|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13 (5 unaired) (list of episodes)|
|Running time||About 22 min. per episode|
|Original release||March 1 – April 13, 1996|
Hypernauts is a proof of concept show produced by Foundation Imaging and Netter Digital Entertainment. To further prove that the computer-generated imagery and visual effects created in Babylon 5 were easily applied to other venues, the Hypernauts were born. ABC purchased thirteen episodes of the show from DIC Entertainment, eight of which ran on Saturday mornings for a single season in 1996 at 10:00 AM. ABC decided not to pick up the series for a second season, and did not air the five remaining episodes. The show was created and produced by Ron Thornton and Douglas Netter, its executive story editor was Christy Marx who also wrote four episodes. Marx had previously written for both Babylon 5 and Captain Power. Another series writer was Katherine Lawrence who was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award due to her script for Ice Bound.
Due to its lineage, Hypernauts featured relatively detailed designs of its technology and its aliens, as well as a fairly intricate plot; especially for a Saturday morning children's series. The premise of the series was that three cadets from the Academy of Galactic Exploration become lost in a Hyper Bubble (hyperspace) mid-jump and must band together with an alien named Kulai in order to survive in an unfamiliar part of the galaxy. Kulai (unbeknownst to the cadets) is a Chalim priestess from a planet called Pyria, a planet that was strip-mined by a warlike race called the Triiad, led by the Pyran traitor, Paiyin. The sole purpose of the Triiad is to wipe out intelligent races, and in the process acquire raw materials from their destroyed planets to continually create new war machines using automated self-replicating factory ships called "Makers."
The Hypernauts, as they name themselves, cannot match the Triiad's firepower with their own so they must rely on stealth, wits and (occasionally) their modified 'mech suits' in order to escape the Triiad. They are based in an ancient abandoned exploration ship called the Star Ranger which is hidden in an asteroid field, the Star Ranger's obsolete AI is named Horten. For long range missions they use a four-person shuttle called the Flapjack which like the Star Ranger is Hyper Bubble capable but has a much shorter range.
The Triiad have englobed the central region of the Milky Way Galaxy in a sensor net that can identify the destination point of any hyperspace jump passing out of it, so returning home would lead the Triiad directly to Earth. The Hypernauts must keep the location of Earth a secret and somehow try to warn Earth of the Triiad's existence.
Russell 'Ace' Antonov (Glenn Herman) the team's "ace' pilot joined Max and Sharkey on the discipline mission as a punishment for using the Academy of Galactic Exploration's sim trainer to play war games. Ace pilots the team's shuttle known as the "Flapjack" on excursions away from the Star Ranger, he's also the team's best mech pilot.
Noriko 'Max' Matsuda (Heidi Lucas) the team medic, was sent on the disciplinary mission that stranded the three Hypernauts because of unauthorized calls to her sister. Legally separated from her family to join the Academy, Max joined the Academy in defiance of the wishes and beliefs of her people, the isolationist and xenophobic Caduceus Enclave.
Ricardo 'Sharkey' Alvarez (Marc Brandon Daniel) the team's engineer and computer technician, was placed on the disciplinary mission after hacking into the Academy's mainframe. As a child, Sharkey was injured in an accident that killed his parents. Unresolved trauma from this incident led to Sharkey's claustrophobia.
A three legged alien found on a planet decimated by the Triiad and kept as a pet on board the Star Ranger.
Kulai (Carrie Dobro) is the last Chalim (spiritual leader) from Pyrus. She joined the Hypernauts as a friend and mentor due to the help they provided in the conflict with Paiyin. The average Pyran lives about 300 years. Kulai is 342 and has an extended lifespan which is a part of the unique abilities with which she was born and which make her a Chalim, so she will probably live another 200 years. Pyrans share a common psychic bond, a sense of shared existence. The presence of a Chalim generates a critical element of the bond which keeps the race strong, healthy and able to procreate. Without a Chalim, the Pyran race would lack a crucial psychic catalyst. No matter where she is, Kulai can sense whether or not her people continue to exist, and they, to a lesser degree, can sense her existence.
Paiyin (Ron Campbell) was decreed a traitor after he betrayed his people to the Triiad, and facilitated the destruction of his own homeworld. He now serves the Triiad.
The following is a complete list of episode titles for Hypernauts, in original broadcast order. The broadcasts aired on successive Saturday mornings on ABC. Episode descriptions courtesy of Hypernauts On the Net and Christy Marx.com.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|| Production|
|1||"First Contact"||Jim Johnston||Christy Marx||March 1, 1996||101|
|Max, Ace and Sharkey are accidentally catapulted into the galactic core where they rescue Kulai and the Gloose from Kulai's enemy, Paiyin.|
|2||"The Star Ranger"||Leslie Hill||Christy Marx||March 9, 1996||102|
|The kids and Kulai locate a long-abandoned, deep space Earth science station which they make their base. Ace has a very close and dangerous encounter with the Triiad Armada.|
|3||"Icebound"||Janet Greek||Katherine Lawrence||March 9, 1996||103|
|The Star Ranger begins to run low on water, so the Hypernauts land on a nearby ice moon where they discover an ancient space craft, and giant heat seeking worms.|
|4||"Battle at Vekara"||Jon Kroll||Larry DiTillio||March 16, 1996||104|
|The Hypernauts go to the local trade planet, Vekara, to repair and update the ship and mechsuits after a conflict with the Triiad.|
|5||"Cloudholm"||Jon Kroll||Richard Mueller||March 23, 1996||105|
|A low tech world named Cloudholm is in the path of a Triiad prospector probe. The Hypernauts and Kulai attempt to warn the planet's inhabitants the Hokita, who live in gas powered zeppelin platforms.|
|6||"A Walk in the Garden"||Leslie Hill||David Carren, J. Larry Carroll||March 30, 1996||106|
|The Hypernauts, unwilling to tolerate the processed rations stored on the Star Ranger, land on an earthlike world in order to collect clippings for Max so that she may begin a garden.|
|7||"Into the Dark So Deep"||Ron Thornton||Larry DiTillio||April 6, 1996||107|
|The Hypernauts and Kulai go to rescue survivors of a maker attack. Sharkey learns to confront his fear of enclosed spaces.|
|8||"Gone to Meet the Maker"||Adam Weissman||David Carren, J. Larry Carroll||April 13, 1996||108|
|The Star Ranger is in danger of being discovered when a maker begins to process the asteroid field the station is hiding in.|
|Kulai joins her people the Pyrans in order to perform a regeneration ceremony to renew her race and create new Chalim (spiritual leaders). Ace and Sharkey remain on the Star Ranger in order to work on the robot Sharkey took from the maker in "Gone to Meet the Maker". A watcher inside the robot attempts to escape and broadcast the Star Ranger's location to the Triiad.|
|10||"Hole in the Sky"||Unaired|
|Vekara falls under attack from the Triiad forces. The Hypernauts manage to keep the Triiad at bay until a group of refugees are able to escape.|
|Kulai brings the Hypernauts to meet the Sacul, an ancient race powerful enough to hold back the Triiad.|
|12||"The Challenge: Part One"||Unaired|
|Some of the aliens races blame their woes with the Triiad on the Hypernauts. Stung by this, the Hypernauts set out to destroy one of the largest ships in the Triiad fleet in order to prove their worth. While they're making plans, Kulai accepts a secret challenge from Paiyin to a duel of honor. Kulai is taken hostage, but she places herself into a special Chalim trance called the endless sleep that shuts down her mind.|
|13||"The Challenge: Part Two"||Unaired|
|The Hypernauts seek the help of the Sacul to get revenge for what has been done to Kulai. They give the Hypernauts a weapon capable of generating power equivalent to a small star. The Hypernauts manage to enter the main Triiad fortress ship and activate the Sacul weapon before escaping. The explosion destroys the fortress, the Triiad aliens and the fleet, Paiyin also escapes. Later Kulai is woken with the aid of a telepath.|
Reunion, Hole in the Sky, New Alliances, and the Challenge parts one and two never aired in the United States, but were available on various media in Australia, Japan and Germany. In Japan Hypernauts was released as "Voyager" on VHS.
- Executive Producers: Andy Heyward, Michael Malliani, Robby Longon
- Story Editors: John Sandford
- Live Action Produced by: Marsha Goodman
- Executive in charge of production: Brain A. Miller
- Cast: Jan Knoots, Marsha Goodman, Jabeel White, Phil Harnage
- International Executive Producers: Jean Chaplon
- Created by: Danny Florman
- Based on the ''Hypernauts'' book by: Maranget Goodman
- DIC Entertainment: Hypernauts homepage
- Hypernauts on IMDB
- IMDB: Full cast and crew
- TV.com: Hypernauts Writers & Directors
- Christy Marx.com
- Christy Marx script summaries
- IMDB: Katherine Lawrence
- Titles & Air Dates Guide
- Japanese Voyager website
- Facebook Unofficial Fangroup* Require Facebook account
- Official Heidi Lucas website
- Hypernauts at TV.com