Years before Firefly graced TV screens, there was another western set in outer space. In 1986 The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers went into syndication, a 65 episode series that was shown on weekday afternoons. During this time most cartoons were nothing more than glorified commercials for toys. Manufacturers found that it was more cost effective to base a show around a toy, rather than license the show or try to sell something novel through commercials. So they would take an already existing toy line (like G.I. Joe) and create a show around it. Even if the show didn't do well, as long as the toys sold, the producers were happy. This lead to some very mediocre cartoons being broadcast in the mid to late 80's.
Galaxy Rangers was different though. There wasn't a toy line associated with it, and some time was spent on the writing of the show. Though the lack of a toy line eventually meant that the show was too expensive to produce, the program is still fondly remembered today over 15 years after it's single season had run its course. Koch has now released a DVD with four episodes of this afternoon cartoon with 5.1 stereo and remastered video, creating quite a nice package.
At the beginning of every episode, the opening credits how two aliens journeyed to Earth in 2086 and gave humans 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.
This was a pretty good cartoon, from what I could tell from this disc. The main problem I had with is was that this is a 'best of' collection, and they don't have an introductory episode that explains who the Rangers are and who their main enemies are. I suspect the first episode on the disc was a continuation of an earlier storyline, because much of it had me scratching my head. Aside from this I though the show was very creative. They came up with a lot of unique and interesting things in the show, such as the statue that holds a million emotions or the alien in Scarecrow.
The animation of the show is certainly crude by today's standards, but actually wasn't too bad. The character designs were good, and there was a lot of detail especially in the faces. Some of the movement was a little jerky in the action scenes, but it isn't so bad that it interferes with the viewer's enjoyment of the show.
The four episodes on this DVD are:
Tortuna: The Galaxy Rangers go to the planet Tortuna disguised as Zanquils in order to buy the Queen's memory bird (an avian shaped data storage system) from a thief who stole it. While there they find the last of the Gerkins, a race the queen has all but exterminated.
This was a really bad episode to put first on the DVD. I had no idea what was going on. Why were the Rangers disquised? Who was the Queen, and were the Rangers working for her? Why did they want the memory bird? Even after watching the other shows on this DVD, I still don't know what was going on in this episode.
One Million Emotions: The Rangers are assigned to protect an art show, but even while they are on watch, a statue gets stolen. It is a Poe mutant Sensation Doll, a figure that hold a million emotions. Whoever touches the doll gets fulled with the feelings of the artist, a sensation that overwhelms humans and drives them mad. The Rangers have to track the statue down before anyone holds the doll.
This was a better show than the first offering. It was easy to follow, and a fun episode. I thought the show had much more potential after seeing this show.
Scarecrow: Three of the Rangers journey to the planet Grana. There they test the soil to see if it will be compatible with alien vegetables. Unfortunately, the Ranger's equipment awaken a powerful and malevolent entity that has been sleeping (imprisoned?) beneath the surface of Grana for thousands of years. This being attacks the local police and the Rangers try to track it down. But what can the Rangers do against a being that has lived for eons?
Easily my favorite show on the disc. The Scarecrow was a great villain and some of his scenes were pretty eerie. They should have started the disc off with this episode.
Heart of Tarkon: A pair of Rangers arrive on the planet Tarkon. The Queen is trying to sign a treaty with the local king that will pave the way for her to control the peaceful planet. Things don't go so well for the Rangers, as they soon got put under house arrest. Being the resourceful people that they are they manage to escape, but will they be able to convince the king of the Queen's evil intentions?
This was also a fun show, with a good amount of humor that didn't take away from the drama.
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.
Galaxy Rangers is a fun and exciting show. There is humor, action, and drama along with some a great villain in one episode at least. 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.