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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… 1970s US Science Fiction TV Themes August 17, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I was reading up about 1970s US science fiction TV series the other day, and in truth these loomed large in my then consciousness. Man from Atlantis, the Gemini Man, the Invisible Man, Logan’s Run, the none too Fantastic Journey and so on. All these were shown on television during that period. They were of varying quality, despite Star Trek’s D.C. Fontana being involved in some. Actually, strike that, they were all pretty bad. For some reason I misremembered Man From Atlantis as have Diana Muldaur from ST:NG as the female lead. I’ve no idea why.

But what I hadn’t realised, at this remove, is how short they were. None of the above went over thirteen or fourteen episodes. They flashed into view, lingered for a short while and then were gone again. It made Buck Rogers in the 25th Century seem positively venerable at two seasons. And the Six Million Dollar Man even more so.

I often complain, to myself, that current television shows have too short seasons. There’s something about 22 episodes that allows a series to breathe, for characters to become more fully realised. Granted there’s a lot of filler too, but swings and roundabouts. Whereas now 13 and 15 episodes series feel truncated, character arcs unearned.

But what’s also amazing is how many times they attempted to kick start television series. Of course much of this came around the time of Star Wars – and on foot of it.

One last thing, the music! Unbelievably 1960s in style. Compare and contrast with British TV series of the same period, many of which had the influence of the BBC Radiophonics Workshop and composers like Delia Derbyshire which added a distinctly more futuristic aspect to them.

(And consider too this from Joe Mooney on a previous crop of TV themes).

Man From Atlantis (1977)

Gemini Man

Invisible Man (1975)

Six Million Dollar Man

Logan’s Run (1977)

Fantastic Journey (1977)

Buck Rogers In The 25th Century

Comments»

1. Sean Munger - August 17, 2019

Although it was a miniseries/extended TV movie and not a full series, if you’re looking for the quintessential 70s sci fi music theme, check out the soundtrack to “The Martian Chronicles” from 1980. The movie itself was generally panned and forgotten, but the music score has a cult following, even warranting a CD reissue of the soundtrack album in the 2000s. The disco theme song is priceless and an earworm you’ll remember for years. It’s one of my favorite movie soundtracks ever.

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WorldbyStorm - August 17, 2019

So true, that’s a great spot. It wasn’t the worst adaptation, it was quite true to Bradbury’s original stories. The effects were so so but it really had an alien quality to it.

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