The love child of Space Academy and Babylon 5

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    …a show I haven’t thought about in years.

    We’re talking Hypernauts. [ stored LINK]

    DIC Entertainment – Hypernauts

    Synopsis: When three young recruits from the Academy of Galactic Exploration blast off into the vast uncharted depths of space, they depart not as mere astronauts – but as HYPERNAUTS! Absorbed in dazzling computer graphics imagery, these compelling characters must pilot their incredible machines through hostile environments and brave new worlds. While battling an invading armada of deadly robots known as the Triiad, the junior explorers discover a new alien friend and mentor, Kulai. As they learn to work together, the young heroes transform from raw, rebellious cadets into mature, experienced HYPERNAUTS.

    Episodes: (13 x 30″)

    Up and down the line, the show shared nearly its entire production crew with Babylon 5… minus JMS, of course. Hypernauts was created by B5 FX guru Ron Thornton. It lasted six weeks on ABC’s Saturday morning schedule in the spring of 1996; seven episodes never aired, and only surfaced later thanks to a VHS release of the full series in, of all places, Japan.

    As noted above, it’s sort of like Space Academy a la Babylon 5. Much better FX, and yet the whole show was shot on video and “filmlooked” (which looked like crap – think season 7 of Red Dwarf). I’ll give them one thing – the ultra-sharp, barely-anti-aliased state of CGI back then matched better with the unsubtle look of videotape, but filmlooking it (basically, adding artificial grain, tweaking contrast and black level, and dropping the frame rate from 30fps video to the 24fps standard of film) made it look even worse.

    Oh geez, I just saw the other show they’re shooting in this building. Boy, does it look crappy in Filmlook!

    I remember Carrie Dobro being in it, long before appearing in either B5 or Crusade, as an alien warrior who looked an awful lot like a Narn. Most of B5’s guest/background alien day players were also in the show. There was at least one episode written by DC Fontana; most of the scripts were by Christy Marx, who wrote the Grail episode of B5 (or, in Friends parlance, “The One With David Warner”). The kids/space cadets/lead characters also had mecha vehicles that looked like they were lifted straight out of a MechWarrior game, and curiously, their uniform colors lined up perfectly with the Star Trek universe. The mecha were color-coded to the uniform of the driver.

    I seem to remember that there was an episode of B5 in which a flash-frame of FX from Hypernauts showed up – for 1/30th of a second – and somehow JMS spotted it while watching the final edit and blew his stack at all involved. Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe it wasn’t, but at the end of that season Foundation Imaging lost the Babylon 5 CGI contract and everything from that point onward was done in-house at Netter Digital. Oops.

    Steve WSteve W
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    The name seems generically familiar, but I can’t say I have any idea about the show. I wasn’t even aware it was filmed in the shadow of B5. I’m going to have to look it up, although I’m afraid of what I’ll find considering your not-so-glowing review.

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    does anyone any where have this on dvd? I recall one episode of a very alien planet and another of a giant world.


    It has been released on VHS.

    In Japan.

    No, seriously. Best bet until an official release is, frankly, to hit the net.

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