Captain Christopher Gentry
Chris is our cadet standard for intelligence and common sense. He is the captain of the Blue Team for a "very good reason"; he's the best man for the job. Whether he's using his special abilities, joking around or charging a fellow cadet with endangerment, Chris is accepted by his teammates for his leadership abilities and an occasional rebellious spirit his friends also feel, but are afraid to act upon. Chris Gentry is not afraid. He will plant technite charges on an unstable planetoid and then go back to rescue the records of a lost civilization. He will flirt awkwardly with Adrian and joke about Paul's good looks. He can chastise Tee Gar's assessment of the situation and then accept his help when the situation demands it. Chris is a nice guy with a nice smile and a California tan and hair to match; a space-aged Ken in a non-Barbie universe.
But is there more to this student cadet? No one can forget the fact that this student has Gampu's confidence to bring the team back to the Space Academy safely. We see from the beginning that this is a new team, by the way Gampu has Adrian in charge and absently looks for a pilot, finally choosing Chris, for the mission to go to Zalon. (A more seasoned team would have no question of their duties.) In the next episode, "Castaways In Time And Space", the brother and sister have to ask permission to use their gifts to communicate with each other. This is a look at group dynamics in the beginning stages for the first three episodes.
But, on occasion, Chris is not seen as the most competent of leaders. In one episode, his sister, Laura, makes the comment that "Gampu doesn't think we can do this on our own", implying the team does not have enough experience to make workable decisions without an adult to supervise. Chris agrees, by his silence, and later attempts to make the best decisions that will accomplish the task, without needing their mentor's guidance.
Being in a leadership role may not be a new experience for the tallest of the Blue Team members. Chris' body language is that of someone used to being in authority. We see him trying to do "the right thing" by bringing charges against Matt Prentiss, though in an earlier episode he endangers the lives of Paul and Tee Gar by going against orders and attempting to rescue his sister and Commander Gampu.
But the boy has wisdom and energy even in a crisis situation. He also tends to whine. Chris Gentry reacts in a large way. His facial expressions and quick smile make up for a post-adolescent guy doing his best not to look goofy in the position he is in. In reality, he is just a big kid with a big responsibility he takes seriously. We like him that way, too. Part of those flaws make him attractive and want us to follow him through the unknown. With Chris, there is always an adventure about to happen. If he treats his sister like a teammate, that's okay. If he treats the Blue Team like the semi-professionals they want to be, even better. Chris has the ability to be fun and big-brother like. But no one questions his decisions more than once. Give him time and he might be sitting next to Jason (of Star Command) in further adventures.
Filmation writers seemed to put more thought into Ric Carrott's character than the other Blue Team members. They gave him special abilities he shares with his cute pixie sibling, Laura, along with warmth and humor, and oddly--a temper. These special abilities keep everyone safe, out of trouble, or "saves their bacon", and usually at the last minute. The series Bible indicates Chris and Laura were to be twins, but the Powers That Be decided to make them siblings. Which one is the younger? Had they never heard of non-identical twins? The twin angle could have sparked more interest in the show.
What could have been the equivalent of command tended to be overshadowed by Gampu, so as a character, we saw only the beginnings of his personality. Fair minded and unafraid to speak his mind, unlike his friend, Tee Gar, who often got in trouble when he did so, Chris Gentry was the rock for the team and the series, not Gampu.
Filmation only sabotaged this character a little, which is why Carrott's acting is almost believable. We can imagine he would disobey orders to rescue his sister. We can imagine that he would refuse a mission so that Gampu could regain confidence in himself ("Life Begins at 300"). We can believe that he would rather be a team player and a serious cadet--all attributes of a well rounded character. That writers would make him such a prude is, however, embarrassing. If they wanted the viewers to physically cringe in front of the tube when he knocks over Adrian's stylus in "Survivors of Zalon", they accomplished their task. The almost redeeming moment in that first episode was Laura admonishing him not to give up pursuing his interest in Adrian hinting for the viewers that more flirtatiousness would be forthcoming in future episodes.
There is one thing I'd like to know that no cast member is talking about. That is how did the cast get along? The DVD interviews make it sounds like everyone got along just famously. And in my discussion with Eric Greene, "Loki" spent his time concentrating on his lines more than on cast relationships, because of his young age, he had no additional information to add. The reason I wonder is that in one scene, "Hide and Seek", when the cadets reappear at the end of the episode, Chris embraces his sister. Yet, her right hand comes up looking like she's fending him off. In another scene, "There's No Place Like Home", Chris and Paul look like they are fighting over holding the prop between them. Probably insignificant...
Go to Ric Carrott's page.
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