In “How Did I Like This?” someone looks back at something they loved as a child and wonders how they were ever so wrong. Today Brent Hopkins looks at the TV show VR Troopers (1994-1996), which somehow couldn’t break the 100 episode mark even though it had virtual reality and a rapping dog.
The main reason was preteen lust, but that the lust lasted for this long is shameful. #1994Swoon
My first take on this series is going to be focused on the mid-90’s show VR Troopers. For those of you that don’t know, VR Troopers was a show in the same vein as the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. The heroes were always able to overcome incredible odds due to whatever robotic augments they happened to pick up from the thrift shop. The selling point for this show was that the battle was on two fronts: The real world — where the characters normally resided as a martial arts protege, a reporter, and a computer nerd — and the virtual reality (VR) world, which was threatening to merge with the real world and be run by the series villain Grimlord.
As opposed to the massive mecha that the Rangers rocked, the VR Troopers had to settle with being locked mainly to the ground in their VR suits. They had vehicles, but they mainly fought in judo/karate style group battles.
We thuggin’ and mean muggin’
This show absolutely captivated me as a 10 year old I will admit I would get bummed out when I had plans after school, because I would miss the next episode. The one thing I have always recalled about this show was that it had a super catchy theme song that still gets stuck in my head today. I insist you watch this for at least thirty seconds to be amazed.
Watching this theme you, may notice that this show somehow manages to look even more bargain basement quality than Power Rangers. This is due to the show being spliced together from three Japanese shows to form the action scenes. This worked well for Power Rangers, but at the end of the day watching Mega Man boss rejects fight compared to the Godzilla-like monsters the former show provided just looks comical today. This was made worse by the sets the fights took place on, which apparently included a rock quarry. That’s it. The vast majority of the fights took place in a rock quarry and it was as gray and depressing as one would hope.
This actually has too many props in it for VR Troopers.
That being said, the show had its own unique feel to it with all of the stock footage, and since there were fewer characters to follow it actually allowed for more character development. The thing is, while the main characters could be pretty 2D and stale, they made sure to add in those weird characters you might forget after years. One in particular was the talking dog Jeb, (the Meowth of the show) who added in snarky one-liners here and there. Yet the one thing that I remember the most from good old Jeb is this:
Everything must have rap it is the mid-90s!!!
There was no expense paid to make the dog even look like it was actually talking instead of eating. The fact that this AI super-computer is being burnt out by the rapping of a dog… I would say if something this simple could bring down the main line of technological defense against the VR invasion, humanity is over and done with.
I recently sat and watched a few episodes and clips and I am amazed that this show was able to make it 92 episodes before getting “cancelled.” I put quotes around cancelled because, amazingly enough, the only reason we don’t still have the VR Troopers is because there just wasn’t enough stock footage to pull from and the show had to end. This show had bad effects, bad acting, ridiculous characters, and the worst sets humanly possible but Sarah Joy Brown kept me glued to this show. +1 to the Nielsen ratings, -1 to my childhood.
Brent Hopkins considers himself jack-o-all-trades and a great listener. Chat with him about his articles or anything in general at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image sources: Whatculture.com, Tokucentral.com