27 August 2011 | HyperPup
Good Show, bad channel to show it on.
I would have given it more stars but for the simple fact that some scrimping had to be done in order to create the world of 2045. The continuity wasn't always consistent. However the series taken from the four Universal Action Pack movies that aired in syndication months before the series debut was one of the most futuristic and visionary cyberpunk stories to air on television in the early/mid-nineties when VR and Cyberspace was beginning to become common buzzwords in the lexicon of the 90's. Granted the future was very stylish, not the beat-up grungy used and recycled vision of cyberpunk that visionaries like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling gave us in their novels. Here the tech was high tech looking with colorful polished surfaces, metallic sheen and a slightly computer generated look to it's design. I like to call it Ikea-Tech as it has a subtle euro-Nordic influence to it's design sensibilities. This doesn't detract from the viewing experience, just makes this cyberpunk future a bit more heavy on the futuristic comfort rather than the "beat it to fit and paint it to match" aesthetic of wrote cyberpunk. But again, that is a minor aside, what counts is the stories and the acting and Evigan and cast deliver good solid dialog with only a few winces (Rez-off) and cool cyber-noir story lines that would make effective reading if not filmed. In this stylish future the world is plagued by the drug TEK. The drug is a futuristic VR hallucinogen that when active allows the user to experience whatever illusion he or she desires along with enhancing the users neurochemical processes. That is why it is deadly, as these TEK experiences can not just be addictive but eventually cause neurological deficits, nerve damage, brain damage and eventually death. Jake Cardigan a former police officer starts the series being revived from a 15 year cryoprison sentence early to find his world turned upside down. His wife has divorced him and taken another lover, his son is ensconced away in a private school in Europe and he has no job and a bad reputation as a TEK junkie and a cop killer the last of which is what got him thrown in CryoPrison. Walter Bascom, head of Cosmos security got Jake out for the express purpose of giving a wrongly accused man a second chance to redeem himself as a crusader against TEK. The series follows his adventures with his trusty sidekick Sid Gomez as they take down TEKLords that have murderous VR duplicates, TEK family syndicates, Hackers in search of TEK secrets, Android part thieves and even saving the life of a scientist who has figured how to stop TEK from affecting the brain, thus making it non addictive and harmless and making him a target for some very powerful TEK distributors. Along the way, Jake and his equip(Nika, Sid, Sam) make serious in-roads into stopping TEK and freeing the world from the nightmare of addiction and murder that follow in it's wake. Sadly the series never completed a first season, and was not renewed for following seasons like many a scifi series. The series was rerun on SciFi Channel which is probably where it belonged in the first place. Universal who I think had just bought USA Networks (owner of SciFi Channel)decided to showcase the series on a cable channel in prime-time instead of prime-time syndication like most of their Action Pack series. Had it been run that way, there could have been a wider viewing base with better ratings as a result and the series might have had the numbers that showed it was a worthwhile investment to keep filming. Granted USA was gaining in popularity as a Prime-Time network to rival the syndies and non-cable nets but this was still early and uncharted territory. Still, we got something and with remakes becoming popular these days, a chance that this could be remade with even more lavish FX is possible. I am sure the writers of this series could find a bit more to write about Jake Cardigan and his fight against TEK.