The Centurions (TV series)
|Voices of||Michael Bell
|Theme music composer||Udi Harpaz|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||65 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Joe Ruby
|Running time||30 mins|
|Production company(s)||Ruby-Spears Enterprises|
|Original release||April 7 – December 12, 1986|
Centurions is a syndicated 30 minute American science fiction animated television series produced by Ruby-Spears and animated in Japan by Sunrise. Comic book legends Jack Kirby and Gil Kane contributed to the design and concepts of the show.
The series began in 1986 as a five-part miniseries and was followed with a 60 episode series. The series was story edited by Ted Pedersen and written by several authors, including prolific science fiction writers Michael Reaves, Marc Scott Zicree, Larry DiTillio and Gerry Conway. The series theme and soundtrack were composed by Udi Harpaz. There was also a line of tie-in toys by Kenner, and a comic book series by DC Comics.
In the near future, an evil genius, the cyborg Doc Terror, seeks to conquer the Earth. He is assisted by Hacker, the cyborg sidekick and an army of Doom Drones. There were three types of drones:
- Traumatizers - the most commonly seen drones are walking robots with laser blasters for arms.
- Strafer - A flying robot armed with missiles and lasers.
- Groundborgs - A land based robot armed with lasers that moves on treads.
Later, a wheeled Drone with a large screen and cannons as well as a submarine drone were added. Doc Terror and Hacker are able to fly by swapping their purely robot half for a Strafer missing one set of wings. They are joined on many occasions, starting with the first episode, by Doc Terror's daughter Amber.
At each turn their evil plans are thwarted by the heroic Centurions. The Centurions are a team of men dressed in specially created exo-frames that allow them (upon shouting "Power Extreme") to fuse with 'incredible' assault weapon systems, becoming what the show calls man and machine, Power Xtreme! The end result is a weapons platform somewhere between a hard-suit and a mecha. Originally there are three Centurions but two other Centurions are later added:
- Max Ray - 'Brilliant' Sea Operations Commander: The calm and collected de facto leader of the team, donning a green power suit and sporting a fine moustache . His weapon systems are best suited for underwater missions.
- Jake Rockwell - 'Rugged' Land Operations Specialist: Donning a yellow power suit, he has a short fuse. His weapon systems have the most firepower and are best suited for land missions, except for a helicopter-themed system he uses in air combat, usually assisted by Ace.
- Ace McCloud - 'Daring' Air Operations Expert: Donning a blue power suit, he is a brave but cocky womanizer who is sometimes at odds with Jake. His weapon systems are best suited for aerial missions, including one specially designed for battles in space.
Extended Team (later additions):
- Rex Charger - ‘Expert’ Energy Programmer
- John Thunder – ‘Specialist’ Infiltration Commander
The Centurions are based on an orbiting space station called Sky Vault where its operator, Crystal Kane, uses a transporter to send the Centurions, and the requested weapon systems, to where they are needed. Crystal is always in the company of either Jake Rockwell's dog Shadow or Lucy the orangutan, or in most cases both. Shadow is usually more involved with the Centurions' battles than Lucy and sports a harness with dual missile launchers. Crystal suggests tactics and sends equipment as required. The Centurions also have a hidden base in New York City called "Centrum". Its entrance is hidden in a book store and must be reached via an underground railcar. "Centrum" serves as the Centurions land base of operations and also has a beaming pod for rapid transport to "Sky Vault". In addition to "Sky Vault" and "Centrum" there is also a "Centurion Academy" whose location is kept completely secret and only seen in the last 5 episodes.
Much like the Super Friends' additions of Black Vulcan, Apache Chief, Samurai, and El Dorado to introduce racial diversity into the series, The Centurions saw the addition of Rex Charger, the energy expert, and John Thunder, the Apache infiltration expert.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2008)|
As well as the adventure side of the show, the series considered various science-fiction themes. In particular, the fusion or relationship between humans and technology is a focus throughout the show's run. A number of episodes also revolved around ecological themes (the 'green issue' was starting to gain respect amongst young people in the mid to late 80's) such as Doc Terror's attempts to extort money from the governments of the world by threatening to destroy some aspect of the environment. The subject of magic is explored in "That Old Black Magic", when Ace becomes involved with a woman named Cassandra Cross, who is a practitioner of white magic. Her evil twin sister, Lilith joins forces with Doc Terror in "Return of Cassandra". Both characters are voiced by B.J. Ward.
Ace also has other romantic interests, some of them reappear in later episodes, such as television reporter Jenny Rivers and Sealab technician Mei Lee. Ace's most elusive romantic pursuit is Crystal Kane, who later reveals she had lost a fiancé in action ("You Only Love Twice"). Ace has a romantic dream involving Crystal at the beginning of the episode "Firecracker". Crystal often resists Ace's advances either firmly or jokingly, but sometimes demonstrates she has affection and love for him. The two finally kiss at the conclusion of the two part story "The Better Half"
Doc Terror is sometimes assisted by his daughter Amber. Like the Batman character Talia al Ghul, she sometimes shows affection for an enemy of her father (Jake Rockwell) and even betrays him when he goes too far ("Let the Lightning Fall").
The series also sometimes leaves an episode's ending up to viewer interpretation. In the two part story "The Better Half", Doc Terror and Hacker's robotic halves, Syntax and Legion, join together after a freak accident and become "Uniborg", they turn on the two, forcing Terror and Hacker to ally with the Centurions. Upon breaking into Dominion and defeating their robotic counterparts, Terror is poised to destroy them, when they argue that he cannot kill them because they are his creations, and an extension of himself and Hacker. Terror screams in anguish as he fires his disruptor cannon, and the episode ends with a scene on Skyvault, not revealing whether or not Terror intentionally misses or destroys Uniborg.
In "To Dare Dominion", Terror unleashes a time/space vortex consumer within Dominion that plays havoc with reality. The Centurions are able to destroy it, but not before it wrecks Dominion's power generators, causing a violent explosion that seemingly kills Doc Terror and Hacker. The Centurions are beamed out before they suffer the same fate. Terror and Hacker's fate remains unresolved at the episode's conclusion, with Jake believing that they are finished, and Max arguing that they may not be. However, Max is proven right when they both reappear alive and well in the next episode "Hole in the Ocean".
- Michael Bell - John Thunder
- Jennifer Darling - Amber
- Vince Edwards - Jake Rockwell
- Ron Feinberg - Doc Terror
- Pat Fraley - Max Ray
- Ed Gilbert - Hacker
- Diane Pershing - Crystal Kane
- Bob Ridgely - Rex Charger
- Neil Ross - Ace McCloud
- B.J. Ward - Cassandra Cross/Lilith Cross
- William Woodson - Narrator
- Richard "Dick" Gautier -
- Elizabeth Hanna -
- Tress MacNeille -
- Mona Marshall -
- Bill E. Martin -
- Mea Martineau -
- David Mendenhall -
- Alan Oppenheimer -
- Patrick Pinney -
- John Stephenson -
- Frank Welker -
- Keone Young -
- Five-part mini-series
- "The Sky Is on Fire" (1986.04.07)
- "Battle Beneath the Sea" (1986.04.08)
- "An Alien Affair" (1986.04.09)
- "Found, One Lost World" (1986.04.10)
- "Sand Doom" (1986.04.11)
- Series Episode List
- "Whalesong" (1986.09.23)
- "Tornado of Terror" (1986.09.23)
- "Denver Is Down" (1986.09.24)
- "Micro Menace" (1986.09.25)
- "Attack of the Plant-Borg" (1986.09.28)
- "Battle Beneath the Ice" (1986.09.29)
- "Operation Starfall" (1986.09.30)
- "Let the Games Begin" (1986.10.01)
- "Firebird" (1986.10.02)
- "Cold Calculations" (1986.10.03)
- "Return of Captain Steele" (1986.10.06)
- "Three Strikes and You're Dead" (1986.10.07)
- "Double Agent" (1986.10.08)
- "Child's Play" (1986.10.09)
- "Terror on Ice" (1986.10.10)
- "That Old Black Magic" (1986.10.13)
- "Max Ray...Traitor" (1986.10.14)
- "Crack the World" (1986.10.15)
- "The Incredible Shrinking Centurions" (1986.10.16)
- "Live at Five" (1986.10.17)
- "The Mummy's Curse" (1986.10.20)
- "Counterclock Crisis" (1986.10.21)
- "Zombie Master" (1986.10.22)
- "Malfunction" (1986.10.23)
- "Broken Beams" (1986.10.24)
- "The Chameleon's Sting" (1986.10.27)
- "Film at Eleven" (1986.10.28)
- "Hacker Must Be Destroyed" (1986.10.29)
- "Showdown at Skystalk" (1986.10.30)
- "The Warrior" (1986.10.31)
- "Return of Cassandra" (1986.11.03)
- "Night on Terror Mountain" (1986.11.04)
- "Merlin" (1986.11.05)
- "The Monsters from Below" (1986.11.06)
- "The Road Devils" (1986.11.07)
- "Zone Dancer" (1986.11.10)
- "Firecracker" (1986.11.11)
- "Traitors Three" (1986.11.12)
- "You Only Love Twice" (1986.11.13)
- "Sungrazer" (1986.11.14)
- "Novice" (1986.11.17)
- "Breakout" (1986.11.18)
- "Atlantis Adventure, Part I" (1986.11.19)
- "Atlantis Adventure, Part II" (1986.11.20)
- "Ghost Warrior" (1986.11.21)
- "Let the Lightning Fall" (1986.11.24)
- "Cyborg Centurion" (1986.11.25)
- "Day of the Animals" (1986.11.26)
- "To Dare Dominion, Part I" (1986.11.27)
- "To Dare Dominion, Part II" (1986.11.28)
- "Hole in the Ocean, Part I" (1986.12.01)
- "Hole in the Ocean, Part II" (1986.12.02)
- "The Better Half, Part I" (1986.12.03)
- "The Better Half, Part II" (1986.12.04)
- "Revenge" (1986.12.05)
- "Man or Machine, Part 1" (1986.12.08)
- "Man or Machine, Part 2" (1986.12.09)
- "Man or Machine, Part 3" (1986.12.10)
- "Man or Machine, Part 4" (1986.12.11)
- "Man or Machine, Part 5" (1986.12.12)
On December 6, 2011, Warner Bros. released The Centurions: The Original Miniseries on DVD in region 1 via their Warner Archive Collection. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and only in the US.
- "The Centurions". Internationalhero.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "UK | Nostalgia tops favourite toy list". BBC News. 2003-09-30. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "The Centurions: The Original Miniseries : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- 80s ToonBoy. "The Centurions: The Original Miniseries | WBshop.com | Warner Bros". Wbshop.com. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- The Centurions at the Internet Movie Database
- The Centurions at TV.com
- Virtual Toychest: Centurions - has pictures of most of the toys
- The Centurions at 80's Cartoon Central
- X-Entertainment - The Centurions - Cartoon Review & Toy Gallery
- Centurions episodes available at Guba[dead link]
- "Nostalgia tops favourite toy list" article at bbc.co.uk
- Duke Nostalgia's Centurions Main Page