Cult Cartoon Essentials

Cult Cartoon Essentials: Exosquad

Created by Jeff Segal and written by Mark Edward Edens and Michael Edens, Exosquad landed on our screens in September 1993 and ran for two seasons (52 episodes). The show dove headfirst into a lot of serious heavy issues and tackled them in ways that are unusual for the genre. Set in 2119–2121 AD in an age where mankind (or “Terrans” as they are referred to in Exosquad) has spread to the stars and terraformed and colonised Venus and Mars creating what is known as “The Homeworlds” – the first Terran interplanetary state.

As we learn more of this time we discover that not all Terrans are affiliated with the Homeworlds as Pirate Clans exist having descended from Terran criminals who had been exiled to the Outer Planets. The Pirate Clans cause trouble to all involved and the threat of an all-out war looms over the Homeworlds.

Another interesting dynamic to the show was the Neosapiens – an artificial humanoid race coexisting with Terrans. Historically, the Neosapiens were used primarily as slaves during the colonisation of Mars and Venus so were genetically engineered to be physically stronger and better adapted to hostile environments than Terrans. Their mistreatment by Terrans led to the First Neosapien Revolt. Taking place fifty years before the series began, it was crushed, but did bring about positive changes for the Neosapians. Fifty years, later, Neosapien Governor of Mars, Phaeton (Richard Newman), is still not happy with the fate of his people and sets about creating a new insurrection. His insurrection plan, “Operation Destiny,” depends heavily on the war between the Pirate Clans and the Homeworlds’ Exofleet – once Exofleet chase after the Pirate Clans and leave the Homeworlds unguarded Phaeton plans to strike and seize control!

As a viewer we follow Able Squad, an elite E-frame unit, composed of J.T. Marsh (voiced by Robby Benson), Nara Burns (voiced by Lisa Ann Beley), Maggie Weston (voiced by Teryl Rothery), Kaz Takagi (voiced by Michael Benyaer), Alec DeLeon (voiced by John Payne), Rita Torres (voiced by Janyse Jaud), Wolf Bronsky (voiced by Michael Donovan), and Marsala (voiced by Garry Chalk); also in a move not seen in shows like this, we got episodes dedicated to other characters like the C5 Jumptroop Squadron, numerous Homeworlds Resistance cells, prominent Pirates, and high-ranking Neosapien officers – highlighting how the battle was progressing from their points of view.

Sadly Exosquad was cancelled after two seasons but they did manage to conclude their storyline and create another with a cliffhanger ending that saw J.T. Marsh engaging a group of unknown alien space vessels. Writer Michael Edens stated that the original plan was to make the aliens insectoid. He added a third season would have explored the Pirates’ dark matter, Dr. Ketzer’s experiments, and the unactivated clone of Phaeton – all of which would have played a great role in fighting the new Insectoid threat. The idea of a movie based on Exosquad was being promoted by executive producer Jeff Segal, and it was also planned to expand the fictional universe with a spin-off series, then codenamed Exo-Pirates. Both initiatives were scrapped with the cancellation of the third season.

 

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