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TV Movie Edit

TVM titles - Teleworld Presents
End of Part One
In 1980 Portmanís American distributors Teleworld Inc offered the the series for sale not only in its episodic format but also recut as two movie-length features.

The two-part feature of Star Maidens, also referred to in the German CD Soundtrack notes as Space Attack (a German language version possibly exists as Begugnung Zwischen den Sternen - the title borrowed from the German episode 13), was a compilation of material from episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, and 13* rearranged into two episodes intended for 90-minute slots. The new Part One comprised original eps 1-3 and a small segment of 4 and Part Two the majority of episode 4 as well as 9 and 13. The new version dispensed with Berry Lipman's jaunty theme music and replaced it with a weird, if not entirely awful, choral/sweepy and bleepy synthesiser theme. Goodness knows why, but this replacing of theme and titles with what were perhaps perceived as more contemporary/less discoey music also happened to the Space:1999 movie edits made by ITC in the early 80s. The Maidens movies opened with a re-edited take on the usual episode intro sequence and voice over explaining the destruction of old Medusa and how the planet came to be in Earth's solar system, but with a new title caption and that new music added.

As a two-part movie the series' flaws are magnified. The rather overlong chase set up that opens the series is retained here in full. Not only does this retain poorer material which should have been cut in favour of superior parts of the series, but it means the serial barely looks like the sci-fi spectacular it was being packaged as - in fact it looks like any New Forest-based runaround episode of Southern's The Famous Five. The first feature episode ends with Adam and Shem stuck on Earth and Liz and Rudi on their way to Medusa as hostages (i.e. partway through episode 4). Thus virtually the whole thing is merely exposition setting up the series format (as it was in its initial, dragging four episode state). Overall there has been little to entice the viewer back for part two.

Which is maybe just as well. The episodic nature of the series means that the jumps between the unconnected standalone episodes selected for the second feature are plainly obvious. The whole thing fails to flow as an ongoing story, which is inevitable since the series was never intended to be a continuous serial. Worse still is that at the very least Teleworld might have fitted in the seriesí two best episodes, Creatures of the Mind and The Perfect Couple. The omission of Perfect Couple is ludicrous - itís the series' central episode and the only one to look at the core premise of gender reversal in any detail. Twenty minutes material from the first four episodes could easily have been removed - there is too much runaround nonsense that is eminently excisable - and Perfect Couple put in its place.

In fact the inclusion of so much of the inital earthbound episodes is strange, given that the series/movie were obviously (hopefully) being sold in the US on the back of the Star Wars boom: more of the Medusan episodes should have been included. There are not the superb effects of Space:1999 to choose from (ITC selected modelwork/explosion-heavy episodes such as War Games for their movie edits) but Teleworld could at least have made the thing look like a futuristic sci-fi series and concentrated on the seriesí great Medusan design work. The Enemy was included, one suspects not because it rounds off the story with some kind of ending and a promise of reconciliation, but because it includes some space effects sequences. Sadly of course they move at a snail's pace and are no great selling point!

So, what we end up with is frankly a scrappy mess. Trying to make a coherent, flowing movie out of a television serial within a reduced running time is hard enough but to try with a standalone episodic series is always going to end up in failure. At the very least Teleworld would have been advised to include the best episodes they could.

There's no info currently available on sales of the episodic series to the US (although I believe the French dub of Les Filles Du Ciel was shown in French Canada) but the movie features were shown at least once on the (American) Sci-Fi Channel in the mid 80s as late night/early morning movies. Any more info on airing of the series or the movie edits in the US would be much appreciated.

* The German CD soundtrack notes suggest that the episodes used are 1-4, 9, 11 and 13 but unless there is a differing German language feature version I assume this to be an error. Possibly the edit used a tiny fragment of that episode so brief I hadnít noticed it.