Project Blue Earth SOS
Two boy geniuses, with the aid of lots of tech and some stalwart companions, take on an alien invasion.
"Our extra-special, grandiose sci-fi adventure, that many will imitate but none will be able to duplicate, will continue"- Ep. 1 closer
And yet, despite that blast of Stan Lee-level self-praise, no one has EVER tried to imitate this. Really, the most amazing thing is how obscure this is.
Part of the problem might be that it depicts a "futuristic" world of 2000 that certainly hadn't happened when the show was made- IN 2006. The apparent reason it's so out of synch with reality is that the novel on which it's based dates, according to Wiki, from 1948-1951, and rather than move the setting a few decades past 2006, the show's creators kept the original novel chronology and just let the thing be "retro." (The capital city of Earth here, called "Metropolitan", seems to be located in Texas. Carlos will be so pleased.)
Our main hero is a "boy genius" (and son of a rich industrialist) named Billy Kimura. He believes in the Power of Science, though Common Sense sometimes fails him: at one point he commits vast resources (AND several lives) to a plan with a painfully glaring weakness, but despite this flaw being explained to him, he's stubbornly committed; and I was having flashbacks to Gene Wilder, as Willy Wonka, saying "No. Stop. Don't" to some kids who were just as stubbornly doing stupid things- and with comparable results.
Billy's girlfriend is named Lotta Brest. Look, I know what you're thinking. NO ONE COULD HELP THINKING WHAT YOU'RE THINKING. But it's NOT so. She's just a kid. AND flat-chested. As was usually the case with females in action series Back In The Day, the ONE time Lotta contributes anything of value to the effort, it's purely by accident.
Our other main younger character is Penny Carter, who, despite that name, is a guy. Penny has consistently terrible luck throughout the show, which is a shame, since he seems less arrogant than Billy.
There's also James, a fighter pilot who gets blown up a lot. In fact, ALL our heroes survive getting blown up a lot, but James is, hands down, the most skilled at surviving getting blown up. James' best friend is named Captain Clayton, and he really doesn't need a formal introduction, since he has "Capt. Clayton" stenciled on his jacket.
The attacking aliens seem to have unlimited numbers of spacecraft, but fortunately our heroes seem to have an unlimited budget for countermeasures, including such normally budget-busting measures as building a more protected futuristic city UNDER a less protected futuristic city. Billy is, of course, also expert at inventing (and constructing) sophisticated hardware, seemingly within minutes. (In the U.S., at about the same time the novel this is based on was written, we had Sci-Fi shows like Captain Video, where the protagonist usually just happened to have the oddly specific piece of tech needed for the job.) Blue Earth's Year 2000, on the other hand, hasn't shown much advancement in information retrieval at all; a couple of times we see Penny going through seemingly EVERY book in a library looking for some obscure reference. Even Grampa has to admit that SOME things are better than they were Back In The Day. (Obscure references have apparently been used to hide things from the aliens, on the theory that the ALIENS will NOT have the patience to go through every book in the library.)
We're told that time here is of the essence, and yet there seems to always be plenty of time, somehow. The crew of a spaceship is supposedly rapidly dying from cold and oxygen starvation, yet the folks on the ground have time for an extensive series of experiments, a dinner break, assembling the necessary hardware to save them- AND making the journey to do just that. I thought only the ALIENS here were living in a time warp. (The aliens' time warp is the show's only concession to rationality in its chronology. By the way, the aliens both ARE, and AREN'T, and I refuse to explain that further; you'd have to watch the show. Things get WAY too confusing in the final episode for the younger audience this is really aimed at.)
For all the aliens' formidable death-ray equipped spaceships (and, at one point, War of the Worlds-inspired mechanical walkers), the deadliest weapon they employ against the humans is a children's show. Considering Project Blue Earth's intended audience, there's something kind of meta about that...
OK, the show's an obscure relic that maybe should have been left buried, and perhaps I'll be cursed for having unearthed it, but it DOES have fast-paced (if usually absurd) action, which stirred memories of early anime series; and I ALWAYS feel great sympathy for noble characters who nevertheless routinely receive the short end of the stick, and Penny qualifies. Other juvenile adventure shows, like Speed Racer, reflect the knowledge and social attitudes of their time, and I can appreciate them in that context; but THIS one is anachronistic in such a strange way that I found it hard to fully enjoy it. And like I said, children would probably find that ending hard to understand. Only 2 stars, I'm afraid; really, I had more fun writing the review than I had watching the show. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Right Stuf goes 13+ on the Blu-Ray/DVD. There's a little nudity (shower scene, and one other scene with an unclothed female as well), and I think one or two people get skewered. (People get blown up, too, but that doesn't seem to faze them.) So Fanservice and Violence.
Version(s) Viewed: Crunchyroll video stream
Review Status: Full (6/6)
Project Blue Earth SOS © 2006 Project BLUE
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