The Throwback: The return of 'Captain Power'?
October 20th, 2011
03:06 PM ET

The Throwback: The return of 'Captain Power'?

The year was 1987, and children's TV was dominated by cartoons, usually tied into toy lines, such as "Thundercats" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." Gary Goddard, who had worked on "He-Man" and grew up on live action kids' shows like "Sky King," came up with the concept of "Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future."

Not only would this show feature live actors, telling the story of Captain Power and his fellow soldiers rebelling against the evil Lord Dread, but toy company Mattel suggested using its new interactive technology that would allow young viewers to "shoot" with their toy spaceships at the screen. A groundbreaking TV series was born.

The show utilized new technology in more ways than one. "I wanted CGI villains," Goddard told CNN last week. "Computer animation was very new. No one knew if we could push to the level of getting characters but I thought we could."

The show was not without its share of controversy (as you can see by watching the below CNN story from 1988). Some parents groups balked at the idea of children shooting toys at the screen, not to mention the live action violence that took place on the show.

Goddard said that they purposefully made "Captain Power" in a way that would appeal to adults as well (something that later kids' programming like "Batman: The Animated Series" would use to great success), including references to romance between characters and continuing story arcs.

"The future earth was kind of a grim warning of what could happen if the wrong decisions are made," he said. "We wanted to give [kids] ideas about morality, about making the right choices."

Tim Dunigan, who played Captain Power, recalled wearing that suit of armor. "The suits we wore were very hot. You would wear a jumpsuit of cotton but the armor, the suit itself had neoprene on it which they use for wetsuits. And then they velcro strapped on the armor."

Unlike others, "at least I could sit down," Dunigan said. "It would be 12 or 13 hours of that. You were constantly sweating. It was a tough shoot but a lot of fun. We had a lot of laughs and did some great work."

Jessica Steen, who played Corporal Jennifer "Pilot" Chase on the show, said, "It was my first experience with sci-fi and there's a lot of equipment to familiarize yourself with. My proton scanner was a Black and Decker electronic screwdriver."

The experience was a big help to Steen in future sci-fi roles like the TV series "Earth 2" and the movie "Armageddon."

As for Dunigan, he is now a mortgage broker. "So pretty close to the same thing," he joked. "I wear the Captain Power suit to the office. When I meet my clients, I 'power on' for them."

The series is returning to DVD on December 6, with in-depth documentary footage shot at the time the show was produced among the six hours of bonus features.

Goddard hopes to bring "Captain Power" back in "an expanded version" - similar to what happened with "Battlestar Galactica" - if the DVD does well. This time the series would be aimed squarely at an adult sci-fi audience.

"With what we can do [in special effects] now," he said, "we can really bring this world to life."

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Retro lover

    It's so refreshing to hear about something other than Transformers for a change,don't get me wrong I'm a fan also but it's to in your face now.

    November 29, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jeremiah David

    Whats Really going on in the News. Be Informed Laugh Subscribe JeremiahDavidChannel on YouTube Watch now!!!

    October 23, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ronnie

    I loved this show as a kid, loved the toys as well. I do have kinda mixed feelings about people just remaking older stuff (ie. Thundercats, Transformers, He-man etc.) I love being about to watch updated versions of what I enjoyed as a child, but I'm wondering, where is some original shows for kids? Even current shows are all dubbed anime. Just seems like no one has an original idea anymore.

    October 23, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. n8

    Woooowww... This is the last thing I expected to read today. Totally Awesome.

    Power On!

    October 21, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gunit

    I remember this show and the awesome toys that accompanied it. The main premise was that people were being digitized and sucked into the computer.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Red Pison

    I don't remember this show, I guess I was too busy watching the actual good ones.

    October 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Snarf

    The series was fun. The problem where how to make those CGI work with people. The green screen was still faraway....
    But it was fun to see the fights and the moves. And it was very expensive to make the episodes.
    Hope they can upgrade it. I still have a collection of calendars with all the characters and stories.

    October 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Behonest

    Can we stop all these shooting heroes unrealistic kids shows please!!!???
    Kids will learn the misconception of being a hero. One needs to shoot and kill in order to be a Hero. We are responsible for our future generations. Please tell me all this brains behind all these kid shows has a much better idea than just shooting bad guys to save the world hero. It's all about money make scheme. Seriously, our society IS going down hill already!

    October 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ^^^IDIOT^^^

      Yes, because it's television's job to teach everyone's children what a real hero is. That every problem has to be handled with a "proton gun". YOU are what's wrong with society. The lazy population that thinks the television is a babysitter. I swear, it's hippie's like you (not all hippie's) that get under my skin the most. It's the PARENTS JOB to teach their children how to handle problems, that shows on TV about SuperHero's are fiction...NOT REAL...and that they are there for ENTERTAINMENT purposes only.

      October 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • KTS

      Clearly, you didn't ever watch Captain Power. His motto was to preserve *all life*. He never killed a soul. Power and his team essentially blasted away metal monsters who were at the beck and call of a twisted maniac who thought humans were a plague, and needed 'saving' by melding mind and body with 'the Machine'.

      And not to get spoilery, but one of the Power team actually dies quite heroically in a self-sacrificing act at the end of the series. To lay down one's life for a friend (in this case, for the ultimate survival of what was left of the human race) is the ultimate act of love and heroism.

      Get your facts straight about a show before you begin lambasting it. Thank you.

      October 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • FootMouth

      Wow, you're a complete tool. I bet you're also one of those idiots who brags about the fact that you don't have a tv, even when discussing topics that aren't even remotely related to tv. If your kids are learning important life lessons from tv shows, then you are a lazy parent. How about you do your job and restrict your kid's access to things that you don't like, and stop trying to ruin everything for everyone else just because you decided to have kids.

      October 21, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. kind of.

    .like pickled pigs feet ? Mmmmmmm I will try it mmmmmm sounds yummmmmmm !

    October 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. joel levenstien

    Its really really good. Honest injun. Kinda like limburger cheese or old tennis shoes.

    October 20, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. @joel levenstein

    Wut dat b ?

    October 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ha Ha Trolls

    Not second. LOL

    October 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |

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