Jason was an officer of Star Command, which was located on the same asteroid as Space Academy. Star Command's job was to protect the innocent from the bad guys, most notably Jason's archenemy, the one-eyed Dragos. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
The "laser beam" light that appeared to be projected from Dragos' eye piece wasn't a visual effect - the light was triggered by a switch that actor Sid Haig held in his hand. See more »
Danger hides in the stars! This is the world of Jason of Star Command. A space-age soldier of fortune determined to stop the most sinister force in the universe: Dragos, master of the cosmos. Aiding Jason in his battle against evil is a talented team of experts, all working together in a secret section of Space Academy. Jason of Star Command!
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I remember watching "Space Academy" as a kid, and not being overly impressed, but still interested enough to watch a few episodes. But I eventually gave up on it. It was a bit too sugary for this young sci-fi fans taste.
Then "Space Academy" gets yanked. And suddenly, in its place, comes a new iteration of the franchise, but with some tweaks. The "effeminate" John Harris is replaced with the more masculine Jimmy Doohan from "Star Trek" in the Commander role. The perky, knowledgeable and tough female characters played by Pamela Perdin and Maggie Cooper are replaced with Susan O'Hanlon, who played a less proactive sidekick. And instead of various imagined mysteries and wonders that might be found in space, the production ripped a page out of "Flash Gordon" and "Buck Rogers" serials (more likely reminded by way of Star Wars' Darth Vader, who played a version of "Ming" the merciless in the Star Wars films) and stuck in Dragos, an archfiend. The icing on the retool cake was of course Jason himself, sporting a Han Solo look and attitude. Other minor tweaks to props and set design smooth out the reworked Space Academy show to make "Jason of Star Command".
Well, Star Wars it ain't, but it served as a passable kiddy sci-fi entertainment back in the 70s. Looking at the series today through adult eyes I can still grin at it. The violence in the show is more abstract and non-threatening. Where ships exchange LASER fire, and where circuits are fried and ships are knocked about, no one actually gets hurt. And unlike Space Academy this show has no real apparent social message, but nor is it preachy. It is, in essence, just a show.
The DVD set is out, and should offer some good nostalgia for those who remember both Space Academy and Jason of Star Command. The "Making of..." documentary shown when the shows first aired is not on the DVD set, but it's not that much of a loss as the featurettes included cover most of the basics on the shows' productions.
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