ORBzine - Droids TV Review

[The Trigon One !Mon-Julpa !The Adventures of Mungo Baobab !The Great Heep ]


The Trigon One

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 1] The White Witch
Shown 7 Sep 85

This is set in the Star Wars universe, and as well as the title characters there are also occasional cameos by supporting characters. Boba Fett appears in the title credits, in an impressive scene that does nnt actually appear in any of the episodes. As this is the first episode of the show, the dialogue is exposition-heavy. Also, the storyline is filled with familiar tropes from the movies.

C-3PO and R2-D2 are abandoned on a desert world by a smuggler who ditched his cargo at the first sign of trouble. The droids bicker as they walk across the desert. They are saved by a young hero who races landspeeders and even got his hands on a lightsaber. Unfortunately the local gangster is out for blood. Luckily their is a feisty young woman who lends a hand.

The villains are part of an interstellar crime syndicate. They use droids rather than humanoids as muscle, so there is a bit of action-adventure in a child-friendly show.

This episode seems to be self-contained, but actually is part of a four-episode arc.

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 2] Escape Into Terror
Shown 14 Sep 85

The heroes have stolen a cargo ship and are en route to the Boonta speeder race. Unfortunately they send C-3PO to fix the hyperdrive, and as a result it floats off. Luckily the ship still has sublight engines, so they are able to fly to the nearest planet. By incredible coincidence this is the girl's homeworld, so they can crash (no pun intended) at her mother's house. Of course, it turns out that this is the homeworld of the crime syndicate.

Last time the heroes just wanted to rescue a kidnapped sidekick. This time they have to finish the job, and destroy the villains' hi-tech weapons platform the Trigon.

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 3] The Trigon Unleashed
Shown 21 Sep 85

The heroes originally planned to destroy the Trigon, even though it would be incredibly valuable to the Rebellion.

C-3PO accidentally taps into the villains' video-conference. Yes, a top-level crime syndicate does not use encryption. It is a wonder they have suvived as for long as they have! Unless this is all a cunning plan ...

The heroes get captured and taken to the villains' stronghold. They give up the Trigon's location incredibly easily. Unless this is all a cunning plan ...

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 4] A Race to the Finish
Shown 28 Sep 85

The heroes have a cargo ship and are en route to the Boonta speeder race. They send C-3PO to fix their racing speeder to the ship's hull, so evidently they have forgotten about the time the hyperdrive floated off.

At the end of each of the three previous episodes, the minor villains had to go on the run to escape the murderous wrath of their boss. Just like all the other times, they are now back together working as a team. Perhaps the fact that the boss is an old man in a wheelchair who is impoverished and relies on personal debts to get things done means that he must forgive and forget.

Boba Fett gets called in as guest villain of the week. This is a natural escalation of the story, since all previous henchmen were easily defeated. This is not the first time Fett appeared in a cartoon - his first appearance was in the Star Wars Holiday Special.

The climax is at the Boonta speeder races. Among the spectators is Admiral Screed, who gets mentioned by name although he does not have any lines. He is the major antagonist of the Adventures of Mungo Baobab storyline.


Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 5] The Lost Prince
Shown 5 Oct 85

C-3PO and R2-D2 have ended up on yet another dusty desert planet. They get sent by an Employment Agency to work at a greasy spoon cafe. Life as waiting staff does not work out for them, so they end up having to sell themselves at auction. In all fairness they have no access to power or lubrication, and no legal way of getting currency to buy it. They must follow their programing and find a master to look after them.

The droids end up in the hands of Jahn Tosh, an orphaned farm-boy (okay, mine-boy) who lives with his uncle in the desert. In all fairness, he is not just a Luke clone - he dresses like a young Han Solo. To save them he must sacrifice a brand new mining droid that seems reminiscent of the droid soldiers in Star Wars: Phantom Menace . Now they must work in Jahn's uncle's mine.

There are cameos by a few characters from the Star Wars movies. Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo Band have a gig at the greasy spoon diner. The bounty hunter IG-88 is also name-checked, although he does not appear on-screen until next episode. Also we meet Jessica Mead (voiced by Cree Summer Francks ), a recurring character who is the first human woman of colour character in the Star Wars universe.

The town is run by a crooked businessman. This villain is mining the explosive element Nirgon-14 for the Empire's proton torpedo detonators. He is looking for Mon-Julpa, an alien VIP.

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 6] The New King
Shown 12 Oct 85

Our heroes are en route to Tamusan, the home planet of Mon Julpa. They are attacked by a space pirate, Captain Kybo Renn. Yes, the character from Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens seems to have taken his name from a cartoon pirate! They have more in common than just a name - they are equally inept. Kybo tries to blow up the cargo ship, rather than capture it intact.

Our heroes also have to worry about the bounty hunter IG-88 and his employer, the evil Grand Vizier who is about to usurp Mon Julpa's throne.

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 7] The Pirates of Tarnoonga
Shown 19 Oct 85

Jessica Mead has been hired to fly a shipment of fuel to Tamusan. Jahn Tosh, a miner, is flying an A-Wing fighter as her escort. They are attacked by the space pirate, Captain Kybo Renn.

Kybo puts Jahn on a skiff and makes him walk the plank. Just like in Return of the Jedi , our hero is to be fed to a hungry monster. In this case it is not a Sarlacc, it is just a plesiosaur, but everything else is the same.

Kybo has been stealing ships from the Empire. It is bad enough that he openly uses TIE fighters, but he raided a repair station and stole a whole Star Destroyer. This was a bad move, and not just because he will incurr the wrath of the Empire. The Star Destroyer was in the repair dock for a good reason, and now it has only got a skeleton crew it is easy for someone to sabotage it.

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 8] The Revenge of Kybo Ren
Shown 26 Oct 85

Mon Julpa tries to negotiate a treaty with his rival Lord Toda, ruler of the Outer Territories. Yes, the planet has not beenunified under a single government. As we saw in the pevious episode, Mon Julpa is carrying the burden of defence for the entire planet.

Mon Julpa has other reasons to want a treaty. Lord Toda's daughter is quite attractive, and apparently unmarried. Her brother is in his early teens, so she cannot be much more than a teenager herself.

Kybo escapes, takes the Princess hostage and extorts concessions from her father. She is feisty, typical of Star Wars characters. Just as the female Luke character in The Force Awakens is tougher than Luke ever was in A New Hope , so the Princess is significantly tougher than Mon-Julpa ever was.

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 9] Coby and the Starhunters
Shown 2 Nov 85

Lord Toda sends his son Kobi off-world to the Academy. Mon Julpa sends Jahn Tosh and the droids along to look after him. The boy was a decent kid last week, but now he is a spoilt brat. However, things take a turn for the worst when his pet is stolen by space-rustlers. He takes the droids and goes off to save his animal.

The droids end up on a remote forest world. They encounter a group of tiny animal-like primitives who threaten everyone with spears. Luckily, C-3PO can speak their language (it is his primary function, after all). They team up and wage guerrilla warfare on the hi-tech villains. Just like in that film. You know the one.

The Adventures of Mungo Baobab

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 10] Tail of the Roon Comets
Shown 9 Nov 85

The droids accompany Mungo Baobab, heir to the Baobab Merchant Fleet. He wants to locate the fabled planet of Roon, so he can establish a trade route there. The plan is to follow the Roon comets, which travel from his planetary system to Roon's.

The Imperials do not seem to believe in free trade. Those damnable socialists want to nationalise the whole thing. Admiral Screed (as seen in episode 4) and some stormtroopers go along in the hope of beating Mungo to the treasure.

Roon has villains of its own. Governor Kung is a corrupt dictator wh wants to make an alliance with the Empire.

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 11] The Roon Games
Shown 16 Nov 85

Mungo and the droids crash-land on Roon. They befriend a young woman named Orin (presumably as in Erin, not as in Aaron) Yomm. She is en route to the Roon Games, where representatives of the planet's different provinces compete peacefully. The evil Governor Kung wants to humiliate Orin there so her province will bend to his political will. Can Mungo and the droids prevent the Governor from cheating?

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 12] Across the Roon Sea
Shown 23 Nov 85

Mungo goes looking for Roon stones again. Orin takes him to meet a mad old prospector out in the wilderness. He discovers what happened to his Great Uncle Ogham, who disappeared looking for the Roon system sixty years previously. Will Mungo share his fate? On the bright side, at least Mungo gets a satchel filled with gadgets that may prove useful.

In a nearby port city, Mungo and C-3PO get conscripted by a press-gang of the local navy. C-3PO is chained up in a slave galley next to a robotic stand-up comedian who tells jokes about Jabba the Hutt as if people on the remote planet of Roon would know who the heck he was talking about.

Mungo and his friends try to escape on a sailing boat. They are chased by the villains' galley, even though the main sail is on fire and all the slaves have escaped so there is nobody left to row. Unfortunately they get chased towards a massive whirlpool. The whirlpool is the cliched type based on the illustration from Descent into the Malestrom by Edgar Allen Poe . Mungo has to choose - save the treasure that his relative spent sixty years finding, or save the dead body of a robot that annoyed everyone with bad jokes al the time.

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 13] The Frozen Citadel
Shown 30 Nov 85

Mungo discovers that the Roon comets are about to leave the solar system, and if the droids do not get the ship traveling in the next few days they will be trapped for another year. This means the comets will be at their most distant point in six months time, so either the two planets are incredibly close or the comets travel at Faster-Than-Light speeds.

Governor Kung has managed to convince the Empire he is worth another chance. This time his plan is to destroy his enemies using biological warfare. He unleashes the Rooze sickness, but it goes predictably wrong and he gets infected too. To survive he has his henchman Gaff abduct Orin Yomm's father, the only healer on the planet who can make a cure.

Mungo and the droids go to rescue Orin and her father. En route the solve the mystery of the source of the Roon Stones.

The Great Heep

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 14] The Great Heep (1)
Shown 7 Jun 86

This story is a self-contained mini-feature, twice the length of a normal episode. The animation technology allows the film-makers to tell a story unfettered by the limits of a made-for TV budget (see the movie Ewoks: Battle for Endor for an example). However, because this is U-rated (intended for a childrens TV audience) it sometimes lapses into childish silliness - especially in the R2-D2 scenes.

R2-D2 and C-3PO are en route to the remote planet of Bitoo, to join their new master Mungo Baobab. This is a bit confusing, because despite being shown after their adventures with Mungo on the planet Roon in Season Three this seems to be set earlier. Their ship is boarded by robotic pirates

Mungo is exploring an M-Class planet for valuable fuel ore, despite it being so much more efficient just to mine it from asteroids. The villainous Galactic Empire invades the planet, and they have a much better idea of how to run things economically. They use confiscated droids to do the mining, governed by a massive A.I. known as The Great Heep. This machine is so big he can only recharge by draining power from an R2 unit. As a result, R2-D2 is imprisoned with others of his kind in a Droid Harem. He even gets a girlfriend there!

With R2-D2 in the droid harem and Mungo in solitary, C-3PO is left to save the day. This is him at his clueless comedy best, not the smart slick second-hand car salesman that George Lucas originally envisioned.

Droids Droids [Season 1, Episode 15] The Great Heep (2)
Shown 7 Jun 86

R2-D2 and C-3PO try to make their getaway from the Heep's ore-processing plant, in a scene reminiscent of the factory setpiece in SW 2: Attack of the Clones . The only difference is that this is 1980s animation instead of Y2K CGI.

There are some great moments of dramatic tension in the climax, although the effect is weakened by moments of childish slapstick comedy that have been shoehorned in.






Droids Droids [Season 1 , Episode 1 ]
Shown th October 2010 [Wednesday]

Reviewed in our special supplement Droids

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