VR Troopers | ABC-5 90's American Adapted Super Hero Kids Show

VR Troopers or Virtual Reality Troopers was a syndicated live action show produced by Saban Entertainment (creators of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series) and originally aired in Fox Kids block from 1994 to 1996. In the Philippines, the Associated Broadcasting Company (now known as TV5) aired VR Troopers on a weekend primetime block. The show featured early CGI and video effects (to show the "Virtual Reality") mixed with Japanese stock footage from three different Metal Hero Series: Superhuman Machine Metalder, Dimensional Warrior Spielban and Space Sheriff Shaider. Let's go down memory lane and remember VR Troopers back in ABC Channel 5 Philippines.

VR Troopers 90's Retro US Show ABC-5 Reto Pilipinas Feature

VR Troopers tried to profit from the fascination with the virtual reality craze in the early 90s as well as the success of Power Rangers. It featured early CGI and video effects mixed with Japanese stock footage from three different Metal Hero Series: Superhuman Machine Metalder, Dimensional Warrior Spielban, and Space Sheriff Shaider. This kind of adaptation technique of turning multiple foreign shows into one completely different local show was originally used in anime (Robotech and Voltron). Amidst the success of VR Troopers, making a name for itself escaping the shadows of Power Rangers (or any comparison to it) the show was eventually cancelled due to the lack of stock footage from the original Japanese tokusatsu series it borrowed its action scenes from. The show lasted two seasons (Season 1 1994-1995 and Season 2 1995-1996) with nearly 100 episodes before it was eventually cancelled in favor of another Americanized tokusatsu series, The Big Bad Beetleborgs. Let's go down memory lane as we remember another Americanized Saban Kid's show of the 90's.

VR Troopers - The Story
VR Troopers Series Plot

VR Troopers follows three young adults in their late teens, Ryan Steele (played by Brad Hawkins), Kaitlin Star (Sarah Brown), and J.B. Reese (Michael Bacon) living in the fictional West Coast town of Cross World City. They regularly attend and are teachers at "Tao's Dojo", a karate studio. Ryan is the most focused martial artist; J.B. is a computer wizard; and Kaitlin is a photographer & budding reporter for the local newspaper, the Underground Voice Daily.

Cross World City's Ryan Steele, Kaitlin Star, and J.B. Reese  as the VR Troopers

In Ryan's search for his long-missing father, he and his two friends are led to a strange laboratory. Inside it was a digitized head of Professor Horatio Hart, a friend of Ryan's father. Professor art explained the truth about his life's work of having developed extremely advanced virtual reality technology in complete secrecy. "VR" is a dimension universe existing alongside our own; within it lie mutants and monsters bent on conquering both worlds. The main ruler of the said monstrosities is the Grimlord (Gardner Baldwin). Unbeknownst to everyone on Earth, Grimlord has a human identity, the billionaire industrialist Karl Ziktor. In the normal reality, Karl Ziktor tries to overcome the barriers that protects the real world and the virtual world to allow his armies easy passage from virtual world. It is up to Ryan, Kaitlin, and J.B. to defend the planet on both sides of the dimensional barrier. In order to stop Grimlord's assault on both realities they are able to change to Virtual Reality Troopers with armored bodies having incredible firepower.

VR Troopers Opening Theme
VR Troopers Series Intro

VR Troopers Americanized Retro Kids Show VR Troopers Armor Season 1

As a kid growing in the 90's, I still remember liking this show and not taking any offense on how it made use of various Japanese tokusatsu series. We were oblivious of the tokusatsu series used in VR Troopers at that time, with the exemption of Space Sheriff Shaider aggressively used in the show's second season. It was a good action-packed retro superhero kids show after the Power Rangers every Friday nights. Like any other retro kids show it has this catchy opening theme. The show featured Jeb, the talking dog which to me added a little charm to the usual scary moments of the show specifically those transformation sequence of Ziktor to Grimlord. Seeing that horrendous face of Grimlord brought shiver down my spine as a kid.

VR Troopers Jeb the Talking Dog

It was really just a shame that it got cancelled like most US shows on that era. Even up to this generation, there are still some shows that can get cancelled amidst its popularity. Luckily, Saban and other companies who tried adapting Japanese series finally leaned a few tools of trade from running out of stock footage which is to actually re-create the costumes and set and choreographed fight scenes on set.

Saban's VR Troopers 90's Title Logo

How about you guys? How do you remember this Americanized tokusatsu series? any favorite characters, episodes, or merchandise? Share your thoughts about VR Troopers in the comments section below:

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