Saturday, October 30, 2010
M.I.S. - Jason Of Star Command
We're told that it operates "out of a secret section of the Space Academy," but what is never made clear is what exactly the relationship between Star Command - which certainly sounds like a vast galactic military, or at least, peacekeeping organization - and the Academy actually is. The mundane reality is that Filmation simply re-used the preexisting (and already paid for) sets, costumes, and many of the effects from the previous season's Space Academy series in order to reduce costs on the later show, allowing them to spend more of their Jason budget on new effects shots and sets (the interior of Dragos' Dragonship, for example). But what we're talking about here is the universe of the show, not real-world economics.
As a kid, I actually wondered about this stuff, trying to reconcile the storylines and characters of the two shows, and make sense of their shared universe.The creators may not have thought it was important, or just treated the two series as independent of each other, but I was 14-15 years old, and it was pretty damned clear to me that the shows were - or should have been - taking place in the same fictional "world." The appearance of Space Academy characters Matt Prentice and the robot Peepo in the later show, only reinforced that conviction.
And if Star Command operated out of the Academy, was there more than one control room? Where was Gampu when the SC crew was running the show during Jason, flying that built-up asteroid all over the galaxy and engaging in battles with Dragos' drone ships?
Of course, we never saw very many adult Star Command officers stationed on the Academy asteroid. Just Canarvin (and his ill-tempered successor), Captain Nicole Davidoff (who wore a distinctively different uniform from that of the cadets that swarmed the Academy corridors), and Professor Parsafoot, who, like Jason (and later, Samantha), may have actually been a civilian only working with the Command. This suggests that Star Command itself was a bigger organization based elsewhere, and that Canarvin's operation at the Academy was simply a small task force assigned there to protect the educational institution and monitor the sector of space in which the school was located.
Another big question - just who was Jason? It's clearly established that he is a civilian, and that, while trusted, he has a reputation for not following Star Command protocols. Being a kid's show, no backstory is provided for the character, nor is any personal history ever revealed or even hinted at.
Obviously, he's valued for his piloting abilities, and as a civilian, perhaps he has some use as a secret agent, operating in areas and/or situations where uniformed Star Command officers cannot. This may explain why Canarvin's azure successor was so distrustful of Jason and his loyalties when he assumed command of the operation in Season 2.
His outfit suggested a swashbuckling nature (and Han Solo, of course), so maybe he was a reformed space pirate? I'd like to think so; it would explain a lot.
For once, there's no real narrative questions regarding second season cast changes, either. As Canarvin and Davidoff were both Star Command officers, it's logical to assume that they were given new assignments (in Canarvin's case, on the U.S.S. Enterprise) and transferred to other posts. Nicole was cute, and I missed her, but Samantha was a much stronger female regular. The actual name of Season 2's commander and his race are unexplained mysteries, but as neither question really impacts the narrative, I'm not particularly concerned. It's sloppy world-building, but not critical in this case.
In fact, the only other major question I have about the Space Academy/Jason of Star Command universe is how Tamara Dobson (Samantha) ever managed to get into those pants!