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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Academy Reunion Class of '77!
Who could forget that the year Star Wars blasted its way across cinemas that Space Academy launched on CBS Saturday mornings? The SA was a man-made planetoid built upon a large asteroid in space that was navigated by way of an interstellar star drive and commanded by Lost In Space's Dr. Smith, Jonathan Harris, who played 300 year-old Commander Isaac Gampu. The SA...
Published on November 22, 2006 by Dave Cordes

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Space Academy, or how to smile real big for the camera...
Though I'd never seen this show before, it was immediately familiar in both tone and style, not to mention for Johnathan Harris' overly dramatic mug. The show stars Harris (of Lost in Space fame) as Commander Gampu of the titular Space Academy, surrounded by a very ethnically diverse cast of young actors including Ric Carrott as Chris Gentry, Pamelyn Ferdin as Laura...
Published on April 7, 2007 by S. M. Robare


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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Academy Reunion Class of '77!, November 22, 2006
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This review is from: Space Academy: The Complete Series (DVD)
Who could forget that the year Star Wars blasted its way across cinemas that Space Academy launched on CBS Saturday mornings? The SA was a man-made planetoid built upon a large asteroid in space that was navigated by way of an interstellar star drive and commanded by Lost In Space's Dr. Smith, Jonathan Harris, who played 300 year-old Commander Isaac Gampu. The SA contained several really cool space shuttles or "Seekers" that allowed them to take off-campus expeditions to nearby planets. The Seekers were basically designed after the Ark II vehicle (minus the wheels) which had been Filmation's previous live-action Saturday morning sci-fi entry. The culturally diverse and co-ed students attending the SA included Lt. Adrian played by Maggie Cooper, Lt. Laura Gentry played by Pamelyn Ferdin (the voice of Lucy from the Peanuts and Sally on Sealab 2020) and her brother Captain Chris Gentry played by Ric Carrott, Lt. Paul Jerome played by Ty Henderson, Tee-Gar Soom played by Brian Tochi (the voice of Leonardo in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films), and Loki played by Eric Greene along with a funky robot named Peepo (voiced by She-Ra Erika Scheimer) who looked as though he could have been the distant cousin of Buck Rogers' Twiki. The students each had some kind of special skills and abilities like telekinesis and invisibility which were attributes used to overcome hostile situations and the stories generally involved plots that included some kind of moral for kids by teaching them the consequences about making the right choices but who really cared? For its day, this show boasted some of the best visual effects on television (cheezy by today's standards of course) with detailed scale models and stop-motion aliens. What kid wouldn't be intrigued by this show at that age? Bell-bottoms and blue-screens never looked so passe but for those of us who were glued to the television every Saturday morning in the 1970's should find this old-school fun and a somewhat embarrassing nostalgic trip down memory lane.

In 1978, Space Academy was revamped into the successful spin-off serial Jason of Star Command starring Craig Littler as Jason and Sid Haig as the evil space pirate Dragos and it recycled the Space Academy sets and models which became Star Command under the command of Star Trek's James Doohan and the Seekers were "upgraded" into the sleeker Starfire crafts. It was mentioned that Star Command was actually a special secret section of Space Academy although there was never any crossover between the two shows.

It's hard to believe that after 30 years BCI-Eclipse will finally release the complete series on DVD featuring all 15 episodes of this rarely-seen vintage 70's Saturday morning show on 4 discs including audio commentary on two episodes "Phantom Planet" and "Countdown" with Filmation producer Lou Scheimer and stars Ric Carrott, Brian Tochi, Eric Greene, and Special Effects Supervisor Chuck Comisky, and hosted by Andy Mangels. Special features also include:

* Featurette - "Back to School with Space Academy"
* Behind-the Scenes photo gallery
* Cast Reunion photo gallery with interview clips
* Memorabilia photo gallery with interview clips
* Promotional photo gallery
* Booklet with Episode Guide and Trivia
* All 15 Scripts (DVD-ROM)
* Series Bible (DVD-ROM)
* Easter Eggs
* Trailers - Ink & Paint Previews

All 15 Episodes:

1. The Survivors of Zalonm
2. Castaways in Time and Space
3. Hide and Seek
4. Countdown
5. There's No Place Like Home
6. The Rocks of Janus
7. Monkey Business
8. The Phantom Planet
9. Planet of Fire
10. Life Begins at 300
11. The Cheat
12. My Favorite Marcia
13. Space Hookey
14. Star Legend
15. Johnny Sunseed
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Academy never looked so good, January 23, 2007
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This review is from: Space Academy: The Complete Series (DVD)
What is the most striking about Space Academy on this DVD set, is how good the visual effects still look. These are effects on par with any of the motion control work done on Star Wars in 1977. This is without a doubt, quality work. The Seeker spaceships are weathered down and lit with convincing shadows and darkness in some shots, and some scenes have the Seeker doing complete 360 degree turns. We're even treated to a mini fleet of Seekers in the final episode spinning 360 in unison, and firing lasers. In some aspects, the work on this series is more sophisticated than Brian Johnson's work on Space: 1999, and comes close to par quality with John Dykstra's work on Star Wars. The makers of Space Academy had a camera system more sophisticated than Brian Johnson's, and not quite as sophisticated as John Dykstra's. The Seeker's engine exhaust flares before the camera, takes off and lands convincingly from it's bay, and sits in it's bay before take-off convincingly. I have yet to see CGI spaceship work that rivals Space Academy, Space: 1999, Battlestar Galactica, or Star Wars in its realism. Though Space Academy had a low budget, I tip my hat to its technical crew for creating realistic spaceship shots that built on the era of weathered down, realistically lit spacecraft miniatures with flared engine exhaust. The innovation and imagination of Space Academy's optical effects unit produced some of the most beautifully photographed and filmed spacecraft miniatures ever put on film. This was too good to be a mere Saturday morning children's show. And the miniature of the Academy asteroid is as iconic as the "Draconia" from Buck Rogers, the "Galactica" from the "1978 Battlestar Galactica" series, and "Dracos Dragonship" from "Jason of Star Command."
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Visit with Old Friends, February 18, 2007
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This review is from: Space Academy: The Complete Series (DVD)
I was thrilled to see that one of my all time favorite series "Space Academy" was coming out on DVD!!! Naturally, I HAD to order it!!

Back when it was on, I had a HUGE crush on Ric Carrott who played Chris Gentry and I've always been a fan of Pamelyn Ferdin.

I hadn't seen the show since it was first broadcast - 29 years ago. It was amazing how much I remembered - even whole scenes of dialog.

I'll admit I DIDN'T remember quite how melodramatic it was, but it WAS kids TV circa 1977 - even had some of the same music as animated Star Trek because it was the same production company. And Jonathan Harris seemed be having his usual fun time chewing up the scenery. I noticed they managed not to pull too many Lost in Space comments - but Robbie the Robot DOES pop up in one episode.

The SFX and model work (which were created by some of the group who did Star Wars) do hold up pretty well, but since I went through all the episodes in two marathon sessions (Leah made me go to bed after the first DVD) I found myself forwarding through the Seeker launching and landing sequences and the opening and closing bits.

The show was just as much fun as I remembered though. I DID forward through parts of one episode called "Space Hookey" because the scenes were just TOO silly. The story is that Loki and Peepo (the robot) play hookey and land on a rock inside a comet that chases them - they meet two balls of light that are supposed to be "children" on the planet who take over Loki and when they go back to the Academy - one of them passes to Gampu (Jonathan Harris) who starts skipping around and playing pirate. He even has Chris and Laura arrested and threatens to have them walk the plank when they try to stop him from starting a war with another race. Their "daddy" finally shows up (ala "Squire of Gothos") and takes them away to be punished.

They also filmed a "Back to School at the Space Academy" documentary. It was fun to see how Eric Greene (Loki) has turned out to be a lawyer and an activist. Brian Tochi (Tee Gar) is still acting and Ric Carrott (Chris) has become a computer specialist. I'd never have recognized him on the street tho. He's changed quite a bit, but still VERY handsome. They also spoke to one of the producers and the SFX specialist. They didn't have anything with Ty Henderson (Paul) or either of the girls Maggie Cooper (Adrian) and Pamelyn Ferdin (Laura) dunno whether they weren't able to find them or they didn't want to participate. It's a shame - I'd have loved to see them too.

They dedicated the documentary to Jonathan Harris and all of them seemed to have very fond memories of him.

Now waiting for my next acquisition - Ark II!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Space Academy, or how to smile real big for the camera..., April 7, 2007
This review is from: Space Academy: The Complete Series (DVD)
Though I'd never seen this show before, it was immediately familiar in both tone and style, not to mention for Johnathan Harris' overly dramatic mug. The show stars Harris (of Lost in Space fame) as Commander Gampu of the titular Space Academy, surrounded by a very ethnically diverse cast of young actors including Ric Carrott as Chris Gentry, Pamelyn Ferdin as Laura Gentry (Chris' psyonically connected twin sister), Maggie Cooper as Adrian, Brian Tochi (voice of Leonardo in the three live action TMNT movies as well as Toshiro Takashi from the Revenge of the Nerds movies and Cadet Nogata from the Police Academy Movies) as Tee Gar, Ty Henderson as Paul, and Eric Greene as the blue haired (well black haired with a slight blue dusting) Loki, an orphan picked up in the first episode from a desolate planet that is about to explode. The other character that rounded out the show was Peepo, voiced by Erika Scheimer, daughter of Lou Scheimer (who helped found Filmation and was executive producer on most of it's shows.)

The show ran for 15 episodes on Saturday mornings in 1977 and follows the adventures of the space cadets and their Commander as they seek out and explore space from their academy space station via their Seeker space ships (which is actually the recycled Ark II craft, and would later be used on Jason of Star Command, a loose spin-off of Space Academy.) Though the show is fairly dated in terms of wardrobe and hairstyles (they certainly didn't take a cue from Star Trek in this) it's immensely enjoyable in it's kid level Star Trek homages and campy light hearted-ness. One of the shows strengths is it's decent effects work with a mixture of really good shots (like a Seeker coming in for a landing in a docking bay) and some not so great ones, but all of it is almost on par with shows like Star Trek and Space 1999.

It's hard not to smile at the bad jokes and overly dramatic lines, which make it easy to look past the implausible plots and psuedo-scientific occurrences. Watching Chris and Laura psychically conversing or when Loki uses his infrared vision to spot particles of meteor dusk on the body of a seeker has a very campy charm. The only thing that really stood and kind of bugged me was the bile inducing amount of smiling the kids did. It's almost to a point where you can read a 1984-esque environment of fear into the acting style (you almost expect some of the characters to bust out with a line like, "Keep smiling or Gampu will kill us with his death ray.") It's the perfect Saturday morning trash though, that is a stepping-stone to the more adult shows like Battlestar Galatica or Dr. Who, and at the end of the day is a perfect example of a very important part in nostalgia, which is that there are some things that are meant only for kids, and that can be very important. You see that type of mentality in things like Lunchables that come with Pop Rocks-esque fizzy toppings, or commercials for Apple Jacks, sometimes things don't need to be anything more than they appear, they don't need to make sense, they just need to be cool for kids.

Shows like this are also a great example of something a child can use as a basis for kick starting their imagination. That's something that's lost on children's television and it's inevitable merchandising today. I truly think that this is a lost art in that by not going into large amounts of researched detail it forces a kid to fill in the gaps of logic (sort of like Donnie Darko for kids, but with less disturbing and much more scientific uncertainty), which is something that low budget or highly logic jumping shows tend to invoke.

At the end of the day, though the show is flawed, it is mindless fun (maybe too much because of it's datedness) and that's about all I want out of a Saturday morning TV show anyway. I will say that's sparked an interest in finding out what Jason of Star Command (which centers on a special ops-like extension of Space Academy) is like.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wyorattler, March 20, 2009
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Wyorattler (Washington DC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Space Academy: The Complete Series (DVD)
Space Academy will not be for everyone. I was a young kid when this came out and I could not get enough of space and sci fi. Shows like this and some of the others that where not cartoon related. For some of the Star Wars fans you will recognize some of the early work of people who became apart of the Lucas team in set design.
Over all it is very sugary sweet by today's standards. There is a moral to every story and the good guys always win and the bad guys don't. If your a sci fi nut then you will enjoy looking back at was considered to be sci fi from back then...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much to Appreciate in this Vintage Gem, April 4, 2010
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ONENEO (Buffalo, NY) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Space Academy: The Complete Series (DVD)
When you think of influential space science fiction from the 1970s, it's essentially a given to credit Star Wars and Star Trek for their timeless influence. You may even want to go as far as to mention Flash Gordon or the original Battlestar Galactica. However, kids back then were actually enjoying solid science fiction television on Saturday mornings intermingled with their cartoon fix thanks to Filmation, the company who would later earn accolades with animated shows like He-Man and She-Ra.

Enter Space Academy, a show that consisted only of 15 half-hour episodes but ran on broadcast television from 1977-1979. This show followed up on the science fiction themes introduced the previous season's (1976) Ark II and in fact went as far as to recycle the front of the Ark II ground vehicle into the commonly seen space shuttle craft used by the Academy (the Seeker).

The show centered on a group of young adults with various powers, skills, and backgrounds that came together in Space Academy, a sort of Starfleet University built directly into a meteor. Under the guidance of Commander Isaac Gampu (who is equal parts father figure, high school principle and college professor), the crew of Space Academy daily routine involves encountered new life forms, planetary exploration and civilization integration.

Chris and Laura Gentry were the main cadets as the captain and (respectively) co-captain of SA's Blue Team. Adrian Pryce-Jones was Chris's love interest and third in command. Fourth in the chain was Paul Jerome, an African-American transferee from Red Team. Finally rounding out the main cast was Asian Tee Gar Soom, who, in addition to possessing medical skills, boasted super-human strength.

One of the first beings they encountered was Loki, a young orphaned alien boy with the power of invisibility who joins the cast. Finally rounding out the team in their mission was Peepo, a small robot with a slightly sassy personality (not unlike say, R2-D2 but with a human voice).

The episodes themselves operated off a reoccurring formula without ever crossing the line into becoming formulaic. And like all children's television programming at the time, Filmation was obligated to integrate sociological morality into the prose. Fortunately the lessons taught here were never much of a stretch nor do they feel like an after-thought. Considering that many of the plots centered on encountering new life forms or attempting to understand political or cultural systems not of earthen origin, the opportunity to present a positive message was never far off for the show's production team.

The effects, which should theoretically be the weakest link of the Space Academy chain, are surprisingly quite solid- particularly the in-space segments. Thanks in no small part to special effects supervisor Chuck Comisky's efforts, the space scenes are truly on par with what we might expect from the original (1977 version of) Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In other words they hold up well even today while being completely cutting edge at the time of their broadcast!

About the weakest visuals come in the form of a few stop-motion aliens and some fairly restricted sets (particularly the outdoor environments). However, in the show's defense, there was a very deliberate effort to focus the core of each episode on solid story-telling; the type of material that does not require (or depend upon) visual gimmicks to be entertaining- in a sense, the complete opposite of the current Hollywood trend of releasing films that are devoid of substance but rife with computer-generated effects.

Plots and pacing could actually be pretty closely compared to the original Star Trek series in that rather than simply rely upon the ideals of the vastness of space/advanced technology, the viewer is treated to a human-driven, almost personal tale that just so happens to take place in a scientifically-solid futuristic environment.

While my review of this property may seem strangely past due (after all, after 28 years of lying dormant, the official DVD release happened back on January 16 2007 by a company that has since gone under itself), my reasoning is that since Navarre has actually gone in and rescued several of BCI Entertainment's orphaned titles for release (among these the 2002 He-Man collection and the animated Dungeons & Dragons series), there is hope they will pick up Filmation's live action shows as well.
I happen to have secured a copy of the 2007 BCI release, which, though becoming increasingly hard to find, still exists in the marketplace in some capacity. Should you happen upon the 4-disc set (shown in photo), it is quite rife with special features and each of the 15 episodes is digitally remastered. Among the goodies included:

Audio commentary track on two episodes "Phantom Planet" and "Countdown
35- Minute Featurette - Back to School with Space Academy
Behind-the Scenes photo gallery
Cast Reunion photo gallery with interview clips
Memorabilia photo gallery with interview clips
Promotional photo gallery
Booklet with Episode Guide and Trivia
All 15 Scripts (DVD-ROM)
Series Bible (DVD-ROM)
Easter Eggs (which I've yet to discover)
Trailers - Ink & Paint Previews

In conclusion, I came away from Space Academy both pleasantly surprised and thoroughly convinced of its influence as a stepping-stone to what is considered contemporary science fiction. While I'm not diluted enough to suspect today's CGI-charged youth will be able to overlook the technological limitations of the era in effort to appreciate the tight writing or positive message within, I can state with certainty that modern science fiction fan aficionados will find much to enjoy through this brief look into a more innocent time. And those individuals who remember the program during its original broadcast era will undoubtedly cherish every moment of this collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, that had to hurt!, March 12, 2010
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This review is from: Space Academy: The Complete Series (DVD)
This is one of those classic stepping stones to the scifi we have today. Actually better effects in some ways. It is amazing what they managed to whip together in 17 weeks! Its a shame it only had one season. But I have to wonder about Ric Carrott and his Bulging eyes! Does anyone really look "surprised" like that all the time. He must have been in constant disbelief that he was picked for the show! Ha! The acting is a bit weak and the sound effects are recycled from numerous other filmation productions, but the models and effects definitely stand out. The stages for planetside scenes look like they were robbed straight from the Lost in Space set! As far as the transfer, the colors really POP! on these new LCD screens.
The commentary is really great for anyone who is curious about how they did the effects and Especially for any young aspiring filmmakers to get ideas about how to produce a film. And there is a great teaching type of style embedded in the stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Academy: The Complete Series, February 24, 2009
This review is from: Space Academy: The Complete Series (DVD)
Just the way I remembered this show, it was fun watching the episodes all over again. I wish there were MORE commentaries. Many people, in general, don't like to listen to commentaries. However, it's interesting to know from the cast and crew themselves about facts and tidbits regarding the show that die-hard fans enjoy sharing with other fans/friends/family members.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Space Academy,Space school for kids., May 21, 2008
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This review is from: Space Academy: The Complete Series (DVD)
Another great saturday morning type show. I really liked seeing Jonathan Harris in something other than Lost in Space.The young astronauts on the show were good and wholesome kids.This is the type of space action show I would not mind showing children if I had any. All in all For being a family friendly show I would give it 10 STARS. GOOD SHOW!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Academy: The Complete Series, September 30, 2007
This review is from: Space Academy: The Complete Series (DVD)
WOW memories flood back when this one was aired in Australia in the late 70's, This series make me into the sci-fi addict I am happily am today, Poor effects, sloppy acting and hunky actors. What more can you want?.
A top series in my book
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Space Academy: The Complete Series
Space Academy: The Complete Series by Jonathan Harris (DVD - 2007)
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