The Centurions (TV series): Wikis

  
  

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The Centurions
Genre Animation Action
Voices of Voice cast
Theme music composer Udi Harpaz
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 65 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Joe Ruby & Ken Spears
Producer(s) Larry Huber
Running time 30 mins
Broadcast
Original channel Syndicated
Original run 19851987

The 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.[1]

The series began in 1985 as a five-part miniseries and was followed in 1986/87 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.

Contents

Premise

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 two types of drones: Traumatizers, the most commonly seen drones, are walking robots with laser blasters for arms, while the Strafer is a flying robot armed with missiles and lasers. 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:

Original Team:

  • Max Ray - 'Brilliant' Sea Operations Commander
  • Jake Rockwell - 'Rugged' Land Operations Specialist
  • Ace McCloud - 'Daring' Air Operations Expert

Racially Diverse 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 the token (but very smart) female, 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 an 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 addition 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.

Themes

The Centurions #1 comic book cover

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 revolve around ecological themes, mainly involving 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. While the two finally kiss at the conclusion of the two part story "The Better Half", some fans still consider Cassandra Cross to be the true love of Ace's life.

Doc Terror is sometimes assisted by his daughter Amber. Like the Batman character Talia, 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. Max is proven right, however, when they both reappear alive and well in the next episode "Hole in the Ocean."

Assault weapon systems

Each of the Centurions is specialized for a particular domain, originally land, sea or air/space. They all have multiple weapon systems that can be 'charged' to their exo-frames. As evidenced in the five-part Man or Machine series of episodes, the exo-frames also serve as strength-amplifying exoskeletons. This explains how the Centurions can carry the full weight of their weapon systems without any apparent discomfort. Max was shown in the first episode of the miniseries as easily being able to lift a helicopter of considerable size and weight while wearing his Tidal Blast weapons system.

Skyvault's computer system has to assemble the assault weapons systems for them to be attached to the exo-frames. They cannot be attached manually to the exo-frames' hardpoints. The Centurions can eject the weapons systems from their suits at anytime.

The Centurions are also able to request Crystal or the Skyvault computer to recall their current assault weapons system and swap it with another platform.

  • Max Ray (Sea)
    • Cruiser – the basic sea system; a SCUBA system with a laser cannon and a Hydro-Missile. The propulsion system is able to function in and out of water, serving to give Max limited flight capabilities when out of the water. It also has a keelfin radar unit on the chest.
    • Tidal Blast – a larger undersea system with two Shark Missiles (high-yield missiles that can fire at sea, land and air targets), a chest mounted reciprocating repulsar leison cannon, and a shoulder mounted grappling line. It is propelled by what appears to be jet engines that can function underwater, thus endowing it with high speed and limited airborne capabilities. Sometimes Max would request for the Tidal Blast system's chest-mounted repulsar leison Cannon to be replaced by the dual torpedoes from Depth Charger for heavier firepower. It also comes equipped with a harpoon, and emergency sonic thruster, as well as a targeting device.
    • Depth Charger – a self contained submersible with chest-mounted torpedoes, two aqua cannons, a periscope and a "Hydro-Mine" (which is a highly-destructive depth charge) that can be replenished by Skyvault as required. This weapon system has variable-geometry pontoons that allow it to either dive or skim along the water's surface and in rare cases snow.
    • Sea Bat – a high-speed underwater system with guns and missiles, similar to a manta ray in appearance. It is equipped with a chest-mounted Hydrofoil unit for sea-skimming and is armed with six Hydrofoil missiles (four on the wing, two on the legs). It also has an arm-mounted harpoon that can operate in heat-seeking mode. Also is armed with a depth charge.
    • Aqua-Blazer; an upgrade system for Cruiser; it comes with extra control surfaces, air hoses, seismic missiles, coral missile, sea mine, harpoon, deepseascope and search light.
    • Fathom Fan – Assault weapon system resembling an Air boat or hydrofoil with missiles and a small laser in the chest. The two hydrofoil pontoons house sea-skimming missiles.
  • Jake Rockwell (Land)
    • Fireforce – the basic land system; has a chest-mounted Plasma Repulsar (that looks and functions like a Gatling gun), forearm-mounted laser cannon and shoulder-mounted plasma accelerator bazooka that fires Plasma Shells (that is able to blow up almost anything). Radar module on the left shoulder.
    • Detonator – a larger walker, with forward Freeze Ray Cannons (that operates like a Gast Gun) and an overhead radar-guided Sonic Ray Cannon. It has two Splicer Missiles (that have very high-yield explosive warheads) on either sides of the walker assembly, and a sonic screen, similar to a defence shield.
    • Wild Weasel – a gun equipped human-motorcycle that could move in a prone or standing position. In prone position, the forward cowl of the "motorcycle" is armored. The Wild Weasel system is built for charging headlong into enemy fire and ramming into enemy targets. It is equipped with two Land Lasers flanking the left and right sides above the head armor assembly.
    • Hornet – a helicopter with a small freeze ray gun in front, four sidewinder missiles and a canopy-mounted laser turret. It is sometimes assembled together with Splicer missile launchers and forward Freeze Ray Cannons from the Detonator assault weapon system for heavier firepower. It also comes equipped with sonic thrusters, two HF targeting sensors, and a tracking scope mounted on the rotor.
    • Swingshot – a tracked gun platform having a pair of caterpillar tracks attached to a back-mounted sub-frame. Arm-level Megablasters with integral shields carry Trajectoid Missiles on the exterior. The system also comes with a chest-mounted howitzer. The tracked propulsion system can be energized to allow it to attract to any surface. In one instance, the tracks were swiveled upwards and energized to allow it to attract to the upper surface of a tunnel, whereby Jake can traverse the tunnel without getting into the water below.
    • Awesome Auger – a drill like weapons system, rarely used. Similar in application to the Wild Weasel in that it can withstand a lot of abuse and is built to ram and tunnel through structures and enemies. It has Seismic Lasers that can soften the rocks in front of it to enable the auger drilling mechanism to penetrate them. It also has a mortar.
    • Land Laser – a "lightweight" system similar to Fireforce in that it doesn't hinder movement and doesn't have excessive mechanical attachments. It comes with a missile rack on each leg carrying two Generator Missiles each (for a total of four). It also comes with a large back-mounted missiles and an arm-mounted triple-blaster.
  • Ace McCloud (Air)
    • Sky Knight – the basic air system; small, lightly armed jet pack like air assault system with forearm-mounted heat-seeking Stincel Missiles, a chest mounted Laser Bomb, Laser Cannon Pod, and a radar early-warning system on the jet pack that doubles as a laser designator for the laser bomb. The back pack has swing wings.
    • Sky Bolt – a heavily armed fighter-jet, used for reconnaissance and air superiority; it is armed with a single pulse laser cannon, two rotating heat-seeking missiles, and two "Galactic Missiles" (mounted on both sides of the forward nose cone) that can be used to take out air and land targets and deliver a high destructive capability. It is sometimes combined together with Orbital Interceptor's propulsion system and life-support helmet for extra-atmospheric or high-altitude applications. Skybolt is also equipped with a cloaking device that is sometimes utilized with Orbital Interceptor as well.
    • Orbital Interceptor – non-atmospheric craft; usually used for space missions, but was used underwater on a couple of episodes. It has a "Multiparticle Missile" (that forms the nose cone of the Shuttle-like backpack) that can deliver a large blast radius. It is sometimes combined together with Skybolt's weapons package to give it heavier firepower. The leg attachments of Orbital Interceptor are Particle Beam Emitters that function like tractor beams, as well as fire energy blasts. These can be used to help Ace attract metal objects while in flight, or to allow him to hang on to metal surfaces in zero-gravity. It is also equpiped with a chest target scanner, a rear radar homing system, life support helmet, and inner and outer atmospheric thrusters.
    • Strato Strike – a medium-armed weapons platform with turboprop engines that resembles a powered glider. It is lightly-armed with Stun Missiles, and is highly maneuverable but is not very fast. It also has handle bars for passenger flight, and variable geometrical wings.
    • Aero-Sault; an upgrade system for SkyKnight but its materials seem more to boost Orbital Interceptor. Comes with solar panels, stear jet modules, FSK bomb and launcher, capillary hoses, a blaster and a repular cannon.
  • Rex Charger (Energy)
    • Electro Charger Pack– backpack system that can absorb energy from surveillance devices, has laser cannons and a Nighthawk missile that creates a magnetic vortex or absolute darkness (by draining most forms of energy away from an area). It has an arm-mounted Redirection Cannon that can deliver an equal and opposite force to any form of energy that it is pointed at. For instance, it can be fired upon Strafers to nullify their lift and thus causing them to crash, or against an incoming sonic ray attack to create an opposite force of similar magnitude to hold it at bay.
    • Gatling Guard – a very large weapon system that has the ability to nullify gravity and generate magnetic fields along with its own force field. The Gatling Guard platform has a large revolving missile magazine feeding the main turret. Three types of ammunition are available - Magnetic Imploder (that can also be used as a missile to deliver the energy that was absorbed from another source by the chest-mounted Energy Absorption/Retrieval Laser array), Gravity Negator (that nullifies the local gravitational field) and Solar Flare (a missile that delivers a momentary blinding flash of light of immense intensity, similar to a nuclear flash). Another possible missile type is a Magnetic Shield Generator that can erect a magnetic shield that blocks off any other electronic transmissions to an area, but does so with the side effect of altering the local weather. The Gatling Guard is also equipped with Quantum Thrusters and Solar Missiles. It is possibly the most powerful assault weapons system in terms of its sheer energy output and seemingly nature-manipulating abilities, and is often the last resort when a situation involves extraordinary phenomena that none of the conventional weapons systems can counter. The tasks that the Gatling Guard have undertaken includes neutralizing an artificial black hole and destroying an inter-dimensional portal/vortex. (Refer to Centurions Episode 51 - "Let the Lightning Fall" for a display of the Gatling Guard's capabilities).
  • John Thunder (Infiltration)
    • Silent Arrow – Crossbow like weapon system that is worn on his back, has a large pursuit arrow with a net inside and a sonic knife that can break through walls and doors.
    • Thunder Knife – Tracked system that has wheels on his hands that fire lasers, a missile back pack, and the ability to turn into a spinning saw type weapon. This assault weapons system is quite similar in usage to the Wild Weasel, as it allows John Thunder to charge into entire groups of enemies with guns blazing (and electric saws spinning).
    • In addition to his two weapons systems John Thunder utilizes non cybernetic weapons:
      • a Vibro-knife used in self defense
      • a pair of electromagnetic gloves used to climb walls and ceilings to observe or evade while infiltrating

On rare occasions, one of the Centurions might use another's weapon system. The results are usually comical as they are unfamiliar with controlling the weapon system. In the two part story "To Dare Dominion" for example, Max uses Sky Knight to provide air support in place of an injured Ace and later on uses a combination of Jake Rockwell's weapon systems Hornet and Detonator to take part in the battle at Dominion.

The three main Centurions and most of their weapon systems, along with Doc Terror, Hacker, Strafer and Traumatizer, are available as toys. There is also a wind-up power pack meant to add "power to all Centurions heroes and hero assault weapons systems." Kenner planned several additions to the Centurions toy line for 1987, including Rex Charger, John Thunder and their weapon systems, but most of the new items were canceled before reaching production due to disappointing sales of the original toys.[2]

Animated series

Voice acting credits

Episode guide

Five-part mini-series (1985)

  1. The Sky Is on Fire
  2. Battle Beneath the Sea
  3. An Alien Affair
  4. Found, One Lost World
  5. Sand Doom

References

External links








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