Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Jason of Star Command: "The Power of the Star Disk" (October 20, 1979)

"We don't even know what dimension of space we're in!" Commander Stone (John Russell) reports in "The Power of the Star Disk," the next episode of Jason of Star Command featured in our Saturday morning cult-tv blogging.

As you'll recall, Jason (Craig Littler), the Commander (Russell), Dr. Parsafoot (Charlie Dell) and Matt Daringstar (Clete Keith) have been sent into "limbo" by the evil Dragos (Sid Haig).  In that limbo this week, our heroes encounter a ghostly alien Tantulution, a "guardian" who establishes a telepathic link with the Commander.  

As it turns out, the Commander's race (still unnamed, I think...) bears a biological connection to the legendary Tantulutions, and the Guardian wishes to share his galactic knowledge with Stone -- a descendant -- before the planet's sun goes supernova.

Once the telepathic link is complete, Jason and the others are able to escape the planet (and dimension...) and return to our universe using a second star disk.  They do so just in time too, since Dragos has released a "warp dragon" to destroy Star Command...

The multi-episode Star Disk/Tantalution arc ends with this episode of Jason of Star Command, which primarily provides new details about Commander Stone.  For one thing, his score to settle with Dragos (mentioned in the previous episode) involves the fact that the despot drove his people from their home world sometime in the past.  We also learn that the Commander's people are related to the legendary Tantulutions, as mentioned above.  At this point, it's fair to state Stone is becoming the most well-developed of all the characters on the series.  For instance, we know more about his past than we do about Jason, which is strange.  It would be great if Samantha were to see the same level of attention as Stone in upcoming episodes as well.

Otherwise, "The Power of the Star Disk" presents quite a challenge for Jason as he must navigate barriers of fire to open a locked door inside the Guardian's panel.  An over-sized vent shaft also rears its ugly head, so I wished I could have seen this episode a few weeks ago to include a gallery image for the Cult-TV Faces of Vent Shafts.

Finally, the special effects are, once more, extraordinary.  The planet of "mist" is an impressive and creepy set, and there's a great shot here of Stone's crashed Star-fire, composited with the live-action.  The Warp Dragon also returns in this episode, and looks more impressive and menacing than before.

In terms of Jason of Star Command episodes, "The Power of the Star Disk" is a pretty good one, I suppose, though it still boasts some glaring errors.

For instance, in the insert-shots of Wiki, the episode cuts to the Year One model of the handheld robot, not the more recent upgrade seen in second season episodes.  Also, Matt Daringstar goes from being bounty hunter, traitor and "pirate" to a man who cowers and trembles at the presence of unseen ghosts in this episode.  

Not very daring, Daringstar...

At the end of this episode, the Star Disks disappear because man is "not meant to use them," which is convenient but doesn't make a whole lot of sense given the details of Samuel A. Peeples' story line.

I thought Commander Stone was given the knowledge of the disks as a descendant of the Guardian and the Tantulutions?   Why is the Guardian reneging on the deal now?  Does Commander Stone still possess the knowledge from the mental link?  Is Dragos just going to give up and move on to another nefarious plan to conquer the universe?

I have a sneaking suspicion that Jason of Star Command isn't going to answer these questions, but instead move on to something new and different.  

And just when it was starting to get kind of interesting, and building up a mythology about the universe, and its most ancient inhabitants...

We'll find out for sure, in "Through the Stargate..."

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