The Replacements

Space RangersBoon’s crew is assigned to track down a hijacked ore transport, but shortly after they catch up with the ship and board it, an armed man blasts Doc while someone else escapes in a lifepod. Boon brings Doc back to Fort Hope, where Mimmer starts trying to save his life while Boon interrogates his unhelpful prisoner. Boon complains bitterly about having to take on missions with an exhausted crew and equipment that’s fallen apart in the face of constant budget cuts, taking his anger out on Weiss, an Earth bureaucrat who’s been “exiled” to Fort Hope. Weiss responds to this outburst by assigning an android crewmember to Boon’s ship. After their sole prisoner is mysteriously murdered in his cell with no security record of how he died, the Space Rangers are left with a seized transport which appears to carry nothing but ordinary ore, and a lot of unanswered questions. Little do they know that the hijackers are working against them from inside Fort Hope.

Space Rangerswritten by Gregory Widen
directed by Ben Bolt
music by Hans Zimmer & Mark Mancina

Cast: Jeff Kaake (Captain John Boon), Marjorie Monaghan (Jojo), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Zylyn), Jack McGee (Doc), Clint Howard (Mimmer), Danny Quinn (Daniel), Gottfried John (Weiss), Linda Hunt (Chennault), Richard Grove (Isogul), Keith Berger (Ringer), Richard Marcus (Bashad), Tony Amendola (Smuggler), Mark Venturini (Lieutenant), Gregory Phelan (Technician No. 1), Wendy Way (Technician No. 2)

Space RangersNotes: Although aired first, this was not the series pilot, creating some inconsistencies in the flow of the storyline (i.e. Boon’s wife has already left him and gone to Earth, even later episodes contradict this). Tony Amendola would later become a fixture on Stargate SG-1 as Master Bra’tac. Writer Gregory Widen was the creator of the Highlander franchise, and wrote the screenplay to Backdraft, which was produced by Space Rangers creator Pen Densham.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Banshees

Space RangersA cargo ship is beset by Banshees, creatures capable of surviving in the void of space and capable of tearing ships apart with their bare hands. Chennault is furious when she discovers that the cargo in question was human beings, only a few of whom escaped alive, victims of a scam offering cheap passage to Fort Hope. A message is received from a teenage boy who is apparently still alive on the transport, but no one understands how he could have survived alone among the Banshees for this long. Colonel Weiss sees an opportunity for scientific study of the Banshees, but all Boon and his crew see is a rescue mission. With Mimmer along for the ride, packing a weapon that he hopes will freeze a Banshee alive to be brought back to Fort Hope for study, the crew watches as the transport fades out of sight and reappears moments later. The ship is crawling with Banshees, and somehow the boy has remained alive – but his salvation is also what’s keeping Boon from being able to send him a message that help has arrived.

Space Rangerswritten by Herbert J. Wright
directed by David Burton Morris
music by Hans Zimmer & Mark Mancina

Cast: Jeff Kaake (Captain John Boon), Marjorie Monaghan (Jojo), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Zylyn), Jack McGee (Doc), Clint Howard (Mimmer), Danny Quinn (Daniel), Gottfried John (Weiss), Linda Hunt (Chennault), Rick Latini III (Boy), Sharon Mahoney (Captain Suzy Watson), Dawn Jeffory (Irina), Gregg Daniel (Passenger), James Cooper (Zed), Mario Roberts (Helpful Man), Gary Byron (Pilot), Susan Fallender (Alien Tech)

Notes: At the beginning of the episode, Boon reveals that he and his wife are separated; due to the seemingly random re-ordering of the series for broadcast, the show’s pilot aired two weeks later, showing the Boon family still in one piece. Writer (and producer) Herbert J. Wright (1947-2005) was one of the original showrunners on Star Trek: The Next Generation during that show’s creatively uneven first two years, leaving after the show’s second season only to return as a “creative consultant” (and a controversial one at that, given his mantra of pursuing stories with “weird shit”) briefly during TNG’s fifth season. He also wrote and directed episodes of the TV version of War Of The Worlds.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Death Before Dishonor

Space RangersAmbassador Marla Baker is at Fort Hope to wind up delicate trade negotiations with a warlike species called the Vee’Lon, only to watch all of her hard work unravel when Boon punches the Vee’Lon ambassador in a bar after the ambassador insists on fondling Jojo’s hair. The Vee’Lon ambassador’s aide de camp escalates things to a war footing, demanding an official apology but still promising the spilling of human blood. A higher-ranking ambassador is summoned from Earth to smooth things over, but thanks to a bomb placed aboard his ship, he never makes it to Fort Hope. It’s up to Baker to salvage the situation herself, even if it means offering Boon up for a fight to the death with the Vee’Lon ambassador.

written by Ed Speilman & Howard Spielman
directed by David Burton Morris
music by Hans Zimmer & Mark Mancina

Space RangersCast: Jeff Kaake (Captain John Boon), Marjorie Monaghan (Jojo), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Zylyn), Jack McGee (Doc), Clint Howard (Mimmer), Danny Quinn (Daniel), Gottfried John (Weiss), Linda Hunt (Chennault), Claudia Christian (Ambassador Marla Baker), Sherman Howard (Prince Gor’Dah), Dana Gladstone (Lord Muk’Toh), John Mahon (Ambassador Hardcastle), Peter Looney (Max), Duane Whitaker (Roacher), Sheila Johnson (April), Larry Marks (Vee’lon Guard)

Notes: Mere weeks before Babylon 5 premiered, Claudia Christian was hanging out with the Space Rangers. (The Babylon 5 pilot movie did not feature her character, Commander Susan Ivanova, who wasn’t introduced until that series’ first hour-long episode in January 1994.)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Fort Hope

Space RangersIn the year 2104, Fort Hope is the most distant human outpost in deep space. A peacekeeping force called the Space Rangers struggles to maintain law and order on the frontier, all while tiptoing around treaties and delicate political situations. The job isn’t easy, and it is dangerous. Only the best need apply. Space Ranger John Boon is about to begin two months’ leave when Commander Chennault calls him back into action. A human ship has been forced down on the contested planet Scarab, and launching a rescue mission will violate numerous treaties; Chennault can’t offer any backup because she has to maintain deniability. Worse yet, one of the downed ship’s crew is Boon’s mentor.

Boon rounds up his crew, including a wet-behind-the-ears hotshot, Daniel Kincaid, whose bravado melts away when he sees the state of Boon’s transport. Ship’s engineer “Doc” delights in rattling Kincaid prior to launch; pilot Jojo’s rough flying and the presence of a Graaka warrior named Zylyn rattle him even more. Upon arrival at Scarab, Boon’s crew has to fight off an attack by space-borne marauders called Banshees. Once on the surface of Scarab, Boon realizes that the “rescue” was a trap all along.

Space Rangersteleplay by Pen Densham & M. Jay Roach
story by Pen Densham
directed by Mikael Salomon
music by Hans Zimmer & Mark Mancina

Cast: Jeff Kaake (Captain John Boon), Marjorie Monaghan (Jojo), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Zylyn), Jack McGee (Doc), Clint Howard (Mimmer), Danny Quinn (Daniel), Gottfried John (Weiss), Linda Hunt (Chennault), Wings Hauser (Decker), Amy Steel (Sarah Boon), Sally Elise Richardson (Survivor), Art La Fleur (Henchman), Pat Morita (Nazzer), Danielle Zuckerman (Roxie Boon), Gary Lee Davis (Thick Neck), Thomas Rosales (Gambler), Dan Zukovick (Arran)

Notes: Co-writer Jay Roach (sometimes credited with an M. in front of his name) has previously worked with series creator Pen Densham on a Fox sci-fi TV movie, Lifepod, early in 1993, and was at one time attached to direct a movie version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, working closely with Douglas Adams through most of the 1990s until he got involved with his next big project, directing Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery and its sequels. Roach went on to even greater success directing Meet The Parents and its sequel, Meet The Fockers.

Though this was the series pilot, it was the last episode to air in the U.S.; CBS cancelled Space Rangers after four weeks due to low ratings. Two episodes were left unaired, premiering abroad and only appearing on home video in the U.S. Although he appears in the opening credits, Weiss does not appear in this episode.

LogBook entry by Earl Green