STUDIO: Koch Vision
MSRP: $29.99
RATED: Unrated
• Never-before seen pilot / demo reel
• Interview with series creator Robert Mandell
• Commentaries on selected episodes by Robert Mandell, editor Christopher Rowley and voice talent Henry Mandell
• Original music tracks and “No Guts, No Glory” music video
• Recreated slideshow of talking storybook, “Tortuna, the Outlaw Planet”
• 32-page “Visual Guide to Characters” collectible booklet

The Pitch

Space Cowboys with ray guns and talking robot horses!  How can it miss?!  Well…

The Humans

Jerry Orbach, Doug Preis, Laura Dean, Hubert Kelly, Earl Hammond.

“Uh, boss, I got me a problem here.”
“What is it, Goose?”
“My horse shat out its carburetor back there…”

The Nutshell

The adventures of a group of space cowboy law enforcement heroes with special abilities.  Led by Zachary Foxx, the Galaxy Rangers defend Earth and its colonies from the evil Crown Empire.  Each of the four Rangers have powers endowed by a Series Five brain implant and are triggered by their Ranger Badges. Foxx has bionic implants on his entire left side that give him super strength and fire energy blasts. Shane “Goose” Gooseman has various abilities as a result of his being part of a genetic experiment to create a super soldier. Niko has psychic abilities and Walter “Doc” Hartford is a computer genius. Together, they’re our first and last line of defense.

“5,000 strokes per minute, here I come…”

The Lowdown

How I completely missed this show back in 1986 is beyond me, because I was watching every cartoon known to exist back then (except Voltron, because it wasn’t carried on any of my TV stations…bastards).  But I had never seen nor even heard of Galaxy Rangers until I popped it into my DVD player recently.  Upon doing so, one thing immediately occurred to me: pretty much nothing about this show appealed to me at all.  If I’d seen it when I was 13 or 14, I doubt it would have been a different story.

Back around the time this was airing, I was heavy into stuff like Thundercats, G.I. Joe and Transformers.  There’s a certain few elements of Rangers that echo those cartoons, including the animation style.  But Rangers has none of the flair of any of those programs and the storytelling is pockmarked with tiresome attributes that just make the show a chore to get through.  I found none of the characters, particularly Goose and Foxx, worth watching, and when you stack this show against either its contemporaries or toons of today, it’s sadly coming up short in almost every respect.

“Goodness!  Are you going to violate me or eat me?”
“You mean I have to choose…?”

Any and all of those previously mentioned cartoons had iconic characters that I enjoyed: Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, Panthro, Cheetara (mmm…Cheetara), Duke, Flint, Snake Eyes, Destro, Cobra Commander, Zartan…the list is practically endless.  But in Rangers, you have either an uninteresting, overly-square-jawed hero in Foxx (notwithstanding the coolness of the Orbach unfortunately), or a cliche maverick gunfighter / fighter jock in Goose.  I’d take Doc from G.I. Joe over Doc Hartford any day; and Niko couldn’t clean Scarlett’s crossbow.  Furthermore, Zozo amps the annoyance factor over Snarf by a factor of 10 at least.  This is all of course without mentioning the 80s-riffic “No Guts, No Glory” theme song.  That’s because I’m in therapy to try to forget it.

She’d have a pretty good career HERE. (NSFW)

This was supposedly the first Anime-style toon done in America (although actually drawn in Japan).  In terms of the animation, it’s very reminiscent of shows of its day: occasionally sloppy.  Although it pains me to say it, much as I loved the shows, there were times when the animation on Transformers and G.I. Joe would devolve into stick figures on a series of flipping pages almost.  Anime or not, Rangers also suffers from this as well at times.

And there might have been a time when a space Western might have worked, but I’m just not seeing it here.  The show did have one or two interesting things working in its favor, however.  The concept of using human life forces trapped in crystals to power the Crown Empire Queen’s Slavelords wasn’t bad.  But then you get to the talking cybersteeds, the cornball dialogue, the idiotic character of Captain Kidd or Zozo or just Goose on screen at any time and any positive notes are quickly forgotten.

“Damn, the guns still don’t make me look more butch. “

This is all subjective crap anyway, and I fully expect some Galaxy Ranger Fundamentalists to come calling for my head on this, but this is just not a cartoon that I regret not having seen when I was younger and could do without now.

The Package

This box set is the first of two, and comprises half of the shows 65 episodes.  It’s surprisingly loaded with special features including a never-before seen pilot / demo reel, an interview with series creator Robert Mandell, and commentaries on selected episodes by Mandell, editor Christopher Rowley and voice talent Henry Mandell.  There’s also original music tracks and a “No Guts, No Glory” music video, which is horror personified.  The recreated slide show of talking storybook, “Tortuna, the Outlaw Planet” and a 32-page “Visual Guide to Characters” collectible booklet round out the offerings.

“Hey, what is Goose doing with that cyberstee – OH that’s not right…”

4.6 out of 10