History Main / UFO

7th Mar '13 9:21:09 PM LongLiveHumour
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7th Mar '13 9:21:04 PM LongLiveHumour
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[[redirect:Series/{{UFO}}]]
7th Mar '13 9:19:13 PM LongLiveHumour
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[[quoteright:253:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/GayEllis_253_x_190_9206.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:253:TheEighties [[{{Zeerust}} as viewed from]] TheSeventies. When men were men and women wore purple wigs.]]

->''"The Earth is faced with a powerful threat from an extra-terrestrial source. We've moved into an age where science fiction has become fact. We need to defend ourselves."''
->- '''Commander Ed Straker''', "Identified"

->''"Our planet is dying. Our natural resources are exhausted. We must come to Earth. We must come to Earth to survive!"''
->- '''Alien-possessed human''', "E.S.P"

A [[BritishSeries British]] live-action [[ScienceFiction sci-fi]] television series created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson in 1970-71.

In the [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture futuristic world of 1980]] Earth is under attack by [[FlyingSaucer UFO's]] from a DyingRace (no name for the aliens [[NoNameGiven is ever given]]) seeking to [[HumanResources harvest people for their organs]]. A top-secret [[MultinationalTeam multinational organisation]] called [[FunWithAcronyms SHADO]] (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation, pronounced "[[MeaningfulName Shadow]]"), led by the dedicated Commander Straker, is set up with impressive (though not limitless) resources, including the high-tech hardware expected from the creators of {{Thunderbirds}}. Its goal is to [[TheMenInBlack suppress public knowledge of the aliens]] while at the same time finding ways to combat them.

The series is remembered for its colourful decor, glamorous girls in {{Stripperiffic}} outfits, and dark (for its time) concept. Few of the episodes had 'happy' endings; at most SHADO would prevent some outrageous act of sabotage or destruction, [[ShootTheDog innocent people were often sacrificed]], and attempts to discover more about the aliens [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption frequently came to naught]]. The stories included such adult themes as drug use, adultery, inter-racial relationships, and the breakdown of Straker's marriage under the strain of his job.

Unfortunately this attempt to make a DarkerAndEdgier version of ''CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons'' backfired, as most TV broadcasters were expecting the Andersons' usual [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotForKids childrens fare]]. This and [[ScrewedByTheNetwork erratic broadcasting schedules]] (no two regional stations ever simulcast the show) prevented ''UFO'' from gaining an audience -- a second season (set on a more advanced Moonbase in the 1990's) was scrapped, and the pre-production design and model work used for the more successful ''{{Space 1999}}''.

After languishing in DevelopmentHell for years, a feature film based on the series is [[http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118011722.html?categoryid=13&cs=1 supposedly moving ahead]] for release in 2012. [[http://forbiddenplanet.com/pages/matthew-gratzner-new-ufo-trilogy/ No word on whether they'll keep the purple wigs...]]

No relation to ''ProjectUFO''.
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!!This show provides examples of:
* AbsenteeActor: Although the show has LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, only Ed Straker appears in all 26 episodes.
* ActionHoggingOpening: A fast-cut montage, over an uncharacteristically (as compared to the martial/orchestral ThemeTune of {{Thunderbirds}}) [[TheSixties Swinging Sixties]] theme song, shows us all the relevant people, places, and hardware featured on the show.
* AlienAbduction
* AliensSpeakingEnglish -- Inverted in that the aliens are [[TheSpeechless never heard to speak]].
* AppliedPhlebotinum -- Usually drugs such as [[TruthSerum GL-7]] and [[CaffeineBulletTime X-50]]. Also the neutronic detection equipment.
* BridgeBunnies -- Used in both [[TheWarRoom SHADO headquarters]] and Moonbase, though the latter subverts the trope by having the women run things.
* BigBrotherIsEmployingYou -- If two SHADO employees are having an affair, computer-psych tests are run to see if it will affect their performance. Straker wants to tell his wife the truth about his job, but it would [[KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade put her life at risk]] from SHADO's own Security department.
* BodySnatcher -- After discovering a completely human 'alien', it's theorised that the aliens are EnergyBeings who just use the bodies as hosts.
* {{Brainwashed}} -- A favourite tactic of the aliens, especially ManchurianAgent ("The Psychobombs", "Kill Straker!", "E.S.P", "The Cat With Ten Lives", "Mindbender" and "The Man Who Came Back"). "Timelash" is a notable exception, in that a voluntary traitor is used.
* {{Celibate Hero}} -- Straker.
* {{Colonel Badass}} -- Straker.
* CompilationMovie -- Several episodes were edited together in the late 1970's to make ''Invasion: UFO".
* ComputerEqualsTapedrive (along with BeepingComputers, BillionsOfButtons, and OurGraphicsWillSuckInTheFuture) -- A montage of flashing lights, spinning tape drives, [[ViewerFriendlyInterface large font letters]] on coloured monitors, swaying female buttocks, and rows of large luminous buttons accompany every RedAlert. SID (the computer-controlled radar satellite) is given a more 'advanced' look, being a [[ComputerVoice talking computer]] and all.
* ContinuousDecompression -- "[[EnemyMine Survival]]", "Kill Straker!", "The Man Who Came Back."
* CoolCar, CoolBoat, CoolStarship, ElaborateUndergroundBase -- What do you expect from the people who made ''{{Thunderbirds}}''?
* {{Defictionalization}} -- Funds were raised for "The Explorer Motor Company'' to produce a real-life version of the [[CoolCar futuristic gull-winged car]] driven by Straker. A plastic mold of the vehicle was made (to be called 'Quest'), but the company never got off the ground.
* DaChief -- General Henderson of the International Astrophysical Committee, who's always going red in the face and shouting at Commander Straker, usually over SHADO's budget allocation. Ironically Henderson and Straker are quite friendly in the 'contemporary' scenes that take place before SHADO is operational.
* {{Doppelganger}} -- "Reflections in the Water."
* DownerEnding: "A Question Of Priorities." And several other episodes, but especially this one.
* EternalProhibition / EverybodySmokes -- Straker has an automatic booze dispenser in his office, though he never partakes of it himself. And the characters regularly smoke in computer rooms, medical areas, SHADO's underground headquarters, the Skydiver submarines and even on Moonbase!
* EmotionsVsStoicism -- Straker's iron self-control and willingness to ShootTheDog is joked upon (and sometimes criticised) by his officers.
* EnemyMine -- While shooting down an alien craft in one episode, Foster crashes on the Moon. His radio is broken, but he discovers that an alien is also alive (and his communications are also broken), and the two form a truce and co-operate to reach Moonbase. There's a hope that this show of good faith could lead to the alien entering Moonbase alive and opening negotiations with SHADO - but once they reach Moonbase, the guards think the the pilot is being held captive, [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption and they shoot the alien.]]
* EnergyWeapon -- The [=UFOs=] have them, but their ground troops use chrome [[KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter assault rifles firing ordinary bullets]].
* EverybodySmokes -- Even on the Moonbase, medical areas, and computer rooms!
* FacelessGoons -- In this case it's to enhance their mysterious and threatening nature, rather than so the audience won't identify with them. Though episodes where we're supposed to feel sympathy for a space-suited invader feature [[InSpaceEveryoneCanSeeYourFace a lot more close-ups]].
* {{Fanservice}} -- And how! Our first view of the 1980's is a mini-skirted dolly bird sashaying away from the camera, which is [[MaleGaze positioned at hemline level]]. Male actors had to wear jockstraps due to their slick trousers and form-fitting catsuits. Then there's the fishnet shirts of the male and female Skydiver crew that show off their nipples, and this famous [[http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=MuXIBOqBitg clothes-changing scene]] which seems like a lot of trouble to go through for a ten minute coffee break. See also AllMenArePerverts. Some women too, see slick trousers and fishnet tops above.
* FighterLaunchingSequence -- Every time the Moonbase intercepters, SHADO mobiles or Sky One deploy.
* FrontOrganisation -- SHADO headquarters is hidden under a film studio, where all the odd goings-on can be passed off as something to do with a movie. Fair enough, [[FridgeLogic but how does Straker have the time to run a film studio]] ''and'' be the leader of an international alien-fighting organisation? Wouldn't hiring a front man as studio boss make more sense?
** Of course the real reason for disguising the base as a film studio was that the series was shot at a film studio! (Actually two in succession, because the first studio closed down during production.)
* FutureMusic -- "Ordeal" wrongly predicted that you can go to a party in the future dressed like [[AustinPowers Goldmember]] and not get laughed at; however it was correct in assuming that Music/{{the Beatles}} song "Get Back" will still be popular.
* GovernmentConspiracy -- SHADO conceals evidence that [=UFOs=] exist to [[DyingLikeAnimals prevent worldwide panic]]. Their methods include intimidation (ranging from beatings to pressure on the employers of the witness), [[ResignedToTheCall conscription into SHADO]], [[LaserGuidedAmnesia amnesia pills]], and even [[KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade murder]].
* HeKnowsTooMuch -- Test pilot Paul Foster is given a choice between joining SHADO or dying when he witnesses a UFO attack and starts asking questions. Later when Foster becomes unreliable due to alien brainwashing it's expected by all concerned (including Foster) that Straker will kill him as [[ResignationsNotAccepted it's impossible to simply fire the man]]. Instead Straker forces the issue with an intense KillMeNowOrForeverStayYourHand moment in a ShootingGallery.
* HeyItsThatVoice and [[HeyItsThatGuy Hey It's That Girl]] -- Ed Bishop (playing Straker) voiced Captain Blue in ''CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons'', and even copied Blue's distinctive white hair for his character. And Canadian actress Lois Maxwell (more commonly known as [[JamesBond Miss Moneypenny]], and also the voice of Atlanta Shore in the Andersons' ''Stingray'') is Straker's secretary for a couple of episodes. SHADO, WASP and [=MI6=] must have a staff exchange program.
* HumanAliens -- Justified in that the aliens are using human bodies. Even the legendary LittleGreenMen look is {{Handwaved}} as being from the fluid used to [[InertialDampening cushion their bodies]] for faster-than-light travel.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo -- Very much. There's lots of BlackAndGreyMorality, and plenty of WhatTheHellHero moments.
* InfiniteSupplies -- Averted. Several episodes show Straker arguing with his superiors over his budget allocation. (Players of ''{{X-COM}}'' might have a idea of how he feels.)
* InSpaceEveryoneCanSeeYourFace -- Applies to the humans, though the aliens are usually [[FacelessGoons obscured by their liquid-filled helmets]].
* ItWasAllJustADream -- "Ordeal", "[[BreakingTheFourthWall Mindbender]]"
* MadeOfExplodium -- The [=UFOs=] disintegrate if they spend too much time in Earth's atmosphere. They can also be destroyed by conventional weapons.
* MaleGaze: In the first episode alone, there were ''three'' shots of female SHADO personnel in miniskirts or catsuits sauntering towards or away from the camera.
* TheMenInBlack -- Though dressed a lot more stylishly. Well...colourfully anyway.
* MilitaryMashupMachine -- Skydiver, an atomic submarine with hydrofoil capability and a jet fighter attached to its nose. The name makes a lot of sense when you see the opening titles: "SKYDIVER" is written on the side of the hull. When the jet, "Sky One", separates from the sub, the word splits in two: the jet now says "SKY" and the sub "DIVER".
* MorallyAmbiguousDoctorate -- Dr. Doug Jackson, who speaks with a noticeable [[DirtyCommunists Eastern European accent]] and always has a vaguely sinister air about him. It's possible he is a spy for Straker's superiors. As the doctor says on his first appearance, [[NinjaMaid things are not always what they seem]].
* MsFanservice -- Lieutenant Gay Ellis.
* NecessarilyEvil -- The aliens are motivated by desperation rather than malice.
* NoNewFashionsInTheFuture -- In the 1980's wigs have replaced [[EightiesHair bad hairstyles]], suits and ties have given way to turtlenecks and Nehru jackets, while [[SpaceClothes catsuits and calf-boots]] are standard military uniform.
* NoBiochemicalBarriers -- The aliens can adapt human organs to replace their own, yet die if exposed to our atmosphere for too long.
* NoPronunciationGuide -- An idiosyncrasy of the series is that the term "UFO" is pronounced as a word ("you-foh"), as suggested by the real-world originator of the term Edward J. Ruppelt, and not as the more common "you-eff-oh". This is particularly true of the lead character, Ed Straker. Technically speaking the series title should properly be pronounced "you-foh" as well. However, the "you-foh" pronunciation was not consistently applied and some supporting characters use the now more common form.
* NukeEm -- Each Moonbase [[CoolShip Interceptor]] is armed with a single large nuclear missile on its nose, though the Sky One fighter (that operates in Earth's atmosphere) uses [[MacrossMissileMassacre multiple rocket launchers]] with conventional warheads.
* OldSchoolDogfighting -- Though special-effects limitations prevented much in the way of actual dog-fighting, the imagined space combat draws very much from [[WorldWarII Battle of Britain]] tropes. Moonbase is the beleaguered sector airfield, and SID (Space Intruder Detector) the early-warning radar. Calmly-speaking young women (the WAAF's) vector in Interceptors (Spitfires) against the anonymous alien invaders (German bombers). But given that the Moon takes 27.322 days to orbit the Earth, [[FridgeLogic one wonders why]] the aliens don't just attack when Moonbase is on the opposite side of their target.
** According to the numbers mentioned in the show, SHADO routinely tracks and attempts to intercept [=UFOs=] still flying faster than light. To have a prayer of doing this, the interceptors must be wicked fast for a sublight craft, enough for the relative position of the Moon not to matter much, I suppose.
* OutOfOrder -- Every TV broadcaster showed the 26 episodes in different order, due to the then highly-localized nature of the ITV "network" in Britain (This was completely normal at the time, and explains the absence of multi-episode plotlines).
* PersonOfMassDestruction -- "The Psychobombs"
* PsychicPowers -- ESP is a mental condition treated by mainstream psychologists.
* RedAlert -- SID (Space Intruder Detector), SHADO Control and Moonbase all call them.
* RewindReplayRepeat -- In one episode, Straker catches a subliminal clue about UFO attacks from a documentary film, and insists on watching the clip over and over until he figures out what triggered the association.
* ShootTheDog -- "A Question of Priorities", "The Responsibility Seat", "Ordeal"
* SigilSpam -- SHADO puts its name and logo on all of its vehicles, even though SHADO's existence itself is secret.
* SmokingIsCool - Straker, Freeman
* SolemnEndingTheme -- It has a fast upbeat opening theme, but closes with an ominous atmospheric piece.
* SpaceIsAnOcean, SpaceIsNoisy, SpaceIsSlowMotion, StandardizedSpaceViews
* StealthInSpace -- Averted. Nothing escapes the eagle eye of SID; in fact most alien plots are about trying to get past the SHADO defence system.
* StockFootage -- The underwing rocket packs on the Sky One fighter resemble those used by RAF ground attack fighters, saving money on shots of them firing.
* TimeStandsStill -- "Timelash"
* ToTheBatpole -- Pilots use chutes to quickly get to their interceptors on Moonbase and the [=SkyDiver=] submarine. SHADO's headquarters (hidden under a film studio) is accessed by Straker's office which serves as an elevator. Hopefully no-one peeked into the bosses window and wondered why his office was sinking into the ground.
** The latter point was lampshaded by Gerry Anderson himself in a DVD commentary.
* [[YouGottaHaveBlueHair You Gotta Have Purple Hair]] -- One of the rare Western examples, and from before anime became popular to boot.
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes / CompressedVice -- Straker suffers from {{claustrophobia}}, which causes problems when he's trapped on a damaged submarine (though [[FridgeLogic though you'd think]] it'd cause problems in the confines of a spacecraft too).
* {{Zeerust}} -- The series foresees the pervasive use (though not the nature) of computers in everyday life, spacecraft piggy-back launched from aircraft, voice print identification, car and cordless telephones, and that space debris will become a serious concern. Incorrect predictions include an extensive space/lunar industry, widespread use of supersonic transport, cars driving on the right hand side of the road in the UK, and racism dying out by the 1980's (though the last is presented as an {{Aesop}}; a black officer points out that while overt, explicit racism might have disappeared, he still has to put up with its more subtle forms, which is pretty much TruthInTelevision).
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23rd Nov '12 1:00:20 AM Cindylover1969
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* ActionHoggingOpening: A fast-cut montage, over an uncharacteristically [[note]](as compared to the martial/orchestral ThemeTune of {{Thunderbirds}})[[/note]] [[TheSixties Swinging Sixties]] theme song, shows us all the relevant people, places, and hardware featured on the show.

to:

* AbsenteeActor: Although the show has LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, only Ed Straker appears in all 26 episodes.
* ActionHoggingOpening: A fast-cut montage, over an uncharacteristically [[note]](as (as compared to the martial/orchestral ThemeTune of {{Thunderbirds}})[[/note]] {{Thunderbirds}}) [[TheSixties Swinging Sixties]] theme song, shows us all the relevant people, places, and hardware featured on the show.



* {{Doppelganger}} -- "Reflections in the Water"
* DownerEnding: "A Question Of Priorities."

to:

* {{Doppelganger}} -- "Reflections in the Water"
Water."
* DownerEnding: "A Question Of Priorities."" And several other episodes, but especially this one.
14th Nov '12 11:03:34 AM StiffShots
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** Contrasted by the spacy, abstract SolemnEndingTheme.
14th Nov '12 10:51:39 AM StiffShots
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* ActionHoggingOpening: A fast-cut montage, over an uncharacteristically[[note:as compared to the martial/orchestral ThemeTune of Thunderbirds]] [[TheSixties Swinging Sixties]] theme song, shows us all the relevant people, places, and hardware featured on the show.

to:

* ActionHoggingOpening: A fast-cut montage, over an uncharacteristically[[note:as uncharacteristically [[note]](as compared to the martial/orchestral ThemeTune of Thunderbirds]] {{Thunderbirds}})[[/note]] [[TheSixties Swinging Sixties]] theme song, shows us all the relevant people, places, and hardware featured on the show.
14th Nov '12 10:49:27 AM StiffShots
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* ActionHoggingOpening: A fast-cut montage, over an uncharacteristically[[note: as compared to the martial/orchestral ThemeTune of Thunderbirds]] [[TheSixties Swinging Sixties]] theme song, shows us all the relevant people, places, and hardware featured on the show.

to:

* ActionHoggingOpening: A fast-cut montage, over an uncharacteristically[[note: as uncharacteristically[[note:as compared to the martial/orchestral ThemeTune of Thunderbirds]] [[TheSixties Swinging Sixties]] theme song, shows us all the relevant people, places, and hardware featured on the show.
14th Nov '12 10:47:57 AM StiffShots
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* ActionHoggingOpening: A fast-cut montage, over an uncharacteristically [[TheSixties Swinging Sixties]] theme song, shows us all the relevant people, places, and hardware featured on the show.

to:

* ActionHoggingOpening: A fast-cut montage, over an uncharacteristically uncharacteristically[[note: as compared to the martial/orchestral ThemeTune of Thunderbirds]] [[TheSixties Swinging Sixties]] theme song, shows us all the relevant people, places, and hardware featured on the show.
14th Nov '12 10:20:06 AM StiffShots
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Added DiffLines:

** Contrasted by the spacy, abstract SolemnEndingTheme.
14th Nov '12 10:17:02 AM StiffShots
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* ActionHoggingOpening: A fast-cut montage, over an uncharacteristically Swinging Sixties theme song, shows us all the relevant people, places, and hardware featured on the show.

to:

* ActionHoggingOpening: A fast-cut montage, over an uncharacteristically [[TheSixties Swinging Sixties Sixties]] theme song, shows us all the relevant people, places, and hardware featured on the show.
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