Saturday, April 02, 2016

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Jason of Star Command: "Mimi's Secret" (November 24, 1979)

In Jason of Star Command’s “Mimi’s Secret,” Jason (Craig Littler), Samantha (Tamara Dobson), Professor Parsafoot (Charlie Dell) and young Heidi (Heather Connell) escape an attack by Dragos’ (Sid Haig) drones, and then return to Star Command.  

Once there, they meet with Queen Medusa (Francine York), who, under a flag of truce, promises to exchange Heidi’s missing father for her doll, Mimi.

By this point, Parsafoot has realized that “Mimi” is actually a code-name for M1M1, an acronym which pinpoints the location (planet M1) of a secret “guardsman” mineral vein. The valuable material is used throughout the galaxy as a power source, and Dragos would find it incredibly valuable.  Meanwhile, Heidi stows away on Medusa’s ship.

Finally, Jason and the others rescue Heidi and her father on the surface of M1, and fight to keep the mineral out of the hands of Queen Medusa…

“Mimi’s Secret, the second-to-last Jason of Star Command episode, boasts some nice flourishes.  

One of those is the visual of Queen Medusa’s starship. It discharges energetic particles while traveling through space; particles that are pink and purple, the very colors of Medusa’s skin tight, spandex uniform (a hand-me-down from Julie Newmar.)

Another point of interest is the episode’s brief commentary on prejudice based on skin color.  Young Heidi asks Commander Stone (John Russell) why his skin is blue, and he responds with a comment about not judging people by color, because color doesn’t reveal their true selves. It’s a brief moment, but a good one that feels, perhaps more in keeping with Space Academy (1977).

In terms of production values, “Mimi’s Secret” is a noticeably weak episode. M1 is represented by the same studio planet set we’ve seen a dozen times this season.  Worse, the interior of Medusa’s ship is just a re-dressed Seeker/Star Fire interior, with the seats white instead of red. Kind of a disappointment, and it’s one of the few instances in the series where the miniature work doesn’t match a live-action interior.

No monsters or stop-motion aliens this week, but “Mimi’s Secret” opens with a pitched space battle between Dragos’ drones and Jason’s Star-fire.  Jason defeats the enemy fighters by tapping into their control panels and jamming their “control frequencies.”  It sounds a little like what Admiral Kirk did to Khan aboard the Reliant a few years later in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

As far as Mimi (and her secret…) go, it turns out the doll is hiding information about the important power source, but the episode never really explains how she lives.  

In this segment, Mimi even shoots laser beams out of her eyes. But, unlike many of her cult-tv brethren, she’s not an evil doll, just a living one.

One last JOSC episode to go, next week: “Battle for Freedom.”

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