ROCKS 22: Sectaurs

Discussion in 'Other Cartoons & Collectables' started by LiamABC, Aug 4, 2019.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend


    This week we're covering the whole five parts of a very short-lives show from the 80s, Sectaurs

    This is a show I've never seen but have heard good things about.

    The individual parts are called
    - Spirdax Attacks
    - Slave City
    - Valley Of The Stones
    - Trapped In The Acid Desert
    - Battle Of The Hyve

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these episodes, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full episode online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the show in whatever manner you want.
  2. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I have seen this mini series a couple times over the last few years.
    Overall I think it is a pretty good miniseries story wise.
    However I did find the characters a little bland especially in their designs, the heroes and villains all look to similar too each other. The same problem as Spiral Zone.
    I think if the character designs had been a bit better and more unique looking the toys would have sold better.
    There was defjitely potential for the cartoon to last longer and maybe have a 13-65 episode season. That would probably have really helped build the characters and shown more of their world.

    Interestingly the toys were made by Coleco whop also made the Rambo: Force of Freedom toys, the cartoon we previously discussed.
    The toys were pretty cool. The hand puppet gimmick for the some of the larger insects is pretty interesting.
    I didn't have any Sectaurs toys growing up but I did have this robot Guardian Patrol toy that came with a figure based on the Sectaurs figure although it is about an inch or more taller. This was one of my favourite toys as it was so unique looking. I had this until a few years. The robots arm broke off, stickers pealed off, white plastic turned yellow, axe broke but the battery walking and lights still worked. The figure also got broke and glued back together, then he got partially melted being left in front of the fire too long and repaired with fillers LOL.

    There is still interest in Sectaurs and Zica Toys are making some new figures based on the old toys and cartoon.
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Having watched the show for the first time just last night, I did find it rather confusing in parts. I did feel like I was thrown in at the deep end.

    The first episode should have really established who everyone was and given them all an identity, but there weren't any really distinct personalities, and the armour was a bit bland. So yes, the comparison to Spiral Zone is fair. Although at least you can tell all of the characters apart when their helmets are off!

    The other shows that this brought to mind were Skeleton Warriors, Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors, and Dungeons & Dragons. We've done the latter, we should probably do the other two on here at some point. The first we could cover in its entirety as it's only 13 episodes. I've been meaning to have another look at Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors again for a while. I remember watching the first episode as an adult in about 2012 and it not grabbing me. Maybe I should double-check - especially as establishing episodes can be very hit-and-miss, I should give some regular episodes a chance. I'll get back to you on that one!

    Back to the story of this one - they should have spent the first 5-10min of the first episode going into more detail of the experiments going wrong and creating this new species. This would also have allowed us to have proper introductions to the characters. There were few enough main characters on each side, so this would have been easy enough.
    Explaining the origins so quickly in just the title sequence was a very dodgy idea, it didn't give us any real introduction of who the characters were and how to tell them apart. One thing shows like Thundercats, Defenders Of The Earth and Visionaries all did well was give the characters sufficiently different designs so that we couldn't mistake any of them (except maybe get Feryl and Ectar mixed up in their animal forms!).

    They should have had that as the first episode, then had the rest of the episodes, missing out episode 4 if one had to be omitted here as it seemed to do the least in terms of furthering the story. Actually most of the episodes weren't really that connected to each other in terms of progressing the story. You could probably have put the middle ones in any order and it not made much difference. Rather like the Book Of Enigmas adventure in Defenders Of The Earth.

    The voice cast were reassuringly familiar, Dan Gilvezan, Neil Ross, Peter Renaday, Peter Cullen, Arthur Berghardt, Frank Welker, B. J. Ward and Tress MacNeille were all familiar names to me (admittedly Berghardt and Ward only since I started watching G. I. Joe!). The only name that didn't mean much was Laurie Faso, who I presume must have been the voice of Zak, although his bio says he was in G. I. Joe and Transformers too, albeit not as any major characters that I would recognise.

    Overall, this show was a good idea, it had potential, but it was severely mishandled and doomed from the start.
  4. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I think if the characters had looked less humanoid and had more insect design elements and been a bit more colourful then they would have looked a lot more visually interesting. A bit like Buzz-Off from Masters of the Universe.
  5. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I remember seeing the Sectaurs toys in an old toy catalogue back in the 80s and was quite intrigued by their metallic colored skin. I wouldn't have minded having one of them in my collection. :) But I didn't know anything about a cartoon series of them until a few years ago when @Mark M told me about it.

    Well my thoughts on the show are very much like what @Mark M and @LiamABC said. The opening about how an experiment gone wrong mutated and created new creatures reminded me very much of the opening of "Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors". (BTW, I have only seen one episode of that show so wouldn't mind seeing more if we ever do a ROCKS discussion of it! :) )

    Like Liam said, the first episode should have taken time to introduce the audience to the characters, the worlds, their histories and motives a bit better. Instead all of that was crammed into the opening sequence narration and we immediately start with the action. That would have worked fine for a series with a few characters and in familiar environments like Earth. But when you're dealing with a big number of completely different species on a completely different planet, then some exposition is necessary.

    But perhaps the biggest problem, which again has already been pointed out by the two gentlemen above, is the designs of the characters. The good guys and the bad guys are just too similar. I honestly at times couldn't tell who is who until they spoke. Even though it was aimed at kids and meant to sell the toys, a good and distinctive design is paramount if they ever expected the franchise to be a success. Kids of the 80s didn't mind buying toys based on a cartoon series that didn't have a great story but there is no way that they can ignore the lack of diversity in the designs. Even the colors were two similar between the two factions. The makers should have made either the good guys or the bad guys be the insect-like creatures, not both. That really is my biggest gripe with the show.

    I could definitely identify Neil Ross and Peter Cullen in the voice cast. Some of the other voices did sound very familiar but I don't know the names of the voice actors. I'm sure I heard some of them on the Real Ghostbusters.

    The animation wasn't that bad, considering the time in which it was made and the purpose for which it was made.
    Mark M likes this.
  6. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    That was actually the first character that came to my mind when I was watching the cartoon! :)
    Mark M likes this.
  7. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I think the concept and origin story are the biggest problems.
    The heroes and villains were quite generic and similar looking and honestly didn't look that much like insects.

    A story with big bugs being on earth or even invading some other planet and it's warriors having to fight them would have worked.
    Same with even a story of lets say a group of human earthling space explorers landing on the giant insect infested world and them befriending some of the bugs and maybe helping some of the citizens fight back against the giant insects. Something a bit like Dino-Riders. Another great show we really need to cover in ROCKS.

    Perhaps the big insect toys should have been the main focus of the toy line. Big cool spiders etc would be fun to incorporate into play with all other types of toys. He-Man, Thundercats, Transformers, Dungeons & Dragons etc. There is numerous episodes where the heroes encounter such creatures.
    This toyline just seems like a really wasted opportunity and reminds me of the toy pitch meeting in the movie BIG. When they pitch the building Transforming robot toy and Tom Hank's character says he doesn't get it and there is no fun playing with a building, why not some transforming bugs/insects.
    Big insect toys they could use with other toys and the awesome hand puppet feature allowing them to control the insect, is a great play feature. If they had even made the insects have some battery operated walking and light features it would also have been very cool. And maybe some weapons and saddles for an action figure to ride the insect into battle would have also been a great feature.
    I recall when I was younger I had a huge rubber tarantula that I used with my action figures a lot and a moth looking insect I used with Panthro like that scene in the Pum-Ra episode. :D
    Wilycub likes this.
  8. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Totally agree with this! Many 80s cartoon shows, even if they had quite a bizarre setting, plot and characters, almost always tried to somehow tie it to Earth and humans. That made them more relatable rather than a story set in a different world with aliens fighting other aliens. It just doesn't seem like something that the audience would really care about. It's just too detached.

    My thoughts exactly. When I saw the picture of the Sectaurs toys in the catalogue, it was the insects that really grabbed me. Not the action figures. I'd already seen a hundred different types of action figures, and many of them much better than those of Sectaurs. But it was the giant insect with metallic skin and transparent wings that really caught my eye. And the hand puppet feature was a really neat idea. The toys were good, they just didn't put enough thought into the show. The giant insects should have been the main focus of the show. It doesn't matter if they were depicted as good or evil as long as they had more screen time.
    Mark M likes this.
  9. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Sectaurs should have made the figures smaller like M.A.S.K. and Dino-Riders as the figures being smaller would have made the insects larger compared the figures and more impressive looking.
    M.A.S.K. and Dino-Riders had the right idea. They knew the transforming vehicles and the amazing dinosaur toys were the main selling feature not the action figures.
    Same with Starcom and Zoids.
    Sadly Mattel didn't pay attention when they made the Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors toys. The little figures that came with the vehicles looked nothing like the heroes from the TV show.
    Wilycub likes this.
  10. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I remember hearing about talks of a reboot of the franchise. If it ever happens, then they'll have to correct all these problems otherwise it's just not going to work.
  11. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Dargon was voiced by Dan Gilvezan, aka Bumblebee from Transformers, Rolf in The Legend Of Prince Valiant and Dirk Courage in Spiral Zone
    Pinsor and Mantor were voiced, I forget which way round, by Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime in Transformers, Cindarr in Visionaries and Venger in Dungeons & Dragons) and Peter Renaday (Mandrake in Defenders Of The Earth, Grapple in Transformers, Valiant's Father in The Legend Of Prince Valiant and of course Splinter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
    General Spidrax was voiced by Arthur Burghardt (Destro in GI Joe)
    Neil Ross and Frank Welker provided various additional voices.

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