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Captain Power Analysis

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  • JoeD80
    Originally posted by SmileOfTheShadow View Post
    JMS wrote 13 of those and was story editor for the entire show. I also watched 2 episodes by Larry Ditillio, who wrote most of the remaining ones, but skipped over the rest. Marv Wolfman, famous DC comic writer wrote an episode I saw, I didn't check to see who wrote all of the non JMS ones, but it seemed to be mostly Larry.
    The other writers besides Joe, Larry, and Marv were Marc Scott Zicree, Michael Reaves, and Christy Marx. Katherine Lawrence also wrote for the first season of the show but her scripts were not produced. There were also season 2 scripts written after Joe left the show with Larry moving up to story editor but none of those were produced. Marc Scott Zicree wrote the series bible although he didn't create the show.

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  • SmileOfTheShadow
    started a topic Captain Power Analysis

    Captain Power Analysis

    I just finished watching the series, which went for 22 episodes. JMS wrote 13 of those and was story editor for the entire show. I also watched 2 episodes by Larry Ditillio, who wrote most of the remaining ones, but skipped over the rest. Marv Wolfman, famous DC comic writer wrote an episode I saw, I didn't check to see who wrote all of the non JMS ones, but it seemed to be mostly Larry.

    The show is very campy, and because of its 22 minute episode length there's not a ton of character development except in the 2 parter episodes, which are generally very better, of which JMS wrote 4 episodes that were in the 2 part, DiTillio writing the third 2 parter for the series.

    The concept of the show is that mankind made evil machines that eventually started a war on human kind, humans are on the run and/or fighting back, and are being controlled by evil human lord Baltar...oops, wrong show. I mean, being controlled by Lord Dread (who looks strikingly similar to the borg. Anything you want to tell us Star Trek? they certainly seem to steal Straczynski ideas..). Our heroes, Captain Power and his Soldiers of the Future have these "power suits" which allow them to go through the machine troops like they're Stormtroopers.

    Part of the problem was the very cartoon-esque plots and bad guys, and you could tell that JMS and Larry were both coming from their cartoon writing in the way this was scripted, pairing the show down to a kid's show - even though it wasn't meant to be one in the beginning.

    For those who don't know the story - Captain Power was originally drafted as a prime time sci-fi show, and then Mattel bought the toy properties and so they reworked it for kids. The show was far too violent and adult themed for the kids network, so it was cancelled after one season. As such, there is a decent amount of worthwhile content for adults in the show.

    The opening series of episodes don't really delve too much into the characterizations all that much, which led me to get bored and almost give up. However, the back half of the season you really start to get to know the characters far better. Captain Power himself reminds me of a more moralistic Gideon, without the whole gambling flaws and all that, always pushing the mission forward. "Pilot" the show's lone female seems to be a precursor for Ivanova.

    They only really delved into a couple of the characters with any sort of depth in the series. There may have been more in the non-JMS episodes I didn't watch. The developments left me to only really want to connect with Captain Power and Pilot, not being terribly concerned about the other characters. Captain Power was the sturdy, moral and perfect hero captain that we've all come to see in these shows. Pilot was stubborn, always trying to do the right thing even if it was against her personal best interests. Tank's characteristics sounded like his descriptions, but he had an interesting background.

    Probably the most fun concept was "Scout," who could morph his suit as a sort of changeling device (like in "the Gathering") to look like anything he chose. I wish they would have developed that more than just showing him hiding by disguising himself as an enemy.

    The characters provide me an excellent transition point into the other similarities to the B5 universe, where you can tell JMS was starting to develop and work those concepts he had in his head with this series, making the show worthwhile to watch.

    - First, Lord Dread speaks to a weird glowing thing named Overlord who gives him decisions and helps control the machines. Apocalypse Box beginnings?

    - Second I noticed - JMS wrote an episode where the evil machines developed a virus that could wipe out humans, and our heroes found a cure.

    - The next big plot point which was transitioned into B5 was an episode where the captain was captured into a virtual reality deal and tortured until rescued, a la sinclair in B5.

    - 4/5 of the way through the season, they did an episode that was mostly flashback showing the origin of how they got there a la In The Beginning.

    - Finally, in the season finale 2 parter there was an epic battle in which Pilot sacrificed herself to save the resistance against the machines, which also developed a love story between Pilot and Captain Power, in which she finally said she loved him as she was dying, and he never got to say it back. Very Marcus/Ivanova though the roles were reversed. That very same 2 parter started out as a whole "we're winning the war, we're going to have to start to rebuild and blah blah" which brought very similar empire building themes up as Jeremiah had toward the end, although the climax of the 2 parter left this one open so that it was definitely not over and humans had not quite won yet. I assume it was going to transition over the next couple seasons that never happened.

    That said, the majority of the show is laser fighting sequences and CGi robots from the 80s, which makes it hard to watch. I enjoyed the one watch through, especially the two parter episodes. As far as lasting appeal, there's not enough substance in the short episodes to really merit watching the show in repeat viewings. If you like to see the origins of some of the B5 thoughts and experimentations with different plots and characters, I somewhat recommend it. If you're not a very hardcore JMS or sci-fi fan, I say this is something you could skip without really missing much. So my final ratings of the show is:

    Presentation 1/5 - This show does not hold up at all. It looks so campy and cheesy.

    Story - 3/5 - The story is good, an it looked like they were about to delve into more of an arc. The background episodes made it a little better, but it's a definite science fiction cliche.

    Characterizations 4/5 - Needed some more development on some fronts. Power and Pilot were very nice. And Dread was starting to show some of his flawed humanity toward the end even. However, most of the show was just paired down to dumb action.

    Overall - 2.5/5 It's really hard to get over the campy look of the show and the majority of the thing being bad fight scenes or sci-fi cliches to get into the meat of it. That meat is there, and I'd say about 2/3 of the JMS eps are worth watching because of that, but overall it doesn't stand the test of time terribly well. this is one of those shows like crusade that I feel like if the network left it alone, and it was an adult sci-fi series like it was supposed to be, it had the potential to be a cult classic, but it didn't quite make it there.

    Again, if you want to watch it, [edit: Contact SmileOfTheShadow via PM. Sorry, SOTS, it's still bootleg. --Jan]
    Last edited by Jan; 03-21-2010, 04:46 PM.