Lance Jackson & The Red Sun
Lance Jackson & The Red Sun is an American science fiction television series created by Daniel McCarthy and produced by McCarthy-Hamilton Productions. Lance Jackson was telecast on Baltimore, Maryland Public Access Television from September 8, 1966, through June 3, 1969.
Its time setting is roughly the 23rd century in a stark future where the communist regime of the USSR had succeeded in winning the space race, claiming all of space for the eastern bloc. The series follows the adventures of the space soldier Captain Lance Jackson (Dwight Hamilton) and his love interest Nurse Mary Watson (Susan Jones) as they battled the evil comrade kombat Vladmir Nikolai (Boris Brechkovsky) as he fronted the communist plot to block out the sun from touching the small remaining holdouts left in the United States of America.
When Lance Jackson & The Red Sun premiered on Public Access in 1966, it was not an immediate hit. Before the end of the first season, some of the cast and crew wanted to cancel the series because of its low ratings and to save any more money problems as it was mostly self-funded.
Toward the end of the second season, the show was again in danger of cancellation. The lobbying by its local Baltimore fans gained it a third season through a fundraising car wash, and Baltimore Public Access channel 75 also moved it to a better time slot. However, after the final season, the Americans landed first on the Moon, and the premise of the show fell through. Other shows that premiered in the same year, namely Star Trek, became scifi favorites and the show was mostly forgotten about. However, after the Public Access Exchange program allowed for a wider array of audiences in the 1980s, coupled with reruns on people75 in Baltimore for years, resulted with some cult success, allowing for five straight-to-video films, a one-season animated spin off, and a comic series.
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Though many episode featured a "Russian of the Week" bad guy story that would typically involve love interest Nurse Mary being kidnapped, and Lance having to save the day - there was a arching series plot involving the secretive USSR group known as the "Red Dogs" who were trying to create a device that would orbit in such a way as to block all sunlight over the remaining United States. The series ended in a cliffhanger, with Lance finally entering the hidden Red Dogs base where construction was ongoing. The first film, also named Lance Jackson & The Red Sun, picked up where this episode left off. Captain Jackson destroys the base, with the prototype and its instruction plans being destroyed as well. In the final shot, Lance is promoted but rejects the promotion, opting to stay a "field agent," and heads off to New Vegas to wed Nurse Mary.
Lance Jackson & The Red Sun
The first film was an actual continuation of the series plot.
Lance Jackson: Escape from Moscow
The most critically acclaimed media from the entire Lance Jackson collection, The Red Sea loosely follows the continuity by establishing that the events of the first film put the surviving United States back into a organized state. The newly elected President McCarthy sends Lance and a select team into the heart of the USSR to retrieve missile codes. The film showcased a previous "Russian of the week" bad guy, Ivan Putin, who returns and hunts down Jackson's team.
Lance Jackson: Blue Bloods
In what many consider to be the "beginning of the end", the series began to accept its cult status and parody itself. In the third film, Blue Bloods, Lance is sent back in time to assist in the killing of the Tsar and his family. He eventually falls for one of the Tsar's daughters, saving her life. This is the first film to not have any supporting cast from the series, and never mentions Lance's wife. It was written by star Dwight Hamilton and panned by critics.
Lance Jackson & The Eastern Front
In this film, Lance and a comedian form up to take back the streets of former USSR states after the fall of the Union (briefly described as being Lance's "fault") from thugs and gangs.
Lance Jackson: Live at The Wall
At this point, the production had accepted the cult fandom that enjoyed the ridiculousness, and embraced it fully with a alternate-setting Lance Jackson (a great-great-great-etc grandfather of the series Lance Jackson, played by the same actor) who fights off the secretive group that tries to sabotage a large music event being held at the Berlin Wall.
A animated spinoff, Lance Jackson's Blue Dogs aired for a single season in 1987, following the adventures of five American kids who could combine their abilities to aid Lance.
A miniseries called simple Red Sun chronicled the same plot as the main series of the show.
The series few devoted fans formed a group in the early 1970s to attempt to get more seasons aired. Dubbed the Blue Dogs, they became the official Lance Jackson Fan Club and have been featured in many not-so-flattering documentaries.