A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Star Blazers is a '70s cartoon about an intergalactic war that threatens the survival of the entire human race. The story is pretty heavy stuff for kids, what with people hunkering down underground waiting to see if radiation will penetrate Earth's surface and kill them all, so it's more appropriate for older viewers who won't be upset by the concept. Death, loss, danger, anger, and grief are common to the characters' experiences. Battles show spacecraft shooting at each other, many explosions, and some crash landings. On the upside, this is a real David-and-Goliath-caliber story of good vs. evil, so when victories come to the protagonists, they're hard-fought and worth celebrating.
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What's the story?
Set in 2199, STAR BLAZERS is the story of a courageous crew tasked with fighting a tyrannical intergalactic enemy to save the human race. After the Gamilons attacked Earth and turned its atmosphere radioactive, the remaining population is tucked away in underground bunkers. They're safe for now, but death is certain if the toxins aren't removed within a year. Under the command of the stalwart Captain Avatar (voiced by Gordon Ramsey), crews led by Derek Wildstar (Kenneth Meseroll) and Mark Venture (Tom Tweedy) embark on missions to eliminate the Gamilons, restore their atmosphere, and return to normal life. But, even as help arrives from distant places, new enemies set their sights on Earth, aiming to enslave or destroy it.
Is it any good?
This '70s series shows its age in crude animation, but the complex story line doesn't suffer from it. A lot goes on at the same time, with crews waging war all over the galaxy and family members at home fearing for their loved ones' safety along with their own. There's military-style strategizing, similar scheming from the enemy, and intergalactic disasters that constantly threaten lives. There's also an air of reality to emotional scenes of loss and fear that stand out in comparison to more modern series that gloss over these issues.
The show's overarching plot makes it difficult to pick up the story anywhere but at the beginning, and the intricacies of the story will challenge kids' attention spans. It's better suited to an audience of tweens to adults than grade-schoolers, but regardless of your age, it's always amusing to revisit a vintage show's impression of futuristic technology and space exploration.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about this show's impression of the future. In what ways have we already arrived at what the show envisioned technology to be in 2199? What does that mean for where we're headed? Is there a limit to what science makes possible? Should there be?
What advancements have been made recently in space exploration? Do you think it's necessary to continue it? What value to us exists in further discovery in space?
How have TV standards changed from when this series was made? Was there any content that surprised you compared to what you see in more current shows you watch? Are we becoming desensitized to violence on TV?
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