Galaxy Rangers is an 80s cartoon I didn't get to see much. In fact, I'm not sure I ever saw more than a couple of episodes. However, a few things about it stuck out in my memory: the completely kick-ass intro song and animation for starters, and the fact that one of the main characters was an artificially created super human (probably the first time I ever saw that particular cliche). Mostly, though, I remembered that intro. When I discovered it again on You Tube, I must have watched it over and over for fifteen minutes. I would suddenly and randomly bust it out at work, complete with imitating the heroes' poses.
Please note that I haven't watched any full episodes until now. I was afraid the show itself couldn't possibly live up to that intro. Does it? Let's find out.
First, I'm going to cover the intro:
In 2086, two peaceful aliens journeyed to Earth, seeking our help. In return, they gave us the plans for our first Hyperdrive, allowing manking to open the doors to the STARS! We have assembled a team of unique individuals to protect Earth and our allies -- courageous pioneers committed to the highest ideals of justice and dedicated to preserving law and order across the new Frontier! These are the adventures of the GALAXY RANGERS!
Hell, we haven't seen them do anything yet and I'm sold! But the intro isn't done yet, oh Heavens no. Some low-key guitar licks have been playing over the narration (sounds kind of like "Highway to the Danger Zone"). Suddenly, the music EXPLODES when we see a Galaxy Ranger badge appear in a burst of fire and light. The camera swirls around each of the four rangers as they appear in burst of light and strike little poses that succinctly establish everything we really need to know about their abilities and personalities. Zachary fires a blast from his arm gun, Niko gets into a martial arts stance, Walter makes some holograms from his computer thingie, and Goose does some fancy moves with his pistols. The animation is incredible here, the equal of anything
else you'll find from the 1980s. Then, of course, there's the song.
Into these worlds of unknown danger they ride
They're the Galaxy Rangers, heroes in the sky!
NO GUTS NO GLORY!
Oh, taking a stand!
Ready to prove it again!
Wonderful. Beautiful. You can't see it, but there's a tear in my eye. If I had died right after seeing that, I'd have died a happy man.
With a theme song like that, these guys are True Heroes. There's just no question.
On to the show.
Galaxy Ranger Zachary Foxx (voiced by Jerry Orbach!), his family, and ambassadors Waldo and Zozo (the two "friendly aliens" from the intro) are on their way to the planet Kirwin to see a demonstration of Kirwin's new planetary defense force field. Waldo, who is from Kirwin, is the short, lagomorph-like alien and Waldo is the tall, bald, Fu-Manchu-looking one. The group exchanges some friendly banter.
Back on Kirwin, the indigenous people (known and "Kiwis") are farming. They're apparently pretty good at it, since a disembodied voice -- I think he's supposed to be talking to Zachary -- says that the Kiwis should be able to grow enough food to feed the entire League of Planets. A Kiwi, another of Waldo's race (Wikipedia says they're "Andorians"), and a human are talking about some new kind of engineered plant. It's very nutritious but tastes like shoe leather. This scene is interrupted by an alert; a ship is approaching. Given the ominous music that coincides with its arrival, I'm guessing its an evil ship.
We cut to the ship. It looks kind of like something straight out of Gundam. I half expected Char Aznoble to be on board. Oh, and it's red, so that settles any question of it being evil or not. There are two beings on board, dressed a little like Bedouins. They have no apparent faces but, when they speak, red lights (evil!) twinkle in the spot you would expect a face to be. It seems they're interested in capturing some humans. One of them fondles a red (evil!) jewel and two monstrous faces appear inside it. Ok. One of the two space-Bedouins says something about capturing human life force, BWAHAHAHAHA. What did I tell you? Evil.
Back on Kirwin, they decide to go ahead and power up their force field, even though "it hasn't been debugged". The animation for the force field is pretty neat, though I notice a rather glaring flaw in its design. The force field appears to be powered by a central source, beaming energy to thousands and thousands of small relays in orbit around the planet. Seems to me that someone could easily blow up a few of those relays and put a hole in the field, if not collapse it entirely.
Oh, and just let me interject here: I love all the 80s anime sound effects they've got going on in this cartoon. If you were around back then, you'll recognize them immediately.
The Space Bedouins (I wish they'd identify who they really are!) are unimpressed with the force field and launch "Crown Fighters". These are robots, or perhaps guys in armor, who look more than a little like Mazinger Z. They're piloting small, well-armed craft. They blow up a few relays and create a huge hole in the shield. What did I tell you? By the way, the music in this scene is HORRIBLE. It sounds like a cat walking on a Casio keyboard.
The Crown Fighters fly down to the farming community and begin blowing up buildings, strafing children, and doing other mean stuff. There's one hilarious moment where one of the Crown Fighters flies smack-dab into a silo! "I'm coming in too low. Ahhh." BOOM!
A larger shuttle lands, disgoring Crown Fighters on horses. Robot horses. And -- yes! -- the robot horses have a reddish tint in a couple of shots, so they are officially evil
robot horses. These guys beat up some Kiwis, shoot a bunch of humans in the back, and take them back to the mothership. I thought it was pretty cool that they were actually killing people, by shooting them in the back no less, but then I remembered that the Space Bedouins wanted them alive. So, darn, they must just be stunned.
The Andorian stationed on Kiwi contacts the Space Bedouins and warns them against harming the captured humans. And, finally, I think he identifies them as agents of The Crown (according to Wikipedia: yep). The gist of his message is that humans are a lot more dangerous than the Queen of the Crown thinks and she's biting off more than she can chew. The Space Bedouin is all like, "We'll see about that!" and the evil ship flies away.
Meanwhile, Zachary and company -- hey, Zach! Almost forgot about ya! -- are having some trouble of their own. No sooner are they alerted to the trouble on Kirwin than their hyperdrive goes haywire. After a few (cough) tense moments, they disengage the hyperdrive, which burns it out. They eventually figure out roughly where they are, about 100 light years off course.
Suddenly, a ship appears. The heroes immediately decide that this ship had something to do with their "accident". since two ships aren't just going to happen to run across each other in the vastness of space. Wow. Usually in these shows, ships just happen to meet in space all the time and nothing is made of it, even though space is big. Really big. Anyway, this new ship is shaped like a bird -- and red. Uh-oh! Uh-oh for the audience, too, for the ship is captained by a birdlike creature called Captain Kidd! He, of course, caws and stuff when he talks. And he has a monkey on his shoulder who repeats what he says in a squeaky voice.
Show ... starting to ... suck ...
Kidd wants to capture the humans and sell them to the Queen of the Crown. Ok, great, just do it and quit talking! His crew arms themselves with clubs, axes, spears, and grappling hooks (?) in preparation to board Zachary's ship.
Oh, yeah, Zachary's ship is called the Phoenix
, I forgot to mention that. The Phoenix
is currently low on power, so they can't spare any for the weapons lest they lose life support. Zachary's son, Zach, Jr., thinks he can rig up the communications laser to act as a weapon. Zachary's useless (but kind of hot, with her big 80s hair, sweater, and all) daughter is scared, so he tasks her with monitoring life support to give her something to do. As for Zachary's barely glimpsed wife and the two aliens, I guess they're just sitting on their duffs.
Zachary tries to warn Captain Kidd against attacking them but Kidd pays them no mind. His ship attaches grappling cables to the Phoenix
and ... the bad guys do pretty much nothing for a few minutes while Zachary exits the ship and shoots the cables loose with his handgun.
Ok, a little more happens than that, but I hate Captain Kidd so much I just skipped over it. I haven't even mentioned the Phoenix's
annoying AI interface. Like I said above, the episode really started to suck here.
That's also where "Part A" ends on the You Tube clip.
Part B coming soon ...
Galaxy Rangers Episode 1, "Phoenix", Part A - complete with Intro! Yeah!