Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Jason of Star Command: "Mission to the Stars" (September 15, 1979)
Filmation's Jason of Star Command (1978 - 1980) was a live-action Saturday morning space adventure, created in the mold of Star Wars.
By contrast, Jason of Star Command was all space swashbuckling all the time. The first series aired as a fifteen-minute segment on Tarzan and the Super 7. It was rather deliberately cast in the mold of the original Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials, with cliffhangers at the end of each installment.
But a new threat emerges quickly. Drago has fired a "freeze ray" at Star Command, and it's up to Jason and Samantha to determine the source and disarm the device.
And yet the series is fun, and features some great 1970s era special effects too. The spaceship and starbase designs are really terrific, and are indicative of a kind of consistent approach to the universe, and to futuristictechnology. Also, I could watch Sid Haig in anything, and he's always a lot of fun as Dragos. Haig had certainly mastered the maniacal cackle here, playing almost a silent-screen-styled hissable villain. Haig seems to be enjoying himself tremendously, and the result is that his scenes are always a kick.
There was more to latch onto in terms of each story. I suspect this helps to explain why I was always more a Star Trek kid than a Star Wars kid. I loved the hell out of Star Wars (and saw it in theaters 11 times...) but for me, Star Trek was superior because there was: a.) much more of it to enjoy (and I didn't have to wait three years between episodes), and b.) Star Trek was more thought provoking on a regular basis. Star Wars had the unbelievable action, epic sweep and great special effects...but Star Trek had the brains, and to some extent, the heart.
That's roughly the same dynamic you get between Space Academy and Jason of Star Command.