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DVD Review

DVD cover

Star Fleet
The Complete Series


Starring (voice): Peter Marinker, Jay Benedict, Constantine Gregory and Mark Rolston
Fabulous Films / Fremantle Home Entertainment
RRP: £39.99
Certificate: U
Available 09 February 2009

The year is 2999 and following the end of space war three, the peoples of Earth are enjoying a period of peace. However peace is a fleeting thing and the Imperial Alliance launch another attack on Earth. The ship sent against Earth proves too powerful for Star Fleet's defences and Pluto Base is soon lost. In their hour of need it seems that Earth's hope now lies with the ultra secret X-bomber. With the technology untested Professor Hagan launches the ship with the help of his son Shiro, Barry Hercules and John Lee. With their initial sortie a failure, can the Prof get the X-bomber into the air to turn the tide of war...?

The eighties was the last great time for puppets, some would still appear years later in the new Star Wars movies, as well as in Farscape, but Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Star Fleet represented both the pinnacle and demise of marionettes.

The show was originally aired in the UK between 23 October 1982 to 4 September 1983 on London Weekend Television and as a young Londoner myself, I would often roll over in bed and open one eye to watch the unfolding of this space epic. The show differed in two respects from the work by Gerry Anderson, firstly Star Fleet used rods and not strings to control the puppets, which meant you hardly ever saw the characters legs. Secondly, unlike the brilliant Thunderbirds, Star Fleet had a continually evolving story.

The show ran for twenty-four, thirty minute episodes. The original Japanese dub was significantly rewritten by Michael Sloan, with music by Paul Bliss. The show was produced and directed by Louis Elman. All twenty-four episodes of the show have been restored on this four disc box set.

Depending on your memory of the show you're either going to be in pig heaven or wonder what the fuss is all about. For those of you that never caught the show the first time around it would not be unfair to say that it has aged far worse than Thunderbirds. But get past the slightly dodgy puppets and you will find a rich and rewarding story.

It would seem someone at Fabulous Films is a great fan of the show and the team have pulled out all the stops to provide Star Fleet fans with everything they could want. The substantial extras are spread across the four discs.  On disc one you get a text based series synopsis, a good place to start if you know nothing about the show. There is also a look at the background to the show by Momosuke Yamiryu, also unfortunately text based and a list of the English dubbing actors names.

Disc two’s extras contain character and machine profiles; once again these are picture and text based. Disc three is where the action starts to take place with a documentary about the production of the show presented by Go Nagai, the show's Japanese creator, with contributions from Louis Elman, Paul Bliss, Peter Marinker and Gerry Anderson. It’s a well balanced piece looking at both the strengths and weaknesses of the show and his regret that he didn’t get a bigger budget or the chance to remake the show. There is also Brian May’s music promo; yup Brian from Queen was obviously a big fan. The extras are rounded up on disc four with a stills, collectibles and behind the scenes galleries.

If you can get over the limitations of the production, the show has much to offer in its story. Although I was only sent bare discs from the PR company (yes I can hear your cries of lamentation) it looks like the finished product will be full of other goodies such as a comic book, a sixteen page episode guide, six postcards and a poster.


Charles Packer

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