Space Academy

Space Academy aired in 1977 and was the most expensive “kid vid” series of its day. It incorporated huge standing sets, an array of characters, and fairly well written scripts. Most of the storylines focused on young people and the consequences of the poor choices they made it was not as heavy handed as many of the other moralistic shows of the day.

The series only ran 15 episodes and never fully found its ground. Centered on the lives of young students at a Space Academy (hence the name), their various backgrounds, powers, and skills never really came together in a cohesive manner. The station’s commander, Isaac Gampu, was played by Jonathan Harris, who never shook the image of his role as Dr. Smith from Lost in Space. Pamelyn Ferdin, a long-time veteran and huge child star, also retained her image from other, more popular roles. Each week showed an encounter in a new environment, where the students encountered a problem and learned a moral lesson. The stories were acceptable for a children’s show, but otherwise the series was fairly unremarkable.

Space Academy followed closely on the heels of the 1976 Ark II. In fact, the model of the academy space shuttle, the Seeker, was built from the front of the Ark II model. Concurrently, the interior of the Ark II was reworked to serve as the interior for the Seeker. The main difference between the two was a front window to allow for space exteriors to be seen. The Ark II was built without windows to reduce the costs of providing exterior views on the set. The series Jason of Star Command was a spin-off of Space Academy and was set on the same asteroid complex as the Academy and used many of the same props, ships, sets, costumes, and music.