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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Adventure > Robots > Jason Of Star Command The Complete Series (1979-1981/Filmation/BCI Eclipse)

Jason Of Star Command The Complete Series (1979-1981/Filmation/BCI Eclipse)

 

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

 

 

Around the time Star Wars was settling in as a mega-hit pop-culture phenomenon, Filmation produced a live-action Saturday morning TV series called Space Academy, reviewed elsewhere on this site. Featuring excellent model work and inspired (if not stellar) performances from a nifty ensemble cast, Space Academy resonated with viewers both young and old. But Space Academy lacked the action and tension of the more pulp-inspired Star Wars films, and so Filmation went back to the drawing board and produced Jason of Star Command. This new show featured more of the great model work from some of the same folks who had worked for Lucasfilm, but now also offered viewers a lot more action. Originally run in serial form along with other Filmation animated offerings, Jason of Star Command is collected here on four discs.

 

This boxed set represents another fine release for BCI Home Video, drawing from the seemingly bottomless Filmation catalog of offerings whose images seem to resonate in the psyches of so many 35-50 year-old fans of fantasy and science fiction. Directed by Arthur H. Nadel, Jason contains many parallels to Star Wars and the other sci-fi material it emulates, but still manages to find its own way. Craig Littler's Jason bears an unmistakable resemblance to the roguish Han Solo in both costume and bearing, but brings some new attributes to the table (superhuman strength in stead of a blaster, for one thing). His robot companion Wiki (or W1K1, as written on the actual robot) does make one think of the Droids of the Star Wars franchise, but the creators' use of micronization to make him "pocket-sized" provides a nice point of difference.

 

James Doohan gives a yeoman performance as the stolid Commander Canarvin (a role originally intended for Jonathan Harris of Space Academy and Lost in Space fame). Sid Haig seems to have a genuinely good time playing the menacing villain, Dragos. He's no Darth Vader, but he offers a formidable challenge to the heroes of Star Command, and his massive star ship offers one of the coolest visuals in the series.

 

All the half-hour episodes from the two seasons (with some minor cast changes in between) are here as follows:

 

Season One:

 

1)     Attack Of The Dragonship

2)     Prisoner Of Dragos

3)     Escape From The Dragons

4)     A Cry For Help

5)     Wiki To The Rescue

6)     Planet Of The Lost

7)     Marooned In Time

8)     Attack Of The Dragons

9)     Peepo's Last Chance

10) The Disappearing Man

11) The Haunted Planet

12) Escape From Kesh

13) Return Of The Creature

14) Peepo On Trial

15) The Trojan Horse

16) The Victory Of Star Command

Season Two:

 

1)     Mission To The Stars

2)     Frozen In Space

3)     Web Of The Star Witch

4)     Beyond The Stars!

5)     Secret Of The Ancients

6)     The Power Of The Star Disk

7)     Through The Stargate

8)     Face To Face

9)     Phantom Force

10) Little Girl Lost

11) Mimi's Secret

12) Battle For Power

 

 

Tamara Dobson, best known for her Blaxploitation romps as Cleopatra Jones, joined the cast in the second season as Samantha, who could change into animals ala Catherine Schell on Space: 1999. Even Julie Newmar shows up!

 

Like some other recent offerings of classic TV shows, the 1.33 X 1 image was shot in 16mm film, but these episodes are digital copies of the masters. Supposedly, the film materials were destroyed as it was thought (despite the arrival of HD) that they would not be needed anymore. The final product still delivers an overall clean and clear image. The color is sharp but falters a bit during some of the sillier special effects (Dragos energy beams come to mind). The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono delivers adequate quality for a taped production of the time, but the various music used for certain scenes can wear on the viewer at times (the "Wiki" music causes the eyes to roll after the third or fourth time it's heard). The overall technical package is strong and presents a remarkably vibrant product considering its age and current standards.

 

This set is strong on special features and includes: commentary tracks for Season One episodes (including commentary from Jason himself Craig Littler), all-new half-hour documentary, "The Adventures of Jason of Star Command," a special effects commentary track, extensive galleries of promotional and behind the scenes photos, booklet with episode guide and trivia, DVD-ROM printable scripts of all episodes and previews for other Filmation/BCI releases you can find on this site.

 

 

- Scott R. Pyle


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