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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Galactica 1980: Spaceball - Review

Sadly this episode entitled “Spaceball” has nothing to do with Mel Brooks, but damn could it have used an appearance from Dark Helmet. Because the Galactican children we saw in Super Scouts were so "entertaining" the producers decided to give them even more screen time in what basically turns out to be Bad News Bears from space.


When we last saw our “heroes” Troy (Kent McCord) and Dillon (Barry Van Dyke) they had ditched their responsibilities for watching the Galactican children by dumping them into the unable hands of their reporter friend Jamie Hamilton (Robyn Douglass), this without even asking her. Upon getting a vague message about new orders from the Galactica our two hapless dumb-dumbs meet up with Lieutenant Nash (Jeremy Brett) who gives Dillon and Troy new orders, and his Viper, so that they can go chase after the still on the loose time traveling Xavier. Nash tells them that the co-ordinates to where they can find Xavier have been programmed into the Viper’s computron by Dr. Zee (James Patrick Stuart). Also Nash isn’t actually Nash, but Xaviar in disguise.


“My crisp evil British accent should have tipped you off.”

We never find out what Xaviar did when he was apparently off in pre-revolutionary America, but whatever he did it doesn't seem to have changed much of the current timeline. When Adama (Lorne Greene) asks Doctor Zee how it’s possible that Xaviar now looks like Nash he is told, “We have become quite successful with our epidermal transformations. It is possible to look like anyone.” This of course doesn’t explain how Xaviar achieved this unless his time traveling Colonial Viper was equipped with state of the art Galactican medical equipment. Worse is the fact that all scenes with Dr. Zee and Adama make the once powerful commander of the fleet into a doddering fool, constantly asking for Dr. Zee to explain things to him. It’s just embarrassing.


“Dr. Zee, could you help me program my DVR so I don’t miss tonight’s Matlock.”

More embarrassing is the effects shots of Troy and Dillon marooned in space when the Viper they were given turns out to be sabotaged. We repeatedly get the same static photo of a Viper that is so jarringly stagnant that it makes one almost forgive the horrible wire shots when the two idiots do an EVA to fix their ship.


“I got no strings to hold me down, to make me fret, to make me frown.”

What is truly sad is that the escapades of Dumb and Dumberer in space isn’t even the actual focus of this episode, for that we have something much worse...the Super Scouts going to a baseball camp. Jamie takes the kids to her work, because what could go wrong with bringing a bunch of alien boy scouts to a newsroom? While there she picks up an assignment about a youth camp for underprivileged kids run by ex-major baseball player Billy Eheres (Paul Koslo), who we assume left the Majors because he misplaced his left arm.


“I actually have an interesting backstory, but right now we have to cut to commercial.”

Billy tells Jamie that the camp is in danger of being closed down, and if they don’t when the big baseball game in the Regionals they’ll lose their sponsors donations, which then will result in the camp going into bankruptcy. Jamie comes up with the brilliant idea of having the Galactican kids play in the “Big Game” so they can win it using their super abilities.


“Kids, it’s not cheating if it’s for a good cause.”

By this time Xaviar has shown up and told Jamie that he has been sent by Adama to help with the kids, while in fact he’s secretly using them as hostages. He radios Adama and threatens to let Dillon and Troy asphyxiate in space, and murder all the children, if he is not given amnesty, allowed to live somewhere on Earth, and not be interfered with. Things get even stickier when Colonel Sydell (Allan Miller) tracks them down, and sits back at the game to watch the kids expose themselves as super-powered aliens. Jamie realizes the danger and tells the kids to throw the game, cause fuck those underprivileged kids, but when she discovers what Nash is planning she tells the kids to stop losing and win so they can escape under the cover of the exciting press.


“Back to cheating kids, but it’s okay that other team were acting like jerks anyways.”

Jamie switches back and forth between “Hide your powers” amd “Use your powers” so often in this episode I’m surprised none of the kids suffered from whiplash. Eventually the Wonder Twins in space fix their Viper and make it to the game just in time to save the day, because in a surprising turn of events Adama turned down Xaviar’s proposal causing him to go into kill children mode. Poor Colonel Sydell catches a laser blast to the gut in the fire fight between Dillon, Troy and Xaviar, and though it isn’t a fatal hit he is replaced in the next episode by Colonel Briggs (Mark Peter Richman). I guess Barry Morse was busy.


Goodbye Colonel Sydell, you will not be missed.

Troy and Dillon let Xaviar escape because, “If we pursue him we risk injuring others.” This is Troy’s brillaint reasoning for letting him get away and is some kind of bullshit when you consider what a threat this dude is to the entire population of Earth. I'm betting the show was once again prepping him to be a recurring villain, but he is never seen again.


“Screw it, I'll just go and play Sherlock Holmes now.”

One assumes they re-cast the part of Xaviar with Jeremy Brett (who is still one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes) because Richard Lynch was unavailable to reprise the role, and Brett does make an excellent cold calculating villain in the mold of Hans Gruber, but with him never appearing again the whole thing comes across as rather half-assed. Maybe if the show hadn’t been cancelled after ten episodes he may have returned, but we'll never know. On the plus side this is the last episode that focuses on the Super Scouts.


“We’re going off to audition for the Space Jam now.”

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