Our Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers Rewatch continues. Read about Episode 1: Phoenix first if you like or dive in below. These synopses will be featured on the Beta Mountain wiki, a great resource for those interested in a deep dive on the show. Comments, likes and shares are always appreciated.
Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers
Episode 1: New Frontier
Written by: Robert Mandell
The Rangers have assembled for the first time at B.E.T.A. the Bureau of Extra-Terrestrial Affairs. They await the arrival of the eminent Dr. Owen Negata, a green brain on a flying plate. Dr. Negata informs the Rangers of their next mission. It seems Captain Kidd has reached out to the Rangers offering an exchange. Information on the abducted humans in exchange for a trade alliance. The Rangers must travel to the planet Tortuna to negotiate the deal.
What follows is a flurry of technological tail ruffling, as the Rangers board their vessels and shoot across the galaxy. Glamour shots of planes, trains and artificial intelligences climax in the arrival on Tortuna, a rocky red planet. The Rangers debark their cybersteeds (Triton, Brutus, Voyager and Mel) mount up and ride to the town of Sorry End.
Gooseman enters the Rim Shot Saloon and immediately attracts trouble. The criminal element doesn’t take kindly to Rangers. Gooseman shoots down a chandelier leading to a Mexican standoff. Captain Kidd’s arrival calms the mob. The Rangers sit down to talk only to find that Kidd’s pulled a Lando.
The Queen’s agents burst through a wall on their steeds. Lasers, staffs and tables fly across the room as a riot breaks out. The Rangers are engulfed in a wave of agents and Slaver Lords. Luckily, Doc bursts through a window (that makes two windows and a wall missing at this saloon) with the cybersteeds. Captain Kidd begs to be taken along and the team gallops off into the waiting Ranger-1.
Hectoring of Kidd reveals that the Queen imprisoned the abducted humans in an asteroid in a space quadrant known as the Queen’s Graveyard. The Team enter the asteroid field, narrowly avoiding the smaller rocks, in the hopes that Nico can make a psychic connection with Zachary Foxx’s missing wife Eliza (See Episode 1: Phoenix). Nico receives a psychic flash of Eliza and the Queen of the Crown, which leads them to the prison. The team suits up as two Crown Destroyers depart.
In another devastating moment of incompetence the Crown Agent on guard duty takes a call regarding his phone bill. “The check is in the mail,” are his final words as the Rangers blow him away. Doc uses Pathfinder, his special program, to unlock the door. Inside they find Gherkins, a bulbous, pink race of aliens, in suspended animation. Captain Kidd works out that the Queen is using humans to build her Slaver Lords. The Queen herself reveals that humans’ robust nature allows her to convert them to Slaver Lords at a one-to-one ratio. It takes three Gherkins to make a Slaver Lord. Trap doors drop out below the Rangers bringing them into the presence of the Queen herself.
The Queen welcomes the Rangers to her Psychocrypt. Zachary Foxx confronts the Queen about Eliza. The Queen, in typical maniacal villain fashion, explains her whole plan and how Eliza can only be revived by joining the two halves of her psychocrystal, the one around Eliza’s neck and the one on her Slaver Lord. Zachary activates his bionic arm and blows up everything real good. The captured humans are released, but the Queen psychokinetically seizes half of Eliza’s psychocrystal, pledging to use it to keep tabs on the Rangers.
The Rangers escape to their ships with Gooseman taking lead. Quick maneuvers allow him to take out to fighter, but a blockade of Crown ships looms. From out of nowhere, Captain Kidd, back on his own ship, swoops in to take out the enemy fighters, more of Han Solo move.
Back at B.E.T.A. Eliza is put into suspended animation and Zachary Foxx once again promises to save her. Commander Mustache suggests that this is the beginning of a new age, as if that was a hopeful thing. Ships launch and the story ends … for now.
- How the hell do these psycho crystals work? The soul is broken in two and the obedient part goes to the Slaver Lord. Who knew souls are easier to work with than play-dough?
- After failing to save his wife in Phoenix, Zachary Foxx spends the entirety of this episode trying to right that wrong, and fails. So much for strong, central protagonist.
- Who’s raising the Foxx kids while Dad’s off shooting bad guys?
In its second outing Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers continues to define itself. The western motif, central to the marketing of the show becomes more explicit. The rangers mount their cybersteeds and engage in a saloon brawl. Only when space opera wins over horse opera does the series push the boundaries of children’s television. The Queen’s Psychocrypt is a science fantasy creation. Human and alien souls are harvested to run the Crown’s Slaver Lords, towering figures of menace throughout the series. The implications are left vague. What happens to the human/alien host when a Slaver Lord is killed? Are the Rangers dealing the killing blow to captured innocents, or freeing tortured souls? The show outright annihilates Crown Agents (no G. I. Joe space parachutes for these robots). Could Zachary Foxx, or another Ranger, one day murder the Slaver Lord which contains half of Eliza’s soul?
Zachary Foxx proves to be a refreshing loser. Not only did he lose his wife in episode one, but in his triumph here he loses her soul. It isn’t unusual for act one to end in a dark place with an angry universe aligned against the protagonist. It is unusual to see any kind of continuing arch on a cartoon from this era. If G.I. Joe’s Duke’s wife was kidnapped he’d have her back safe by the end of the episode. Galaxy Rangers commits to novelistic world-building when even the drama’s on television were episodic.
The other Rangers show up in “New Frontier” long enough to demonstrate their powers. It’s not enough to get a sense of their characters, but slightly more than their one minute introduction in episode one. Nico, Doc, and Gooseman maintain their mystery a little longer. Technology shines as the show lavishes time on the Interceptor and Ranger-1. Support tech gets a moment in the Rangers elevator/train ride through B.E.T.A. Mountain and their fly-by of a Space Station in Earth orbit, to say nothing of the cybersteeds. Voyager even gets a personality and an unfortunate Mr. Ed reference (Wilbur). Episode two isn’t as overstuffed as the first, but it manages to push the population of the universe ever outward.
If there is one point where the shows connect thematically, it’s in the characters of J.D. Bennett (I.Q.) and Walter “Doc” Hartford. Both are the intellects of their teams whose enhancement include bionic brainpower. Neither is hampered by anxiety, as often the “nerd” characters are, though J.D. shows more angst. This can be accounted for by his age (he’s still a teenager) and his life circumstances (orphan in a mixed race family of crime-fighters). The characters both share African ancestry. Perhaps Doc’s get-along attitude is a result of living in a post-racial time, or maybe it’s a dream even then.
If we were to draw a line genetically straight from the Bionic Six to the Galaxy Rangers, that line should connect J.D. and Doc. While Shane Gooseman has Rock-1’s hair and Zachary Foxx could be Bionic-1’s clone with eyebrow extensions, only J.D. and Doc share a world-view. Besides who better to shepherd bionics into the late twenty-first century than the one member of the Bionic Six who understood them. In short, Doc Hartford most likely calls J.D. Bennett grandpa.
As with my Bionic Six Reviews, I want feedback. Whenever or however you’ve read this, I’d like to know. What did you think of the episode?
How do you relate to a character who fails at the only two missions you’ve seen him on?
Are the longer story arch and attention to detail benefits of the show, or did they lead to cancellation?
Thoughts on the cybersteeds? Bad ass robo-horses, or gimmicky toy commercial?
First impressions of the Rangers?
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Thanks for reading.