When I saw episodes of tonight’s Showcase online, I thought watching it would bring back a flood of memories. The only thing I ended up remembering is that I loved this show as a kid, but seeing it again at least makes me remember why, knowing that some tastes you never really grow out of.
My love of movie serials is really Filmation‘s fault. The New Adventures of Flash Gordon and Mighty Mouse & The Great Space Chase were great stories and that cliffhanger left me wondering what would happen next. It’s like Lost done right. This also made it easier for me to get into anime, with their season or series-long sub-plots. It would be later that I would see the old black-and-white serials on PBS and cable-access channels and so it began.
Filmation also put out some darn good live-action shows, for Saturday morning kids shows of the time at least. One of them was Jason of Star Command, a TV serial with a sci-fi bend. Tonight I bring you the first two episodes and see if you can recognize the commander before the clip’s host reveals his identity.
[UPDATE: Actually, forget the host. The series is up on Hulu as of Oct. 20, 2013. The first two episodes were merged into one full-length episode]
[UPDATE 2: 1/28/2020: With the Hulu option gone I went to YouTube, where the episodes were separated again. Since the original embed had two episodes I’ll keep that here. The show being serialized it’s not the end of the story.]
Speaking of Star Trek, fans of the animated version (also produced by Filmation) might recognize some of the music and sound effects from that series. According to Wikipedia, and this should tell you how poor my memory is, the first season was aired as part of Tarzan & The Super 7. (I’ve reviewed Tarzan in a previous Showcase.) The second was a full show on its own. As for Space Academy, the show this spun off from, I don’t remember it at all and the only video I can find is the intro. Another sci-fi alum, Lost in Space‘s Jonathan Harris played the commander of that series and if not for a falling out with Filmation would have returned to the role for Jason. My only question is whether or not Jason is supposed to have super strength. In the first episode we saw him smash through a door and bend a metal plate. In the next we saw him lift a huge box as the villain for the show makes his debut.
The sets and effects of this show are good for the time and while Jason may be a bit bland by today’s standards, I think the host was a bit harsh in calling him a “dork”. Dragos makes for an interesting villain and I do want to see the rest of this series. Jason of Star Command is available on DVD either by itself or in a box set along with Space Academy and an unrelated Filmation sci-fi show, Ark II. However, with the distributor, BCI Eclipse, out of business it may be difficult to find but not impossible so if this interested you try and track it down. Maybe someone else will get the rights and put it back out, but only time will tell.