Sunday, February 04, 2007

Space Academy

Since Jessi's gone to bed early tonight (as you might've guessed from the time stamp on the entries after this one on the page), I figured I'd catch up a bit on my DVD viewing.

Space Academy was a favorite show of mine back in 1977, and so I figured I'd start watching it.

First impressions? Well, the special effects aren't as cheesy as I expected... while the Space Academy miniature could've been more detailed, it stil doesn't look too shabby, and the Seeker flights look pretty decent, too (although there's a scene now where it appears it's flying sideways, given the direction the starfield is moving).

The planet set for the first episode is about on par with the original Star Trek, which isn't bad... and I recognize Lou Scheimer's voice being used for the alien!

The cast is definitely appealing... the girls are quite attractive, too! I remembered Pamlyn Ferdin, who was also the voice of Lucy in many of the Charlie Brown specials, and she also appeared in an episode of the original Trek. I think Bubblegum Fink posted a link to her website, but I didn't bookmark it.

The first episode introduces the crew to Loki, the alien boy with unusual powers. This episode makes me feel that it's a variation in many ways on the original Star Trek episode with Zephram Cochrane (which itself was also reworked for a two-part issue of Marvel Comics' Nova).

The costumes are rather interesting, too... there's lots of zippers in evidence that appear to be decorative rather than functional. I suppose they looked "spacey".

It's also interesting to see Jonathan Harris in his role as Gampu, the commander of the Space Academy... it's a very different role than his best-known role on Lost In Space, which was similar in many ways to his Uncle Croc's Block role (if you've never seen Uncle Croc's Block, I can assure you it'll never be legally available on DVD).

Gampu is so much of a father figure, understanding and supportive... it's kind of strange! And I didn't rememeber that Gampu named Loki, who had no name before that! Obviously Gampu was knowledgeable of mythology, but not with Marvel Comics!

Obviously, Filmation's budget didn't allow for a full-scale Seeker that could be used on planet scenes... the first episode had a view of the planet from inside the Seeker, but no exterior shots with the crew.

Wow, these episodes go by fast... there must've been a LOT of commercials run during them! It seems I just started watching the first one, and it's already over. I don't recall the Flash Gordon episodes running so quickly.

Another funny thing I note... remember how the Filmation shows had Norm Prescott and Lou Scheimer's names in the circle? I'm sure if you've bought any of these DVDs, you heard Lou tell the story that they did this so that they'd be shown as equally important... but Norm's name does always appear on top first!

Episode 2 deals with the study of a black hole... which, so far at least, is not identified as being what's left of a collapsed star. The effect for the black hole is really on the cheap side, that's for certain! And it appears I was wrong about the full-size Seeker... I just got a glimpse of it (seconds before a stop-motion monster sequence). The actual plot of this episode deals with new arrival Paul's learning to be part of the team.

Something different in the third episode... there's actually a teaser before the main credits! These episodes have been very fun to watch, and if you're a fan of 1970s kid-vid, I definitely want to recommend this set to you (and no, I don't get a cut of the sales, not even a tiny one).

Jon

2 comments:

  1. After they made "Space Academy," they used the sets and spaceship models to do a show called "Jason of Star Command." I understand that the "Jason" DVD will be released soon.

    --SCott

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  2. I remember Jason fondly... and am also looking forward to getting my comp copy of the DVD (I helped out with the special features for Jason, as well as all the BCI Filmation DVDs, by transcribing the interviews).

    Jon

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