Photon (TV series)
Photon was a live action television show in the mid-1980s, which was tied into the Photon lasertag arenas and home game. It was produced by DIC Entertainment as a first run syndicated kids series which shown in various syndicated markets through most of the mid eighties. Animator Shinji Aramaki served as miniature model maker/designer on the special effects team for the series.
Photon followed the adventures of a young high school student, Christopher Jarvis with the alias of "Bhodi Li". Chris discovers that the lasertag game Photon is actually a way to detect the strongest warriors in the galaxy, who will then be recruited to fight the forces of darkness. After shooting his laser gun and saying "The light shines!", he would be transported to a space station to join his fellow Photon Warriors. His alien compatriots include an orphan earthling boy genius named Parcival, a shape-changing blob named Pike, a lizardoid named Leon, a cyborg named Lord Baethan, and Tivia, a black ninja princess from Nivia populated by women after the males became extinct. Their mentor is a sentient computer named MOM (Multiple Operation Matrix). The villains' motto is "Let the darkness grow!"
The mission of each faction is to find the Photon crystal on each planet just as it nears the end of its hundred-year charge. If the Photon warriors are the first to shoot the crystal, the planet will be changed into a vital place full of life. If the villains do so, it will become a barren wasteland.
- Most of the action was about recharging "Photon Crystals". Either the good side or bad side could shoot the crystal and thus make the associated planet good or evil for the next hundred years.
- At some point during the show, a music-video-like sequence, featuring a recent hit song, would be played.
- The monsters notably had the letters "-arr" at the end of their names. For example, Pirarr (a pirate themed monster), Bugaar (a giant British bug), Dogarr (a doglike monster), Destructarr (an indescribable alien) and Warriarr (a four-armed monster). Bhodi Li's nemesis is Mandarr/Evan, a fallen Photon warrior under mind control. Their master is an evil overlord known as the Warlord of Arr (although the planet itself is never seen).
- The villains would project holograms of themselves onto the battlefield and leave their bodies behind so that when they were shot they would survive to appear later.
- This was one of the first kids shows to show the main character, Bhodi Li, get defeated (appeared to have been killed by getting Laser tagged) in "A Grave Matter" (episode 3); however it was really a duplicate life form made while the real Bhodi recovered from a poison gas grenade. The recovered Bhodi returns at the end of the episode.
- Before and after every commercial break, one of the heroes would say "The Light Shines" to the viewer.
Production and airtime
The show was filmed in both the U.S. and Japan. Many of the costumes were designed and manned by people who worked on Super Sentai and other tokusatsu programs in Japan. Production values were rather low, and a majority of the sets were chroma-keyed in.
The show only lasted one season. However, it did have a series finale.
Directors: Yasuhiro Horiuchi and Koichi Nakajima.
Writers: Ray Dryden, Tsunehisa Itô, Satoshi Namiki, Sukehiro Tomita.
Cast and characters
- Bhodi Li (played by Christopher Lockwood)
- Tivia, Princess of Nivia (played by Loretta Haywood)
- Lord Beathan (played by Graham Ravey)
- Parcival (played by Eros Rivers)
- Leon/Sarge (played by Akiyoshi Ono)
- Uncle Pike (played by Kazuhisa Kanamaru)
- Kathy Jarvis (played by Clarissa Reid)
- Barbara Johnson (played by Tamara Johnson)
- Richard Jarvis (played by Paul Laroque)
- Pirarr (played by Sam Taylor)
- Mandarr/Evan Kiley (played by David Anthony, aka David Stay)
- Warriarr (played by Satoshi Ishihara)
- Dogarr (played by Deiichi Igarashi)
- Bugarr (played by Yoshito Shiraishi)
- Destructarr (played by Yoshito Nagatsuka)
There were a number of book tie-ins, some of them written by popular comic book, TV and sci-fi author Peter David.
Two series of books were planned and started. The series aimed at a younger audience was by David under the pseudonym of David Peters, and 6 books were written. The only published novel of the series aimed at the Young Adult market was written by Michael P. Kube-McDowell under the house name Michael Hudson.
- Photon on Internet Movie Database
- Series production, game and merchandise article at the Los Angeles Times
- Photon Forever - Fan Site