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Wing Commander Academy

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This article is about the the Wing Commander Academy show. You may be looking for the Wing Commander Academy game.
Wing Commander Academy
Wing Commander Academy title screen.jpg

Wing Commadner Academy DVD.jpeg

"The power to create is greater than the power to destroy."
Genre: Animated
Action
War
Children
Running Time: 22 minutes
Country: United States
Release Date: September 21 – December 21, 1996
Network(s): USA Network
Starring: Mark Hamill
Tom Wilson
Malcom McDowell
Dana Delany
Kevin Schon
Lauri Hendler
Seasons: 1
Episodes: 13


Wing Commander Academy is a 1997 science fiction television series produced by Universal Cartoon Studios and was programmed for USA Network's "USA Action Extreme Team" block, along with Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm and Street Fighter. It is based on the Wing Commander video game series created by Chris Roberts. The show was cancelled after one season of thirteen episodes. A boxed set of the series released in 2012 and the entire series is now available on the free Peacock streaming service.

Synopsis

The series follows Cadets Christopher 'Maverick' Blair, Todd 'Maniac' Marshall, and Gwen 'Archer' Bowman as they are serving aboard the space carrier TCS Tiger's Claw for military training and get caught up in the war effort against the Kilrathi, a race of cat-like humanoids. The show takes place somewhat close to the events of the first Wing Commander game.

Why It Rocks

  1. Similar to the Super Mario Bros. Super Show , the cartoon is very faithful to the video game series it's based on.
  2. Epic space battle sequences. There are a lot of flashing lights during these segments and some fluid animation of the ships as they turn, weave, and fire away.
  3. Good voice acting from Mark Hamill and Malcom McDowell, who reprise their roles from the video games.
  4. The show has a few likable characters, with a good example being Archer, who finds it hard to do her duty of being a pilot as she has reluctance to kill enemy pilots.
  5. The show isn't afraid to dive into some deep subject matter. One of the show's recurring themes in Archer's reluctance to shot down a Kilrathi pilot because they are living beings too, despite being the enemy. The also shows that war is a lot more complicated than both sides being "good guys" and "bad guys".
  6. Some episodes don't even have clear endings or the common ending where the main characters win at the end of the episode. For example, in the episode "Chain of Command", the episode ends with the Tiger's Claw's sister ship, the Trafalgar, getting destroyed with almost no survivors and the Claw itself barely making it out alive.
  7. The designs of the ships and characters are similar to their game designs. They even added some new details to them without getting in the way, such as Dralthi ships having a visible blue cockpit bubble.

Bad Qualities

  1. Unfortunately, the series lasted only one season with thirteen episodes.
  2. Some canonical errors are present in the show.
    • The protrusion in front of the Tiger's Claw is just that, rather than being a large launch and landing bay for fighter craft.
    • Some ships, such as the Hellcat V and the Grikath, appear in the series, even though they canonically shouldn't appear there, as the show takes place in 2655, where those ships shouldn't appear until ten years later.
    • Blair and Maniac in the series are cadets on the Tiger's Claw, even though they canonically didn't arrive on the ship until they became Ensigns.
  3. While the animation for the space battle sequences is very fluid, the animation for the human and alien characters can come off as stiff sometimes.
  4. Adapting the games to be suitable for younger audiences for the show, while done extremely well here, also meant the removal of some parts, such as the more violent and brutal side to the Kilrathi.
  5. There are a few animation errors, such as the freckles on Maniac's face disappearing.

Reception

While critics never reviewed the show, Wing Commander Academy received positive reception from audiences and Wing Commander fans, who praised the show for being faithful to games and expanding some plot points the games had. On imdb.com, the show has a user score of 6.9/10 [1].

Trivia

  • The series had a crossover with the other shows on the "USA Extreme Action Team" block. While the characters of the Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, The Savage Dragons, and Street Fighter shows never actually meet each other, the crossover had an original character known as the Warrior King meet the characters of the aforementioned shows in search of the Orb of Power. The Wing Commander Academy show's episode , "Recreation", was the last episode of the crossover.

References


Wing Commander (Franchise)
Games: Wing Commander (Pre-Origin Shutdown Era) - Wing Commander Arena
Other Media: Wing Commander Academy - Wing Commander (Film)
Releated Articles: Strike Commander

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