Sunday, September 04, 2016

Nostalgia Theater: Space Rangers Crashes and Burns

The early '90s were an interesting time for televised science-fiction. The through-the-roof success of Star Trek: The Next Generation in syndication -- garnering ratings that often had it beating a lot of network programming in many markets -- meant that other studios were on the hunt for their very own space series that they could boldly go into the mass-merchandising stratosphere with. Sometimes this paid off, but just as often it didn't, as evidenced by today's focus: The short-lived CBS series Space Rangers. Here's the intro:

Created by Pen Densham (writer of my beloved Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and the man who shepherded the mid-'90s revival of The Outer Limits), Space Rangers was set in the year 2104 and chronicled the exploits of a ragtag band of "Space Rangers" who keep the peace at a distant Earth colony. In addition to Jeff Kaake in the lead as Captain John Boone, the show also featured familiar genre faces like Clint Howard, Linda Hunt, and Cary-Hiroyuki-Tagawa (as the requisite Spock-Worf "alien" character). 

Premiering in January of '93 (the same week that Trek spin-off Deep Space Nine debuted), there wasn't anything particularly bad about Space Rangers, but it was fairly generic. And while the show might have worked on Fox (or maybe not, given the ignominious fate the tonally similar Firefly suffered ten years later) or possibly in syndication, it was entirely unsuited to the "Paleolotithic era" demo that CBS was targeting during that era. Thus, it's not too surprising that it had already hit the cancellation heap by the end of that month, with only six episodes produced. Ouch!

One Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Darkwing Duck -- Let's Get Dangerous!

Two Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Run, Joe, Run -- It's The Fugitive With a Dog

Three Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Star Trek's Animation Enterprise

Four Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Two Decades of Batman: The Animated Series

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