Case Number 07656: Small Claims Court

THE ADVENTURES OF THE GALAXY RANGERS: PHOENIX

Koch Vision // 1986 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Maurice Cobbs (Retired) // September 28th, 2005

The Charge

"You humans are crazy! Outer space will never be the same!" -- Captain Kidd

The Case

Years before short-sighted studio execs shot Joss Whedon's Firefly down in a blaze of glory, Western adventure and space opera collided in The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. An elite team of technologically enhanced lawmen, the Galaxy Rangers were tasked with preserving law and order in the vast reaches of space, where humans were settling with other races on remote frontier planets thanks to hyperdrive technology given to them by alien ambassadors seeking an alliance against the sprawling, genocidal Crown Empire. Using the microcircuitry in their badges, the Rangers could activate their Series 5 brain implants and access enhanced powers and abilities: Their leader, Marshall Zachary Foxx, could transform his bionic left arm into a laser cannon; the beautiful Niko could magnify her already-impressive psionic abilities; Dr. Walter "Doc" Hartford became a "computer wizard," able to "conjure" specialized computer programs; and Shane "Goose" Gooseman, last of the genetically altered Supertroopers, could shape-shift, or get super-strong, or become invulnerable, or whatever else the script called for him to do. Aside from battling the Slaver Lords of the megalomaniacal Queen of the Crown Empire, the Rangers locked horns with a variety of colorful villains, like gangster Jackie Subtract, space pirate Captain Kidd, bandit queen Daisy O'Mega, and Ryker Killbane and his gang of renegade Supertroopers.

Unlike the vast majority of cartoons from the mid-eighties, Galaxy Rangers was not driven by toy sales, which allowed it an extra level of creative freedom, but which also ultimately caused its untimely demise: Unable to generate a marketing frenzy, Galaxy Rangers was quickly lost in the shuffle and eventually canceled. But the show nevertheless maintained a healthy fan base, and now the Rangers are back, '80s rock soundtrack and all, thanks to the miracle of DVD. Unfortunately, Koch Vision has bafflingly decided to release the show in four-episode spurts, and out of production order. Here, in the fourth Galaxy Rangers collection, they've finally decided to release the first two episodes of the series. Here's how it breaks down:

* "Phoenix"
The series kicks off with this episode, as Zach Foxx and his family are ambushed by Captain Kidd and his band of space pirates while escorting the alien ambassadors Waldo and Zozo to the planet Kirwin. Meanwhile, the Queen of the Crown Empire stages a raid on Kirwin to harvest a supply of humans and use their life forces to power her psychocrystals, with which she will create Slaver Lords to lead her armies as she conquers the rest of the galaxy. When Zach's wife Eliza is captured, he barely manages to escape the pirates with his children, but he vows to return with the newly commissioned team of Series-5 Galaxy Rangers and rescue his wife as well.

* "New Frontier"
On their first mission, the Rangers travel to the outlaw planet Tortuna in search of the notorious Captain Kidd, who has sold Eliza Foxx to the Queen of the Crown. After narrowly escaping a trap, the Rangers must locate the Queen's psychocrypt and rescue the captured humans -- including Eliza -- before their life forces are drained into psychocrystals.

* "Psychocrypt"
We jump ahead over twenty episodes to find that Eliza Foxx's life force has long been held captive by the Queen of the Crown, although her comatose body is now in stasis at BETA Mountain. Using the power contained in Eliza's psychocrystal, the Queen taunts Zach with bizarre nightmares involving his wife, hoping to lure him to her psychocrypt. With Zach's sanity under question, he finds himself confined to quarters but escapes with the help of his team and heads to Tortuna in search of Geezi the Pedulant, a smuggler who may know a way into the Queen's stronghold. Meanwhile, Commander Walsh has sent the rest of the Rangers after Zach, but when they find him, he has already been captured and transformed into a Slaver Lord!

* "Rainmaker"
The Rangers catch Jackie Subtract in the middle of an illegal deal, but he escapes by chance and goes into hiding. They track him to the frontier world of Nebraska, where Jackie's twin brother Aiden is traveling from town to town with his rain-making machine. Aiden isn't too happy to see his criminal brother show up, but he can't exactly turn him away, either -- until Jackie decides that he can escape by impersonating Aiden.

One of the benefits of the DVD medium is that it gives wonderful shows like Galaxy Rangers a real chance to find an audience. Unfortunately, Koch Vision has released these episodes out of their intended order, destroying the crafted continuity and possibly confusing new viewers who are unfamiliar with the show. Fortunately, there are rumors of a boxed set that will present the Galaxy Rangers saga the way it was intended to be seen. For now, fans will have to be content with these collections; the picture looks fantastic, and you have a choice of 2.0 or 5.1 surround sound. The episode synopses and the character bios in the special features are pretty standard, and there is also a "photo gallery" included, which is actually a collection of random and rather pointless screen shots from the show. Eh?

The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers is a fun and exciting show, and rather advanced for the time it was being produced. Let's hope the boxed set comes along soon!

Review content copyright © 2005 Maurice Cobbs; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 87

Perp Profile
Studio: Koch Vision
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 1986
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Episode Synopses
* Character Bios
* Photo Gallery

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0090436/combined

* BETA Mountain
http://www.betamountain.org/