Friday, December 12, 2008


Above: In a better world, these would have all been Captain Power action figures.

Let's allow the voice-over from the original series break it down for y'all:

"Earth 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, when man fought machine and machines won. Bio-Dreads. Monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them. Volcania. Center of the Bio-Dread empire, stronghold and fortress of Lord Dread, feared ruler of this new order. But from the fires of the Metal Wars arose a new breed of warrior-born and trained to bring down Lord Dread and his Bio-Dread empire. They were soldiers of the future, mankind's last hope. Their leader, Captain Jonathan Power; master of the incredible powersuits, which transform each soldier into a one-man attack force.

Major Matthew "Hawk" Masterson, fighter in the sky. Lt. Michael "Tank" Ellis, ground assault unit. Sgt. Robert "Scout" Baker, espionage and communications. And Corporal Jennifer "Pilot" Chase, tactical systems expert. Together, they form the most powerful fighting force in Earth's history. Their creed: to protect all life. Their promise: to end Lord Dread's rule. Their name? Captain Power and the Soliders of the Future!"


Epic in scope and humongous in ambition, 'Captain Power' was poised to inherit the children's sci-fi/toy tie-in market left vacant by the Star Wars dynasty a few years earlier. Sadly, the American public wasn't ready for such far-reaching interactive fantasy entertainment, and the Captain's demise came after only 22 episodes (spread over the course of 7 months) and a handful of awesome toys.

The Soldiers of the Future, circa 1987.>>

The death of the Canadian 'Power' franchise is generally regarded as a result of too much ambition on the part of its creators. Though pitched as a children's series, plots revolved around war, sexual tension, drug use, and emotional drama. The themes were adult in nature but the action and plot were generally aimed at kids. The outcome was a near miss for both target groups, and Captain Power's fantastic universe had collapsed by early 1988.

Lord Dread, ruler of Volcania, master of the Bio-Dreads, and all-around awesome villain <<<

The Captain Power toy line was quite possibly the most ambitious aspect of the series. Spaceships were manufactured with pistol-grips and triggers on their underside, along with an opening cockpit and a small action figure.

So fucking AWESOME! <<

During the course of each TV episode, there was an INTERACTIVE sequence in which you could use your Captain Power toy to battle enemies on the screen. If your craft sustained enough damage, the cockpit would burst open, ejecting the pilot. Let me tell you first hand: to an 8-year-old kid, this was by far the coolest idea EVER. Observe:

By children's television standards, Captain Power was far beyond anything ever attempted before. Rumor has it, production cost neared $1 million per episode, and Mattel's toy line never quite pulled the series out of the red. Check out this trailer for the show:

Truly amazing shit. Lord Dread was easily one of coolest bad guys to ever grace the small screen, and his henchmen were nothing to be sneezed at either. By the way, did I mention that Blastaar and Soaron were also the FIRST completely computer-generated television characters? Take that, Jar Jar Binks!

Right: Blastaar

Way cooler than Jar Jar Binks.

Left: Soaron

So sweet I'm almost ready to forgive Canada for Bryan Adams.

Alas, here we are, in the sad year 2008. 'Captain Power And The Soldiers of the Future' are but a dear piece of bittersweet nostalgia, a relic from a bygone era when the sky was the limit and toys were the future.


On the bright side, Captain Power has finally been released on DVD, and although you might not be able to play along with your Powerjet XT-7, you can at least relive those wonderful episodes again, and savor the sweet taste of a simpler, better time.

You can get the DVDs

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Ahh nostalgia. I kinda sorta remember this one, but at the time I was like. Five so not really.

Have to agree with Dread's awesomness. I mean c'mon he looks like the Borg managed to get hold of Darth Effing Vader.