With the elaborately titled Commando Cody - Sky Marshal of the Universe I finished up this final iteration of the Rocketman series. It's considered by some a serial, but it's not. It's an attempt by Republic to create a TV show out of their serial material. Watching these episodes is like watching old Superman or Lone Ranger shows, especially the latter, and while pretty entertaining in spots not much of a serial in tone or character.
The story though does have something of a through line. Yet another alien menace from space-parts unknown (possibly Venus at first) named "The Ruler" plots to overwhelm the Earth. His schemes involve mucking with the weather a lot, usually creating a heatwave, a deep freeze, a series of storms, or whatnot. His invading forces usually consist of two guys in a single rocket ship and two other guys who have infiltrated human society. Their are always two of them I guess so they can talk to one another. Lyle Talbot plays one of the Earth spies in several episodes, though his ultimate fate is left open somewhat. It's the use of these same actors as "The Ruler" and such that make people think of this as a serial I guess.
Commando Cody is played by Judd Holdren who started this series assisted by Aline Towne. But after three episodes this series was put on hold to make Zombies in the Stratoshpere in which the name "Commmando Cody" is dropped though both Holdren and Towne show up under new names. After that serial completed they went back to produce the other nine episodes of this show.
The shows have a real formula to them, and that's fine but watching them close together does point up the weaknesses in this approach. They are fun shows, harmless fluff. But they don't have the power of the serials, the momentum is missing and that really hurts the overall impact of the threats. You don't know how, but you know it will be solved by the end of the show, unlike serials which can throw you curves as they unfold.
Good stuff still though.
UPDATE: My general opinions remain unchanged. But I did have the luxury this time of watching the show in a very good dvd edition from Olive Films. What I had before was a very low-grade bootleg (all you could find) and it's very nice to enjoy this show in a better format. My feelings about how the show is really an outer space Lone Ranger really are enhanced by this viewing.