29 June 2017
FWS Military Sci-Fi Oddities: SPACE RANGERS (CBS 1993)
Back in the early 1990's, science fiction exploded on the American airwaves like a supernova propelled by programs like The X-Files, ST: TNG, and Deep Space 9; along with increased public interest in anime. As with any trend, the major American networks attempted to cash in on the popularity and get onboard with the winning team. CBS always seemed like an "Me too!"American network of late, and they did the same with the sci-fi trend with their own early 1990's entry: Space Rangers. This military sci-fi oddity came and went in the space of a few episode and was largely unknown by many, including me at the time. It was only after running across a list of very short-lived TV shows on WatchMojo on YouTube that I learned of Space Rangers. I originally was only going to mention this one on a Top 10 list, but after some of the responses and enjoy I had writing the FWS article on The Osiris Chronicles, I decided it was high time to give Space Rangers an full Military Sc-Fi Oddities article and take its forgotten, but oddball, place in Military Sci-Fi history here on FWS.
What the Hell was Space Rangers?!
The Plot and Universe of Space Rangers
What Happened to Space Rangers?
Why is Space Rangers an Military SF Oddity?
There four reasons why I assigned Space Rangers to the Military SF Oddity category. First, is that this show actually aired on a major US TV network despite the quality, plotting, themes, and overall style of Space Rangers. It is hard to believe that it was not an syndicated television in a similar vain to Andromeda, Babylon 5, Cleopatra 2525. Instead, this military sci-fi show of uneven writing, low quality SFX, and oddball design was run on one of the Big 4 networks in America: CBS....all be it for 20 days...but still, CBS. That is almost as odd as Max Headroom on ABC. Almost. This is likely due to the timing of when Space Rangers was pitched and accepted by the network can explain some of this. After all, NBC had no less than two sci-fi shows: Earth 2 and SeaQuest DSV, Fox had the X-Files, and there were a number of syndicated sci-fi shows, most notably ST: TNG.
This leads into our third reason: welcome to sci-fi cliche city. With vast issues with fleshing out the universe and stories, Space Rangers liberally mined common sci-fi cliches and tropes to a fatal level. Honestly, there is little originality presented in the four episodes aired that it grimly harms everything and everyone. You can nearly guess the next plot event or dialog due to this and makes the show boring to watch. Hence, why it only lasted four episodes. The last reason for Space Rangers being an oddity is the most sad: howe forgotten it is. Despite the explosion of the informational on the internet, it is very odd and telling how unknown this series is today, even to someone like me. I was a sophomore in high school in 1993 and very much active in watching all science fiction at the time ( I had no life). But this show escaped me.
Could Space Rangers have been saved from the Hangman's Noose Back in 1993?
The Weapon of the Space Rangers...an old friend
Next Time on FWS....