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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers - Episode 1 Recap/Review

Well, I haven't had the chance to go to the comic book shop, so I thought I'd try doing something a little different.

Earlier on, I floated the idea of doing reviews of episodes of bad 90s shows. I'd still kind of like to do that, but let's be honest, I'm kind of lazy, so I thought I'd start a little smaller and go with 80s cartoons!

This time, I'm reviewing the first episode of "The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers." I've actually blogged about it before, but I'd never done an in depth review before, so I figure this is an experiment. Feel free to let me know if it sucks or entertains you. Or not. :-) I'll likely do it sporadically until I get bored.

It's probably important to note that, being one of those 80s shows, it's constantly shown out of order, even on some DVD sets (which is annoying because this show actually does have continuity). Fortunately I found me a fan made episode guide, so I figured I'd work off that.

Okay, so if you don't know the premise, it's a kind of sci-fi western amalgamation (think Firefly with more absurd abilities, less random interjections in Chinese, and to be honest, a somewhat more coherent setting... also, robot horses) starring four space cops with weird abilities who are possibly crazy and like to blow shit up.

Since this review is pretty much a recap with commentary, I'll cut it. :-)

Caution, Many Spoilers Within
The episode starts with the usual spiel: hideously cute aliens come to Earth for help and trade a faster-than-light drive to them in exchange. Earth thinks this is awesome, as would you, and starts exploring. This monologue is in every episode, in the ridiculously dramatic narrator voice that I'm pretty sure is compulsory for every silly 80s cartoon.

It does a decent job of explaining the premise in a short amount of time though, and it leads into the impossibly catchy, really annoying 80s-esque themesong. (Which always brings to mind the Battle of the Bands episode. Of course a show about space cops will lead to an episode in which they have to pretend to be a rock band. It's the eighties.)

Anyway, as 80s cartoon themesongs that echo in your head for hours after the fact go, it's not that bad. I think it falls somewhere below She-Ra's theme, and somewhere above G.I. Joe in terms of annoyingness.

(Youtube has the intro here. See? Robot horses.)

The first episode doesn't actually feature three of the four main characters. However, so it'll be a little while before the we, the viewer, would have any idea who the hot black guy, the long haired psychic chick (the chick is always psychic in 80s cartoons), or the young Clint Eastwood wanna-be is.

We do get introduced to the guy with the bionic arm who looks a teensy bit like Jerry Orbach. I'm not sure you can see the resemblance in the intro clip. But I swiped some pictures for reference:

This is Zachary Foxx:


(stolen shamelessly from this fan page.)

This is Jerry Orbach:


(taken respectfully but without permission from this memorial site.)

See? Granted it's mostly the eyebrows but still.

Anyway, by serendipity or design, probably the latter, Captain Zachary Foxx is also voiced by Mr. Orbach. So there you go. This series is basically about Jerry Orbach in space riding a robot horse. In a cowboy hat. Also with a cyborg arm.

This is an awesome show.

The episode I'm watching, by the way is called "Phoenix". And I've determined it to be the first episode if only because this is the episode in which Zach is not yet a cyborg, nor is he a Galaxy Ranger. And since the other characters are pretty much "Sir not appearing in this episode" either this is the origin episode, or the series is a LIE.

Actually, my mistake, he IS a Galaxy Ranger already (I'm watching this real time, by the way, with excessive use of the pause button.) However, he isn't a cyborg and apparently belongs to the Reed Richards school of "Ooo, I'm in space, escorting two important, if slightly overly mascotish ambassadors to the headquarters of the League of Planets. Let me bring my combat-untrained wife and two pre-teen kids along!"

If you think this will end well, you've either never watched a cartoon or read a comic, or you're a spitting moron. You pick.

Anyway, we're quickly introduced to a few concepts. The Kiwi, an impossibly cute race with big ears that likes to grow stuff. The Andorians, who are kind of like slightly sanctimonious old people, but with black, pupilless eyes. (The two ambassadors, Waldo and Zozo are Andorian and Kiwi respectively.) Kirowan, a planet very important to the "League of Planets" which is protected by a shield, and is where the Kiwi are growing "enough food to feed the entire League of Planets." Also, Zach's hot redhaired wife, Eliza, his cute blonde daughter Jessica, and his teenage son Zach Jr.

Tangentially, I have some issues with people who name their kid ___, Jr. It's got to foster an inadequacy complex. On the other hand, if your dad is a cyborg Jerry Orbach...

Of course, because it's that kind of show, the evil villainess, who is something like the Wicked Queen from Snow White, if you couldn't see her face and she was a bit sparklier, decides to blow that shit up. She wants to steal the "life-force" of humans to power her evil zombie robot slave army.

Because it's that kind of show.

Also, one of the robots just said "Bah Humbug." Heh.

The Queen doesn't actually blow the planet up, just breaks the shield and delivers an ultimatum. Gosh, I hope she doesn't come across Jerry Orbach's little spaceship!

I mock only because I love.

Also, I love the way they use AI in this cartoon. The characters actually download them into different things as needed. From spaceships to robot horses. Also they have entertaining personalities, and I think the one in Zach's ship just called his kid a loser. Or "Little sir." But my version's funnier. also calls the daughter "toots". Heh.

Anyway, the ship gets blown off course and is picked up by a pirate that looks like a bird with antlers. In a nice bit of parallel, he has a long eared monkey thing on his shoulder. It appeals to my sense of humor.

Anyway. The pirate wants to sell the humans to the Wicked Queen.

To give the show credit, as much as I think it's idiotic to bring the kids on a mission to begin with, they ARE actually useful aboard ship and don't whine that much.

Jerry Orbach's AI kind of sounds like C3-PO. Also, I think it just got molested by the pirate ship.

Zach is actually fairly badass. When the ship is caught by some sort of clamps, he actually goes out in a spaceship to shoot the wires holding it with a hand-gun. Of course, then he's ambushed by a lizard man with a lightsaber, who he manages to kick off the spaceship. Then he gets his ass kidnapped.

There is taunting and explaining, and trying to bodily throw oneself against a forcefield (why do people ALWAYS do that? It never works!)

Anyway, the cute alien ambassadors tell the wife and kids to blast out of there while they go to rescue the idiot. But they need more "life cans". I don't know what those are, but they're important enough that Eliza (Zach's hot wife, in case you weren't paying attention) decides to go get them. This seems like a bad idea.

I am proven right when a moment later, the doors close and Eliza is face to face with a lizardman. She tells the kids to leave, and then gets surprisingly badass on the lizardman. Apparently, I was wrong about her l33t combat skillz, because Eliza's actually doing a pretty damn good job, until she reaches too far for a blaster and gets her ass pinned.

Then the AI proves its worth by popping up with a cartoon image that plays the saxaphone and then blasts the lizardman.

I love this series.

Eliza finishes the lizardman up but then keels her ass over.

Meanwhile, the antler-bird-pirate is drinking from a wine glass. I'm sure if it ever comes up, he's drinking "lemonade" Sailor Moon, but still, I'm amused. He speaks to the Queen, who pretty much insists on confiscating everything.

The Captain is distressed and expresses this by whining "I want my booty" and squeezing his hands in a matter that is rather suggestive. I could comment, but that's probably better left alone.

Meanwhile, the unbearably cute Ambassadors have proven themselves the anti-Snarfs, and manage to extract Zach from the forcefield by clever use of judo and electric zappage. Yay!

Hehehe. In an awesome visual sight-gag, when the Pirate is informed that the humans have escaped, he spits out wine onto his obscenely cheerful underling, who's antenna opens into a very cute umbrella. Hee!

Unfortunately, while escaping (hijacking one of the pirate's tiny ships), Zach takes a laser shot to the side. Oh well. I'm sure that won't lead to awesome cyborg-y tendancies later.

Also, poor ass-kicking Eliza gets left behind. I'm sure she won't end up in the hands of the Queen and turned into a zombie robot!

On the plus side, two minutes left of the episode, we finally get to meet the other Galaxy Rangers and get the rest of the show's background. Each character is implanted with a nifty experimental microchip in their brains that lets them use special powers when they touch their badges.

Zach, who indeed failed his dodge roll earlier, has had his left side replaced with bionics which can become a nifty blaster weapon when he touches his badge.

The aforementioned hot black guy is introduced as "Doc Hartford" and he is a computer wizard who can literally conjure AI programs and viruses when he wants.

The psychic chick is Niko. She doesn't get a last name. Her implant will "strengthen her psychic senses", which isn't very enlightening but from the way she starts glowing Dark Phoenix, we can assume its very impressive.

The baby!Clint-Eastwood is Shane Gooseman, whose surname makes Niko suddenly look very lucky. He has "internal bio-defenses" that make him "nearly invincible." Which is even less useful an explanation of his powers than Niko had. We can infer from this that his powers probably consist of "whatever-the-fuck-we-need-to-save-the-characters-asses'-this week". And from the way he twirls his guns, we can probably assume that this also involves blowing shit up.

As each character is introduced, they each get a line of dialogue which is designed to give us a base idea of each character's base personality. Zach determinedly insists that he will save his wife. Doc enthusiastically asserts that he's ready. Niko ponderously pronounces the dangers to the human race (if I weren't aware of future episodes and Niko's tendancy to kick people in the face, I would find her very annoying, I suspect.) While "Gooseman" languidly drawls something about standing by for action, which is more of a clue that this is the character that blows shit up.

Their commanding officer by the way has a giant bushy mustache. So you know by default that he is awesome. It's an 80s cartoon law.

Now officially set up, the episode ends. What we've learned: Zach's kind of dumb and his life sucks. The Queen is evil. Don't trust birds with antlers. Mascot-like ambassadors can apparently kick ass. And never take your family into space. Sadly there were no robot horses in this episode, but they are in the theme, so hopefully they will show up soon.

All things considered, it's a fairly decent set-up. We won't get a very good idea of the other main characters' personalities for another episode or so, but it does a good job of introducing the important concepts of the series: Zach, his goal, the Queen, the Implants and the formation of the team. All in one half hour. Which if you compare to series like She-Ra or the Thundercats, whose origin stories stretched over four or five episodes, is pretty freakin' impressive.

Anyway, there we go. I have written a review. I don't know if I'll write another. But it at least filled a post for the day so I feel accomplished. Good night!


  • At February 26, 2009 8:32 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    I now want a "Law&Order in Space With Extra Explosions" cartoon. Featuring cyborg Lenny, psychic I Forget Ice-T's Name, Space Wizard Munch and Cute Redhead from that terrible Lawyers Only L&O spin-off that no one watched and is now on Criminal Intent as Girl-D'Onfrio. She, of course, would be a psychic martial artist...

    They could just peel off Jerry Orbach's lines from every other thing he's done and insert them in the cartoon...

  • At February 26, 2009 11:05 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I blush to admit this, but I absolutely loved this show. I watched it when my kids were babies, and I do have to say that it was a lot more kickass than Sesame Street.

    It was actually also pretty progressive for the time. I can't remember a cartoon that had a married hero, much less one with kids. And while Niko did have the obligatory "girly" powers, she also actually DID go and give judo chops and kick people in the face.

    I still have the entire series on video tape.

  • At February 26, 2009 5:10 PM, Anonymous plok said…

    Please do more!

    I once made up a whole fan-fic script for a two-part series finale for Galaxy Rangers, in my (obviously extensive) spare time...I think because there's something useful and interesting in the show, no matter how trashy it was.

  • At February 27, 2009 8:41 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I did more, Plok. It's your fault. :-)

    There is something useful and interesting in the show. There's a lot of really silly stuff in there, but there's a lot of stuff that's done really well.

  • At February 27, 2009 9:26 AM, Anonymous plok said…

    Thank you, gal o' my heart!

    Expect more and worse comments! Christ, I have Galaxy Rangers theories!

    It's saying something: a show like this can engender theories. I go now to the front page.

    (Sally, tell her to do more still. They're kind of like Green Lanterns you know, these Galaxy Rangers...)

  • At September 28, 2010 1:06 PM, Anonymous Viagra Online said…

    "The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers" is amazing I enjoyed that with my family but we're waiting for the episode 2 because a friend told me that's better than the first one.


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