I think the reason I’m so reluctant to enjoy current science fiction is because I’ve been betrayed so many times. I will fall in love with a television show and it will be canceled three shows into the season. Or, I’ll love a show and it will never get resolved until the network finally cancels it three seasons and too many questions into the plot.
Case in point: there was a show that came out when Mike and I were first married. I think Babylon 5 and Star Trek Deep Space Nine had just started, so that would put it about 1993 or 1994. One of the big three television networks (ABC, I think) thought it would be a good idea to jump on the sci-fi train and came out with a show of their own. It was called Star Raiders or Space Raiders or Space Riders or something generic like that. I asked Mike about it and his fantastic memory found it. Turns out it was called Space Rangers and it was aired on CBS.
I LOVED the show.
It was like an early version of Firefly (another sci-fi show that got canceled WAY too early). There was a guy who had a ship and crew that did odd jobs around space. There was one particular episode where he was trying to impress an alien. He had to compete in a some sort of fight. Before the fight, he said a great speech and tossed his father’s antique coin to the alien. The alien caught it, but the metal in the coin reacted with the alien’s skin, causing burns. He was taken away for trying to hurt the important alien.
That’s the only episode I remember and I’m even sketchy on that one. I couldn’t find ANY record of the existence of this television series that was canceled three episodes into the season. Only Mike was able to dig the show out from the dregs of Google. Here’s what he found:
Yet that vision of the alien catching that coin and the metal searing into his flesh is etched into my mind with a laser. No one on the planet remembers that alien but me and Mike.
THAT’S why I wait until a show is canceled to start watching it. Then I know ahead of time whether it was worth the space in my memory or not.
They aren’t lost to obscurity. You can watch them at NetFlix:
I did and I took these screen shots of the scene with the silver dollar. Here’s Boon talking about the coin. Yes, that IS Claudia Christian (of Babylon 5 fame) playing the part of Marla (ex-girlfriend of Boon and trade negotiator).
He tosses it to the alien, who catches it. You can see the smoke rising from his palm.
Not even Marla knew that silver was poisonous to V’lons.
The scene was pretty much EXACTLY what I remembered it to be. All in all, Space Rangers was corny and didn’t take itself too seriously. Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine both were much more serious than this light piece of sci-fi history. CBS axed it earlier than it deserved and that’s EXACTLY why I tend to be gun shy with new science fiction shows on television.