Retro Sci Fi TV: Star Maidens (1976)

By | October 27, 2018

A look at shows from the past that may not have stood the test of time and/or that are relegated to their era, but many of us still have fond memories of them.

What Is It? The planet Medusa is wandering through space after a comet knocked it out of its sun’s orbit, inhabited by a technologically advanced civilization in which women are the dominant sex. When the Medusans come in contact with Earth, cultures clash and the people of both planets must find a common ground.




Aired: 1976, Syndication, 1 Season Totaling 13 Episodes

Starring: Judy Geeson, Lisa Harrow, Christiane Krüger, Pierre Brice, Gareth Thomas

Created By: Jost Graf von Hardenberg

Is It Must-Watch Sci Fi? No. But it has a similar look and feel to Space: 1999 and fans of that show may enjoy it.

 

The Skinny: Back in the mid-70’s, a little over a year after Space: 1999 had its debut, this British-German production made an appearance in syndication to the delight of those who discovered it. I seem to recall it aired while we were waiting on new episodes of the Gerry Anderson series, and it was very much in the same vein as that show. A strange planet enters the solar system (in a reversal of sorts of 1999‘s Moon hurtling through the galaxy) and it was populated by an advanced race led by the women of their society (they also live underground because the surface became uninhabitable after getting knocked out of orbit). Two men flee from the oppression they experience on their world (one of which is played by a pre-Blake’s 7 Gareth Thomas) which leads to Earth and Medusa making first contact.

The basic premise was very topical because the “battle of the sexes” had become a very public debate at that time. But the show didn’t add much to the discussion as it leaned heavier toward the action-adventure angle while only throwing in bits of social commentary. Still, it was great fun and one of the few true sci fi entries on television at the time (as opposed to the superheroes subbing for sci fi in shows like The Six Million Dollar Man and Wonder Woman). The special effects were not quite on par with Space: 1999, but still pretty decent for a lower budget show. This is not one that ever acquired much of a following, but it is a fun and campy little gem from its era and worth a look for those that are curious.

Cancelled Too Soon? Yes. The series had an ongoing arc that was not resolved at the end of the first season. It did not end on a cliffhanger, but there was definitely plenty more story to tell. But it did not draw large enough viewership in syndication (nor apparently in its home countries) and ended after its first year.

Should It Be Rebooted? No. There’s not enough nostalgia for this one to attract interest in a revival/reboot, and the “battle of the sexes” angle has not dated well.

Interesting Fact: The visual similarities between this show and Space: 1999 were not coincidental. Production designer Keith Wilson worked on both shows and brought some of the look and feel of the space ships and the Medusan city over from his work with Gerry Anderson.

Where Can You Watch It? The entire series has been collected on DVD and you can purchase it for under $10 from Amazon.com. It is not available for streaming anywhere that I am aware of.

Read More About the Show: Wikipedia | IMDb.com

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