Jason of Star Command, Voltron on Disc

Navarre Corp.’s BCI Eclipse and Entertainment Rights Plc. Today released the cult-favorite ’70s Saturday morning sci-fi series Jason of Star Command on home video. Available for the first time on DVD, the entire series is packaged as three-disc set will containing 28 episodes, along with a brand-new documentary, a special effects commentary track and other bonus materials. Also hitting retail today is World Events’ release of Voltron: Defender of the Universe’Collection Three, a three-disc set containing episodes of the popular cartoon series that went head-to-head with the similarly themed Transformers in 1984.

A spin-off of the 1977 series Space Academy, Jason of Star Command aired from 1978 to 1979 and, like the original Battlestar Galactica, capitalized on the popularity of Star Wars, which came out the previous year. The show is set in a secretive section of Space Academy, where a daring soldier of fortune named Jason (Craig Littler) combats a self-proclaimed “Master of the Cosmos’ named Dragos (Sid Haig). The cast also includes James Doohan of Star Trek fame and Cleopatra Jones actress Tamara Dobson.

Employing visual effects artists from the Star Wars and Star Trek camps, Jason of Star Command was the most expensive children’s show on television when it debuted on CBS. The series is notable for its use of stop-motion animation to bring a variety of monsters and other fantastic elements to the screen. Visual effects supervisor Chuck Comisky, stop-motion technician Jim Aupperle and live-action creature effects artist John Carl Beuchler provide a special effects commentary track for the season two episode ‘Beyond the Stars!”

Produced and hosted by Andy Mangels, author of Animation on DVD’The Ultimate Guide, the slate of bonus materials includes a new half-hour documentary titled The Adventures of Jason of Star Command, featuring interviews with the producer, stars, and visual effects artists. Exec producer Lou Scheimer and actors Craig Littler and John Berwick have recorded commentary tracks for the season-one episodes “Attack of the Dragonship” and “The Disappearing Man.” There is also be a special effects demo reel, three different photo galleries, a booklet with an episode guide and trivia, episode scripts on DVD-ROM, Easter eggs and an art gallery style guide for a proposed Jason of Star Command animated series. The disc set carries a suggested retail price of $29.98.

Voltron: Defender of the Universe’Collection Three offers re-mastered editions of episodes 31-45 of the action cartoon that revolves around five space explorers who journey to the planet Arus in search of a legendary robotic defender. The group unlocks the secret of the five elemental powered Robot Lions, who assemble together to form Voltron, an awesome fighting robot dedicated to defending the universe. Three seasons were produced before the property was re-imagined in 3D with the CG series Voltron: The Third Dimension.

Each Voltron volume contains rare bonus features and this latest release comes with a space explorer magnet of the Robot Lion pilot when purchased through the official Voltron.com web site. The set carries a suggested retail price of $39.95.