Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Space Academy The Complete Series|
Actors: Jonathan Harris, Pamelyn Ferdin, Ric Carrott, Ty Henderson, Maggie Cooper
Genres: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
STUDY HARD MEET ALIENS TAKE TESTS FLY SPACESHIPS...ENROLL NOW FOR THE COOLEST SCHOOL IN THE COSMOS...SPACE ACADEMY!Class was never this much fun at your school...the students at Space Academy major in adventure! Under the ... more »
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Space Academy Reunion Class of '77!
Dave Cordes | Denver, CO | 11/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Who could forget that the year Star Wars blasted its way across cinemas that Space Academy launched on CBS Saturday mornings? The SA was a man-made planetoid built upon a large asteroid in space that was navigated by way of an interstellar star drive and commanded by Lost In Space's Dr. Smith, Jonathan Harris, who played 300 year-old Commander Isaac Gampu. The SA contained several really cool space shuttles or "Seekers" that allowed them to take off-campus expeditions to nearby planets. The Seekers were basically designed after the Ark II vehicle (minus the wheels) which had been Filmation's previous live-action Saturday morning sci-fi entry. The culturally diverse and co-ed students attending the SA included Lt. Adrian played by Maggie Cooper, Lt. Laura Gentry played by Pamelyn Ferdin (the voice of Lucy from the Peanuts and Sally on Sealab 2020) and her brother Captain Chris Gentry played by Ric Carrott, Lt. Paul Jerome played by Ty Henderson, Tee-Gar Soom played by Brian Tochi (the voice of Leonardo in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films), and Loki played by Eric Greene along with a funky robot named Peepo (voiced by She-Ra Erika Scheimer) who looked as though he could have been the distant cousin of Buck Rogers' Twiki. The students each had some kind of special skills and abilities like telekinesis and invisibility which were attributes used to overcome hostile situations and the stories generally involved plots that included some kind of moral for kids by teaching them the consequences about making the right choices but who really cared? For its day, this show boasted some of the best visual effects on television (cheezy by today's standards of course) with detailed scale models and stop-motion aliens. What kid wouldn't be intrigued by this show at that age? Bell-bottoms and blue-screens never looked so passe but for those of us who were glued to the television every Saturday morning in the 1970's should find this old-school fun and a somewhat embarrassing nostalgic trip down memory lane.
In 1978, Space Academy was revamped into the successful spin-off serial Jason of Star Command starring Craig Littler as Jason and Sid Haig as the evil space pirate Dragos and it recycled the Space Academy sets and models which became Star Command under the command of Star Trek's James Doohan and the Seekers were "upgraded" into the sleeker Starfire crafts. It was mentioned that Star Command was actually a special secret section of Space Academy although there was never any crossover between the two shows.
It's hard to believe that after 30 years BCI-Eclipse will finally release the complete series on DVD featuring all 15 episodes of this rarely-seen vintage 70's Saturday morning show on 4 discs including audio commentary on two episodes "Phantom Planet" and "Countdown" with Filmation producer Lou Scheimer and stars Ric Carrott, Brian Tochi, Eric Greene, and Special Effects Supervisor Chuck Comisky, and hosted by Andy Mangels. Special features also include:
* Featurette - "Back to School with Space Academy"
* Behind-the Scenes photo gallery
* Cast Reunion photo gallery with interview clips
* Memorabilia photo gallery with interview clips
* Promotional photo gallery
* Booklet with Episode Guide and Trivia
* All 15 Scripts (DVD-ROM)
* Series Bible (DVD-ROM)
* Easter Eggs
* Trailers - Ink & Paint Previews
All 15 Episodes:
1. The Survivors of Zalonm
2. Castaways in Time and Space
3. Hide and Seek
5. There's No Place Like Home
6. The Rocks of Janus
7. Monkey Business
8. The Phantom Planet
9. Planet of Fire
10. Life Begins at 300
11. The Cheat
12. My Favorite Marcia
13. Space Hookey
14. Star Legend
15. Johnny Sunseed"
Space Academy never looked so good
TwoBrainedCylon | Salt Lake City, Utah | 01/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What is the most striking about Space Academy on this DVD set, is how good the visual effects still look. These are effects on par with any of the motion control work done on Star Wars in 1977. This is without a doubt, quality work. The Seeker spaceships are weathered down and lit with convincing shadows and darkness in some shots, and some scenes have the Seeker doing complete 360 degree turns. We're even treated to a mini fleet of Seekers in the final episode spinning 360 in unison, and firing lasers. In some aspects, the work on this series is more sophisticated than Brian Johnson's work on Space: 1999, and comes close to par quality with John Dykstra's work on Star Wars. The makers of Space Academy had a camera system more sophisticated than Brian Johnson's, and not quite as sophisticated as John Dykstra's. The Seeker's engine exhaust flares before the camera, takes off and lands convincingly from it's bay, and sits in it's bay before take-off convincingly. I have yet to see CGI spaceship work that rivals Space Academy, Space: 1999, Battlestar Galactica, or Star Wars in its realism. Though Space Academy had a low budget, I tip my hat to its technical crew for creating realistic spaceship shots that built on the era of weathered down, realistically lit spacecraft miniatures with flared engine exhaust. The innovation and imagination of Space Academy's optical effects unit produced some of the most beautifully photographed and filmed spacecraft miniatures ever put on film. This was too good to be a mere Saturday morning children's show. And the miniature of the Academy asteroid is as iconic as the "Draconia" from Buck Rogers, the "Galactica" from the "1978 Battlestar Galactica" series, and "Dracos Dragonship" from "Jason of Star Command.""
A Visit with Old Friends
V. Arney | Austin Texas | 02/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was thrilled to see that one of my all time favorite series "Space Academy" was coming out on DVD!!! Naturally, I HAD to order it!!
Back when it was on, I had a HUGE crush on Ric Carrott who played Chris Gentry and I've always been a fan of Pamelyn Ferdin.
I hadn't seen the show since it was first broadcast - 29 years ago. It was amazing how much I remembered - even whole scenes of dialog.
I'll admit I DIDN'T remember quite how melodramatic it was, but it WAS kids TV circa 1977 - even had some of the same music as animated Star Trek because it was the same production company. And Jonathan Harris seemed be having his usual fun time chewing up the scenery. I noticed they managed not to pull too many Lost in Space comments - but Robbie the Robot DOES pop up in one episode.
The SFX and model work (which were created by some of the group who did Star Wars) do hold up pretty well, but since I went through all the episodes in two marathon sessions (Leah made me go to bed after the first DVD) I found myself forwarding through the Seeker launching and landing sequences and the opening and closing bits.
The show was just as much fun as I remembered though. I DID forward through parts of one episode called "Space Hookey" because the scenes were just TOO silly. The story is that Loki and Peepo (the robot) play hookey and land on a rock inside a comet that chases them - they meet two balls of light that are supposed to be "children" on the planet who take over Loki and when they go back to the Academy - one of them passes to Gampu (Jonathan Harris) who starts skipping around and playing pirate. He even has Chris and Laura arrested and threatens to have them walk the plank when they try to stop him from starting a war with another race. Their "daddy" finally shows up (ala "Squire of Gothos") and takes them away to be punished.
They also filmed a "Back to School at the Space Academy" documentary. It was fun to see how Eric Greene (Loki) has turned out to be a lawyer and an activist. Brian Tochi (Tee Gar) is still acting and Ric Carrott (Chris) has become a computer specialist. I'd never have recognized him on the street tho. He's changed quite a bit, but still VERY handsome. They also spoke to one of the producers and the SFX specialist. They didn't have anything with Ty Henderson (Paul) or either of the girls Maggie Cooper (Adrian) and Pamelyn Ferdin (Laura) dunno whether they weren't able to find them or they didn't want to participate. It's a shame - I'd have loved to see them too.
They dedicated the documentary to Jonathan Harris and all of them seemed to have very fond memories of him.
Now waiting for my next acquisition - Ark II!
Space Academy, or how to smile real big for the camera...
S. M. Robare | Duluth, GA USA | 04/07/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
Though I'd never seen this show before, it was immediately familiar in both tone and style, not to mention for Johnathan Harris' overly dramatic mug. The show stars Harris (of Lost in Space fame) as Commander Gampu of the titular Space Academy, surrounded by a very ethnically diverse cast of young actors including Ric Carrott as Chris Gentry, Pamelyn Ferdin as Laura Gentry (Chris' psyonically connected twin sister), Maggie Cooper as Adrian, Brian Tochi (voice of Leonardo in the three live action TMNT movies as well as Toshiro Takashi from the Revenge of the Nerds movies and Cadet Nogata from the Police Academy Movies) as Tee Gar, Ty Henderson as Paul, and Eric Greene as the blue haired (well black haired with a slight blue dusting) Loki, an orphan picked up in the first episode from a desolate planet that is about to explode. The other character that rounded out the show was Peepo, voiced by Erika Scheimer, daughter of Lou Scheimer (who helped found Filmation and was executive producer on most of it's shows.)
The show ran for 15 episodes on Saturday mornings in 1977 and follows the adventures of the space cadets and their Commander as they seek out and explore space from their academy space station via their Seeker space ships (which is actually the recycled Ark II craft, and would later be used on Jason of Star Command, a loose spin-off of Space Academy.) Though the show is fairly dated in terms of wardrobe and hairstyles (they certainly didn't take a cue from Star Trek in this) it's immensely enjoyable in it's kid level Star Trek homages and campy light hearted-ness. One of the shows strengths is it's decent effects work with a mixture of really good shots (like a Seeker coming in for a landing in a docking bay) and some not so great ones, but all of it is almost on par with shows like Star Trek and Space 1999.
It's hard not to smile at the bad jokes and overly dramatic lines, which make it easy to look past the implausible plots and psuedo-scientific occurrences. Watching Chris and Laura psychically conversing or when Loki uses his infrared vision to spot particles of meteor dusk on the body of a seeker has a very campy charm. The only thing that really stood and kind of bugged me was the bile inducing amount of smiling the kids did. It's almost to a point where you can read a 1984-esque environment of fear into the acting style (you almost expect some of the characters to bust out with a line like, "Keep smiling or Gampu will kill us with his death ray.") It's the perfect Saturday morning trash though, that is a stepping-stone to the more adult shows like Battlestar Galatica or Dr. Who, and at the end of the day is a perfect example of a very important part in nostalgia, which is that there are some things that are meant only for kids, and that can be very important. You see that type of mentality in things like Lunchables that come with Pop Rocks-esque fizzy toppings, or commercials for Apple Jacks, sometimes things don't need to be anything more than they appear, they don't need to make sense, they just need to be cool for kids.
Shows like this are also a great example of something a child can use as a basis for kick starting their imagination. That's something that's lost on children's television and it's inevitable merchandising today. I truly think that this is a lost art in that by not going into large amounts of researched detail it forces a kid to fill in the gaps of logic (sort of like Donnie Darko for kids, but with less disturbing and much more scientific uncertainty), which is something that low budget or highly logic jumping shows tend to invoke.
At the end of the day, though the show is flawed, it is mindless fun (maybe too much because of it's datedness) and that's about all I want out of a Saturday morning TV show anyway. I will say that's sparked an interest in finding out what Jason of Star Command (which centers on a special ops-like extension of Space Academy) is like."