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[WIW] Space Rangers

DJorgensen

New member
Banned
#1
Over in the Recommend Me Some Shitty Sindicated Sci-Fi/Fantasy Shows. thread, I mentioned a few shitty scifi shows with a space setting, seeing as the original poster mentioned having finished up Andromeda. One of the shows I mentioned was Space Rangers, a short lived CBS show that aired in January, 1993. It lasted only six episodes before cancellation. Deep Space 9 premiered only 3 days before the January 3, 1993 first episode air date of Space Rangers, and the pilot movie for Babylon 5 premiered about six weeks later. I mention these facts because they have impact on some of the observations I made during the show.

First an introduction to the show:

In the year 2104 the Earth colony Fort Hope on the distant planet Avalon struggles to survive. A small force of police/marines called the "Space Rangers Corps" are the first, last and only line of defense for the colonists against crime and the perils of interstellar exploration. The series concentrates on Captain John Boon and his team of Rangers aboard Ranger Slingship #377, nicknamed the Tin Lizzie.
The Tin Lizzie's crew consists of:
Captain John Boon - Human Space Ranger.
Doc Kreugar - Human Cyborg Flight Mechanic.
Jojo Thorsen - Human Pilot.
Zylyn - Graaka Warrior Monk.
Danial Kincaid - Human Backman.

Strangely, that sounds like character race and class entries, doesn't it? There be a reason for that. See, Space Rangers was essentially Star Frontier: The Series.

Anyway, due to the 10 image per post limit I seem to be recalling the RPG.net forums having, my review will be broken up rather strangely.
 

YojimboC

Thunderball Fists!
Validated User
#2
I loved this show. Although, to be fair, I was a stupid high school student when it aired.

I still get excited whenever I see Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa in something - that guy should get more work.
 

DJorgensen

New member
Banned
#3
Episode 1: Fort Hope.

Once we get past the cheesy, 80's style, here's-the-names-of-the-main-cast style credits, we get the introduction, about how it's the year 2104, and they're on the frontier world of Avalon, at a frontier outpost named Fort Hope.

We get a big splash image, too, of a fortress city citadel atop a plateau in an astonishingly formidable mountain range.Yes, I too would want to place my HORIZONTAL launch facilities in a place where maglev mass drivers can potentially hurtle spacecraft into the side of a mountain. Obviously, the site was selected for style rather than substance, because the location looks awesome.


We open with Captain Boon just returning from his latest assignment, barely stepped off his ship when he's summoned over the PA system by none other than... ZOMG! Not only did Hetty survive her spy escapades in Romania on NCIS:LA, but she survived at least another 90 years to take the position of chief constable at Fort Hope! Commander Chennault of Fort Hope happens to be played by Linda Hunt, who portrayed the roles Chennault and Hetty in much the same manner. And damn, that's quite the look they give her - Chairman Mao in lavender.

Anyway, Chennault summons a tired man just back from a long mission so he can give bad advice to the new recruits. Expecting pearls of wisdom regarding the Space Ranger character class, Boon instead tells them how to survive Fort Hope instead - hang onto your money and your pants as long as possible, because Fort Hope makes it far too easy to lose both the same day.

Next, Boon returns to his apartment to find his daughter playing on the living room floor. In 2104, Milton Bradley is apparently still going strong with the electronic Simon game, now advanced to the point that it has like 20 wedges in its circle of light. His wife is a botanist trying and failing to grow plants on New Hope. And we hear that Boon's last Backman got his leg shot off and rumor has it, the situation on the frontier is deteriorating and becoming horribly unsafe for everyone.

Boom! End of the marriage! Hetty - I mean Chennault comes over the intercom to tell Boon there's a woman looking for him and she risked her life to find him. Boon's wife doesn't look very happy. How do I know the marriage is doomed? It isn't because I've seen the series before. It's because the actress is uncredited. So is the girl who played the daughter. Not an auspicious sign of long term employment with the show.

The mystery woman who comes looking for him turns out to be Allison Blake (yeah, Salli Richardson-Whitfield from Eureka and she was even hotter back then). Her ship crashed on Skaarab and Boon has 38 hours to rescue the survivors before the second sun rises and incinerates everything at the crash site. And one of the survivors happens to be Boon's mentor. Ranger badges are silly. It's pinned to your shirt, right? So why make it open like a makeup compact and store holographic identification in it?

Hey, the first alien! A Bald dude with fish lips! Looks like he may have 4 arms as well, since he appears to be carrying three guns - some sort of SMG, an assault rifle, and a water cooled machine gun. No, never mind, that's all one gun. And you thought the budget for aliens on Star Trek: TOS was bad. Ha! Seriously, this was a CBS show. Sure, it was one of the many CBS cycles where the demographic was mainly retirees, but still, the show should have had a better budget for aliens than the syndicated first run shows of the time.


Anyway, Skaarab is a forbidden planet and Boon's mentor is an ex-ranger, drummed out for disobeying orders to go rescue Boon from certain death. So Boon is going to rescue him, orders or not. And how do you hide sneaking off to a forbidden planet and violating a 150 year old treaty? Tell Central Command that you're off escorting Santa. The fact that Chennault thinks they'd probably believe it explains why the frontier seems to be on the decline. Central Command sounds an awful lot like the Alliance in Firefly.

Oh! Cryogenic stasis! They wake up a guy from it. A guy who likes sleeping in snotlike slime and using the gristly sheath that surrounds muscle as a blanket. He's an angry, angry, ANGRY Japanese man with a prominent brow ridge and reddish-yellow eyes. But he's getting better. He's apparently moved from decapitating people to decapitating television sets. He's the second alien! He's a Graaka, the alien species that uses Skaarab as a burial planet. Angry dude needs a pacifier for his anger, which comes in the form of what looks like a bomb strapped to his neck.


Onto a bar scene! Confrontational competitive Whack-a-mole with light beams! Cute chick in monk robes! Didn't I see this biker looking guy in a Mad Max movie? Also, Alien #3. Looks sort of like the piggy dudes in Cloud City, the Ugnaughts.


Ouch! Cute girl is a whack-a-mole hustler!


And she's got a partner in crime betting on her, some tubby cigar smoking bastard who looks like he works in the filthiest auto repair shop this side of the galaxy.


Somebody yells "They cheated!" which pisses off a lot of people who were betting on the games. Barroom brawl ensues! But not for long as Boon and Mr. Angry (okay, so the character's real name is Zylyn) show up. The Graaka cleans up well with a look that lives up to his race's reputation as demons on the battlefield. Cute girl is Boon's pilot, Jojo Thorsen, a "lady from a place where ladies ain't ladies." Tubby is the flight engineer, Doc Kreuger.

BTW, that's Boon standing behind your friendly neighborhood psychotically lethal Graaka.

So, Boon's crew came off a mission to go to the infirmary (backman who got his leg shot off), home (Boon), or eat, drink, cheat, and be merry (Jojo and Doc) while one of them was on vacation in a cryogenic chamber (Zylyn).

Wow! High tech computer graphics from the future! Seriously? This is what they came up with when they had ILM on the job to handle special effects?


Last guy introduces himself. He's one of the rookies Boon told about keeping his money and pants. Apparently a real hotshot, since his idea of impressing the boss is to brag about his high scores in gunnery practice. He wants to be Boon's new backman. The ki'ds name is Daniel Kincaid.


What's a backman? Well, on the ground, he's the rear guard. On the ship, he's a turret gunner. Called the backman because "he's got your back" I guess. Easier than "rear guard turret gunner."

Wow, only 11 minutes to introduce the entire crew. There was one other regular character introduced. That was Mimmer, Fort Hope's chief medical officer and science officer, portrayed by 80's geek icon, Clint Howard.


There's one other regular, but his scenes got cut from the pilot, so I won't worry about his intro until episode 2.

Now I'll make you wait for the next segment.
 

Qwa'ha Xahn

High King of the Known Worlds
Validated User
#4
I love this show! How are you watching it? Did they release it on DVD, Netflix, Hulu, Board rules prevent you from saying ;), or what?

Qwa'ha Xahn
 

DJorgensen

New member
Banned
#5
Launch Sequence! Time to board the Tin Lizzie and hear stories about the ship, Doc, the Graaka, and the Banshees.

The Tin Lizzie is an old patrol ship, probably old enough to be put out to pasture, explaining the "Tin" in the name. Then again, Doc has so many mechanical parts, he refers to himself as the Tin Man, so that may be an influence, too. "Lizzie" apparently comes from one of Doc's favorite songs, Dizzy Miss Lizzy. Just don't tell Doc the classics he likes are "dead people's music." Pisses him off.

Doc's back story is basically how he lost all those bits and pieces, including at one point being shot through the heart, dying, being frozen like a side of beef for two months, only to be thawed and receive a creepy artificial heart that looks like an overgrown, throbbing fungus specimen in a petri dish. He's also lost a liver, an arm, a leg, and an ear. Knowing Doc was dead for two months, makes me wonder if his love of classic rock evolved after he died, which would explain why he gets so upset at being told his music is "dead people's music."

Also, WTF? You can resurrect the dead and turn them half machine in this universe, but you can't grow a single damned healthy plant at Fort Hope?

Time to Launch from the Battlestar Galactica! Well, they used a very similar launch sequence, anyway.


The launch corridor is a hell of a lot longer, though.



Then they follow it up with a "graviton accelerator ring." Fuck that, it's a jump gate.

...looks like the Cowboy Bebop gate but functions like that Babylon 5 gate...


...and the view inside hyperspace - I mean 'lightspeed' - a prototype of the Stargate wormhole transit that would appear on the big screen more than a year later.


Meanwhile, on the other side of the galaxy, so to speak.... We get a glimpse of what's going on with the survivors of the shipwreck on Skaarab. Did I mention they chose Wings Hauser to play Boon's mentor? Guess they couldn't score Martin Kove. And the guy next to him is a Graaka high priest. Played by another 80's icon, Pat Morita, who doesn't sound like Pat Morita in this particular show.


BTW, Skaarab is awesome, with its horizon-wide firewall as the second sun rises to incinerate every bit of organic matter on the surface. 13 hours before they roast! Also, awwwww, ILM let them use the Star Wars electronic binoculars from the Hoth scenes in The Empire Strikes Back!




Stowaway! The weight of one stowaway disbalances the ship sufficiently to almost shake it to pieces. Time to drop out of hyperspace to find the stowaway and get a banshee horror story. You can guess who the stowaway is, right?

The Graaka are rumored to eat people, according to the new backman. Zylyn, slowly turns to Daniel and says "I have never eaten a friend." He pauses, then finishes with "At least not a close one." And the last expression on Zylyn's face as he turns back to his console is priceless. He knew exactly what effect his words would have and he was loving every minute of Daniel's reaction.

Zylyn was always my favorite character. It's like he was a member of a species incapable of laughter having a wonderfully morbid sense of humor. The entire series is peppered with lines and actions by Zylyn that just make you go "aww, damn!" and laugh. On top of that, prying information out of him is like trying to pull teeth with broken pliers.

The stowaway, Allison from Eureka, is just barely found when the Banshees attack! Demonic, screechy, insectoid beings with a hidden agenda. And wow, Graaka are like superman strong. Zylyn crushed a 2.5 inch diameter pipe with one bare hand to seal it after it broke loose from its fitting.

Banshees in outer spaaaaaaaaace!


Banshee is the bug squishing on your windshield. A legitimate excuse to put windshield wipers on all starships.


And we have one tooth pulled. Zylyn reveals that Skaarab isn't just a Graaka burial world, it's the hiding place for the Graaka's ultimate weapon, a weapon that caused so much damage across the universe that it must remain sealed away for all time. 26 minutes in on a 46 minute show is kind of late to be introducing a MacGuffin, isn't it?
 

DJorgensen

New member
Banned
#6
I love this show! How are you watching it? Did they release it on DVD, Netflix, Hulu, Board rules prevent you from saying ;), or what?

Qwa'ha Xahn
Old VHS recordings I made way back in 1993. At one time began converting it to DVD, but I ended up getting a Western Digital TV Live+, so they never quite made it to DVD. I probably should finish up the DVDs, so I can make my pals once again envious they way I did with my Max Headroom, Megas XLR and Covington Cross DVD sets. :D
 

DJorgensen

New member
Banned
#7
Back to Skaarab! Decker (Boon's mentor played by Wings Hauser) and the Graaka priest are using the other survivors as slave labor, digging in a cave to search for the Graaka ultimate weapon. Apparently, this all powerful weapon does nothing but fling people across the room.


ohhhhhhhh... The computer graphics from the future improved!


BTW, the Tin Lizzie has arrived at Skaarab at this point. That graphic is a scan of the planet. The Space Rangers will be landing their parajets near the shipwreck and then searching for the survivors.

Parajets are one man life pods, an escape mechanism and one man scouting vessel. They're known as Bellysnappers due to their violent atmospheric entry characteristics. They're also apparently some sort of beam rider system. They apparently ride a searchlight beam all the way down from orbit.


But there's not much to them, really.


Thus starts the dungeon crawl phase of the episode.

First step, hunt down the shipwreck. Oh noes! The banshee attack leading to the shipwreck was a lie! LOLOL Like the sidebars to Skaarab throughout the episode didn't telegraph that little tidbit six ways from sundae.

Next step, random encounter. Awesome choice, prehensile carnivorous plants! Bondage games with the hot blond amazon!


Also, tripping over a corpse in the woods.


Finally, they make it to the cave to hook up with the survivors!


But there's betrayal!

Decker subdues Boon and holds him at knifepoint!

And betrayal again!

Crooked Graaka High Priest uses Zylyn's religious obedience against him! Damnable psychopath paladin fail!


The party is held prisoner! What will they do next?
You'll have to wait for the next segment to find out.
 

DJorgensen

New member
Banned
#8
Damn, Decker has some serious hate on for Boon. Why? Because even after Decker rescued Boon, Boon had the audacity to be honest on the stand at Decker's court martial, costing Decker his ranger career. TBH, IMHO, Boon was right. If you disobey orders and get a half dozen other guys killed to rescue one man who was perfectly willing to die on the job, you deserve to be drummed out.

LOL. Only those "pure of heart" can open the door to the crypt holding the Graaka ultimate weapon. So, we've got a pack of criminals lead by a crooked ex-Ranger and corrupt Graaka priest, a whack-a-mole hustler, a psychopathic Graaka warrior-monk, guilt-wracked Captain Boon, and angsty half-man,half-machine Doc. Where the hell are they going to find someone pure of heart in that bunch? Apparently, having no heart is a state of pureness, because Doc manages to get the door open, even though he too got tossed across the cave.

At last, the crypt is open, even from here, you can see the ultimate weapon and the corpse of the Graaka God-Emperor who created it!


LOL. The legend is that the priests rose against the emperor and killed him, freeing the Graaka from his evil reign of terror. It seems that they chose to kill the emperor by forcing his damned ultimate weapon down his throat and making him choke on it, seeing as it is within his skeletal remains. I told you the Graaka were and angry, angry people.


Also, neither Zylyn or the nameless Graaka priest had a head shaped anything like the dead Graaka emperor's skull looks like.

Villain Fail Alert! WTF? Decker lets Boon out of the improvised prison cell so Boon can get a better look at the ultimate weapon.


Danny boy to the rescue. What good is a backman who doesn't follow orders? Daniel decided to follow the rest of the crew down to the surface. WTF? Did he leave the stowaway back on the ship, all alone, which would make this a Hero Fail Alert to offset the Villain Fail Alert?

Man, those 3-guns-in-1 Ranger Rifles are so dorky looking. Yet untrained actor sling them around like they're nothing and the Army thought the OICW was to bulky?

Danny thinks for once, shooting out a stalag...mtmtmitetite... whatever the pointy rock hanging from the damned ceiling is, which drops on the funky lightning cage generator, freeing the last two prisoners, Zylyn and Jojo.

Gun Battle! Jojo and Zylyn escape! Danny shoots at stuff! Some hotshot high score on the gun range! Decker and Boon fight over a pistol! Mooks and Goons hide behind stalag... pointy rocks coming up out of the floor! Things explode! people roll around on the dirty floor! Sparks fly off people!

Yes, I meant that.


where was I? Oh, yes. Sparks fly off people! Decker does a lousy job of angrily choking Boon with his bare hands! Doc finally gets his dead fat ass up and starts throwing guns around! Jojo catches one and starts shooting things! Zylyn looses his pacifier collar and impales the crooked priest on a stalag... wait, I don't think there's actually a word for pointy rocks coming horizontally out of the walls, is there?

A couple more goons die and the fight is pretty much over. It's down to pretty much just Boon and Decker now. Decker is all "Rangers won't take me down again, kill me!" while waving the priest's stun stick around. then he bolts and grabs himself some Ultimate Weapon, because he's not leaving til he gets what he came for. At least that's what he claimed.

I never imagined that a weapon capable of slaughtering the universe with a single thought would be so... sparkly. It's like a lava lamp for tweenie girls. LOL

As is the fate of all weapons that go unmaintained for 1000 years, the ultimate weapon backfires when Decker tries to fry boon with it. Instead, Decker gets converted to an X-Ray image and explodes. In the anti-climax, this causes the cave collapse. All the bad guys die, the good guys escape and fly back home to Fort Hope.


Boon returns to his quarters to learn his wife and daughter are returning to Earth. So he plants the scrawny Christmas tree to "give it a planet to hold onto," while his wife accuses him of trying to kill the one plant she's managed to semi-successfully grow at Fort Hope. Not much of a success, if you ask me.


Toughing farewell scene gets interrupted by Doc and Jojo informing Boon that Zylyn has gone after Mimmer. Oh noes, the psychopath paladin is on a killing spree? Nah, he just stuffed Mimmer in the cryogenic stasis unit, and it turns out Mimmer thinks its an awesome experience. Of course, Zylyn is loving every minute of making everyone think he's gone and killed Fort Hope's chief medical officer/science officer.

"Wow! You guys gotta try this!" LOL

As my parting shot for episode 1, I give you Amazon booty.
 

TrojanRat

Agent of S.N.A.R.K.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#9
I love this show! How are you watching it? Did they release it on DVD, Netflix, Hulu, Board rules prevent you from saying ;), or what?

Qwa'ha Xahn
After this show was mentioned in the previously linked Scifi/fantasy show thread, I did a little checking around. There was a region 2 dvd release of the series at one point. And that's about it.

Looking for it online, about the only thing I found was this first episode broken up into four parts on youtube.

I'd give Doc's good arm to find a copy of the whole series. It was short and awesome.
 

DJorgensen

New member
Banned
#10
Episode 2: Banshees

In Media Res!

Some sort of cargo carrier spaceship floating in a tiny red nebula. Astronomy needs new words for lesser nebula-like structures, because this nebula is a rain puddle compared to the ocean of the nebulae we can see from Earth. This nebula looks barely big enough to engulf the ship trapped in it. Wait... is that... Battlestar Galactica?

No, apparently the ship is the New Mayflower, and its trapped in the rinky-dink Blood Nebula.

As the camera zooms in, we hear screaming and panic. It's the second stage of a banshee attack! They're inside the ship! Lots of chaos, screaming, death and destruction. Survivors board a high capacity escape capsule and blast off, abandoning one teenage boy to his fate at the insectile hands of the banshees.

Nice, the banshees have an actual animatronic puppet for this episode, instead of the crappy 1993 computer generated versions shown in the first episode.


We'll skip the credits once again for another awesome shot of Fort Hope.


And Commander Chennault's Chairman Mao look didn't last very long.


She proceeds to introduce us to the seasonal plot that was never solved because the show only lasted 6 episodes instead of the hoped for 22+. The problem is wetbacks and coyotes, basically. Human trafficking and smuggling in the form of frontier settlement scams that take people for almost every dime they have to set them up in illegally established colonies that the Rangers are forced to shut down. According to Chennault, the human trafficking is organized by a syndicate which sends at least one transport full of illegal settlers through the sector each month. Would have been nice to see where they went with that story arc.

Nice, low key set of scenes providing lots of tidbits of information. It happens to be Boon's anniversary. Boon's wife has returned to Earth, which is 2,000 light years away from Avalon, the planet where Fort Hope is located. Also, the trip between Earth and Avalon only takes a few weeks in hyperspace - I mean, at lightspeed. Illegal settlers will sell their proverbial souls for a plot of land the size of a mid-level bureaucrat's office. And most of these settlers are refugees from the unrest and violence on the planet New Rhea. An clipboards tell you if your penmanship has gotten sloppy by announcing if your authorized signature is accepted or not. Already 6 minutes into the show. Things are moving pretty slow.

Bar scene! I dunno... Is the bartender Hot Alien chick #1 (of alien species #4) or just a human with a strange hair style?


And maybe alien species #5?


Anyway, the whole crew is boozing up a storm tonight. Except the Captain, of course. But he shows up eventually. Hot Amazon Pilot chick blows off the guy she was going to make a boytoy out of and introduces her captain to one of his old classmates, Captain Red Hairring. Actually, her name is Susie Watson. But her hair really is red, and she's a completely throwaway character that did little other than waste screen time.


Damn, but the women in this show are so predatory, they're all like sharks. Grapevine says Boon is getting a divorce and suddenly there are women looking to get their hooks in him, like he's fresh meat that just went on display at the market. Some similar situations reared their ugly heads here and there in the series.

Introduction time! The regular cast member who got his scenes cut from the pilot, Colonel Erich Weiss. If his name doesn't make his nationality obvious, his accent does. The dude is a horrible person. Typical bureaucratic, pencil-pushing military officer playing politics in the armed forces. My hate of those sorts knows no bounds.

The sonuvabitch wants Boon and team to go capture a banshee. Boon tells him to fuck off, he's going to rescue the boy. And wow, Banshees killed 50,000 space travellers in under 10 years. Nobody has ever survived a close encounter with the banshees (until the kid left aboard the New Mayflower). And nobody has ever captured a banshee because they appear and disappear like ghosts. They sound more and more like space boogeymen to me.

Alien species #6


Finally, I'll leave things off with Doc being used as a guinea pig for the cryogenic device they're expected to use to capture a banshee.


That makes 10 pics, now to wait for the next post.
 
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