I am trying to remember the name of a TV show in the late 70s, perhaps early 80s, in which a group of two or three people (there was a man and a woman) travelled between different sections of a large spaceship. The spaceship carried people from Earth. I seem to remember that the various sections of the spaceship (which were semi-spherical) contained different environments, and different ethnicities from Earth. Hence the protagonists found themselves in an unknown situation each time they entered a new part of the ship.

Can anyone help me to find out the name and suggest where I could get a hold of episodes?


1 Answer 1


It's The Starlost. It was an attempt by Harlan Ellison to create a novel for TV. He had plots outlined that would take several years and intended the series to be told as a story, where things changed and there was a definite beginning, middle, and end.

But Ellison was deeply disappointed in what the network did to them in terms of funding and forced changes, so he invoked the clause in his contract to change his name on the credits to Cordwainer Bird, which is his signal that he feels a good show was destroyed by producers or other people in power.

Unfortunately, Ben Bova also worked on the show and did not have a similar clause in his contract, so he was stuck with his name on the show.

Copies of episodes show up in places like YouTube from time to time.

  • 3
    You can rent the series DVD (but not stream it) from NetFlix or buy it from Amazon. It sounds like the story would have been good but it didn't end up that way. BTW, there was a RPG on the same theme called "Metamorphosis Alpha".
    – jfrankcarr
    Dec 29, 2011 at 2:34
  • Harlan novelized the pilot as "Phoenix Without Ashes", and was a very good story. I bought the DVD (set?) from Amazon. The first episode blew chunks so badly I never managed to persuade myself to watch any of the others. The novelization included a Foreword that went into detail on what the producers did to his baby. It was NOT pretty. Apr 20, 2022 at 2:53
  • @JohnR.Strohm I've read, in a few places, what the producers did and why it got the "Bird." (Harlan using Cordwainer Bird on the credits.) It is sad. As a young teen, in the 70s, when SF was so rare, I watched the series avidly. Hey, it was SF - that didn't happen much on TV in those days! Even then, I knew it was bad, but it had a spaceship, so that made it worth watching. I re-watched it a few years ago. Yes, it's bad, but often I learn more from aborted works like that than I do from excellent ones. It's an interesting study of what could have been but was destroyed.
    – Tango
    Apr 20, 2022 at 5:56

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