Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Jason of Star Command: "Chapter 11: The Haunted Planet" (November 18, 1978)

In Jason of Star Command’s (1978-1980) Chapter 11, “The Haunted Planet,” Jason (Craig Littler), Nicole (Susan O’Hanlon), and Parsafoot (Charlie Dell) must crash on an icy planetoid when their Star Fire’s radiation detector fails and the ship’s atomic core overheats.

They escape from the ship just as it explodes, and are soon confronted by a man named Bork (Angelo Rossitto), who claims to be an emissary from Queen Vanessa (Julie Newmar).  

Bork attempts to capture the folks from Star Command using a local monster enslaved by an obedience collar, but Jason frees the beast, who is actually an “energy” being.

Jason and the others see Vanessa on their own terms in a mountain base, and she addresses them.  She implores Jason to switch sides and work for Dragos, but he refuses. 

Accordingly, Vanessa informs them they will never leave her world alive.  She then incapacitates them using a toxic gas…

Julie Newmar -- the greatest Catwoman ever, bar none -- guest stars in this segment of Jason of Star Command. She is, as always, beautiful and poised, though the character she plays is hardly worth her time. 

Vanessa is called a queen, but where are her people? Why is she alone on this icy planetoid with just one servant (Angelo Rossitto of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome [1985]).

Similarly, Vanessa is in league with Dragos, but we don’t learn why she has chosen this course, at least not yet.  Hopefully future episodes will reveal more about her.

Also, it seems like going to a lot of trouble bringing Jason to the planet just to ask him to change sides, when his answer is pretty much pre-ordained.  Wouldn’t Dragos (her ally, remember?), have preferred her simply to let the ship’s atomic core blow up with all hands aboard the Star Fire?

I always find it laughable, and an example of poor storytelling, when a villain decides to lay a trap for his arch-enemy, thus doing the very thing that will assure his mission fails.  The Master did this all the time on Doctor Who, inviting, basically, the Doctor into his plans, and then cursing his name when the Doctor made them fail. Here, we are to believe that Jason is such a strong adversary to Dragos that the villain would rather “turn” him than kill him, given the opportunity.

Not likely.

Jason’s odyssey on Kesh continues in the next episode.

Next week: “Escape from Kesh.”


  1. Julie Newmar and Sid Haig also appeared together in the 1980 Buck Rogers In The 25th Century season one final episode "Flight Of The War Witch".


  2. Looks like the costume got recycled with minor changes from Queen Medusa to Queen Vanessa or vice-versa. Makes you wonder if there's some evil-queen temp agency with a franchise in that part of the galaxy.