Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Honourable Mention: Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: Wirewolf


This was a Steve Loter directed episode, first aired in 2000 and was recently shown on Disney Cinemagic. In a deconstructive sense the existence of this series is quite interesting as it is a spin-off of the Toy Story films and yet, within the Toy Story world it is a traditionally animated cartoon that led to the creation of the Buzz Lightyear toy prior to the first movie. In reality the first three episodes of this were a feature length film where Buzz was voiced by Tim Allen (who voiced Buzz in the movies) but, in order to fit in with the series, he was re-dubbed when aired for TV by Patrick Warburton – who voiced the character through the rest of the series… phew…

Nos-4-A2Anyway, this episode was in the second series and featured a vampire. Actually I was rather taken by the idea that the vampire was called Nos-4-A2 (Craig Ferguson, who played a vampire in the flick Modern Vampires). Obviously named after Nosferatu, he is a robotic vampire who feeds on the energy of other robots. In doing a little research, after watching the episode, it appears that Nos-4-A2 appeared in 5 episodes (of which this is the fourth). In this his presence is more a catalyst for the main adventure with the wirewolf (read werewolf).

something stirsTy Parsec (Steve Hytner) has been assigned to the planet Canis Lunis, where the Star Command have a top secret facility that gathers radiation from the moon and converts it to energy. It is a place where nothing ever seems to happen. He is patrolling with a couple of sentry robots (both voiced by Dan Castellaneta, Homer Simpson himself, who was a vampire hunter in Bart Simpson’s Dracula) when something stirs.

feedingIt swoops from the air, taking out one of the sentry robots. Ty finds it behind a bush, feeding. It swoops at him but he fires a laser, scaring it off. He calls it in to Star Command, saying that he has the situation under control but the dying robot grabs the communicator and yells that it is an energy vampire and that they should send backup. Now, because the attacks are robot on robot they can be somewhat more explicit in the vampire feeding than perhaps in other kids’ shows.

checking the victimBackup is in the form of Buzz and his crew, Mira (Nicole Sullivan), Booster (Stephen Furst) and XR (Larry Miller). The crew have faced Nos-4-A2 before and he his used his robotic mojo on XR and made the small robot his slave. Buzz’s presence could not be worse for Ty as they went to the Academy together and Buzz is always rescuing him. They check the dead robot (in a typical vampire film scene, and we should note that robots obviously have their power packs in approximately the neck area) and then go vampire hunting.

Ty is bittenLong story short Ty and the vampire end up tussling and Buzz turns the energy beam on them – to try and rescue Ty – and whilst in the beam Nos-4-A2 bites Ty – to the amusing play on the infamous line, “eugh… I never drink blood”. This is, other than a brief appearance in the episode coda, the last we see of the vampire but he has left a legacy.

The WirewolfWhenever the radioactive moon comes out a strange transformation occurs, wires sprout and Ty turns into a robotic wolfen killing machine – the wirewolf. The idea that the vampire bite would create a werewolf – albeit a robot vampire and a robot werewolf – was unusual and adds a new facet, a footnote if you like, to the werewolf/vampire synergy.

that looks like it might be food!The episode itself was actually really worth catching. There were knowing genre nods but even more knowing sci-fi nods that seemed specifically added for the parents of the target audience. I’ll certainly be keeping me eye out for the other 4 episodes featuring Nos-4-A2, which are entitled: “Revenge of the Monsters”, “The Slayer”, “Dirty Work” and “NOS-4-A2”. This episode’s imdb page is here.


Mina Jade said...

I wanted to praise the pics - which are by the way good - until I did not see the Disney sign in the corner.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Mina - unfortunately, if I catch a show on TV then that's where the screenshots will come from and in this case... it was Disney!

Anthony Hogg said...

You mentioned that "Craig Ferguson, who played a vampire in the flick Modern Vampires".

I've read a bit about this film. It came out in 2001 and starred Casper van Dien (sp?), if memory serves.

Have you reviewed it on your blog, and, if not, do you intend to do so?

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Anthony. I have the film, but haven't reviewed it yet.

All the vamp films I have, but haven't reviewed yet, I do intend to review eventually. I'll jump thi to the top of this list, as you mentioned it.

Anthony Hogg said...

Cheers for that.

I came across mentions of the film a few years ago, but not much in the way of solid reviews. And certainly not to the depth and level of detail you put forward in yours.

I especially like that you even go through the lore featured in the films (one thing that draws me to vampires in the first place).

So, I'll certainly be looking forward to your review! :D