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FILMATION JASON OF STAR COMMAND DVD REVIEW
Now that the Filmation flood gates have opened, 2007 has been an expensive year for me, especially considering many of the recent releases have been on my DVD wish list for almost a decade.
Jason of Star Command started initially as a serial in the "Tarzan and the Super 7" Series (A show which contains some segments we're not likely to see on DVD sadly) and then it returned as a stand alone series a year later. One of the most expensive Saturday morning series ever made, it's production quality still holds it own.
The series is a spin off of earlier Filmation series Space Academy with more of a focus on the action. Craig Littler plays Jason, a Han Solo esque soldier of Fortune who works at Star Command, the section of Space Academy where the real work gets done..
Star Command is run by the Commander Canarvin, played by James "Scotty" Doohan, also on staff are Nicole Davidoff (Susan O'Hanlon, a childhood crush of mine ) and the hysterical Professor EJ Parasafoot (played by Charlie Dell). Together this group must fight off the armada of the evil Dragos (Sid Haig!).
Jason was often saved by W1K1 his pocket robot invented by the professor, why toy companies didn't jump on this I'll never know.
In season two, Doohan left to do the Star Trek : The Motion Picture and was replaced by veteran western star John Russel as the blue Commander Stone. Davidoff was replaced by mysterious played by mysterious alien Samantha, Tamara Dobson (Cleopatra Jones herself!). Also joining the second season was Peepo from Space Academy.
The series blends Star Wars with a the swash buckling fair of Harryhausen Sinbad movies with terrific special effects, especially the stop motion monsters. Haig is fantastic as Dragos, chewing scenery as if it had barbeque sauce on it.
One thing about the series is that it is almost gun and violence free but still manages to be entertaining. Jason is a man of his wits who manages to find amicable solutions most of the time, a classic good guy character if there ever was one. I played this series to my four year old recently on a long car ride, by the end of it he was hooked and couldn't wait for more.
The DVD itself is another triumph for BCI Eclipse, author Andy Mangels should be lauded for the lengths he goes to with the extras (a detailed list below). While sadly many of the cast members are no longer with us we get some wonderful insight from Littler and Haig, as well two commentary tracks. Many of the people behind the show's effects are also interviewed. It's a great retrospective that leaves you thinking that the reason the series was so fun was because it was fun to make.
My inner ten year old got a lot happier when I got to revisit this series, if you were a fan then, prepare to be one all over again.
* The all-new half-hour documentary, "The Adventures of Jason of Star Command," featuring interviews with the producer, stars, and visual effects artists.