Wednesday, 7 September 2011

UFO: The Cat With Ten Lives

I always love the weird episodes of TV series, the ones where they decide to shake up the format, or write it in a hurry, or use costumes and sets from another production, or just go completely off the rails and appear to be working on a completely different programme. 'UFO' has more than its share of these anomalies, but 'The Cat With Ten Lives' takes the bleeding biscuit.

Alexis Kanner plays Jim Regan, a Moonbase pilot ace who, after a seance, is kidnapped by aliens who steal his pregnant wife and leave him in the control of a Siamese cat. Yes, a Siamese cat. The cat makes him claw Colonel Foster's face before getting him to try and crash his Interceptor into Moonbase itself.

It's pretty bizarre stuff, made even stranger by some directorial flourishes that jar with the usual fairly straightforward series approach. Alexis Kanner, familiar from 'The Prisoner' and 'Goodbye, Gemini' is a strange, unsettling and irritating actor, anyway: waxy of complexion, glassy eyed, prone to gritting his teeth and standing rigidly like an abandoned tailor's dummy. This approach works well to portray Regan as alien pawn, of course, but falls down when attempting to show him as a caring family man: he's just too odd and creepy.

Don't get me wrong, it's an excellent, fast moving episode - it's just weird, but, here on The Island, since when was that a problem?  

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