Centurions (1986)

TV Series   |  TV-Y7-FV   |    |  Animation, Action, Family

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Centurions (1986) Poster

The adventures of a unit of elite soldiers who wear special frames that accept various weapons and transportation equipment teleported from a space station.


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18 July 2005 | faisal_khan
The years have not been kind to this one
For some reason cartoons made by Ruby Spears haven't done well outside of the 80s, mainly because they were truly a product of their time: fast and disposable fun for kids and young teenagers. Look at the line-up: Mr.T, Heathcliff, Rambo and Thundarr the Barbarian to name a few. None of these have survived outside the 80s and with good reason – they're not much better than the 15 second cartoons used to sell toys that were so popular back then. Centurions is basically that – a glorified ad for the toy line aimed squarely at boys under 16. Given to Sunbow or Lou Scheimer this would have done well but in the hands of Ruby Spears it's become something embarrassing after all these years.

Take He-Man, Transformers or G.I.Joe: what makes those cartoons so enjoyable after all these years is the time they took to distinguish the characters. Despite some huge casts they all managed to find a distinct, recognisable trait and voice for every star of the show. The late great Christopher Latta is instantly recognisable as Cobra Commander or Starscream and Alan Oppenheimer's Skeletor has the most marvellous villain's voice in cartoon history.

No-one ever took that kind of care with the Centurions. You'd imagine it would be easy to give the 3 leads some personality but they remain bland and lifeless, distinguished only by the colour of their suits. Every week their ineffective nemesis Doc Terror would hijack/brainwash/terrorise some research facility or city for some rare metal or source of energy and the Centurions would beam in, select an outfit and blast him back to Dominion. What made me laugh was that there was always a river or lake nearby for Max Ray to use his 'sea-weapons'. If you've seen the episode of the Simpsons where Bart dismisses 'Kinght Boat' you'll get the joke.

Time hasn't been kind to this show. I loved it as a kid because it worked as an ad for toys I wanted. I watch it now (I have all 65 episodes on VHS) after 20 years and I wind up fast-forwarding most of the episodes. For the sake of your childhood memories, don't try to watch this now as you'll find yourself floundering badly, wondering what on earth you saw in this show. Remember it as it was, part of that wild, glorious decade and leave it there.

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