially considering how few force fields were visually depicted throughout the run of the series – and some of those which do appear in episodes from the second season have a remarkable tendency to look like sheets of coloured Perspex. Models and effects throughout are highly detailed – notably Koenig’s crashed Eagle and the Space Dock explosion. The model of the Space Dock would appear again, slightly altered, in the episode Dragon’s Domain, and while it was referred to on-screen in Breakaway as the “Space Dock,” in Dragon’s Domain it is called the “interplanetary space station.”
The physical manifestations of the Meta Probe Astronaut Virus Infection include milky eyes and a progression to quite gruesome facial symptoms as the infected astronauts near death – made all the more chilling by being bathed in the blue light of the Medical isolation area.
The use of magnetic radiation as a major plot-point causing brain damage (amongst other problems) is particularly interesting to modern viewers who have heard numerous news reports about the suspected dangers and cancer-causing potential of the electro-magnetic fields from high-voltage power lines and mobile cell phones.
To those effects that don’t age successfully, as well as other aspects of the production tying it to the time of its creation (like the flares/bellbottoms), there remains a certain charm. Strings appear holding up the Eagle spaceships in a couple of scenes but, ultimately, like any quality science fiction series that created a complete and distinct universe for itself (as in The Prisoner) the series is a piece of art, with colours and textures all its own.
The window view to the Eagle hanger bay is very impressive and adds to the scope of Moonbase Alpha – this is a big place! It’s too bad this view is only seen here in Breakaway – it could have been a very worthwhile recurring set.
Lee H. Katzin (who would return to helm the third episode, Black Sun) was an American director who had previously worked with Martin Landau and Barbara Bain on Mission: Impossible and it has been reported that he was hired to helm these early Space: 1999 episodes at the specific request of Barbara Bain. Helping to build tension throughout the proceedings is the masterful score by Barry Gray.
The cast is impressive as they find their way with the roles in this premiere segment. Victor Bergman, who proves to be an ongoing ‘Space Uncle’ figure throughout the series, is notable here for prompting the initial meeting of John Koenig and Helena Russell, which goes on to be the primary relationship at the heart of Space: 1999.
This episode really belongs to Martin Landau’s Commander Koenig. The structure of the entire story is based around him: from his arrival on the Moonbase, through to his post-breakaway decision that they will not attempt a return to Earth. Koenig is the motivational force, the instigator, the hard-edged and strong leader who will be chiefly responsible for the decisions affecting the future survival of Moonbase Alpha.
Breakaway includes many similarities in concepts, settings and situations with the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. While the connections to 2001 with regard to the design of Moonbase Alpha, and the artificial intelligence of Computer, have already been mentioned, others are worthy of note. The first is Koenig’s Eagle flight to the Moon, complete with stewardess. The Eagle itself is redolent of 2001’s Moonbus, while the interior design of Moonbase Alpha resembles the minimalist interiors of the earlier film. Add to these the sub-plots of a virus infection, and a space mission to another planet following signs of alien life, and the result is a remarkable tribute to a classic film.
Breakaway conveys with great success the downfall of modern mankind. Failures of technology abound, and continue on as one of the most distinctive continuing themes of the series (recurring in such future episodes as Another Time, Another Place, Mission of the Darians and The Testament of Arkadia.) The series opening portrays the very realistic challenges of space exploration, and the even more realistic organizational and funding difficulties involved. Politics abound on Alpha and, most significantly, within the Space Commission. Motivated by politics and a desire to cover over any hint of failure and reach simple solutions as quickly as possible, the Commission (embodied by Commissioner Simmonds) behaves as most Earthly political organizations behave – very slowly. The Commission is seemingly more occupied in treating the symptoms, rather than the causes, of their problems. Even the appointment of Commander Koenig himself, and therefore the corresponding demotion of Commander Gorski, is only ratified after Koenig is already in Command uniform and aboard an Eagle en-route to the Moon! A very telling exchange between Koenig and Carter (regarding the Meta Probe Astronaut Virus Infection) reveals the depths of politically motivated cover-up even amongst high-ranking members of the Moonbase crew – all instigated by the Space Commission:
Carter: “But, I was told…”
Koenig: “You were told lies. Earth Command wanted you to think it was a temporary setback.”
As viewers will discover in upcoming episodes, the Meta Probe is only the most recent in a long line of disastrous space missions from Earth. Taking this into retrospective account, the pressure that Commissioner Simmonds and Commander Gorski are under to launch the Meta Probe and combat (or cover up) the Virus Infection becomes all the more evident, and Gorski’s seeming relief at being removed from his command of Alpha becomes that much more appreciable. Gorski himself was more a caretaker than a Commander and unable to resolve the challenging issues, as evidenced by Professor Bergman’s statement in the later flashback episode Dragon’s Domain where he says, “We can’t leave it to Gorski.” Gorski is also quite sharply presented as being spineless (described by Koenig: “He’s always been very flexible.”) Quite simply, there is a lot of subtext behind this episode!
Interestingly, as the Alphans break with Earth physically they also break away psychologically from these types of political entanglements and deceptions. It’s a symbolic break from the corruption they’re leaving behind.
At its core, Breakaway has a dual theme. While it is a cautionary anti-technology tale it is also making powerful environmental statements. These aspects are numerous and hinge mostly on nuclear power and the wastes produced by it. What are we to do with such waste? The answer of shipping it to the Moon is a logical one. The Moon being ripped out of Earth orbit leaves the planet in environmental chaos, with earthquakes and tidal waves being reported on the final broadcast the Alphans pick up from their former home.
Breakaway succeeds in presenting a dynamic and interesting group of people with whom viewers are about to embark on an incredible odyssey, including the edgy Commander Koenig, cool Doctor Russell, and hotheaded Alan Carter. It sets the stage for many future episodes where the Alphans are literally hurled into dangerous situations that they find themselves totally unprepared for and, if one is inclined to think of it in such terms, Breakaway is an apt metaphor for life itself.
Although lacking in some of the richer thematic concepts of certain later episodes, this is an admirable and highly refined debut for the series, full of spectacular visuals and promising characters. Breakaway sets a high standard to follow.

Bloopers: Two bloopers are found in the opening sequence before the titles. The first is the on-screen subtitle “The Dark Side of the Moon.” There is no ‘dark side’ of the Moon, but there is a ‘far side,’ which is always pointed away from the Earth. The second is that Nordstrom’s spacesuit helmet pops open as he throws Steiner over the Moon Buggy. It happens quickly and obviously the producers didn’t expect the viewer to catch it. As well, Nordstrom’s name is misspelled on his helmet as “Nordstom.”
Another recurring error throughout the series has to do with matching up effects and live-action sets. Here, Koenig’s Eagle docks on the Port side (left), but he exits on the Starboard side (right).
Koenig’s spacesuit collar changes from a flat and smooth style to a corrugated one, repeatedly, during his Eagle flight to check Nuclear Waste Area Two. The same mysteriously transforming spacesuit collar also appears on Eagle Pilot Collins – watch for it!

Observations: It’s unfortunate that the sub-plot of the planet Meta wasn’t pursued in the following episode. The build-up through the show culminates at the end with Koenig speculating that their future may lie with Meta (which, presumably, they are heading towards after they break out of orbit), but this plot thread is promptly forgotten by episode two. However, as fans of the series know, Breakaway wasn’t the last appearance of the planet Meta. The real year 1999 brought the premiere of a new short film titled Message from Moonbase Alpha, bringing the entire series full-circle while revealing the true origins of the Meta Signal. Knowing the resolution of Message from Moonbase Alpha gives new meaning to the line Koenig speaks when looking at the mysterious signal, “Maybe that’s where our future lies.” It does, but in a way none of them could even guess at. Full details appear later in this book.
It’s entertaining to watch the opening title sequence for shots that ended up not appearing in the final cut of the episode – there are several.
This is the only occasion where seat belts are featured in the Eagle passenger module.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by Andrew Kearley on Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:28 pm

I've written a detailed analysis of Breakaway on my website. You can read it here if interested:
http://www.eyespider.freeserve.co.uk/space/one/ep01.html
I won't bother to quote it all here - interestingly, I cover many of the same points as Robert does above, but sometimes I come to a different conclusion. Have a look, see what you think...

Here a few random paragraphs from my review - these are particularly about the scientific issues raised in the episode. (It's something I think about a lot - partly because of the way Space: 1999 has been frequently criticized over the years for its lack of scientific accuracy - usually by people who think nothing of accepting things like faster-than-light spaceships and matter teleportation in their own favourite shows. Very Happy Whilst it might be a bit far-fetched, Space has forced me to think about some of the issues it raises, and to read up on the various topics - and to me, that's a good thing - if the series has made me think, and has made me find out something new, then it's done something worthwhile.)

Can a rogue planet like Meta, travelling through space between solar systems, without the heat of a sun to sustain it, support life? Or would any atmosphere it did have be frozen solid? Since Moonbase Alpha is proposing to land a spacecraft there, it would seem Meta is a terrestrial-sized planet, rather than say a gas giant. The planetary scientist David Stevenson has theorized that an Earth-sized interstellar planet with a thick hydrogen atmosphere could insulate itself against heat loss, such that the planet's own geothermal energy could provide enough heat to melt ice and allow the formation of oceans, as well as ocean-floor volcanism. Now, it's possible that life can exist in these conditions, even without sunlight. (In the depths of Earth's oceans, entire self-contained ecosystems can exist around hydrothermal vents in the ocean floor. New and exceedingly weird species have been discovered in this environment.) But this can't possibly be "life as we know it" as Simmonds suggests.

Even assuming that nuclear energy is more widespread than it is in real life, and that the decision has been made to get nuclear waste off Earth - we have to ask whether sending the waste to the Moon is really a sensible solution? Wouldn't it make more sense to load it into a rocket and blast it off into deep space? Then we could just forget about it. Taking it to the Moon requires more effort and more fuel. The waste has to be unloaded and stored; and then constantly monitored to ensure it remains safe.

The build-up of atomic waste is producing unprecedented levels of magnetic energy, and this is responsible for the "illness" affecting the base - diagnosed by Helena as an unusual form of brain damage. A major health scare in recent times has been the fear of the unknown dangers of electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones. (This is radiation in the microwave part of the spectrum.) It's an area that clearly needs more informed research - although the World Health Organization has stated that the alleged risks are "unlikely" - but forms of cancer and brain damage (including disorientation and memory losses) have been cited as possible outcomes of prolonged exposure. Helena also states that the effect is similar to "classic" radiation damage, and that a malignancy (tumour) erupts in the brain. The other physical damage to the victims, such as the disfigured skin and eye cataracts, is fairly consistent with the long term effects of radiation poisoning - although in reality, such damage usually becomes apparent ten or fifteen years after radiation exposure, not on the short time scale seen here. Still, the basic science is accurate enough. The problem with all this is that the writers haven't really decided what's causing what damage. In order to establish their mystery, they present all the symptoms of radiation poisoning - then reveal that the problem is the previously unexpected rise in "magnetic energy": if that means microwave emissions, it could conceivably have caused the brain damage, but not the other physical effects. But if there was no radiation leakage, what caused those first "classic" radiation symptoms? I'm afraid it doesn't add up. There's also the question of whether nuclear waste could produce that magnetic energy in the first place. Microwave emissions are at completely the opposite end of the spectrum from gamma radiation, which is what you'd expect nuclear waste to give out.

The standard position of the nuclear industry is that radioactive waste cannot explode. At the time of original broadcast, some critics even used this argument as further "proof" of the inaccuracy of Space: 1999. In actual fact, if it's not stored properly, nuclear waste can indeed heat up and explode. This happened as early in 1957 at a Russian nuclear fuel reprocessing plant near the town of Kysthym. A waste tank's cooling system failed, and the waste inside heated up and exploded, spreading radioactive material over an area of 15,000 square kilometres. This is reckoned to be the worst ever nuclear accident before Chernobyl, but it was hushed up by the Soviets for years. This wouldn't have been known to the writers of Space: 1999, so the depiction of a massive heat increase inside the nuclear disposal areas was both realistic and quite prophetic given the denial of such risks by the nuclear industry at the time. (As Koenig says, heat without atomic activity was thought inconceivable then.) But how does the magnetic energy cause the waste dumps to heat up? Well, if we return to the idea of magnetic fields causing microwave emissions, then one possibility is that the microwaves disrupt the cooling systems in the storage areas. So far, so good. The difficulty comes with the nature of the explosion. Spent nuclear fuel is called that because there's no releasable atomic energy left inside it. So even if it does explode, that explosion will be non-nuclear in nature. It will throw out radioactive contamination, but there's no fissile material left to cause a nuclear chain reaction such as we see this episode.

Another criticism that's been made: if the nuclear waste dump is on the far side of the Moon, then logically the explosion ought to send the Moon hurtling towards Earth, not away from it. But this supposes that no other forces are acting upon the Moon at that moment. And there's one very obvious force at work here: the gravity that binds the Moon to the Earth in the first place. As the explosion pushes the Moon towards the Earth, the force of the Moon's original orbital motion will still be acting upon it. This would keep the Moon from actually colliding with the Earth - instead it would spiral in towards the planet, to make a very close transit before shooting off into space on the other side. (In fact, this was even suggested at the time by no less a luminary than Isaac Asimov - he was generally critical of Space: 1999, but conceded this point as one of dramatic necessity.) Such a close transit of Earth would give rise to abnormal tidal effects. The news report of gravity disruption and resultant seismic disturbances would fit quite well with that scenario.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by Senmut on Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:38 pm

Personally, I thought Breakaway was a blast!
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by cmdrkoenig67 on Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:04 am

Feh...Space:1999 isn't entirely accurate in it's science...So what? Some of it, they did get right (like the effects on Earth from the moon leaving orbit, The lower gravity special effects on the moon). Asimov said the moon would have been blasted to powder by the explosion, but with the recent "bomb the moon" mission....It seems the moon may be made of sturdier stuff than previously thought...He also claimed that nuclear waste couldn't explode...Maybe he was wrong (according to what Andrew mentioned above).

Star Trek (and other sci-fi series) certainly isn't accurate all the time either. I feel a lot of critics are/were far too critical of Space:1999...They either haven't researched it well enough/seen enough episodes, judged it unfairly in some other regard or their just biased because they're big fans of Star Trek. Razz

Dana
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by CalgaryAlphan on Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:11 am

I agree with you Dana - the use of science in Space: 1999 has never bothered me. It occupies its own universe. And also, the mystical aspects of the Alphan journey (and Johnny Byrne's thoughts on the Alphan journey being an "origin story" filled with unexplainable events - more on this in my book, by the way) allow for a greater suspension of disbelief. The Moon's journey is not governed by hard science. And that's something the critics couldn't understand or accept.

And Andrew - your analysis is very interesting and thoughtful. I'm looking forward to discussing this, and other episodes, with you as the days go on and this forum continues to grow.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by Andrew Kearley on Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:36 am

Ah yes, I should make it clear - I'm another one of the "it doesn't bother me" school when it comes to the science in Space: 1999 - but what gets my goat is the fact that it's often used as a stick to beat the series with by other sci-fi fans. I mean really, I've even seen critical reviews that lambast the fact that you can hear sound in outer space - which practically every tv show from Star Trek onwards does too - yet you never hear anyone moaning about that.

I agree with Robert though (and Johnny Byrne it seems Very Happy ) - I tend to think of Space: 1999 as being more of a myth than a realistic drama, the Alphans being on a spiritual journey as much as they're travelling through space. That's why I'm not concerned by things like the speed of the Moon's voyage, being able to cross interstellar distances and so on - it's the journey that's important, not the means by which it is accomplished.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by Magnus Greel on Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:52 pm

Commander Koenig wrote:The particular scenes that stick in my mind are the ones where Simmonds is telling Koenig that he must issue a communique and Koenig telling him in no uncertain terms that right at the moment he has more important things to think about then issuing a communique! The other scene I really like is the one where Koenig asks the computer to assess the possibility of returning to Earth and being told by the computer that a human decision is required. I just love the way Martin Landau plays that scene, and how he turns to Simmonds as if to say 'Well who makes the decision here, you or me' knowing full well that it is down to him.

Those are some very good moments in that story. I love how everything suddenly is happening faster than anyone knows.... even the realist Koenig doesn't see it yet. I did notice that awkward moment between Simmonds and Koenig in this last viewing... step right up and take charge Commissioner, why don't you?! It's good that he didn't.

I wonder where Simmonds hid out during those weeks between Breakaway and Earthbound... sorry, I'm sure that's hardly an original question in this particular fandom....
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by Andrew Kearley on Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:45 pm

Magnus Greel wrote:I wonder where Simmonds hid out during those weeks between Breakaway and Earthbound... sorry, I'm sure that's hardly an original question in this particular fandom....

That's a can of worms. Very Happy I don't think he hid anywhere. You see, I'm firmly of the opinion that Earthbound needs to be viewed as the second episode.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by s99fan on Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:16 pm

I strongly disagree. If Earthbound is second, the character development of other early series one episodes makes little sense. Why is it so dubious that Simmonds sequestered himself behind the scenes? It could be like a saying I have heard here in the USA, a case of 'sour grapes'.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by Senmut on Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:54 pm

Andrew Kearley wrote: (In the depths of Earth's oceans, entire self-contained ecosystems can exist around hydrothermal vents in the ocean floor. New and exceedingly weird species have been discovered in this environment.) But this can't possibly be "life as we know it" as Simmonds suggests.

I think the statement can be salvaged on two levels. At this point, Simmonds at least, believes that the radio signals received come from Meta. If so, then a life-form capable of creating a modulated radio wave would be intelligent, and technologically sophisticated. In that sense, it would be "life, as we know it". If, as you posit, life on Meta was of the oozing sea-floor slug type, hugging hydrothermal vents, then it too could be "as we know it", since such extremophiles are well-known now, and are constructed of DNA.
So in either sense, the terminology is passable.

Andrew Kearley wrote:
Even assuming that nuclear energy is more widespread than it is in real life, and that the decision has been made to get nuclear waste off Earth - we have to ask whether sending the waste to the Moon is really a sensible solution? Wouldn't it make more sense to load it into a rocket and blast it off into deep space? Then we could just forget about it.

In which case, the space program would never have gotten as far as it had. Simmonds is obviously an abyss of ambition. He speaks of the "finance committee". I see it as a plan, sold to the politicians and such by the engineers, that this was the only way to deal with the waste. Such a plan insures one thing-
MASSIVE continued funding. As long as the "danger" is played up right, certain folks are on the gravy train for life.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by Andrew Kearley on Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:40 am

s99fan wrote:I strongly disagree. If Earthbound is second, the character development of other early series one episodes makes little sense. Why is it so dubious that Simmonds sequestered himself behind the scenes?

Because Simonds is a man who likes to be at the centre of things, and to try and exert his authority. Yes indeed, he could be sulking in his cabin most of the time between episodes - he's not got anything to do on Alpha, after all, and he doesn't get on with anyone else. But - the actual episodes themselves feature major, often cataclysmic events, and I find it hard to imagine that Simmonds could let things like this go on around him and not get involved.

Imagine: they've just found missing astronaut Lee Russell on a strange planet. Would Simmonds, the head of the space programme, not want to get involved with interrogating him? Trying to establish how Lee got there and whether he's got any information that could help them get back to Earth?

Or imagine: the Moon encounters a black sun, and is unable to escape its gravitational pull. Koenig manages to send out a survival ship. Would not Simmonds, a man whose driving force seems to be his survival instinct, not try to get himself a place on the survival ship - indeed, wouldn't he behave exactly as he does in "Earthbound" to get what he wants. The idea that the Moon could be hurtling towards certain destruction and Simmonds doesn't even come in to see what's going on is inconceivable to me.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by SPACE 1899 on Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:29 am

Magnus Greel wrote:I wonder where Simmonds hid out during those weeks between Breakaway and Earthbound

Maybe they beat him up and put him in solitary confinement for a bit. Wink
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by blondgod on Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:29 am

In hindsight, seeing what was done later in Y1, Breakaway could have been so much better with the actual breakaway. However... Landau and Morse were brilliant. Bain could have been used better than the two choice scenes where she actually got to do something. The plus side: it was something new and fresh. It looked totally different and seemed truly futuristic. The space dock exploding and the total sense of awe seeing the base for the first time were unforgettable. It still surprises me that the Alphans weren't more shaken up at the end after what transpired.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by timelike01 on Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:54 pm

Even if the Alphans were able to return to Earth soon after Breakaway, they'd still be better off on Alpha. The environmental distasters on Earth resulting from Breakaway would make life on Earth extremely difficult. In contrast, Alpha experienced little damge compared with that of the Earth and life on the base (with the execption of certain assorted cosmic dangers) is not as difficult.

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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by s99fan on Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:49 am

blondgod wrote:In hindsight, seeing what was done later in Y1, Breakaway could have been so much better with the actual breakaway.

....eh?? I do not understand what you are saying here.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by ggreg on Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:35 pm

Even though it wasn't actually a pilot, to this day it's still the most impressive first episode of anything I've ever seen.

It truly was the first cinematic series, SF or otherwise, I'd ever seen, and I completely fell in love with everything about the series from just viewing this episode.

The sets/sfx/music/directing/sense of scale/action/look everything just clicked for me, whereas with other series before, even ST which was my former favorite, there was always something missing or something I didn't care for.

Even UFO didn't fire on all engines for me, but like I said, after seeing only Breakaway I had found a new favorite show.

Luckily, most of the other 23 episodes maintained the same high level of quality!
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by SPACE 1899 on Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:17 pm

I was particularly struck with how strong Helena came across in that very first episode, particularly when she gave John a good telling off, after he returned from checking out the dangerous disposal area himself -

"You knew that that area was suspect.

You knew it had already affected the two Probe Astronauts and the Eagle Shuttle Pilot in some way.

And yet you went right out there yourself."

Well thought reply from John also - "I didn't know you cared."
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by Magnus Greel on Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:19 am

SPACE 1899 wrote:
Well thought reply from John also - "I didn't know you cared."

I'd always thought that that was just a formulaic throwaway TV cliche line, a clumsy attempt to imply sexual tension, to draw in the portion of the potential audience out there who likes that sort of thing. Maybe I've misinterpreted it.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by Senmut on Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:22 am

CalgaryAlphan wrote:

Gorski himself was more a caretaker than a Commander and unable to resolve the challenging issues, as evidenced by Professor Bergman’s statement in the later flashback episode Dragon’s Domain where he says, “We can’t leave it to Gorski.” Gorski is also quite sharply presented as being spineless (described by Koenig: “He’s always been very flexible.”) Quite simply, there is a lot of subtext behind this episode!



I didn't see Gorski as a "caretaker" so much, as someone who just found himself in over his head. If Gorski was appointed in '96, during Dixon's watch, since he was in charge for the launch of the Ultra Probe, then he might still have been the one in charge when Simminds took over. While Dixon was a dork, one sees that Simmonds was a different kind of animal. A real predatory type, using and crushing anyone who gets in the way of his ambitions. I think Gorski was tired, long overdue for a break, and just too good a man for the world of Simmonds.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by cmdrkoenig67 on Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:58 am

Magnus Greel wrote:
SPACE 1899 wrote:
Well thought reply from John also - "I didn't know you cared."

I'd always thought that that was just a formulaic throwaway TV cliche line, a clumsy attempt to imply sexual tension, to draw in the portion of the potential audience out there who likes that sort of thing. Maybe I've misinterpreted it.

LOL...I always took it as Koenig just being pissed off and snarky.

Dana
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by s99fan on Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:21 am

I agree with Dana. A relatively sophisticated 'snarky', though. (What an interesting word! I have to google it to get the sense of its meaning. English is full of fascinating subtleties and turns of meaning.)
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by Jack18 on Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:30 am

i read the book of Breakaway and in the book the character of Simmonds is killed and yet he reappears in the episode Earthbound so unless the author E C Tubb hadn't watched the episode.
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by cmdrkoenig67 on Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:02 pm

Senmut wrote:
I didn't see Gorski as a "caretaker" so much, as someone who just found himself in over his head. If Gorski was appointed in '96, during Dixon's watch, since he was in charge for the launch of the Ultra Probe, then he might still have been the one in charge when Simminds took over. While Dixon was a dork, one sees that Simmonds was a different kind of animal. A real predatory type, using and crushing anyone who gets in the way of his ambitions. I think Gorski was tired, long overdue for a break, and just too good a man for the world of Simmonds.

Gorski was commander of Alpha in '94 (during the Ultra Probe incident), but I don't know if he was commander the whole time up until he left at the series beginning. Koenig and Bergman were both there too, I'm sure John knew what he was talking about when he said Gorski was "very flexible" (i.e. spineless)...He and Victor should know since they both worked under him on Alpha.

Dana
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Re: Discussion of Breakaway

Post by s99fan on Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:16 am

Jack18 wrote:i read the book of Breakaway and in the book the character of Simmonds is killed and yet he reappears in the episode Earthbound so unless the author E C Tubb hadn't watched the episode.

The author received early drafts of the script and based his story upon those. Simmonds' "death" was reversed prior to the filming.
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