Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills

I have mentioned this show before, for those who are not familiar, this show came out in 1994 on the USA Network by DiC, it was all American footage on a tight budget. I personally liked it, even though it was a bit crude, both in quality and humor. At first, toku fans took it as a joke and badly made, but now it can be seen as a satire or spoof as the writers Jim Fisher and Jim Staahl were best known for comedy. Anyway, even though I said I wouldn't mention Power Rangers, this show sure had its similarities. Unique things about the show was that the group was not friends and had issues getting along, also the factor that they couldn't trust their mentor was brought up. There were 40 episodes.

The basic plot was that Emperor Gorganus is intent on conquering Earth because it is the focal point for a network of "Power Portals" that would facilitate conquest of the galaxy. Four teens are selected by Nimbar to fight off the monsters sent by Gorganus. Nimbar gives them a tattoo by his "finger", based on a constellation and when their tattoos flash, this means Nimbar needs them and a power portal appears that they can pass through to enter his chamber. They transform (via standing on Transo Discs) and become muscle-bound versions of themselves with tight suits called Galactic Sentinels and can combine to become Nitron.

Laurie Foster/Scorpio
Laurie Foster played by Leslie Danon with the power of Scorpio. It is said she was the leader but I do not recall her being called as such nor that she even really 'lead' the team. She did suggest plans and thought rationally after getting a grip on what was happening. She started out as a typical pretty girl, too caught up in her own priorities. She was smart and a high qualified student but like the others, she didn't want anything to do with them. She had light green suit.

Gordon Henley (Taurus)
Gordon Henley played by Richard Nason, he was the preppy guy and the jokester of the group. I don't quite remember if he was lucky with women but I do know the others didn't think highly of him and often groaned at his point of view. He was a bit like Chandler from Friends. He became Taurus, donning a black outfit. I remember having a crush on his Sentinel form.

Swinton Swayer/Apollo
Swinton Sawyer played by Rugg Williams was the smart one, he wore glasses and was African-American. He wore a yellow suit and held the power of Apollo. He was a bit like Carlton Banks from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but not as whiny or pompous. He often had issues with his father and his future. Swinton's symbol is not for Apollo, but Aquarius. Swinton sure is a strange name.

Drew Vincent/Centaur
K. Jill Sorgen played Drew, the tough chick with a chip on her shoulder. She worked at the coffee shop the team regularly hung out in because of her aunt I believe. She becomes Centaur, wearing the purple outfit. She used a battle axe as her weapon. Drew's tattoo is not the symbol for Centaur, but Sagittarius. When Drew's aunt confronted her about constantly missing and Drew revealed her secret, she brought her to a psychiatrist to help with her "delusions."

When they put their hands together in an interlocking square they form the ultimate sentinel called Nitron. However Nitron's power is "finite," and they are only to form him as a last resort. They once formed Nitron along with Orion, without Laurie. This didn't happen often in Japanese Tokusatsu that heroes combing into one, only in some of the Ultra series.

Emperor Gorganus
He needed the Power Portals to conquer the universe. His set was quite impressive for the budget they had. He was a bit similar to Lord Zedd as he sat in a chair (even though the chair didn't look quite futuristic as the rest of the set) but it could just be a coincidence as Lord Zedd appeared in Season 2 and this show aired at the same time as Season 2, unless the creators knew before hand of Zedd. Gorganus would call toy statue forms of his warriors and send them to fight big, they always came out giant. There were only a few monsters, some of them were Ninjabot, Slaygar the Toxic Waste Monster, Neuragul, Voldac, and The Sorcerer.

Gorganus had this pet bird, that looked a lot like the Dictabird from Flintstones movie but dyed another color and with teeth. Probably because the USA Network is owned by Universal and that movie was made by Universal, they had easy access to the prop. When Gorganus went on vacation, his sidekick tried to conquer earth. When a monster was about to be destroyed, he recalled it and sent another. The heroes were nearly defeated until the Gorganus returned and re-implemented the "monster of the day" formula.

Ah, Nimbar, he lived in a cave like place and was the protector of the portals. He was a giant blob of goo on a plate and sat next to a big screen and four discs. That was all to his set. He was jsut like Zordon as he was immobile alien that gathered teens together. In the first episode, he took out one 'finger' to give the teens tattoos. In one episode, Orion brought up that he couldn't be trusted. He failed in the past to protect a world from Gorganus and supposedly would stop at nothing to insure Earth does not meet the same fate.

They just stood on the Transo Discs, yelled their names (Scorpio, etc.) and transformed and teleported to the spot to fight. Similarties to Power Rangers include the 'command enter,' the immobile mentor, the teleporting, the giant monsters and hangout involved with drinks--as MMPR had the juice bar, they had a coffee shop. Also to mention, they only had one hallway to their school.

Kevin Castro/Tanker on Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad appeared in only one episode, he was a human alien and former warrior for Nimbar. He was cold, distant and after being the sole survivor of his destroyed planet, full of anger toward Nimbar. He held the power of Orion, which he used on the fourth transo disc when Laurie was unable to fight. His name was too complicated for humans to speak (utteration of slurs and gurgles) so he insisted that Nimbar call him 'Rick.' I remember a flashback of Orion calling out for his other teammates, one being Leo (lion), the others being Ursa and Draco (dragon). His suit was dark grey. He had a thing for Drew.

I remember some of the episodes were unique to the usual Toku staples. From what I can remember, time kept repeating for one sentinel, Gordon became a lab mouse due to a malfunction of the portals, the sentinels kept going to other dimension versions of their world---one ended with Zsa Zsa Gabor and that Swinton and Drew switched bodies, but it was funnier than Kimberly and Billy switching bodies.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting a nice informative review unlike the many hateful and bashful ones out there. The show may be of little budget and low visuals and everything but the thing is, it was for kids back at the time. So its really not necessary for others to claim how crappy the show was. I remember this show during my school days and I just want to check it again.

Jordan Lange said...

Were the Sentinels the actual actors, or hired stuntman? They do not looked jacked in regular form. If it is them, the shooting schedule must have been crazy.