Starhunter–Black Light (2001)   7 comments

Percy, Winning at Poker

EPISODE #11

I am an apostle for Starhunter.  Unfortunately, the most common question I field concerns how similar this series is to Firefly, the 2002 series the idiots at FOX killed prematurely.  I own both series on DVD and like both, but they exist independently of each other.  Furthermore, Starhunter, a 2000-2001 Canadian series, predates Firefly.  So, if one wants to make comparisons, one ought to compare Firefly to Starhunter.

So, as long as we are comparing apples to oranges, let us go for it.

  1. Starhunter ran for a complete season.  Firefly did not.
  2. The Tulip is a huge ship, with at least 48 decks.  The Serenity is tiny.
  3. Both ships are old and falling apart.
  4. The Raiders began as aggrieved and sterilized soldiers.  Their cause has transcended the generations, although they continue to increase their numbers by kidnapping children, mostly boys.  The Raiders are also quite articulate.  The Reavers, in contrast began as an unintentional effect of chemical alteration of a planetary population.  They are incoherent, so how can they repair and maintain their ships?  This is a major plot hole for Firefly.
  5. Both Percy and Kaylee are engineers, but each is her own character.  Percy is very much a tomboy, wearing a dress briefly in only one episode.  (She has worn a skirt, but usually sports pants.)  She is a sarcastic tomboy with a quick wit and deep emotional vulnerability.  And Percy almost never leaves the Tulip.  And Tanya Allen is much cuter than Jewel Staite, whose character makes eyes at Simon.
  6. The shadow of the Divinity Cluster, which hangs over Starhunter, makes this a darker series in which more is at stake than in Firefly.
  7. The Tulip is a more advanced ship than the Serenity.  Does the Serenity have an A.I.?  Starhunter is set about three centuries prior to Firefly.

So, why the frequent questions about how similar Starhunter is to Firefly?  We Americans do not watch much Canadian programming.  Also, when U.S. stations aired Starhunter, they often did so in late night hours.  And we use the familiar as points of reference, even when they are inexact.

Perhaps I seem to kvetch, but I am a purist about some matters.  Starhunter is simply better.  That is just my subjective reality in relation to this issue.  Here I stand; I will say or write nothing to the contrary.

Now, for our regular programming….

In the year 2276….

Black Light begins with Percy, Dante, and Luc playing poker.  Since Luc objects to gambling, days of kitchen duty constitute the ante.  Percy wins, for she has four queens in her hand.  Fortunately for the viewers, however, this becomes clear only after Luc has done her best John Wayne impression:  “Read ’em and weep, pilgrim.”  (Actress Claudette Roche is a dialect coach.)

Electra

The Tulip is headed for Ganymede, where it will deliver its prisoner, Electra.  She is a 25-year-old Raider who has run guns, and who is destined to spend years behind bars for this.  Rudolpho is thrilled about Electra’s capture, for the bounty on a Raider woman is very high.  Anyhow, Electra’s biological family cares nothing about her, so she does not miss them.  The Raiders are her family.

Colonel Bramwell, Thawing Out

Meanwhile, on Deck 48, down in the bowels of the ship, a cryogenic unit containing Colonel E. W. Bramwell revives him due to a power surge.  There are two other other cryogenic units in the same room, but they malfunctioned years ago.  So Majors Taylor and Fuji are dead.

Bramwell Receiving the Bad News

Fifty years previously, in 2226, during the First Martian War, the Tulip served as a troop transport vessel.  Between that conflict and the time Rudolph bought the ship, the Tulip was in a ship junkyard.  Workers stripping out military hardware from the ship never got to Deck 48.  And since the ship is mostly deserted, with only three crew members, nobody who was not in suspended animation has been on Deck 48 in many years.

A computer interface tells Bramwell that he has been sleeping for “49-12-7-8-4,” which is say, almost fifty years.  The Colonel says, “That’s not possible,” then picks up a loaded weapon and heads for the Bridge, where he finds Dante and Luc, much to his surprise.

Bramwell Points a Weapon at Dante and Luc While Caravaggio Looks On

Dante and Luc tell Bramwell that the Tulip is a bounty-hunting vessel headed for Ganymede.  The Colonel, who does not believe this, identifies himself as the commanding officer of the 104th Space Cavalry and the person responsible for Operation Black Light, targeted against Raiders on Mars.  Then Dante states that Black Light, “a botched operation,” happened “over fifty years ago.”  Bramwell insists that Black Light was not a botched operation, but that somebody betrayed him.  The assault did prove disastrous, but there was supposed to be a second one, he says.  Then he takes Dante and Luc to the brig and leaves them there, where he meets Electra, who recognizes the name “Colonel Bramwell.”

Meanwhile, Caravaggio awakens Percy and informs about what has happened to Dante and Luc.  Percy dresses and heads for the Bridge, where Bramwell finds her.  Then he realizes that a half-century has passed.  Caravaggio brings up a military record indicating that Bramwell is Missing in Action, presumed dead and awarded a medal posthumously.  But at least Bramwell’s side won the war; there are no more Raider bases on Mars.  They are restricted to the outer system.  Saddened, Bramwell mopes off the Bridge and tries to commit suicide.

Bramwell, Sucidal

Here is the scene in which Bramwell’s character crystalizes.  He is a man with only his mission left.  He is presumed dead, his wife is dead, and his only child, Joe, died in the disastrous Black Light assault.  If Colonel Bramwell is to live, it will be to complete his mission as a memorial for his son and Majors Taylor and Fuji.  Bramwell is a pitiable man, a person who fell through the bureaucratic cracks in 2226.  One’s heart goes out to him.

Dante and Luc, who have released themselves from the brig, stop Bramwell from killing himself.  Luc takes Bramwell to the brig for temporary holding.  There he speaks to Electra, who states that he is a hero among the Raiders, who have based their battle simulations on the Black Light assault.  It seems that Raider forces outnumbered those under Bramwell’s command, but that his men put up a good fight.  Electra wants to discuss battlefield strategy with Bramwell, but he is not in the mood.

Percy On Deck 48

Dante and Percy find Deck 48 and the chamber from which Colonel Bramwell emerged.  They find the two dead men, still frozen, and Percy confirms that a power surge awoke the Colonel.

The Tulip

Dante has been tracking Raider ships, all of which are headed for one destination.  Seeking Travis, he changes course so that the Tulip will go there.

Dante decides to remove Bramwell from the brig, so that Electra will stop tormenting him.

Electra

Electra reveals that the Raider ships are traveling to the Gathering, a mandatory meeting held once every ten years.  She can get the Tulip through security, an offer Dante accepts.  He wants his son back, and she wants her freedom.  Colonel Bramwell offers to help Dante, too.  Dante can wear the uniform of the one of the dead soldiers and pose as one of Bramwell’s subordinates.  So, while Bramwell entertains excited Raiders with old war stories, Dante might be able to find Travis.

First things first, however.  Electra, on the Bridge, opens communications with Raider security and says that she and Bramwell have commandeered the Tulip.  The Raiders send an escort vessel.

Percy and Dante

Upon seeing the assembly of Raider vessels, Luc describes the scene as evil.  Electra, being a committed Raider, says she has never seen anything more beautiful.  And Bramwell quotes Revelation 1:7-8:  “For behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye shall see him….For I am Alpha and Omega.”  This is a hint; Bramwell is the Alpha and Omega in this episode.

Dante is no fool; he knows that the mission is dangerous.  Luc and Percy are nervous, too.  Dante tells them to take the Tulip to Callisto, where he will rendezvous with them.  The Raiders must never board the ship.

Dante and Percy

Shortly later, on the Observation Deck, Dante and Percy have a heart-to-heart.  He says,

Over the years you’ve become the most important person in my life, and I have received so much joy and pride watching you grow into this wonderful young woman you’ve become….I wouldn’t have made it this far without you, Percy.  Thank you…for being exactly the way you are.

Bramwell’s End

Dante’s perilous mission never happens, however, for Colonel Bramwell has other plans.  Without telling anyone, he takes a secret military shuttle/weapon, located on Deck 48, and flies into the superstructure at which many Raider vessels are docked.  (How careless were those workers stripping out military hardware?) He completes his mission and disrupts the Gathering.

As Raider vessels leave, some target their weapons on the Tulip, which escapes the vicinity.  Electra goes to Ganymede, and prison.

Better luck finding Travis next time, which will be in the next episode, after which we will return to the Divinity Cluster arc.

Starhunter has 22 episodes.  (Starhunter 2300 is a separate series.)  So we are half-way through the journey.  This is a good time to pause and preview the rest of the series in general terms.

  1. A crucial plot point in episode #12 will recur in the three-part finale.
  2. Dante’s quest for his son will continue and will merge with the Divinity Cluster arc.
  3. Lucretia “Luc” Scott comes to a turning point in her character development in episodes #13-15.
  4. We will learn more about the consequences of the activation of the Divinity Cluster.
  5. Eccleston will return in episode #22.
  6. The Orchard will become even creepier.

As always, I encourage my readers to view Starhunter in a method consistent with U.S. and international copyright laws.

Until next time….

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 4, 2011 COMMON ERA

I used Power DVD to capture images from Disc #3 of the Starhunter series set.  Why not purchase your own set or rent one?

Posted January 4, 2011 by neatnik2009 in Starhunter (2000-2001)

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7 responses to “Starhunter–Black Light (2001)

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  1. Love the in-depth analysis, I’m a huge Starhunter fan myself.

  2. Pingback: Starhunter 2300–Rebirth (2003) « SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

  3. While I appreciate Starhunter for what it is, I must counter with my own arbitrarily designed list of comparisons:

    1. Firefly had better writing
    2. Firefly had better acting
    3. Firey had much better FX
    4. Locations actually looked different from each other in Firefly – not just the same redressed space-tavern set over and over
    5. Firefly was funnier
    6. Firefly was made into a feature film
    7. Firefly was made into an RPG and comic book series
    8. The two shows are about completely different things and really don’t need to be compared.

  4. Pingback: TULIP | PUNS BLOG OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

  5. Pingback: Guide Post to Starhunter (Series 1) Episode Reviews | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  6. Pingback: Black Light/Black Light (Redux) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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