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[personal profile] icon_uk posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Remember a 1980's cartoon called Visionaries?

If not, this won't mean much to you, so my apologies.

It's a terrific little show IMHO, 13 episodes of world building and sword and sorcery fun.

The premise is that the planet Prysmos, in a trinary star system, has millenia long (at least) periods of alternating between magic and science ruling the world. When Science is in the ascendant, magic is mere folklore and legend, when Magic is in charge, all technology more complex than basic physics like a block-and-tackle simply stop working, electronics fail, electricity ceases to flow in machinery, and the laws of Magic are in charge. Sure it's nonsense (Gravity keeps working of course, but maybe it changed from being based on Newtonian Physics to "The Ground sucks"), but as a leaping off point it's a great start.

It also had a healthy dose of subversiveness in it's plotting (It was the last production of the 80's cartoon powerhouse Sunbow, so they got away with a lot they otherwise wouldn't have managed) such as; Merklynn, the master wizard of the planet was a scheming, self serving pain in the ass half the time, only recharging the characters powers if they'd do what he says, and cheerfully dealing with either the good guys or the bad guys, he didn't judge what you used the power he granted you for, only that you used it.

The heroic side, the Spectral Knights maintained a democracy in their realms, but had to deal with the consequences of that (As Churchill noted, democracy is the worst form of government, apart from all the others we've tried), whereas the Darkling Lords ran a tyrannical dictatorship, which is a lot more straightforward to operate. They both accept the concept of "One Man, One Vote", but disagree on interpretation of the phrase! :)

Of course, it was all based on a Hasbro toy line.

Each character had a hologram "totem animal" they could transform into, and a specific spell they could invoke. The male characters either had staffs (with another holographic representation depicted on it) or a vehicle, will specific spells allowing them to channel powers like "Speed", "Strength", "Wisdom", "Knowledge" for the good guys, and "Decay", "Destruction", "Fear" and "Invulnerability" for the bad guys. Those who didn't have staffs had vehicles that only they could empower (The cartoon was a little vague on that one depending on dramatic necessity). They also all had catchy little rhyming couplet spells, easy to remember (and yes, I do recall them all, one of those odd little geeky things which I have surprisingly little shame about wasting braincells on :) )

But of course, this being the 80's the two female characters, the heroic Spectral Knight Galadria (Yes, that's a Tolkein reference) and the villainous Darkling Lord Virulina (Not a Tolkein reference, but a rather wonderful name, no?) had neither action figures, nor specific spells. That always irked me (and other fans), especially as the totem forms they had, a dolphin and a shark respectively, were only useful in water-based situations, and as Aquaman and Aqualad can tell you, those don't crop up all that often in most action adventure series. They got the short end of the wand, as it were, thought they at least had the decency to make Galadria (voiced by the marvellous Susan Blu, also the voice of Stormer in Jem, Marissa Fairborn in Transformers, and possessed of a gloriously sexy, "smoky" voice) a very competent fighter when the need arose.

The sadly also short lived comic from Marvel's "Star Comics" line, (Six issues, and cancelled halfway through a story no less) decided to deal with the power imbalance.... At the start of issue 5, they are sent on a quest by Merklynn, to seek out four elemental jewels which the fate of magic depends on...

I love that they've got something unique to them, and shields are a lot more practical than staffs it must be said. Also that the need for a holographic image has been incorporated...

Later we see the spells being used, with Galadria helping some innocents who have been injured during a battle for one of the gems...

I should add that the budding romance between Galadria and the rather lunkheaded, but in a sort of Obelix style way Cryotek, was very cutely handled.

And in issue 6, Virulina decides to show her ally Cindarr what SHE can do...

Oh yeah, THAT was a bad mistake Cindarr. Violence against women is a particular no-no, violence against newly magically empowered women is a shortcut to PAIN.

Alas we never got to see that, as it was the last issue, but it's nice that they managed to get this in under the wire.

Date: 2010-08-15 02:39 pm (UTC)
seriousfic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] seriousfic
A woman with the ability to make people violently sick by speaking in rhyme?

Oh, must be Ke$ha.

Date: 2010-08-15 02:41 pm (UTC)
blake_reitz: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blake_reitz
A friend of mine recently showed me this series, and I was surprised at how clever it was. Heck, I was surprised that they used words like sycophant! Little touches like the council of good guys constantly being bugged by the gardening committee or the scheming wizards really helped the show transcend it's 1/2-hour toy commerical appearance.

Plus, the episode where the bad guys won and caused the apocalypse was great.

Date: 2010-08-15 02:50 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] falseaesop
I remember this show, I remember that I had at least one toy from it. Very vauge memory though. (What comes to mind actually is losing the damn hologram plate off the toys chest and looking for it in the back of my dad's station wagon.)

Thanks for jogging a forgotten childhood memory.

Date: 2010-08-15 03:16 pm (UTC)
rordulum: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rordulum
Ah, I remember these guys fondly.

I had a few of the toys, including a couple of the vehicles.

I really liked the world they created, and it's a real shame it didn't take off that well.

Date: 2010-08-15 03:39 pm (UTC)
btravage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] btravage
It's a shame that, unlike some of the other major Subow cartoons, that Visionaries was never integrated into the larger Sunbow universe. For those that don't know the Transformers, GI Joe, Inhumanoids, Jem, and now MASK all reference each other.

Date: 2010-08-15 04:08 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
a reporter named Hector Ramirez showed up on the first four, and Matt Tracker was recently integrated into GIJoe

Date: 2010-08-15 04:16 pm (UTC)
btravage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] btravage
Apparently COPS is thrown into the mix as well.

Date: 2010-08-15 04:58 pm (UTC)
thanekos: Yoshikage Kira as Kosaku Kawajiri, after the second arrow. (Default)
From: [personal profile] thanekos
there's also Sabre Jet, who shares a real name and skillset with a Joe operative

Date: 2010-08-15 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
GI Joe had a Shockwave, who was a Joe

Date: 2010-08-15 10:41 pm (UTC)
kamino_neko: Kamino Neko's squee icon. (Squee)
From: [personal profile] kamino_neko
And if we do that, then Visionaries gets brought into the mix, too, via
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<a href-"http://tfwiki.net/wiki/cryotek">') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

And if we do that, then Visionaries gets brought into the mix, too, via <a href-"http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Cryotek">Cryotek</a>.

Trademarks are a wonderful thing.

Date: 2010-08-15 10:42 pm (UTC)
kamino_neko: Kamino Neko's grumpy icon. (Grumpy)
From: [personal profile] kamino_neko
... Stupid keyboard. AHEM... Cryotek.

Date: 2010-08-15 07:19 pm (UTC)
btravage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] btravage
The infamous Go-Bots have also recently crossed over with Transformers, but as that story involves dimensional travel, I wouldn't count it as part of the Sunbow Universe.

Date: 2010-08-15 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
The whole boys don't buy girls figures is dumb, but apparently kind of true. Personally I wish they'd package girl's figures with vehicles so completists could get all the figures.

It's ridiculous a person can't get all the heroes for a show like Power Rangers.

Date: 2010-08-15 05:40 pm (UTC)
shadwing: Psi SW2 Game Card (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadwing
And in the Fashion lines it's the reverse...about a billion girl dolls and varients to 1-2 guys if your lucky.

Once spoke to a Doll Designer about this and he said "No idea why...guy dolls don't sell well in the fashion lines and girl figures don't sell in the action lines...double standard I know but the proof is in the sales numbers."

Date: 2010-08-15 06:10 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
My younger brother had the entire group of MMPR and Zeo figures and it included the female characters. But I don't think the current lines have. Which is reall dumb since the current teams don't have the six members the originals did.

Date: 2010-08-15 04:18 pm (UTC)
fungo_squiggly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fungo_squiggly
While I never saw enough of the show in my childhood to understand what was going on, I had a couple of those toys, too.

Watching the episodes now, I can't help but think what a shame it is that the series wasn't more enduring.

Date: 2010-08-15 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daningram.insanejournal.com
I had a couple of the issues, yeah this was a pretty cool series.

Date: 2010-08-15 05:41 pm (UTC)
shadwing: Psi SW2 Game Card (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadwing
Loved this series...pity it only lasted a season. *sighs* Ah Sat Morning Memories

Date: 2010-08-15 09:52 pm (UTC)
stig: "It Was A Boojum..." (Default)
From: [personal profile] stig
The 'Visionaries' Annual, rescued from a charity shop when I was 9, was the subject of my first ever fanfic.

I am eternally indebted to you for telling me what the series' name was. Ever since that annual went missing, I've thought I'd go to my grave not knowing.

My thanks, sir.

Date: 2010-08-15 11:43 pm (UTC)
stolisomancer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stolisomancer
Hey, early Mark Bagley art. Cool.

Date: 2010-08-16 12:15 am (UTC)
ninjapeps: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ninjapeps
and yes, I do recall them all, one of those odd little geeky things which I have surprisingly little shame about wasting braincells on :)

so do I. I used to have sound files of each incantation, too, but lost them all after my hard drive crashed.

as a kid, I never noticed how short this series was. it wasn't until a few years ago that I found out there were only 13 episodes.

Date: 2010-08-16 02:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elsewhere7.livejournal.com
I missed it on TV the first time around, but caught it all recently on Youtube, and was pretty surprised at the depth of it. The setting was pretty detailed, which was cool.

Damn, now I want to see crossover fiction or an RP of the SUnbow shows...

Date: 2010-08-16 07:35 am (UTC)
btravage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] btravage
That wouldn't be that difficult of a setup, considering that the Transformers are often space-based.

Date: 2010-08-16 02:57 am (UTC)
lieut_kettch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lieut_kettch
It took them that long to give a character named Virulina a disease-causing power?

Date: 2010-08-16 03:05 am (UTC)
kamino_neko: Tedd from El Goonish Shive. Drawn by Dan Shive, coloured by Kamino Neko. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kamino_neko
Well, it's not like they were ever concerned with making the names and powers match - see the earlier post re: Cryotek.

Date: 2010-08-16 01:16 pm (UTC)
kamino_neko: Tedd from El Goonish Shive. Drawn by Dan Shive, coloured by Kamino Neko. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kamino_neko
Leoric, Witterquick, and Cravex, I agree, but I don't think Darkstorm and Feryl match.

Darkstorm's a good villain name, but it doesn't match his power (much like Virulina until this scene), and Feryl...if his shape-shifting was unique to him, I'd agree, but since everyone's got an animal form, any of them could be 'Feryl', and have it fit their powers as much as him.

Date: 2010-08-16 11:42 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
might be a reference on his personality those. Even as a human he's a beast.

Date: 2010-08-17 03:59 pm (UTC)
kamino_neko: Tedd from El Goonish Shive. Drawn by Dan Shive, coloured by Kamino Neko. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kamino_neko
Which is valid, but the discussion is matching powers and names.

Date: 2010-08-16 06:53 am (UTC)
lbd_nytetrayn: Star Force Dragonzord Power! (Default)
From: [personal profile] lbd_nytetrayn
I wonder if it would be any cheaper to use the hologram technology now...

--LBD "Nytetrayn"

Date: 2010-08-17 02:50 am (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
OMG, I remember that show and my love for it!

Date: 2011-01-28 10:32 pm (UTC)
karthzon: (Dumbledore)
From: [personal profile] karthzon
Oh god damnit! Just dump the entire 80's on me, won't you! I already have more shows to watch from back then than I can remember the name of and now you give me something else!

Seriously though, I have fond memories of so many 80's cartoons that I've forgotten the names of at least half of them. It doesn't help that many were a variation of "based on toyline, starring a team of guys (and sometimes girls) in brightly coloured uniforms and with similar but unique powers". It was the way the creators could keep the idea fresh with new settings and plots for each one that made them interesting.


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