Reviews

Posted May 28, 2008 by John
Categories: The Collection Volume 1

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A few reviews of the Collection Volume 1 DVD set have been drifting in. Some are worth reading, others were obviously written by someone too busy auctioning off promotional DVDs on ebay to actually watch any DVDs. Here’s a few you may not have seen …

What now might seem a stereotype of a team was revolutionary back in 1986. Rather than superheroes fighting the villain of the week, this was a team of experts using skills and abilities to protect and preserve a free way of living.

- Monsters and Critics


Mark my words–this DVD release (as well as the hopefully soon to be released Volume 2) bodes well for a Galaxy Rangers resurgence in some form. Recommended.

- DVD Talk

What 80s Sci-Fi cartoons excelled at (and what today’s Sci-Fi cartoons are terrible at) was keeping up with the imagination; their technological undertones and social commentary constantly pushed the envelope, introducing us to the once futuristic concepts of cybernetics and genetic manipulation, while keeping us in tune with such encompassing issues as the Cold War. What you get with “Rangers” is a bunch of cool heroes and villains, cool aliens, cool weapons and star ships and kick-ass story lines. And when it comes to kids watching their favorite Sci-Fi cartoons, isn’t that what it’s all about?

- EDGE Boston

“Galaxy Rangers” isn´t quite my cup of tea, and I have to admit that I only watched about a half dozen to prepare for this review.

- DVD Town

In fact, it’s striking how mature the show’s tone is, and how well it does at putting its characters in realistic jeopardy. A good example, even for a syndicated series, would be the surprisingly ubiquitous sight of clearly manned enemy craft exploding. Thankfully, there’s also plenty of humor to offset the seriousness, and, amusingly enough, many of the verbal jokes and puns are of a deliberately corny nature. Still, the commentary tracks do suggest the show was slightly too mature for the younger demographics, which was one reason the series was not as successful as other shows.

- Toon Zone

Phoenix

Posted May 28, 2008 by John
Categories: NASA

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Phoenix DVD
Is any other GR fan totally enjoying the fact that the new Mars probe is named Phoenix?

It’s got a DVD too, just like us. The Mars DVD is not a boxed set with a glossy 32 page booklet, but it does have the War of the Worlds radio broadcast and other stuff I’d prefer the Martians didn’t really know about. Check it out.

Showdown to Showtime

Posted May 25, 2008 by John
Categories: Rangers Reminiscences, Showtime

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Continuing my post from yesterday:

As you already know, the zoo in Showdown became a wild west circus and rodeo show, and Krebb the zoo collector became Wild Bill Krebb, but there were a few drafts in between where Krebb was an evil circus clown. In the final confrontation with Niko, he throws a pie at her horse and Voyager rears up and throws her. Evil clowns are certainly creepy, but we were getting away from the western motif, so he became Wild Bill Krebb. Here’s a screenshot of Niko acting like Emma Peel.

Emma Peel

Goose’s battle with Gelatinous was handled differently in every draft I have, and none of them exactly matches the final product. In the first treatment, his head swelled so that he was too large to be suffocated, then next time he grew spines like a porcupine. Then he turned into another Gelatinous, only a slightly stronger one. Then he grew a snorkle … I’m not quite sure what he does in the actual cartoon, but the main point is, he gets to breathe. And he’ll never eat jello again.

Goose v Gelatinous

The only other thing I need to mention on Showtime is a few items that didn’t make it into the final cartoon. In the opening scene, Zozo refers to a conference with “the parsley monsters of Ribus 6.”

Clown

And of course, there was a song. What is it about me and songs? I just love putting them into stuff and I think all my Rangers scripts had a song written into them at one point or another. This is just a little blues number sung by the circus performers:

Well I’m stuck here in this circus
Jumpin’ hoops and eatin’ fire
Yeah I’m stuck here in this circus
Way up there on the high wire
I could sure use a friend
Won’t no one take me home again?

Zozo v Ernie

Oh, and after Zozo knocks Ernie out with his own juggling pins, Ernie showed up wearing a neck brace.

Showdown

Posted May 24, 2008 by John
Categories: Rangers Reminiscences, Showtime

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Back to what happened in 1985 …

When I completed my work on Tune-Up, I returned to Robert’s list of Sample Storylines to begin my next project. The one that intrigued me most was this:

SHOWDOWN

The planet Kirwane is under attack by a gang of zoo collectors. The Galaxy Rangers must fly to the rescue. The Rangers lure the outlaws into outer space where The Goose, Niko, and Zachery each go one-on-one with the evil scum.

While this is a pretty far cry from the final story that Showtime evolved into, it does explain why Doc is nowhere to be found.

I dreamt up three villains for my zoo collectors. A multidimensional alien named Krebb to attack Niko, a nasty android called Hymie to face Zach, and a protoplasmic blob named Gelatinous to challenge Goose (or as we called him at that time, “The Goose”).

Zach punches Ernie

I thought Hymie would be a good name for a killer android that gets his metal butt kicked in by Zach. I forgot the name is sometimes considered a slur, however I’m certainly grateful that he became Ernie before he graced the airwaves.

Zeezaw death scene?

Zozo’s brother Zeezaw, the plucky little Kiwi ambassador, made his first appearance in this episode, and in the first treatment I wrote, he died trying to escape from the three zookeepers. Introducing a brand new character and killing him a few minutes later has been a tried-and-true formula since Homer sang the Illiad. It’s a cheap and easy way to heighten the stakes, but for cute little guys like the Kiwi, it was not such a hot idea. Anyway, Zeezaw survived to dance his way into your hearts in future episodes like The Mothmoose. Aren’t you pleased?

You Andorians Don’t Know How To Enjoy Yourselves

Waldo regresses

The concept of the Andorian regression appeared early in the process. Andorians really needed more backstory. If Waldo is like Spock, where is his Vulcan neck pinch, his mind-meld, or anything that would make Andorians interesting? If you were a toy corporation, would you try to sell a Waldo? “Look kids, he designed the hyperdrive! And he’s got a cape!”

I intended the Andorian regression to be one of several layers in the characterization of their race. Robert asked how Andorians could even get into a spaceship if they reverted to animals in enclosed spaces. I explained it wasn’t claustrophobia. It was an instinctive hatred for captivity.

“Look kids! Put him in a cage and he roars like a lion!”

Well, maybe it would have worked.

Don’t Fall Swee! Hang on Bud!

Kiwi kids

So far, we have the makings of a pretty dark story. Ambassadors devolving into wild beasts in cages — Eugene Ionesco would have liked it. Add some remote control choking collars, a rather acrophobic scene on a tightrope and a clown playing the harmonica — it’s starting to look like an Alfred Hitchcock cartoon, if Alfred Hitchcock had ever made cartoons. 

“I want to have the Kiwi kids in this one,” Robert told me. This was a bit of a shock. First of all, I didn’t know there were any Kiwi kids, since they weren’t in the Writer’s Guidebook. But the show had to appeal to all age groups and so the Kiwi kids had to be along for the ride. 

In Showtime, Swee and Budd are written as barely old enough to form words, coming out with a rare one now and again. If Zeezaw wasn’t to be killed off to heighten the dramatic tension, then he could become a father and protector, which arguably heightens the tension even more.

I know the Kiwi kids are massively unpopular with most fans (okay, all fans) but they were a necessity of our circumstances in the 1980s. If we wanted to survive for a second season, we had to sell toys. Teens and pre-teens do not buy toys. 

Unfortunately, Showtime was not the kind of story that would leave a little kid with a warm squishy feeling in his heart. 

At the time, I was not all that concerned about the Kiwi kids. I was more concerned about the battle cry, Galaxy Rangers ho. Did anyone really go around saying ho?

More on Showtime in the days ahead …
 

Rangers Are Forever

Posted May 24, 2008 by John
Categories: The Collection Volume 1

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Funny coincidence. My DVD set finally arrived Thursday, and I was looking forward to watching it, when I happened to cross paths with a friend of mine. We’ve never discussed the series and she has no idea I wrote for it. I don’t discuss it much, because most people never heard of it, and if I do mention it they assume I mean the Power Rangers, that pukey live-action show that ran for a trillion years.

Anyway, I mentioned I got my new disks of the old tv series Galaxy Rangers, and to my astonishment, she starts singing the song from the show! She’s got the words down cold too! “Into these worlds of unknown danger they ride …” And she’s going on about the characters and all. “And there was that Senator …”

“Senator Whiner?” I said.

“Yeah! Senator Whiner!”

It is so mind-bending to realize how beloved this old cartoon really is. It ran in these awful timeslots like 7 a.m. or 2 p.m., and it went off the air after a year in many parts of the U.S., but somehow it managed to touch the hearts of so many people, while the stupid toy-merchant shows just droned on and washed over us like just another wave of craptacular promotional tele-spam. 

If you haven’t laid eyes on this DVD set yet, they did a first class job. The box has a big glossy gold star covered by a slipcase. The slipcase has a color image of the four Rangers on their robo-steeds, galloping across a desert terrain with distant mesas. They’re firing their blasters like a bunch of wild pioneers dedicated to the highest ideals of shooting stuff. Goose is firing two blasters, cause he’s extra bad. Zach’s arm is glowing a dangerous shade of gold. The skies are thick with Ranger ships hyperdriving their way across the new frontier.

Inside the slipcase, we are confronted with the famous opening lines of each show, tilted slightly back in the way that only classic science fiction openings should be tilted back. This package folds out in three parts to reveal the DVDs and a very impressive glossy color booklet entitled: Visual Guide to Characters. There is an introduction by Robert Mandell, accompanied by some of Justin Norman’s artwork of the Rangers. Most of the other images are designs drawn for the Writer’s Guidebook in 1985, or screenshots from the show.

Buzzwang is in the center gatefold, so you may find your booklet happens to open to his page a lot. There is a big image of him snapping his fingers, because many regarded him as the beat poet of the 21st century.

One less glitch on the internet

Posted May 23, 2008 by John
Categories: Eradicate Inaccuracy!, Voices

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Received this morning from those nice folks at Amazon:

Subject: Your Amazon.com Catalog Update Request

Date: May 23, 2008 1:35:46 PM EDT

 

Greetings from Amazon.com,

Thank you for using the Catalog Update Form.

For ASIN: B0013D8LZE, Title: Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers Collection 1, we have received your updates to the attributes listed below. Beneath each attribute we include the action we have taken.

Attribute: Contributor Name  

Current value: 

 Maia Anziger 

 Actor 

 

Your suggestion: 

 Maia Danziger 

 Actor 

 

Action: Your update has been accepted and processed. It will appear online within the next two to three business days.  

Data accuracy is highly important to us. We appreciate the time you have taken to submit your updates to us.

Best regards,

Catalog Department

www.amazon.com

 

Space Colony

Posted May 23, 2008 by John
Categories: Voices

Tags: ,

Ever play the old computer game Space Colony? One of the many delights in this off-the-wall game is hearing Hubert Kelly’s voice as “Dean,” a doctor in outer space. Yup, Doc went on to more space adventures. 

You might find this gem in a remainder bin at your local computer store – it’s worth a spin. If you can’t find it, I assembled a batch of sound files for your amusement. The game is rated T for Teen, so don’t play these if you have a two year old on your lap right now, or if your boss is within earshot.





























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