Episode Nine :
Little Green Men and Other Martians
Written by:
Chris Boucher
Directed by: Graeme Harper
Episode Length: 51'13m
Originally Broadcast: 31st Aug 1987, 20:35
Ratings: 1.2m

Starring: David Calder (Nathan Spring), Trevor Cooper (Colin Devis), Linda Newton (Pal Kenzy), Jonathan Adams (Alexander Krivenko) and Sayo Inaba (Anna Shoun).

Guest-Starring: Roy Holder (Daniel Larwood), Nigel Hughes (Andrew Philpott), Lachelle Carl (Susan Caxton), Wendy Macadam (Operations manager), Bridget Lynch-Rose (Co-pilot), Kenneth Lodge (Pilot), Peter Neathy (Customs officer), Phillip Rowlands (Outpost controller) and David Janes (Surveyor).

Technical Personnel: Chris Boucher (Series Deviser); Ian R. Wallace (Production Associate); Kevan Van Thompson (Production Manager); Sue Card (Production Assistant); Jim Thomson (Assistant Floor Manager); Robin Lobb (Video Effects Supervisor); Mike Kelt/Malcolm James (Visual Effects Designers); Reg Poulter (Technical Co Ordinator); Roger Goss (Studio Camera Operator); Charles McGhie (Graphic Design); John Charles (Properties Buyer); Dennis Collett (Videotape Editor); Julie Mann (Vision Mixer); Chris Townsend (Lighting Director); Chick Anthony/Gerry Borrows (Studio Sound); Lynda Woodfield (Costume Designer); Jill Hagger (Make-Up Designer); Justin Hayward (Theme Composer/Theme Sung By); Justin Hayward/Toni Visconti (Incidental Music); Joanna Willett (Script Editor); Malcolm Thornton (Designer) and Evgeny Gridneff (Producer).

Character Development: Nathan is preparing to leave for Mars duty for roughly a two-year period. Nathan also claims he has subscribed to several drug rehabilitation centres, which is probably a flippant remark, but it does seem a very strange thing to say.
Kenzy studied art, including the history of Mayan sculpture. As a student radical she met Daniel Larwood, now a journalist for Atlas News. It is implied Kenzy and Larwood had a relationship, though he betrayed her by writing a story on her anti-climatic anarchist activities with fellow students.
Box can scan, take visual records, project those records and also give off alarms. Theroux is on Earth Rest for the episode's duration.

Future lives : Alcohol is against regulations on Moonbase. There are news channels called Cosmopolitan News and Atlas News. There is also no video link between Moonbase and the Mars colony.

The Crimes: Two pilots turned up on Moonbase and were killed in accidents when they should have been flying a shuttle from Mars. Meanwhile, a Martian artefact has been found on Mars's surface.

The Solutions : The artefact was in reality a Mayan sculpture, hidden there by smugglers to be conveniently "found" when the time was right. With the people behind the plot standing by to cash in, their plans were complicated with the appearance on Moonbase of the journalists Daniel Larwood and Susan Caxton. As a result, all the evidence was destroyed, save for a picture of the "Martian sculpture", hidden in a duplicate I.D. of one of the dead pilots.

Nathan and David's Movie-Buff Challenge : Almost completely absent this episode, as is David. Though as Linda Newton got most of his lines, I feel sure it would have been Theroux that was originally scheduled to liken Larwood to Pat O'Brien.

Trivia : Erick Ray Evans was unable to appear in this episode - working title "Information Received" - as he had measles. Most of his lines were given to Linda Newton, though for an idea of how it may have originally been plotted then see Chris Boucher's novelisation of the episode.

Viewpoint 2008 :

"Drugs, you sure?"
"No. But it's a lot of trouble to go to for powdered beef casserole."

As starcops.com nears ten years on the net, I note that this ninth and final episode is the most popular in the site visitor poll, with 24% of the vote. (Other People's Secrets comes a close second, with episodes 2-4 then taking joint third place). I find it a decent enough watch, if a little hectic, and one that does have "format reboot" written all the way through it. Yes, this is Star Cops: Mars Colony, the projected path of season two... a season that was never commissioned, making this something of a disheartening view.

The absense of Erick Ray Evans is felt and Lachelle Carl is miscast in her guest role, though Kenzy is back to her crotch-stamping best in her investigative role. There are flaws with the piece, such as the wittiness of certain lines feeling very "written" and needing another draft, or the superpowers that Box seems to have developed. Generally though, this is a solid entry that leaves the viewer wanting more... a "more" they'd never receive.

Overall Verdict 2008 :

Generally speaking I've been cooling to Star Cops more and more as the years have gone by. I enjoyed the series when it aired, but in three previous reviews for this site I've found it got progressively worse. Thankfully for this fourth look back over the show I've found it has much to commend it. Sure, most of that potential remained untapped, and what was on screen rarely matched what was on paper, but at its heart Star Cops is a worthwhile series.

The episodes by writers other than the creator I've found this time to be entertaining but throwaway - Star Cops really is a Chris Boucher series through and through. His predictive future is highly rewarding to watch, and some of the regulars - David Calder in particular - turn in consistently good performances. In retrospect then Erick Ray Evans is a lot better in the series than I'd recalled, his reputation only marred by missteps in a couple of episodes... having said this, they really should have written out Sayo Inaba if they went to a second season.

At its best, Star Cops shows considerable potential as a series, and is beginning to acquire a kind of endearing charm as the years pass by... it's shifting from an underbudgetted cheap series and into a decades-old ambitious work that dared to try. Despite some of the appalling national stereotypes throughout, eight of these episodes are still solid enough entertainment - five of which could have been four-star stories with a kind eye - and only one of them, the melodramatic silliness of the second, fails to hold up to any close scrutiny. Yes, the show's execution never lived up to the potential, it needed a new name and new music, but it still, as Boucher himself says, "has legs". I found it something of a delight to rediscover this time around, and look forward to the next ten years on the web.