With his remake of “V” for ABC a valiant effort to try and recapture the magic of classic science-fiction television, television and game producer Jace Hall is trying again. This time with “Space: 1999.”
Based on the classic 1970s series from Gerry Anderson and then wife Sylvia Anderson, “Space: 1999” centers around a tragic event on Sept. 13, 1999, which pushes the moon out of orbit, turning it into a spacecraft, so to speak, that allows the inhabitants of the moon base there to explore.
The original series starred Martin Landau and Barbara Bain from “Mission: Impossible,” and had a host of well-known writers including Terrance Dicks (a script editor with classic “Doctor Who”) and the late Fred Freiberger, who was in charge of the original “Star Trek’s” final season.
When the series was first created for ITV, it was intended for not just its British audience, but to be exported to the United States as well. The story itself was set more than 25 years in the future. However, that is now more than a dozen years in our past, so Hall has opted to call his joint project with ITV “Space: 2099.”
There is only one catch with the name: It’s already been in use by a Canadian production company that has unofficially reworked past episodes of the show.
Eric Bernard, the head of Retcon Studios, has been retooling special effects from the show, re-editing them for a different pace, and have been working to create a bridge between the original program and potentially a revival sequel that they’ve been working on over the last several years.
The name of their project? “Space: 2099.”
“On three occasions, we have sent our ‘Space: 2099’ documents to ITV,” Bernard told Airlock Alpha in an e-mail. Those pitches began in 2008 and continued through last summer.
“I am probably not the first one to have thought of forwarding 1999 to 2099, let’s be realistic. It doesn’t take a high IQ to go from 19 to 20. But to actually make something with it is another matter. The amount of work that was involved to [enhance] the original series into ‘Space: 2099′ was considerable, and I am very proud of what we have done.”
Yet, a remake is not exactly what Bernard said he had in mind. He simply wanted to create an ending for a show that was cancelled before it could do it itself (“Space: 1999” lasted just two seasons).
“The idea of starting over like a reboot, remake or re-imagine, and knowing that the lifespan of most television shows our days is shorter than before, made me worried that this new series wouldn’t have an ending either,” Bernard said. “I am not against Mr. Hall’s sci-fi series. The fact that they are opened to fans’ feedback and thoughts about ‘Space: 1999’ is … a sign of early production, but a nice and appreciated gesture.”
The fact that Hall is working on this project through his HDFilms production shingle doesn’t surprise Bernard, either, because Hall had already approached him about the project.
“Mr. Hall had contacted me about it, as he knew how involved and present on the Internet we have been for the past few years,” Bernard said. “I was offered to be involved in this project, but after many hours of talks, we didn’t com to an agreement. I respect Mr. Hall’s project and vision of his re-imagined ‘Space: 2099,’ but I didn’t share it.”
Hall, through a spokesman, acknowledges to Airlock Alpha he did in fact talk with Bernard. But the content of that conversation was much more straightforward.
“Retcon Studios is overstating their position,” Hall’s publicist said in a statement. “Jace Hall only contacted them in regard to acquiring their Space2099.com domain name, which Retcon had no interest in relinquishing.”
When asked for a followup, Bernard insisted to Airlock Alpha he was being quite factual. He acknowledges that Hall’s primary interest was the domain, but implies that it wasn’t simply an exchange of cash for the URL.
“He is just not telling you how,” Bernard said of Hall’s acquisition efforts. “And I won’t, either, as I still believe that good manners are the best way to handle things.”
Hall is working on the project through ITV Studios America, according to Deadline.com, which produces a number of American shows, including “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares” featuring chef Gordon Ramsay.
No other details were reported about the project, nor was any timetable on scripts, casting or production released. Once a pilot script is finalized, ITV will likely shop the project around the networks and cable providers, looking for someone to finance a pilot to move toward a potential series.