Saturday, October 10, 2015
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Jason of Star Command: "Chapter 3: Escape from Dragos" (September 22, 1978)
In “Escape from Dragos,” the energy clone of Commander Canarvin (James Doohan), returns to Space Command and surreptitiously lowers the base’s defense shields, thereby creating an opportunity for Dragos to attack the facility.
Back on the Dragon Ship, however, Jason uses Wiki to help Canarvin escape from custody and make his way to a captured Star Fire.
Canarvin escape custody, but Jason remains a captive of the evil Dragos…
In this fifteen minute segment, the overall plot moves incrementally forward, with the fake Canarvin endangering the Academy, and the real Canarvin on his way to stop him. Thus we have that old TV trope: the evil commander. Should he be questioned? Trusted? Obeyed? Removed from authority?
Those are the questions that trusting, loyal subordinates must now ask.
Beyond the Canarvin situation, not much happens in terms of character in this story, except that Nicole (Susan Pratt) reveals here proficiency in kung-fu. Parsafoot (Charlie Dell), by contrast, has an embarrassing display of his physical skills. Though meant to be comic relief, Parsafoot’s behavior is actually cringe-inducing.
It’s always a shame when a show that seeks not to talk down to kids ends up pandering to “childish” characterization, and that’s what happens in “Escape from Dragos.” We don't need comic relief from Parsafoot in this story. We need good, exciting storytelling instead.
Otherwise, here are some more broad observations about the series, this week. We see that the corridors of Drago’s vessel are all made of rock, rather than the advanced-looking materials of Space Command. This fact suggests that the corridors were carved out of asteroid rock but the task of making the corridors attractive and livable was left untended. Those things likely don't matter to Dragos. His crew consists of mindless minions, so why bother with the decor, right?
Also, as is the case with Space Academy (1977), the special effects on this series hold up nicely. This mini-episode features a scene in which Canarvin’s Star Fire is freed from the Dragon Ship’s bay. We see the doors open, and the ship drop out and accelerate away. Very, very impressive work.
Next week: "A Cry for Help."