Sunday, February 05, 2017

Nostalgia Theater: Super Force Edition

During the early '90s heyday of syndication, we saw a whole host of original programming emerge on local stations from content providers hoping to take advantage of the flexibility of bypassing networks. Sometimes this paid off quite handsomely, such as with Paramount's Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, which managed to be both creatively compelling and financially rewarding. And while it wasn't exactly Proust, Baywatch was still a huge syndicated success. Other times though, you ended with stuff like Super Force. Here, watch this:

Man, dig those effects. Super Force premiered in fall of '90, and was intended by producer Viacom as a companion to their successful The Adventures of Superboy syndicated show, which had premiered two years earlier (and which I previously discussed here). Like Superboy, Super Force was a half-hour drama, a fairly rare thing, and like Superboy it had a comic book conceit that was beholden to a syndicated TV budget. Unlike Superboy though, which eventually found its way to some pretty solid storytelling despite a shaky start, Super Force never quite escaped its limitations.

The premise of the show has former astronaut Zachary Stone (Ken Olandt) donning an advanced super suit (designed by Robert Shock, who also made the suit on CBS' The Flash, which debuted around the same time) for use in crimefighting after his brother is murdered. Riding an advanced motorcycle and assisted by tech genius F.X. Spinner (Larry B. Scott) an A.I. voiced by Patrick Macnee, Stone becomes the "Super Force" of the title, facing such baddies as Satori, played G. Gordon Liddy. (I'm not making that up, the Watergate break-in guy was a recurring villain.)

Thanks to what I can only imagine was a wide-open syndication marketplace, Super Force actually did well enough after its 26-episode first season to garner another year of 22 episodes. The show finally ended its run in spring of '92, just as Superboy was wrapping up its own four-season run. And then both shows pretty much dropped off the map. And while Superboy became available on DVD and digital after years of fan requests, there doesn't appear to be the same groundswell of support for Zack Stone and his super suit.

One Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Jake and the Fatman Edition

Two Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Ghostbusters Cereal -- Whatcha Gonna Eat? 

Three Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Thinkin' 'bout Thundarr

Four Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Oh Brother, Simon & Simon

Five Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: The G.I. Joe Comic Commercials

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