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Roughnecks: Starship Troopers    
All you'll ever need to know!  

from Cult Times #64

The Premise: In the aftermath of a triumphant victory for the Global Army over the savage warrior Bugs, three youngsters, Rico, Carmen and Carl, enlist in the military. However, the insects resume their hostilities and the three are caught up on the front lines. The series focuses on the brutality of the war, and the effect it has on the three teenagers as they travel the galaxy to fight the Bugs as part of ‘Razak’s Roughnecks’. We follow the progress of the teenagers from rookies to hardened members of the squad.

Background: The original basis for the series came from the classic SF novel Starship Troopers by Robert A Heinlein. A 1997 movie (also called Starship Troopers), directed by Paul Verhoeven, evolved from that. The animated series takes elements from both of the previous versions, re-telling the story and expanding upon it. The series also uses state-of-the-art CGI animation by Foundation Imaging and Flat Earth Productions.

First Run: 30th August 1999

Number of Episodes: One season of 36 half-hour episodes. Forty episodes were planned but the run was curtailed.

The Soldiers: The hot-headed young Johnny Rico (Rino Romano), fun-loving but tough soldier Dizzy Flores (EG Daily) and psychic Carl Jenkins (Rider Strong). Other characters include the object of Rico’s desires, Carmen Ibanez, and squad leader Lieutenant Razak.

The Bugs: There are various types of arachnids that are encountered in the series. Among them are the Workers (who build tunnels) and the Warriors (armed with huge pincer-like claws). Others are Hoppers, Plasma Bugs and the leader Brain Bugs.

And Isn’t That... Voice artists aren’t as easy to recognize as real-life actors, but Clancy Brown from Earth 2 and Highlander pops up occasionally as Sergeant Zim (a part he also played in the movie version).

Overdone Clichés: Many episodes are set against the backdrop of a battle with the Bugs while the team are on some sort of mission. Also, at times the love triangle material between Dizzy, Rico and Carmen, is of a daytime soap standard.

Fashion Statements: Power suits, of course. These aren’t just fashion accessories, though. As well as making the soldiers look like gorillas, the suits can enable their wearer to leap huge distances.

  The Roughnecks

Liquid Dreams
Rico is injured and falls into a coma. The result is a fascinating flashback to Rico’s schooldays, and a chance to see the characters before the war.

Letters Home
With an impending Bug attack likely to leave no survivors, the Roughnecks prepare their goodbyes to their loved ones. A particularly moving instalment.

One of the final episodes as the arc nears its climax. A shocking discovery about the Bugs’ network of tunnels leads to the drastic plan of nuking San Francisco: a plan which will lead to death for one of the Roughnecks…


The series is generally of a fairly high standard, especially as each episode tends to form part of a longer arc. However, Propoganda Machine uses that old money saving stand-by. A clips episode. Yawn.


Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles
recently aired on Sky One

See listings section of this Cult Times for details

Tom Spilsbury & Jerry Cheung

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Feature © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction.