Join 3,513 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


“Digitize Her!”
April 1, 2012 8:37 AM   Subscribe

Earth, 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, where man fought machines—and machines won. Bio-Dreads — monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them!
In 1987, before he created Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski was a writer for Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, a live-action sci-fi show for kids. 24 episodes were produced. Straczynski wrote or co-wrote 14 of them, including multi-episode plot arcs. A line of interactive toys brought the battle into kids’ living rooms, and Captain Power was also one of the very first shows on television to feature computer animation in every episode. But in an attempt to appeal to both children and the adults who watched with them, the campy show included some concepts and scenes critics deemed too violent for children and lasted only a single season in syndication. The full run of the show has now been uploaded to Youtube.

Alternate Playlist. These videos are of a lower quality, but are not broken into parts.

* Fan Site.
* 20th Anniversary Site
* More on the toy line at Parry Game Preserve
posted by zarq (28 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
Was deliberately vague about the scenes and storylines that put this show at a more mature level than standard Saturday Morning kiddy fare. Wikipedia explains further, and has spoilers under the section, "Project New Order"

Wikipedia also mentions that even though season two was never produced, scripts were actually commissioned and written. 22 scripts were assigned for season 2, but that number was later reduced to 18. And eagle-eyed observers will note that veteran writer Michael Reaves has writing credit on a couple of episodes in Season One, and several unproduced Season 2 scripts.
posted by zarq at 8:43 AM on April 1, 2012


That show is strongly embedded in my memory due to the way it tied in with the toys. Several of the toys had laser-tag style infrared inputs and outputs, and there was IR content in the TV show that you could shoot at/could shoot at you.

I remember my fellow 6th graders thinking they could use these toys to actually change the outcome of the TV show by shooting at it, and they we're really angry when they found out how it actually worked. I was the only kid in my class that understood how the toys actually worked, and I felt this weird obligation to defend the show since I understood the mechanics. I remember being unreasonably frustrated that my classmates dismissed a cool toy and show because it didn't match their technologically-impossible expectations.

So apparently I was like that before I started programming...
posted by yorick at 9:07 AM on April 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh man, I used to believe that the lightgun could change the outcome of the show, just like your friends, yorick.

Thankfully we were too poor to ever buy one of the damn things, and that kept myself from being disappointed.
posted by Avenger at 9:22 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm so glad you posted this, zarq, because now I can post this:

Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present "Digitize", truly the finest rap video based on a 1980s toy based children's science fiction television show ever made.
posted by maqsarian at 9:32 AM on April 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ha!
posted by zarq at 9:39 AM on April 1, 2012


You know what's wonderful about this modern age we live in? The fact that obscure one or two season shows of every kind are catalogued and saved for posterity. There will always be a record of this having existed. Whether you hate or love these short-lived productions, someone, somewhere has them on VHS, DVD, youtube, etc. It's just a matter of having some patience and waiting for the fanboys/girls of the world to do their job.
posted by Fizz at 9:51 AM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


(psst, zarq: most of your links are laser-blasted!)
posted by item at 10:18 AM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


god, how I loved this show when I was a kid. I adored Pilot, and thought Captain Power was the cutest. Unfortunately I made the mistake of catching the show again years later in my late teens. How did I forget the Captain had something of a mullet and was a bad actor??

(Pilot was still awesome though.)

(this is the primary reason why I'm in no hurry to rewatch Masked Rider Black...)
posted by cendawanita at 10:22 AM on April 1, 2012


POWER ON!
posted by RogerB at 10:48 AM on April 1, 2012


I was just thinking about this show again, after the recent drones thread.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:56 AM on April 1, 2012


Don't remember this show, but it has an AMAZING intro. The Youtube suggested playlist also directed me to this gem: Misfits of Science.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:05 AM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ooh, can't wait to watch this. I was just thinking of it the other month when I found out JMS wrote several She-Ra episodes and sought them out on YouTube. I never got to watch Captain Power because of the fuss around the shoe's violence, which I imagine must seem terribly tame now.
posted by Calzephyr at 11:33 AM on April 1, 2012


There's something of a tradition of bizarre Canadian science fiction and fantasy shows that air early Saturday and Sunday morning, and are shown endlessly in syndication. That's why, to my mind, Captain Power is always linked with The Starlost. Except that Captain Power was crazy bleak, way darker and more violent than a kids show would normally be. It was pretty strong stuff for when you're barely awake and out of your pajamas.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:42 AM on April 1, 2012


A Passion Forged in Steel: "The Power Team pick up a bunch of refugees after staving off a Dread attack on them. Power suspects a spy amongst the refugees and dispatches Scout to unveil the snitch. Steve Gerber's script introduces the mysterious operative Morgana and sets the tone for her relationship with Lord Dread (featuring the first ever cyber-sex scene in television history according to Larry DiTillio), with an unexpected twist for Captain Power."
posted by kliuless at 11:44 AM on April 1, 2012


Great post, the only thing missing are the three direct-to-vhs "mission" videos, which were nominally part of the franchise if not officially part of the television show. They did feature some live action segments with the actors and sets from the show, but were mostly animated.

Here's a decent copy of Future Force Training, but a quick skim of YouTube hasn't turned up Bio Dread Strike Mission, or Raid on Volcania. If anyone knows where anyone's digitized these other two old cassettes onto the net, please share links.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:58 AM on April 1, 2012


"If anyone knows where anyone's digitized these other two old cassettes onto the net, please share links."

Oh, the irony. Digitization is what keeps these old shows alive.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:01 PM on April 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


The sidebar is a treasure trove of 80s cheese
posted by device55 at 12:11 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember thinking even when I was a kid that this was a terrible, terrible show, obviously designed as a way to sell expensive toys, so I'm a little surprised that it has a cult following (and that JMS wrote for it).
posted by whir at 12:12 PM on April 1, 2012


Ha Kevin! My husband can't stop talking aout The Starlost. It should be remade. I think Canadian media is geared to some notion of survival, which explains the appeal perhaps. I believe Margaret Atwood wrote a book on this notion in the 70s.
posted by Calzephyr at 12:16 PM on April 1, 2012


that this was a terrible, terrible show, obviously designed as a way to sell expensive toys

As was Transformers, as GI Joe. But you have to judge it by the time. Frankly TOS is frequently terrible from the modern perspective, but mindblowing when people viewed it then. Can you think of another mid80's children's show that started off with the genocide of the human race?

I remember rushing home to see it then and being astonished at how dark it felt.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:19 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


God, I loved this show. Luckily it's cancellation after one season prepared me for a lifetime of things I enjoy being cancelled.

I'm looking at you Deadwood. I see you trying to slink away, Key West. No, not you Cop Rock. You sucked.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:02 PM on April 1, 2012


Ye gods, I loved this show. Especially the death star-equse trench end credits sequence, with the laser blasts flying at you, and the glowing targets that you could shoot at if you had the special IR gun, which I didn't. But it didn't matter. My index finger worked just as well.

PEW PEW PEW PEW LASERS!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:06 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


item: "(psst, zarq: most of your links are laser-blasted!)"

Thanks for pointing it out. So sorry folks. Broken links are as follows:

Alternate Playlist. These videos are of a lower quality, but are not broken into parts.

* Fan Site.
* 20th Anniversary Site
* More on the toy line at Parry Game Preserve

radwolf76: "Here's a decent copy of Future Force Training"

Great find! Thank you!

Fizz: "You know what's wonderful about this modern age we live in? The fact that obscure one or two season shows of every kind are catalogued and saved for posterity. There will always be a record of this having existed. Whether you hate or love these short-lived productions, someone, somewhere has them on VHS, DVD, youtube, etc. It's just a matter of having some patience and waiting for the fanboys/girls of the world to do their job."

And when they do, we're gonna post 'em to Metafilter. :D
posted by zarq at 7:08 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember being extremely distracted during The Hunt for Red October and Earth 2 when I realized that there were Captain Power actors in them (Tank in the former, Pilot in the latter, I believe). At what point would they be attacked by Lord Dread?

The Cold War would have been very different, I think. And maybe Earth 2 would have made more sense.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:14 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


there were Captain Power actors in them

Man some kind of well done Captain Power/The Matrix crossover fiction needs to happen ASAP. You laugh, but the Stargate SG1/XCom crossover was fantastic. Assuming that guy ever finishes book 2 and doesn't got GRRM on us.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:38 PM on April 1, 2012


Anyone else traumatized by the scenes of someone getting digitized?
posted by Theta States at 9:53 AM on April 2, 2012


JMS also wrote for Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, which featured the evil Sawboss and his army of cloned mutant plant-based sentient weapons. I remember being horrified and fascinated watching the plants grow from vines and the plant-cars being birthed (for lack of a better word).

Also I had a thing for Herc, because he was basically Han Solo, and Han is better than Luke.
posted by cereselle at 1:05 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


JMS also wrote and/or edited some of the best episodes of The Real Ghostbusters.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:12 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older The David Rumsey Map Collection presents 19th-cent...  |  "If you think health care in A... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments