Friday, March 9, 2007
Space: 1999, September 1975
This syndicated offering packed a wallop against the television networks. Known for being the most expensive series of its day, Space: 1999 pre-dated the Star Wars era, but was a direct acknowledgement of the supersized success of the Star Trek series in syndication.
After all three major networks declined the series, the producers took the syndication path, but publicity continued about the shows top designers for the sets and costumes and the first rate special effects. When the networks began being preempted by local affiliates to carry the much publicized Space: 1999, the cracks in the network system began to be clear.
The first show premiered on different days at different times throughout the country, but the initial ratings were sensational. Unfortunately, Space: 1999 wasn't sensatinal, and after a few months, a drastic ratings decline warmed network executive's hearts. But in truth, this was one of the earliest signs of the changing television climate and potential to capture a network sized audience without network television. Space: 1999 ran just two seasons and 48 episodes, but the seeds that were planted continued; the hey-day of network televsion was entering its final years.