Scifi Movies/scifi series

Advertisement


Question
My question this time relates to a British TV series made around the 40's or 50's in B/W. It is about a group of people who travel around through space to different planets. Their leader starts out as a newspaperman who originally comes to interview the group of scientists who are building the space ship. There are a few younger people including the obligatory female love interest. There is also an older middle aged guy who is a real pain and causes trouble for the group. It's not 'Lost in Space' or 'Dr Who' but it may have been a precursor to those shows some twenty years before.
Thanks from Gary J McCleary.
Google my name as I write scifi novels.

Answer
Gary, this was an interesting assignment, although a bit out of my area of expertise. TV series from the early days of television are not always easy to locate, and this was no exception. I don't have a definitive response, but I do have some possibilities for you to check out, if you have not already. Unfortunately, none of them has much available in terms of plot descriptions, and what is available does not exactly match what you've written here. In fact, what first came up in a search of the keywords was a low-budget 1960 Italian film called "Space Men" (aka "Assignment Outer Space"), where a reporter goes into space.

My other immediate thought was the original 1953 eries, "The Quartermass Experiment" which has reporters, scientists, and space travel to another planet, but none of the other elements are present as far as I can tell. From the descriptions I found, it is far creepier than what you describe (and unfortunately, only 2 episodes of the original series survive).

I broadened the search out to look at all possible SF series from 1940s-1060s made in the UK, and found some additional series that might fit what you are looking for. The first is the 1954 UK series "The Lost Planet" which is based on a book series. It follows a Scottish scientist's adventures in space. Another possibility is "The Strange World of Planet X" (1956) although it does seem like it may be more limited in its space travel. Also from 1956 is a British children's series called "Space School" following the exploits of four siblings in space. Then there is a 1960 series called "Target Luna," which was followed by three sequel serial stories following the same characters, which included a scientist and his family ("Pathfinders to Space," "Pathfinder to Mars," and "Pathfinders to Venus," all made in 1960-61). These seemed the most promising titles.

I'm including some links to some of what I accessed, so you can see for yourself if these are promising titles or if one of the others included in these links is more likely. Nearly all of the early British shows are considered to be lost series, so it is difficult to check them by viewing episodes of them but the limited descriptions with these links may be useful in identifying this particular series:

1."British Telefantasy Began in 1963.. Parts 1 & 2"--a relatively comprehensive history of British SF/fantasy TV from the late 1930s to 1963. http://www.625.org.uk/pre1963/pre1963.htm

2."Children's Fantasy and SF" BFI Screenonline--a brief history of British children's fantasy and SF TV. http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/1383217/index.html

3."TV SF" BFI Screenonline--a brief history of SF series on British TV: http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/445256/index.html

4."Earliest SF TV Series," a list on the Internet Movie Data Base: http://www.imdb.com/search/title?genres=sci_fi&sort=year&title_type=tv_series

I hope that some of this pans out and gives you the title you are seeking. If not, I can try again. BTW, thanks for letting me know you are a SF writer--I did as you suggested and see you are n LinkedIn, too.  

Scifi Movies

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Barbara L. Baker

Expertise

I am a professor of communication at a midwest university, with expertise in film. I can answer most questions on the original "Star Wars" trilogy, and some on the newer trilogy. I also have expertise in general science-fiction film (both history and theory), especially in the United States. For movie titles, I need to have the release date (or a date range, or at least when you saw it). It is better if you note significant, major plot details and characters rather than minor plot events, and it is even better if you can recall an actor or director's name, and if it is a film or TV movie. Plesse do not just provide a set of links to someplace else (e.g. imdb discussion threads). I am less able to answer the following, although I will do my best to track down an answer for you--recent SF films, horror films, or made-for-TV movies. Most SF films from other countries are out of my areas of expertise. In addition, I cannot answer questions about animated SF films, anime/manga, television series or shows, or about film collectables. Nor will I answer obvious homework (although I will point you to resources to help answer the question, if asked). I also can't help you find movie stars, movie memorabilia, or tell you how to break into the business.

Experience

Coursework in science-fiction and fantasy films, plus teaching courses in the subject for several years; I've also conducted research into SF and fantasy films and TV.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Communication, with emphasis on film and rhetoric.

Awards and Honors
A dissertation award from a national organization and various paper awards.

Past/Present Clients
My students.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.