About the Series:Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers
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- Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers
- Staying Power
- Atypical Writers, Characters, Stories
- The Animated TV Series As Financial Disaster
|"In 2086, two peaceful aliens journeyed to Earth, seeking our help. In return, they gave us the plans for our first hyperdrive, allowing mankind to open the doors to the stars."
|"We have assembled a team of unique individuals to protect Earth and our allies. Courageous pioneers committed to the highest ideals of justice and dedicated to preserving law and order across the new frontier."
|"These are the Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers."
Combining elements of Westerns, space opera, and even a touch of sword-and sorcery-style fantasy, Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers brought to television a unique and often tongue-in-cheek spin on the space Western sub-genre. Aired in 1986, the half-hour cartoon lasted only one season. Its 65 episodes, which ran five days a week, starred four unusual law enforcement officers (their slogan: "No guts, no glory") working to bring law and order to the new frontier of space. Although the animation was done in Japan by Tokyo Movie Shinsa, Galaxy Rangers was one of the first anime-style shows to be created, scripted, story-boarded, voiced, and produced in the United States.
Galaxy Rangers, produced and created by Robert Mandell, offers a well-developed universe, strong characters, and stories that push the boundaries of children's programming. The team makeup was diverse for the day. Captain Zachary Foxx (voiced by Jerry Orbach) is a by-the-book cop with extensive bionics. Walter "Doc" Hartford (Hubert Kelly), a computer genius and hacker, has a wisecracking sense of humor with a penchant for outmoded slang. Niko (Laura Dean) is a mysterious psychic archaeologist who's also an expert in tae kwon do and a crack shot with a shotgun. Shane "Goose" Gooseman (Doug Preis) is the shape-changing final product of a government supersoldier program. Together these four Galaxy Rangers form the Series Five team, named for experimental brain implants that enhance the rangers' special powers and abilities. As members of the law enforcement arm of the Bureau of Extraterrestrial Affairs (BETA), the Series Five rangers face situations as diverse as environmental disasters on low-tech planets, outlaw incursions on mining towns, and invasions—of one sort or another.
Series writers have referred to the cast of thousands of supporting characters. First among these is Waldo Zeptic of Andor and Zozo of Kirwin, the "two peaceful aliens" of the show's introduction. Others include Princess Maya of the tech-shunning world Tarkon; the rangers' commanding officer, the gruff and forgiving Joseph Walsh; and the robotic ranger Buzzwang, who holds the dubious distinction of being the most disliked character on the entire show.
The Series Five team faces a number of enemies. Perhaps chief among them is the Queen of the Crown, the evil ruler of a galaxy-spanning empire. To keep her empire from crumbling, the Queen has developed a technology based around crystals called "psychocrystals" that allow her to use the psychic essence of captive beings to create slaver lords, ghostlike spies through which she can see and hear. In the pilot episode, the Queen captures Zachary's wife Eliza and uses her to create a slaver lord. Although the Series Five team rescues Eliza's body from the Queen's Psychocrypt, the Queen still holds Eliza's essence. Zachary's quest to rescue his wife forms one of the central threads of the series.
Other notable enemies reflect the wide variety of genres chosen by the writers. Perhaps most typically Western is the outlaw Black Hole Gang, led alternately by Macross, a piscine, yellow-skinned alien, and red-haired Irish gunslinger Daisy O'Mega. Lazarus Slade, a "Southern gentleman" mad scientist bent on world domination, plays like a villain from a melodrama and has the musical theme to match. The sword and sorcery episodes feature Mogul, a four-armed sorcerer whose schemes frequently fail courtesy of his bumbling demon assistant Larry. More classic science fiction stories featured Ryker Killbane, an insane, embittered survivor of the Supertrooper Project that also produced Shane Gooseman. Hands down, though, the scariest villain was the Scarecrow, a horrific and powerful being left over from devastating wars of millennia past.
Next: Staying Power