Friday, September 12, 2008

Space Rangers

I'd recently heard about an old, short lived, sci-fi show called "Space Rangers". It was mentioned when discussing what the producers for the new Stargate series should watch to make sure it doesn't suck.

Oh, "Stargate: Atlantis" will not be renewed for a 6th season despite the 2 million viewers per week. A new Stargate show will be launched instead. They will have found an experimental ship built by the Ancients but never tested. With it they jump around the galaxy with no apparent control over where they'll go or when they'll jump.

Anyway, "Space Rangers" came out in 1993. It lasted for 6 episodes. Which is fine. "Firefly" only lasted 9 episodes and was probably the best sci-fi show this decade. "Star Trek:TNG" was in it's 6th season. "Battlestar Galactica" had been off the air for 14 years. "Babylon 5" would start the following year. I mention all this as a basis for comparison.

As of the writing of this entry I've seen only the opening credits and first 3 minutes of "Space Rangers". The costumes and hair looks mid-80's. The sets look like "Red Dwarf". And only people who love sci-fi will have been able to follow any of what I'm talking about.

It stars Marjorie Monaghan. She doesn't have a long list of roles to her credit but she's someone you'll remember if you've ever seen her. She's yummy.

20 minutes in...
The external shots are decent. And the more I watch the more I like the writing. It has some good ideas but I keep getting flashes of "Red Dwarf". I'm guessing that's why it only lasted 6 episodes.

25 minutes in...
Scratch that about the decent external shots. Everything outside is a cacophonous blend of FX technology. Landscapes are just below Star Trek: TNG level. Ship are just above Babylon 5 quality. But everything else looks like it was drawn on the film.

3 hours later...
Finally, in episode 4, I remember that I've seen this show during it's original run. There's a scene where a captain has to make apologies for punching an alien politician who was manhandling a friend of his. The apology includes the presentation of gifts. The diplomat accompanying him has selected a series of very well chosen gifts. At the end the Captain must give something of his own. He picks his lucky silver dollar and tosses it to the alien. Naturally, the aliens are allergic to silver and it burned his palm.

I did watch the show back then. And when it vanished I didn't miss it at all. That said, I think this is a show that had great promise. If you look back at the Star Trek: The Next Generation pilot you'll see it was pretty cheap compared to what they had half a season later. Similarly, Space Rangers improved a bit with each episode. The premise was good but the overall show was poorly executed. Someone could resurrect it and give it another go and it could air for 9 seasons.

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