I caught a weird little SF television series on YouTube recently. It was a joint German-British production, and at the time it was made, it was probably cutting edge social satire wrapped up in the trappings of a science fiction show.
Between seasons of Space: 1999, it seems production designer Keith Wilson got bored being unemployed and took a job designing for Star Maidens. I've heard R3 say that in every bad science fiction program, there's something good. Wilson's work is the good thing about this show.
The story is basically Space: 1999 in reverse. Instead of the moon being blasted out of orbit and wandering among the stars from solar system to solar system finding weird alien planets, this time the weird alien planet gets blasted out of orbit around Proxima Centauri and wanders into our solar system. Instead of the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha visiting the weird planet, the weird planet aliens visit the Earth.
I'm kind of guessing that this started out as a Space: 1999 episode that got expanded into 13 episodes and made into its own series. It gave the writers
a bit more time to explore a weird alien culture of militant feminists than your standard planet-of-the-week story. "Weird alien" is kind of a misnomer here, though, because these aliens look and act exactly like humans. They don't even have oversized prosthetic foreheads, just a little glitter on the upper parts of their cheeks. The main difference is that the wandering planet is run by women, who treat the men like second-class citizens.
The quickie version of the story is that two male slaves (called domestics, but they're basically slaves) escape from the planet to Earth. They call for
asylum. In retaliation, the aliens (called Medusans) capture two Earth
scientists, a man and a woman, and hold them as hostages until their domestics are returned. This allows the story to follow the action on Earth and on Medusa. On Earth, the two men are chased around by the police in a kind of Galactica: 1980 way, while on Medusa, the male scientist is enslaved while the woman is put in a position of semi-trusted power.
The male scientist has to put up with the degradations of the militant feminists, embodied mostly by the security chief Octavia, and gradually proves himself to them, only to be degraded again. That's the better storyline in this mess.
My wife, who is herself a cross between Space: 1999, Barbarella and militant feminism (not really- she's more the guerilla-type.) gave up after one episode, grumbling something about "Nobody ever gets strong female characters right..."
The closest the show comes to doing this is Chief Security Controller Octavia, played by a German actress of Hotness. But, not in a traditional Hotness way, more in the Cool Detached Vulcan Dominatrix sort of Hotness.
Conversely, Supreme Councellor Fulvia is vain, arrogant, and prone to flattery, but she makes up for this by being annoying. The two escaped domestics were in her service, and she very much wants them back in the same way that a snobby rich woman would demand the return of her runaway poodles. Her argument is aided by the fact that the Medusans happen to have some high-tech gadgets at their disposal. I'm not going to give any spoilers, because really, this show just isn't worth it. It's silly without being funny.
I remember catching Episode 8 back in the 1970s, thought it was dreadful and was never able to catch another episode again, until I found the entire series available on YouTube. And, while I make no pretense that it is NOT dreadful, it is dreadful in a nostalgic sort of way. You can kind of forgive it for being bad, because everything in the genre was bad back then.
Let me put it this way: R3 described Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea as being very much like the original Star Trek. If you squint, you can imagine
that the Seaview is another ship in Star Fleet, going through similar adventures.
If you squint, Star Maidens could be looked on as some lost episodes of Space: 1999 only with a cheaper budget. The stories set on Earth are
rather predictable, but the episodes on Medusa are not too bad.
I'm tempted to say that Star Maidens is better than Space: 1999, except
they're different sort of shows. Space: 1999 is an Effects Show, and
Star Maidens doesn't do that well in that department. You watch Space: 1999 for the effects. You don't watch it for the characters, who are dull. You don't watch it for the writing, which is dreadful. And you don't watch it for the stories, which are dumb. Except for the effects, Star Maidens stands up better than Space: 1999...but that really doesn't say much now, does it?
But, if the 1970's content of your blood is running low (and with Obama in office, I'm guessing you've had plenty) you might give it a look. There's plenty of good looking women running around in Glam-Rock outfits. Just keep thinking Logan's Run, Space: 1999 and Barbarella.
But, you gotta squint a bit.