tek's rating: ½

G.I. Joe: Renegades, on Hub Network
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Caution: potential spoilers.

Hmmm. I think the first thing I should say is that when I was a kid, I used to collect G.I. Joe toys. That was fun. I also probably saw some of the old 1980s cartoon, and I definitely saw the animated movie that was, I think, part of the same continuity as the cartoon. I'll have to watch that movie again someday and write a review, and maybe I'll see the series again sometime, though I'm a bit iffier about that. I suppose there have been other animated series based on the toys, over the years... I vaguely recall watching a little bit of Sigma 6 in 2005, but I quit watching pretty early in its run. I also watched a web miniseries called G.I. Joe: Resolute (though I saw it on TV) in 2009. (That same year there was a live-action G.I. Joe movie, which I haven't seen and I don't know whether I ever will.) So, there you have it. My history with the franchise. On to my review of this series....

It's pretty different from any incarnation I've seen. In the first place, I don't think there's actually any such organization as "G.I. Joe," though I could be mistaken. As far as I can tell, there's just the regular military... army, special forces or something, I dunno. (The main characters are G.I.'s, who refer to themselves as "ordinary joes.") The other thing you need to know is that Cobra isn't a terrorist organization, in this series... or at least, not as far as anyone knows. Cobra Industries is an apparently benevolent mega-corporation that makes life better for everyone. (The first episode begins with a promo for the company, which I thought was pretty funny, especially how the "commercial" ends with the tagline "Knowing is half the battle," an ironic nod to the old 80s cartoon, which used to do sort of PSA spots or whatever.) However, there's this lieutenant named Shana O'Hara, who is investigating Cobra. She knows they're actually up to all kinds of evil. (In the course of the premiere, everyone will get nicknames, and O'Hara ends up being called "Scarlett.") She puts together a team including Sgt. Conrad Hauser (aka "Duke"), Corporal Marvin Hinton (aka "Roadblock"), Private Nicky Lee (aka "Tunnel Rat"), and Private Wallace Weems (aka "Ripcord"). She already had a ninja called Snake Eyes working with her, and we later learn that he's her sensei. Anyway, in the course of their investigation, Ripcord gets killed, and a Cobra facility is destroyed. The team manages to put a stop to one of Cobra's mad schemes, but they don't manage to prove what the company was actually up to. So, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Duke, Road Block, and Tunnel Rat go on the run, wanted by the military for what appears to be an act of terrorism against Cobra. They'll be pursued by Lieutenant Dashiell Faireborn (aka "Flint"). On his task force is Sergeant Alison Hart-Burnett (aka "Lady Jaye"), though she's a friend of Duke's, so she secretly helps them avoid Flint. I gotta say, the premise reminds me a great deal of The A-Team (as does the opening credits sequence).

We also see various members of Cobra, though the one we mostly see is Anastasia "Baroness" Cisarovna, who is in charge of protecting Cobra's public image, but also oversees many of its clandestine operations. Of course, ultimately Cobra Commander is in charge, though so far we don't know much about him. Other characters include Dr. Mindbender, Major Bludd, and Destro. As the series progresses I'm sure we'll see more. We also get to learn about Snake Eyes' past; he's a gaijin who was trained by the head of the Arashikage clan, until his sensei was killed. From what I've seen so far, it's not clear who's responsible (though I'm guessing it was someone who disapproved of Snake Eyes' influence on him to start leading the clan on a more honorable path). But Snake Eyes had a rival student, his sensei's nephew, who is called Storm Shadow, and he seems to believe Snake Eyes is the killer, while Snake Eyes apparently thought it was Storm Shadow. The episodes that show us flashbacks to all this also introduces another student of Snake Eyes, who calls herself Jinx. She's the daughter of Snake Eyes' sensei, and Storm Shadow's cousin. So she's caught in the middle of their feud, and while she trusted Snake Eyes at first, later she's not sure what to think.

Anyway... not sure what else to say. It's a nice twist on the usual G.I. Joe story, mildly amusing, reasonably entertaining stories. Unfortunately, the show only lasted one season.

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