THE GALAXY RANGERSOriginal Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Gaylord Productions and Transcom Media
First Appeared: 1986
Creator: Robert Mandell
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The similarities between westerns and some of the cheesier examples of science fiction were noted long before Charlton Comics explicitly linked them in its comic book
title, Space Western (1952). The producers of this show must have had it in mind from the very start to do a western disguised as sci-fi, or they wouldn't have chosen a name like "Galaxy Rangers".
Not that they didn't load it up with science fiction elements. Most descriptions of the show's back-story mention an incident in 2086, in which Earth people acquire faster-than-light space travel, with which they can spread themselves throughout the galaxy, in return for befriending a couple of harmless aliens. These accounts gloss over an entire history of human/alien encounters, spanning decades previous to that fateful helping hand, including, among other things, the destruction of most life on Earth. In fact, the fictional history of alien contact begins roughly 20 years in the viewers' future, i.e., the early 21st century, or as we future dwellers think of it, right about now.
The series itself took place about a generation later, when the Galaxy Rangers were well established as a law-enforcement agency in the trackless wastes of interstellar space. Captain Zachary Foxx commanded a crew consisting of three other humans and a bunch of genetically-engineered grunts known as Supertroopers. They did everything such an outfit in the Old West would do, even to the point of using horse-like robots for ground transportation.
Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers debuted in syndication on Sunday, September 14, 1986. It was produced by Gaylord Productions and Transcom Media. The creator of the show was writer/producer Robert Mandell. None of the three — Gaylord, Transcom and Mandell — have very many other credits in TV production, nor any at all in animation. Of all the entities behind it, the one with the strongest toon connection was Hasbro, which manufactured the toy line, as well as those of Jem, G.I. Joe (no relation) and My Little Pony, among others.
The cast wasn't quite so fully isolated from the rest of the industry, but neither was it entirely mainstream. The biggest-named voice credit was Jerry Orbach, star of stage, screen and television, but whose most prominent role in animation was Lumiere, a secondary character in Disney's Beauty & the Beast. The cast also included Laura Dean (who played Boopsie in a Broadway production of Doonesbury), Earl Hammond (also heard in Thundercats and Silverhawks), Doug Preiss (Mr. Funnie in Doug), Corinne Orr (Ace Ventura, PB&J Otter) and several with sparser toon connections.
Galaxy Rangers was broadcast daily (despite having debuted on a Sunday rather than a Monday). One season of 65 episodes was made. It wasn't adapted into other media in America, but Marvel Comics' British division made a series of it that ran nine issues. It's seldom been seen since its initial run, but sitll has its share of devoted fans.