Network On Air (studio)
26 November 2018 (released)
31 December 2018
Gerry Anderson – creator of hit series such as UFO and THUNDERBIRDS – made a unique return in the mid-1990’s with his new concept series SPACE PRECINCT, mixing live action with animatronics and other gadgets. The result is a cop show out of this world – no pun intended!
It’s the year 2040 and former NYPD Detective Patrick Brogan (Ted Shackelford) is promoted to the status of Lieutenant, though with promotion comes a transfer to join the Demeter City Police Force on the planet Altor. Joining him are Brogan’s buddy and colleague Jack Haldane (Rob Youngblood) as well as Officer Jane Castle (Simone Bendix) who also is Haldane’s on/off love interest. But the Demeter City Police Force is not only comprised of humans but of various alien races such as the Creons (most notably an unrecognisable Jerome Willis as Captain Rexton Podly) and the Tarns (most notably Officer Aurelia Took). There’s also Police Station 88’s very own robot computer called Slomo! Now this is where the fun kicks in, for the aliens all sport state-of-the-art prosthetics which lends them their, er, unique looks. The same can be said for Altor’s citizens and visitors from other planets while the villains are in turn humans and aliens.
When not chasing baddies with Haldane, then Lieutenant Brogan likes nothing more than to relax with his family: wife Sally - a doctor and pathologist – (Nancy Paul), son Matt (Nick Klein) and daughter Liz (Megan Olive). Each episode is about 45 minutes long and boasts a plethora of guest stars such as Bert Kwouk (best known as Cato from the Pink Panther films), a young Idris Elba as a pizza delivery boy (yes, they do eat pizza on planet Altor!), Nickolas Grace and even Bond Girl Maryam D’Abo (in an episode directed by Bond director John Glen). He’s not the only top director here! The cases are always very different, for example in one episode called ‘Flash’ an illegal confidence-boosting drug sees people go berserk before they evaporate altogether. Another, particularly interesting episode titled ‘Deadline’ is a pastiche of Oliver Twist and the ole Burke & Hare tale, starring Steven Berkoff as a space-age Dr. Knox type whose demand for fresh corpses keeps body-snatchers busy!
In case you’re wondering why the series’ two male leads (Ted Shackleford and Rob Youngblood) are American, then the answer lies in the fact that this British-American TV series was broadcast not only in the UK but also in syndication in the US. However, since many US stations aired the series during late-night time slots the inevitable followed and soon the ratings dropped – resulting in the series’ cancellation. A shame, for the 24th (and final) episode offers no conclusion as such. This is because more episodes were planned but never materialised. At the same time US stations cannot be entirely blamed for this debacle: SPACE PRECINCT may give the impression to be aimed at a young audience, however, more often than not the plots were adult-themed and thus unsuitable for screening at dinner time. Of course, in nowadays climate dominated by violent computer games no one would understand what all the fuss was about back then.
SPACE PRECINCT: THE COMPLETE SERIES contains 7 discs on DVD including some Special Features.