|This follow-up to the syndicated Battle of the Planets was culled from the same source material, Japan's popular Gatchaman series, but G-Force distanced itself from its predecessor in a variety of ways.
Both series featured G-Force, a watchdog squad for earth and the galaxy surrounding it. In Battle of the Planets, the team was led by Mark, the thoughtful yet daring commander. He was assisted by the headstrong and impetuous Jason, whose exuberance for battle needed to be muted now and then. Princess was G-Force’s only woman, quick with a quip and holding more than a team-member’s interest in Mark, though their defense assignments kept them too busy to pursue a full-time relationship. Keyop, the fourth member of the squad, was created in a lab expressly for G-Force. A malfunction in his production gave him a strange manner of speaking, which only made him more loveable.
G-Force was rounded out (pun fully intended) by Tiny, the overweight pilot of “The Phoenix,” the squadron's ship. The Phoenix was a technical marvel, capable of transmuting from a conventional spaceship to an amorphous, fiery bird when necessary to escape danger. G-Force’s headquarters was named Center Neptune and was manned by 7-Zark-7, a robot who provided the team with their assignments, keeping them abreast of enemy movements. This character did not appear in the original Japanese incarnation of the show. He was kept company by his loyal robot dog 1-Rover-1, and a never-seen secretary, Susan, whose sultry voice would make 7-Z-7’s antennae vibrate with excitement whenever he heard her talk. Dr. Anderson was the security officer who advised the team about operational procedures.
The leading enemy antagonist was Zoltar, who constantly plotted take-over invasions of Earth using robot troops, tanks, planes, and hideous mechanical creatures. The ruler of the dying planet Spectra, Zoltar hoped to conquer earth and plunder its natural resources. The baddie received commands from a higher and more powerful evil galactic being known as “The Spirit,” whom Zoltar referred to as “Oh Luminous One.” This can be attributed to the fact that “The Spirit” was never represented by anything more than two eyes on a monitor.
For the updated G-Force, the heroes' names were changed to Ace Goodheart (Mark), Dirk Daring (Jason), Agatha June (Princess), Pee Wee (Keyop), Hootie (Tiny), and Professor Brighthead (Dr. Anderson), while Zoltar's name was changed to Galactor. 7-Zark-7, a creation of Battle of the Planets syndicator Sandy Frank, was dropped, and "The Spirit" was renamed Computor.
The revamped series didn't play as well as the original, running only six episodes on TBS before its early cancellation. The Cartoon Network saved the show from animated oblivion in 1995, airing a total of 85 G-Force episodes on weekday afternoon rotation.
In 1996, Saban Entertainment bought the rights to the Gatchaman franchise, including the Japanese sequel Gatchaman F. The material was once again re-edited and renamed, further confusing the Gatchaman family tree. Now titled Eagle Riders, the show only ran 13 episodes in the U.S. but became a popular draw in Australia and New Zealand.