Ruby Lawson’s Space Cadet crash course

Space Cadet logo featuring Captain Robert Hill, the Avalon, and the stoic Trigma officer Alda.
I can’t wait til I finish my Cosmic Coalition officer cosplay.

Space Cadet came on the air in 1963 with Cadet Robert Hill of the Cosmic Coalition taking charge after a disaster on a routine mission in which Captain Joe Hayes is captured. Through this, Hill ended up getting a field promotion to captain. Captain Hill was an idealistic character, something that became a staple of the franchise and one of the things that fans love about it. His ship, the Avalon, had a big crew including the ever stoic Trigma officer Alda. The original Space Cadet only had a few seasons, but it grew in popularity later when people caught reruns and eventually the cast returned for movies.

Captain Robert Hill and Alda are two fan favorites from the original series

I got into Space Cadet because my dad was really into it and we would watch it together when I was a child. There was a science fiction channel that played reruns of Space Cadet: The Return when I got home from school.

Decades later in 1985, the franchise came back to TV with Space Cadet: The Return. The new crew kept the same optimism of the original, but there were some changes.  

Captain Anthony Hamilton was an older, more seasoned captain than Captain Hill. Also joining the crew were his second-in-command Dan West, Doctor Juliet Madison, the (Linair) chief engineer Taupir, the (Screl) pilot Nirol, and their security chief Sarah Kramer. This show had a bigger budget than the original series and it showed. It still had the heart of the original, but was often taken more seriously by audiences.

Then Space Cadet Nova, which took place in a space station, came out in 1990. This series was different because they stayed in one location. The space station was close to a planet called Roria, which had been going through a tough time after dealing with an invasion from another planet. But of course the Cosmic Coalition have come to help.

On the station, there is a mix of Coalition and Roria personal. Some of the Coalition officers include Captain David Morrison, Doctor Jared Brown, engineer Peter Mills and (Linair) science officer Gila. Some of the Roria staff are Col. Talae and security officer Jori. Because of the two different sides coming together, more strife colored this series than the two that had come before, but it still had the spirit of the other shows. It had more ongoing storylines, which have made it more popular today than when it aired.    

The last Space Cadet show (so far) was Space Cadet: Journey. It was about two ships that went on a mission that was supposed to take a few weeks. Something went wrong and both ships end up on the other side of the galaxy. The Cosmic Coalition ship was the aptly named Journey.

Joining Journey was The Hawk, a non-military cargo ship. When both crews ended up on the Journey for their trip back home, they had to form into one crew. The captain of the Journey was Elizabeth Parker, the first female lead for the franchise. The now second-in-command Donald Lennix had been the captain of the Hawk.

The rest of the crew were the (Amor) pilot Relloc, (Screl) engineer Tava, the security chief Jacob Follower, and their only doctor, who was a robot called Red because of its color. The robot was originally supposed be a nurse, but all of the medical staff died so it now has to be a full-time doctor. Even when the characters could have lost hope that they would ever get back home, the show still had the optimism that the franchise is known for.

One reason this franchise had endured is that it shows a future full of hope in what we can be. It  can be cheesy since it is not as dark and moody as other science fiction has become, but sometimes Space Cadet is the beacon of light humanity needs.

When I was in middle school, I would rush home everyday to catch whatever episodes I could. I would dream about being a part of the crew, and as I got older, I wanted to make stories like those in Space Cadet. Luckily, now I am able to stream all the shows watch them whenever I want. I love that the world is so filled with hope. My dream one day is to be able to work on a Space Cadet show or movie.