Monday, January 18, 2010

Is Filmation's Old Series "Flash Gordon" Done Right?


A couple of weeks ago, my friend Steven gave me The New Adventures of Flash Gordon - The Complete Series DVD for my birthday.

He meant it as a gag gift. We have an ongoing, "let's watch bad stuff, ridicule it, and see just how awful something has to be before we turn it off" game going on. It started with my Birthday "Bad-movie-athon" viewing of In the Name of the King and has included things like Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter and Knights of Bloodsteel. So far, only Jesus Christ Vampire Slayer has been so horrible that even mockery wasn't able to make it watchable.




I have extremely fond memories of the Filmation Adventures of Flash Gordon series. Memories that I didn't believe were mere fabrication. Unlike my memories of how awesome Hawk the Slayer was -- which is now awesome for completely different reasons -- I was pretty sure that my fond memories were right on target in this case. Still, one does have to be wary of the memories of what one considered awesome during their youth. These things can come to bite you in the ass, as going back to watch episodes of Scooby Doo after the team began encountering Scooby's various relatives has proven to me. I loved the various "Doo's" as a conceit when I was a kid, I despise them now and blame Boomerang for letting me discover my childhood pleasure was a lie.

Needless to say, the DVD set of Filmation Flash Gordon episodes has been sitting on my shelf for the past couple of days as I deliberated whether to watch them with Jody and my twin daughters -- which would assume that the cartoons held up -- or to wait for a day when Steven and some other friends were over so we could MSTK the episodes -- which assumes that the cartoons would fail to live up to childhood memories.

Thankfully, our good friend Bill Cunningham over at Pulp 2.0 posted a blog entry discussing this very animated series which included a link to the invaluable SPACE: 1970 blog where Christopher Mills puts to rest all of my concerns. According to Mills, the first season of this animated series is a good adaptation of the classic comic strip.

I'll be ripping these open tonight for some family fun.

Now for some bonus material for Savage Worlds gamers out there. A few years back, I did some Savage Worlds character conversions of Flash and Ming the Merciless. I had intended on doing a full update of a number of the characters from the comic strip and serial, but haven't done any more to date. In order to encourage myself to post more character conversions from the Flash series, I'm going to post Flash and Ming here. If you want to see any future updates, you'll have to check my overly ambitiously named blog SAVAGE WORLDS CHARACTER A DAY.



Name: Flash Gordon


Yale graduate and famed polo player Flash Gordon is one of a small band are the world's only hope for salvation against the armies of Ming the Merciless.

At the novice level Flash has just parachuted to the ground near Professor Zarkov's secret rocket base and is about to begin his journey. At this time he has no "known" skill at shooting or piloting. Flash begins his journey with only the clothes on his back. No weapons...no armor...no food...


Race: Human

Hero Rank: Novice

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6

Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d8, Swimming d8, Throwing d6, Streetwise d4, Piloting d4, Shooting d4

Charisma: +2, Pace: 6, Parry: 6, Toughness: 5

Hinderances: Loyal, Heroic, Enemy: Ming the Merciless

Edges: Attractive

Equipment: none.


Flash and his companions crashland on the mysterious planet Mongo and encounter some of the native beasts, two large lizard-like creatures. They are seemingly rescued by rocketships...only to discover that they have been caputured by the malevolent ruler of Mongo, Ming the Merciless. Flash makes a quick escape, but must leave Dale behind. He is still weaponless, but has acquired a new set of clothing (equivalent to leather armor) and flies off in a rocketship.

Hero Rank: Seasoned

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8

Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d8, Swimming d8, Throwing d6, Streetwise d6, Piloting d8, Shooting d6

Charisma: +2, Pace: 6, Parry: 6, Toughness: 6 (7)

Hinderances: Loyal, Heroic, Enemy: Ming the Merciless

Edges: Attractive, Command

Equipment: Leather Armor.



After crashing in his rocketship, Flash meets his first ally Thun the Prince of the Lion Men. Our heroes journey into the Cave World of Mongo (Flash's eventual hideout). They rescue dale, only to crash when attacked by mysterious creatures. Eventually they end up in the land of the Shark Men of Mongo where Flash must fight hand to hand for his life against the King of the Shark Men. He spares the life of his opponent, only to be betrayed and place in a death trap. He is once again separated from Dale.

Hero Rank: Veteran

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8

Skills: Fighting d10, Guts d8, Swimming d10, Throwing d6, Streetwise d6, Piloting d10, Shooting d8

Charisma: +2, Pace: 6, Parry: 8, Toughness: 6 (7)

Hinderances: Loyal, Heroic, Enemy: Ming the Merciless

Edges: Attractive, Command, Block

Equipment: Leather Armor, Rapier, Laser Pistol.


Flash as he begins to form alliances with the "Princes of Mongo."

Hero Rank: Heroic

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d8

Skills: Fighting d10, Guts d8, Swimming d10, Throwing d8, Streetwise d6, Piloting d10, Shooting d10

Charisma: +2, Pace: 6, Parry: 8, Toughness: 6 (7)

Hinderances: Loyal, Heroic, Enemy: Ming the Merciless

Edges: Attractive, Command, Block, Fervor, Inspire

Equipment: Leather Armor, Rapier, Laser Pistol.






This is Ming the Merciless as Flash first encounters him on the planet Mongo. He is fearless, intimidating, and powerful, but we have yet to see him in "action" as a combatant.

Ming the Merciless

Threat Rating: Veteran (50)

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d10, Spirit d10, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Intimidation d10, Shooting d8, Piloting d6, Persuasion d10-2, Guts d10, Fighting d8, Knowledge (Law) d8

Charisma -2, Pace 6, Parry 6, Toughness 5

Hindrances: Vengeful, Bloodthirsty, Mean.

Edges: Noble, Charismatic, Command, Rich, Natural Leader.


Now that Flash has become a nuisance in Ming's backside, Ming has begun to display new powers. Ming displays physical capabilities beyond what we have originally witnessed, and a hint of mystical powers.

Threat Level: Legendary (80)

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d10, Spirit d12, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Intimidation d10, Shooting d10, Piloting d8, Persuasion d10-2, Guts d10, Fighting d10, Knowledge (Law) d10

Charisma -2, Pace 6, Parry 7, Toughness 5

Hindrances: Vengeful, Bloodthirsty, Mean.

Edges: Noble, Arcane Background (Psionics), Connections, Charismatic, Command, Rich, Natural Leader.

Powers: Fear, Mind Reading, Puppet.
Post a Comment