Blog Archive

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Galactica 1980: Super Scouts - Review

Do you know what is cooler than a team of Galactica heroes arriving on Earth who then find themselves chasing a villain through the pages of Earth’s history? If your answer involves a bunch of space children running around throwing apples and jumping into trees you have a good chance of landing a job as a Network producer.


The three part pilot Galactica Discovers Earth ended with the villainous Xavier (Richard Lynch) fleeing through time to pre-revolutionary America with Troy (Kent McCord), Dillon (Barry Van Dyke) and news reporter Jamie Hamilton (Robyn Douglass) hell bent on going after him. Sadly this was not to be. The Network decided they didn’t like the whole time travel aspect of the show, and so the producers were told to jettison the whole concept. Now ditching your show’s premise practically right out of the gate may seem like a bad idea, but when it is replaced by group of snot nosed kids who can jump really high…well that is a colossally bad idea.


Who needs action packed adventures through time and space when we can have these guys?

Once again we begin with an info dump from Dr. Zee (now being played by James Patrick Stuart and not Cousin Oliver) where he informs Commander Adama (Lorne Greene) that with the increased threat of an even more advanced Cylon armada they must start to settle the Galactican children on Earth. This all must still be done in secret for if the people of the Galactica were seen to be favoring one country over another it could lead to a Third World War. Going by how things were in the 80s I think they should have just gone ahead and conquered the place, and then called it a day.


Let’s not go to Earth, tis a silly place.

Meanwhile Dillon is over on the school ship Delphi giving the Galactican children lessons on Earth and how the planet’s different atmosphere and lesser gravity will give them increased abilities. (Yet none of these kids get a job with a great metropolitan newspaper or battle bald megalomaniacs. A missed opportunity to be sure.) I know much must have changed in the intervening years between the two shows but why is there a separate school ship just for teaching the kids? In the original series we saw Athena teaching a small class aboard the Battlestar Galactica, so one would assume that each ship would have its own set-up for teaching the young. That would certainly be safer than ferrying them back and forth every day via shuttles, not to mention putting all your "eggs" in one easily blown up basket is just asking for trouble.


"Damn, we should have totally seen this coming."

So the Cylons attack the school ship and Troy and Dillon manage to get all the children safely to the escape shuttles, but the shuttle of children they decided to pilot gets damaged and is forced to land on Earth. Troy’s terrible flying has them almost collide with a jumbo jet, and thus alerts the United States Air force to their presence, which puts Colonel Jack Sydell (Allan Miller) hot on their trail as he investigates UFOs for the Special Directives office.


Get me Lt. Philip Gerard and Jack McGee on the phone."

Note: They end several episodes containing the character of Colonel Jack Sydell with the disclaimer “The United States Air Force stopped investigating UFOs in 1969. After 22 years, they found no evidence of Extra-Terrestrial visits and no threat to National Security.” I’m sure this eased the minds of so many concerned viewers.

Troy and Dillon quickly realize they are going to need to blend these kids in so they head to town to get them some Earth clothing, but that they both go on this shopping expedition, leaving a bunch of unsupervised children alone on an alien planet, just goes to show us how terrible these two are at their jobs. Hell, they almost get thwarted by a revolving door crying out loud. Troy heads to a department store to find suitable supplies while Dillon heads over to the bank to change some of their gold cubits to local currency. This is where things go wrong almost immediately. Dillon discovers that handing unmarked gold pieces over the counter to a bank teller, without any kind of ID, will not get you the service you were hoping for, and he ends up accidentally robbing the bank.


Bonnie and Clod.

Dillon hooks up with Troy at the department store and they manage to evade the police by using their handy-dandy invisibility shield devices, but they eventually have to escape via their flying bikes to avoid the California Highway Patrol.

Question: Where in the hell did they get those flying bikes from? Are those advance prototype devices already standard issue items aboard shuttles?

Our two heroes make it back to their unsupervised charges in time to greet Col. Sydell who, along with the local authorities and news outlets, is looking for the UFO that may have landed nearby. Sydell asks Troy and Dillon if they witnessed any strange light during the night, but when neither man, nor any of the kids who are now dressed up as Boy Scouts, say they saw anything strange he moves on. Lucky for our heroes that reporter on the scene turns out to be their old friend Jamie Hamilton who joins them all for smores.

Question: What happened to Jamie between this episode and the last? She went from being part of the team to being back on Earth with her job as a reporter. Was this her idea or did Adama kick her off the Galactica?

It’s at this point the episode shifts into an educational stump speech about the environment. Three of the Super Scouts become deathly ill, and when neither Dillon or Troy can figure out the cause of it their only option is to take them to a nearby clinic. When they get to the hospital they discover that the doctor is "not in" so they are forced to stun the nurse so that they can work on the kids themselves. Using their wrist computrons they learn that the kids have been poisoned by some kind of toxin, and when they checkout where those three were playing they realize that the stupid kids drank from a polluted lake.


 You’d think space kids would know better than to sample or eat any untested alien food or drink, let alone when it looks that skunky.

Troy and Dillon visit the nearby chemical factory and confront Stockton (Mike Kellin), the plant manager, with their knowledge of the polluted lake. Like any weasily corporate stooge he goes into complete denial, but really what was Troy and Dillon’s plan here? They are alien trespassers with no rights whatsoever, and certainly can't go to the authorities themselves, so their brilliant idea is to appeal to the guilty parties’ inherent goodness? If only they new somebody in the investigative reporting biz. *sigh*  These two bozos should be laying low with the kids instead of running off “investigating” shit, and once again leaving a bunch of kids alone. Three of who are dying because you left them alone to go fucking shopping!


Child Services not the Air Force should be after these two.

What follows is Col. Sydell teaming up with local corrupt Sheriff Ellsworth (John Quade), who is concerned that these supposed “Boy Scouts” are part of a conspiracy that wishes the plant closed down, which would in turn destroy the town. Why he is worried about two idiots and a bunch of kids, and not the real danger of someone phoning the EPA, is beyond me. Apparently the local doctor (George DelHoyo), who is a good guy and wants to help, has been trying to have the pollution problem addressed for some time now, but somehow a lake, that is so toxic it can kill a child within hours of drinking from it, is not enough evidence to go on.


“Yes I’m a doctor, it says so right on my parking space.”

The Super Scouts manage to evade capture by turning invisible, hiding up in the trees, throwing apples at their pursuers, and then stealing the police cars. When one of the sick kids actually dies things get a bit tense, but when they learn that the kid is only brain dead they make a quick call to the Galactica for a quick pick-up so they get some super science medical assistance. Lucky for all concerned Doctor Zee has just put the finishing touches on this new anti-gravity ship, and being he is the only one qualified to fly it he will pilot the rescue mission.


So, going with the Flying Saucer motif are we?

The only vehicle big enough to transport the sick kids to the rendezvous site is Stockton’s van so everyone is loaded in and headed up to the mountains to meet up with their rescue ship, with Col. Sydell, Sheriff Ellsworth, and the National Guard in hot pursuit. A fallen tree and an EMP pulse manages to delay the authorities long enough to get the kids onboard, and for Stockton to get a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future in the form of Dr. Zee. Using the ships advanced sensors and computers, which can accurately predict the future of its surroundings, Dr. Zee gives Stockton a glimpse ten years into the future where pollution has gone unchecked, and his son is dead because of it.


With this kind of science displayed here I’m not sure the Cylons can be considered as much of threat anymore.

The medical team quickly resurrect the one “mostly dead” kid and heal the other two as well, and then Adama tells Troy and Dillon that the "Inevitability of a Cylon holocaust" grows stronger every hour, and that they must return to Earth and, “Find a place for all our young." With the Colonel and the Sheriff thwarted our gang of hapless travellers return to Earth for some well earned waffles. It’s while having breakfast at a local diner that Jamie finds out that Troy and Dillon must rush off on some “important” mission, and now she must look after all the kids while they’re gone, and they don’t even ask her! What complete assholes these two are.


“Sure, it’s not like I don’t have a job…oh wait…I do have a job. Fuck you both!”

It couldn’t have been easy for the writers to whip up a complete new story arc when their time travel idea got the axe, but a two-parter about a bunch of idiot space kids was certainly a step down…way down. Add to that our poor girl reporter Jamie who gets abandoned one minute and then conscripted the next by these spacefaring asshats, with little to no explanation.  This does not help with continuity. Speaking of asshats, we have Troy and Dillon who should not be put in charge of goldfish let alone the future of their race. All said and done this was two cringe worthy hours of television, and one would think it couldn’t get any worse. Right?

NOTE: In the previous three episodes neither Troy or Dillon showed increased abilities due to Earth's lesser gravity yet these little shits can jump around like the Six Million Dollar Man for some reason.

No comments: