Have you noticed that things from our childhood are becoming popular again? The 1980’s gave birth to some great toys, movies and television. While some of these things have experienced a resurgence (Transformers, G.I. Joe), some haven’t been given the multimillion dollar upgrades but are in our hearts all the same. Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future is one of those shows.
I remember when I was younger there was a line of toys produced by Mattel that wasn’t just associated with Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, these toys were also interactive. Through the use of infra-red technology, a signal was sent through the television causing the toys to take damage (i.e. the cockpit canopy would pop off), which in the 1980’s was pretty cool. The bottom line is that it wasn’t just the coolness of the toys but the show itself was like nothing we had seen before.
Captain Power was definitely a show ahead of its time. One of the first shows to blend live action with green screen effects, Captain Power was not just visually appealing it was also a well written, intelligent show. As with many other well done shows Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future lasted for 1 season between 1987 and 1988. The show had a total of 22 episodes with the last episode ending in a cliffhanger. One of the reasons for the quality of the writing was that the Executive Story Consultant was none other than J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5. This was not your usual afternoon distraction.
The premise of Captain Power and Soldiers of the Future deals with the aftermath of the Metal wars with the remnants of humanity fighting to defeat the robots and ensure the future of mankind. Led by Captain Jonathan Powers (Tim Dunigan) the five member team fight against Lord Dread (David Hemblen); using high tech armor which gives each of them a different ability. “Hawk” Masterson (Peter MacNeill) can fly, “Tank” Ellis (heavy weapons), “Scout” Baker (Maurice Dean Wint) can use his camouflage to disguise him and “Pilot” Chase (Jessica Steen) tactical expert. The show had elements of the Terminator franchise, a bit of The Road Warrior and a little Power Rangers thrown in for good measure.
Finally after a long wait, this memory of youth has been released in a complete 4 disc set encompassing the entire series. Also included in the set the documentary, “Out of the Ashes: The Making of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future”, the original TV film, “The Legend Begins” as well as the original trailer for the show and a look at season 2 (the season that never was). Other special features are a photo gallery and cast and crew commentary on 6 of the 22 episodes.
Captain Power and Soldiers of the Future was very adult for a “kid’s” show, dealing with everything from romance to death. The plots of the episodes are interesting enough tokeep adults paying attention without being so complex that a child couldn’t follow along. The show had an estimated budget of 1 million dollars per episode. Even though the effects may look bad by current standards, when the show was made they were pretty impressive. Too bad they didn’t age well. The special effects aside, this is a good series to introduce to your kids. The only problem I had with Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future box set was a technical issue. In a couple of episodes the dialog gets drowned out by background music and effects. There also isn’t closed captioning available for the episodes in this set.
If you are ready to take a walk down memory lane pick up this set. Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future the complete series comes from Gary Goddard retails for 44.99. So dust off your Powerjet XT-7, sit down in front of the television and get ready to fight the forces of Lord Dread. POWER ON!