Children of the Gods - The Lost Episode of Space: 1999
By Richard Houldsworth
T.V. ZONE - The Magazine of Cult Television (ITC special) Special #13
In a Fantasy Flashback with a difference, we look at the episode of Space: 1999 which would have ended the show's second season. The story concludes the Alphans' search for a home, but the episode was never made...
Moonbase Alpha is disappearing, piece by piece. While trying to solve the mystery, Koenig and his crew discover two young human children, who possess awesome alien powers.
The children are supervised by an alien adult; a complex, contemplative man who observes their every move but does not control them.
Moonbase Alpha is at the children's mercy, as they utilize their powers over the forces of nature. Almost like Caligula ruling over Rome, they possess extremes of generosity and cruelty.
This expansion is of great concern to a very advanced alien race, whose presence is unknown to the descendants of Alpha. Their chosen course of action is to examine the nature of Earth people, and have taken two of their children. They have indulged them, given them fantastic powers, and have waited for their natural instincts to show.
The results of this experiment have now been taken back to Alpha by the alien species; back to the source of the colony that threatens them. The humans are being judged upon uncontrolled power in the hands of irrational, undisciplined children. If their b ehavior reveals the true nature of the human race, Alpha will be destroyed, history will be changed, and the colony in three hundred years will never even have existed.
Does the degree of evil in human nature warrant the destruction of the species? The results so far suggest that the children are irretrievably evil, and that Humanity is beyond redemption.
However, just as the fate of the Alphans is sealed, and the base is to be destroyed, one of the children makes an extraordinary act of self-sacrifice. The action reveals all that is positive in Humanity, and allows the alien judge to reassess the race as a force for Good. Three hundred years in the the two species can now make contact, and a peaceful coexistence will occur.
Commander John Koenig - Martin Landau
Dr Helena Russell - Barbara Bain
Maya - Catherine Schell
Tony Verdeschi - Tony Anholt
Alan Carter - Nick Tate
Sahn - Zienia Merton
Alibe - Alibe Parsons
Writer - Johnny Byrne
Executive Producer - Gerry Anderson
Producer - Fred Freiberger
Special Effects - Brian Johnson
Music - Derek Wadsworth
Costume Designer - Emma Porteous
In the hiatus between seasons one and two of Space: 1999, Johnny Byrne wrote three new scripts, unaware at the time of the changes to be inflicted on the series. American producer Fred Freiberger took over, introduced a new regular character (the s hape-shifting alien Maya), wrote out three first season regulars (Victor Bergman, David Kano and Paul Morrow) and changed the whole flavour of the show.
Two of Byrne's scripts were rewritten and re-titled: 'The Biological Computer' ultimately became 'The Metamorph', the story to introduce Maya. "The Face of Eden' became the show's penultimate episode, 'The Immunity Syndrome'. The third story, 'Children of the Gods', was rejected.
"As a writer you never know if something is good or not because you're too close to these things," Byrne tells TV Zone, "but Gerry (Anderson) said to me that it was one of the best things he'd ever read."
Sadly this view was not shared by the new man, who was taking Space: 1999 away from the themes that had characterized the first season. "Freddie didn't like it," he regrets. "I would have loved to have done it, it would have been a smashing episode . To my deep regret I haven't even got a copy of it."
"It was a very hopeful story," he continues, "but it meant the death of one of the children. It had to be something so recognizably human that even an alien would see the universal nature of it."
Instead, Byrne was commissioned to provide a replacement script that was more in line with the second season's action/adventure format. This was 'The Last of the Psychons', which was eventually changed to 'The Dorcons'. The story focused on Maya's abducti on by an alien race; once transplanted in a Dorcon, the brain stem of a Psychon leads to immortality. Maya's brain stem is required for their ailing leader.
'The Dorcons' was the final episode of Space: 1999; the show ceased production after two seasons and forty-eight episodes. However, although 'The Dorcons' was an enjoyable segment, 'Children of the Gods' would have made a far more fitting end to th e show.
In it's own way, it concluded the whole running story line of Space: 1999; it revealed the final fate of the Alphans, and although the colony of three hundred years time was never actually seen, it's ultimate existence confirmed that they would hav e achieved their mission of finding a new home.
"I hadn't thought of that," says Byrne. "It would have been an excellent one to end on, but when you're making a programme, you hope that it's never going to end."