Oddly enough, 1986 and 87 was the time of the space western cartoon.
There were not one, not two, but three of these odd shows. (Can you
name the other two? See the end of the review for the answer.)
One of the best was The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers.
This 65 episode series that was shown on weekday afternoons starting in
1986. The show had a good amount of continuity, especially for an
American kids cartoon, but the show was more often than not shown out of
order. Because of this the program never achieved the audience that
it deserved. But now Koch has now released two 'best of' Galaxy
Ranger DVDs. (The first disc is reviewed here.)
Like the first, this DVD contains four episodes of this afternoon cartoon
with 5.1 stereo and remastered video.
At the beginning of every episode, the opening credits how two aliens
journeyed to Earth in 2086 and gave us plans for a hyper drive. Now
other worlds have been settled, and with that expansion come a new set
of problems. The universe is filled with aliens, not all of them
friendly, and to protect the frontier planets the Galaxy Rangers have been
created. This show relates the adventures of five of these lawmen
(well, four lawmen and one lawwoman) as they protect the newly settle areas.
The four episodes on this DVD are:
Super Troopers: The Super
Troopers, genetically engineered experiments that went awry, kidnap a Senator
and Batch 22, a deadly virus. They want Gooseman to and Captain Walsh
to meet them at the Wolf Den, their old training ground. The two
Rangers go, even though they know it's a trap.
This episode gives some background on Gooseman, and how he became the
effective fighter that he is. Originally broadcast later in
the series, this episode would have been more effective if the viewer knew
more about Gooseman to begin with. The Super Troopers were
great villains, made all the more interesting because of their relation
to Gooseman. A good episode with a lot of action.
Galaxy Stranger: A stranger
dressed in black (Gooseman) rides into a Frontier town looking for the
local rancher who has hired a renegade Super Trooper to help scare the
smaller farmers into selling their land. In typical western fashion,
it ends with a showdown on Main Street.
This show works well following the previous episode. The program
plays with typical western traditions in a fun manner, creating several
(possibly unintentional) humorous moments. I loved when the sherif's
daughter asked her father "who that stranger [was]" at the end of the show.
Shoot Out: The Queen sets
up a contest to find the fastest shot in the Galaxy. To make sure
that the best of the best show up, she offers a fortune of Star Stones,
including Eliza's Crystal. The Rangers know it's a trap, but they
can't resist the chance of obtaining the Crystal. Gooseman enters
the contest, but the Queen has it rigged in her favor.
This was another action packed episode, but it shows the weakness of
these 'best of' volumes. I had no idea what Eliza's Crystal was,
or why it was important. The show was still fun to watch, with a
lot of entertaining gun battles. Knowing what was at stake would
have added another dimension to the show though.
Battle of the Bandits: A rock
band dresses up as the Queen's elite guards, Slavers, and call themselves
The Slaver Lords. The Queen has an evil idea, and after kidnaping the group,
she replaces the backup singers with real Slavers. The band is then
entered in a battle of the bands concert, with the idea that the Queen
will use her psycho net to take control of the audience once the band is
on stage. The Rangers predict that something's up, and enter the
contest themselves as the rock band "The Galaxy Rangers."
This was the light comic episode of the disk. It was actually
pretty funny, with some amusing parts. I let out a laugh when Larry
(some guy I hadn't seen before) tries to bewitch the Rangers with a magic
spell by chanting "Kareem Abdul-Jabbar!" and when the rocker Nimrod, refers
to the Queen as "Little Queenie" (a Chuck Berry song.) The rock concert
itself was pretty funny too.
Overall this was an intriguing series that has a lot of potential.
Hopefully Koch will continue releasing this show but start putting the
shows out in order.
This disc offers the viewer the choice between a 5.1 and a 2.0 stereo
soundtrack. Both tracks are very clean and sound great. The
5.1 splits the soundtrack between the front and rear speakers, and is more
enveloping, though the stereo mix sounds good. There is no hiss or
dropouts, and distortion is absent. A very good sounding DVD.
This show looks great. The full frame video has been restored,
and has never looked better. The colors are strong and the lines
are tight. There isn't any print damage and digital defects are nonexistent.
A wonderful looking disc.
This disc includes a text based biographies of the characters in the
show and a photo gallery.
Like the first volume, this set of shows are fun and entertaining
to watch. There is humor, action, and drama along with some good
villains. I only wish that they had released the episodes in order
rather than in this best-of DVD. Fans of the show should be overjoyed
that it's finally coming out, looking and sounding better than ever.
If you've never seen the show before, it's worth a look, just watch the
first episode last. Recommended. In case you couldn't
figure it out, the other two SF western shows that came out about the same
time as Galaxy Rangers were Bravestarr and Saber Riders
and the Star Sheriff.