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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Action > Fantasy > Superhero > Adventure > Giant Monsters > Mythology > The Space Sentinels + Freedom Force – The Complete Series

The Space Sentinels + Freedom Force – The Complete Series

(Filmation/BCI Eclipse)

 

Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B     Episodes: B

 

 

Though it is not seen enough or known generally, when Filmation picked up the DC Comics license and created some terrific series with those characters, they produced the first Teen Titans animated TV series based on the classic comics in the 1960s.  The new series is very different, but it is a hit like X-Men or Justice League and shows the appeal of groups of heroes.  As Filmation went on to create it own original shows in live action and animation, even they understood the appeal of such shows.  In 1977, they created two of them in The Space Sentinels and Freedom Force.

 

The Space Sentinels brought together Hercules (who was in both shows), the shape-changing Astraea, a young Mercury and a new partner, a little robot named M.O. was added as part of the team.  The creators had heard about a new film coming up and had to decide if they should try to have any elements from it.  Of course, it was the original Star Wars, but the creators based this robot on the three featured in Douglas Trumbull’s 1973 Sci-Fi classic Silent Running, reviewed elsewhere on this site.  It was a good move then, but since it was done to death afterwards in shows like Buck Rogers with Twiki, the Disney cult classic the Black Hole and (most infamously with) Herbie The Robot replacing an unacknowledged Human Torch in a Fantastic Four animated series revival, it is interesting to compare.  The show does not overdo it.  There are a lucky 13 shows in all.

 

Freedom Force combined Hercules with no less than Merlin, Sinbad, the ever-popular Super Samurai (who has become a new favorite for all kinds of reasons) and became the second hit show with Isis.  Originally played perfectly by the beautiful Joanna Cameron in the hit live-action series, she became a heroine ahead of her time and up there with Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman as favorites that crossed all gender, age and even race barriers.  Less seen and remembered was her inclusion in the team here, which sadly only ran five shows.  Today, this show holds up even a tad better than Sentinels and Isis has such a cult following that her lone 8” Mego action figure is a hot collectible in just about any condition.

 

Outside of fan consideration, these are well-produced shows and leave it to Filmation to get both shows right.  Their animation was getting better and in ways they never get credit for, they were still on the cutting edge of animation in themes, ideas, use of color and interesting character design.  If you love Teen Titans and want two American classics in one set, The Space Sentinels + Freedom Force – The Complete Series is one of the best animated DVD sets of the year.  If you are still not convinced, read on.

 

The 1.33 X 1 image for both shows are colorful with prints that are in good shape.  This looks just that much better than it ever has before.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also just fine for its age and the combination is fun.  Extras include interviews with the creators of both shows, the ever-watchable Magic Of Filmation documentary, DVD-ROM accessible teleplays for all the episodes of both shows, live-action tests with actors for when the show was going to be called Young Sentinels, the original animated test film when it was under that title, art for when it was under that title, foldout episode guide inside the DVD case, trivia for both series and extensive model galleries for both.  For a double disc set, WOW is this loaded!

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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