This Throwback Thursday, we will not be looking back on the greatest science fiction of the past. Instead, in light of Thanksgiving, we are going to focus on one of the biggest turkeys to ever hit science fiction television, ‘Starhunter’.
Well, not completely. But there is a reason I picked up the full season for five bucks… new… at Target.
So, what is ‘Starhunter’? It’s a Canadian television show about a man who becomes a bounty hunter named Dante in order to find information about his lost son. It’s been ten years, but he still holds out hope that he is alive. On his ship is an engineer, which is his niece who he takes care of because her parents had died. There is also a former Marine whose soul job is to keep Dante focused on the missions he needs to complete in order to keep using the TULIP, the spaceship he rents out in order to travel great distances in hopes of finding his son. Also on board is a manifestation of the ship which has sort of an uptight personality but is good friends with the niece.
Together, they find out secrets about the government (almost accidentally) and work to uncover Travis’ whereabouts whilst traveling the far reaches of our solar system.
Frankly, though, I think the moment I knew that I was going to have trouble taking it seriously was when the opening credits rolled, and the first thing I heard was “I’m a bounty hunter. It’s just something that I do,” in something that sounds like a New York accent. Then I really knew when the episode monologue, which is always done by the owner of the ship telling Dante what to do and then waxing philosophically, was peppered with analog errors… when the video clearly had to be digital.
See that tracking error where his image is showing up on the left? That is an analog signal problem, grumble grumble grumble. Really, when it comes to the science in the show, this is probably the lesser of the demons, but it still bothers me.
In any case, allow me to introduce you the show via their own words:
Other highlights about this opening is that it says he’s looking for a small boy, despite the fact his son was kidnapped 10 years prior to the series… which would put him firmly in his late teens/early twenties. Another highlight is the fact that Dante doesn’t seem to want to be distracted by his orphaned niece in favor of the child he only thinks might still be alive. Bonus points to Dante to keeping her trapped on board a ship far away from any other youth or educators, so the only people she can interact with is the ship intelligence, a secretive ex-marine, and her very sullen and silent uncle. Good job, Dante!
‘Starhunter’, therefore, is not for the science fiction faint of heart. It has good ideas, but it is not so great in execution, be that set design, special effects, or even acting (an exception is always Claudette Roche). Still, the series managed a second season (that was only tangentially related to the first), and has a dedicated fan base who will not be pleased to hear that it is not my favorite science fiction series out there.