The Stingray crew faced many foes across their 39 television adventures. Chief among these was of course the despotic Titan, leader of the underwater city of Titanica, but they also tangled with many other adversarial alien races who sought to destroy humanity – despite most of those races only being comprised of two people! Here are five of our favourite Stingray guest baddies!
#5 – Sculpin (The Golden Sea)
Sculpin’s function within Titanica is a little unclear; some sources say he was Titan’s chancellor, but when we see him in The Golden Sea he is demonstrating an echo sounder with the power to attract the fearsome giant Gargan which could suggest he was some kind of engineer. Regardless of his exact job description Sculpin was a rare reminder that Titan had an entire city full of people under his command, not just X-20 and the Aquaphibians, and he could have provided an interesting new dynamic to the Titan and X-20 relationship even if he had only gone on to make occasional guest appearances on the show. It also would have provided another voice role for Don Mason, who often struggled to disguise the distinctive heroic tones of Troy Tempest – but did a very good job with the snivelling Sculpin! However, after The Golden Sea ended with Titan and Sculpin under attack from the very sea creature whose power they hoped to harness, we suspect Sculpin might have earned himself a one-way ticket to the underwater prison complex of Aquatraz – or worse!
#4 – Gadus and Maran (Hostages of the Deep)
The first non-Titanican enemy aliens that the Stingray crew faced (in production order, at least) the lettuce-faced Gadus kidnapped retired W.A.S.P. Admiral Carson and his wife and then rigged their house to explode when the Stingray crew arrived to investigate. Fortunately Troy Tempest had the presence of mind to bring along a radio-controlled toy fish to send in first, and definitely not because they’d been messing around with it before they got the call and decided to bring it along just in case.
Gadus manages to be quite a thorn in the Stingray crew’s side considering he’s working solo for most of the episode, only teaming up with his colleague Maran near the end of the story. He does lose a few points for bragging about his secret base, only for it to be revealed as simply…a cave, but the fact that it’s a cave at the end of a very long underwater tunnel that’s too narrow for Stingray to enter means Troy and Phones almost lose their lives trying to traverse it by their seabugs. We’re not sure what Gadus’ plan was for the Carsons if Troy and Phones hadn’t survived their trip down the tunnel, but he probably didn’t buy that metal swordfish for ornamental value.
#3 – Noctous and Grupa (A Nut for Marineville and Trapped in the Depths)
What’s this? A pair of guest aliens having not one but two shots at our aquanaut heroes? Noctous and Grupa’s first appearance firmly establishes them and their shark-like submarine as a force to be reckoned with – so much so that Professor Burgoyne has to be brought to Marineville in order to construct a stronger metal to be fitted to the nosecones of the base’s underwater interceptors.
While this work is being carried out the alien submarine is continuing its relentless approach towards the base, destroying anything in its path, and the resulting tension among our heroes help to make Noctous and Grupa feel even more of a threat! Fortunately their sub is disabled before it can launch a final attack, with the two aliens being brought before Commander Shore for a quick lecture and an even quicker prison sentence.
Despite this leniency – or perhaps because of it – they’re both back out causing trouble the very next week, as they team up with the insane Professor Cordo to steal Stingray and plant a duplicate in its place. We don’t see much of them during their second appearance but the fact that they are able to get their scaly hands on the super sub, even for a little while, proves that they were a credible recurring threat the likes of which the series could perhaps have presented more often.
#2 – Nucella and Chidora (Emergency Marineville)
Now these two know how to construct a classic villain lair! From their control room beneath a seemingly deserted island this devious duo fire rockets at Marineville, and – of course – these rockets are launched from the dormant volcano at the centre of the island.
When the Stingray crew are captured during their investigation they discover that the base’s control room also houses a devious torture device guaranteed to make any prisoner talk – almost! Marina is the unfortunate first victim of their electric chair and Troy is forced to share the frequency of Marineville’s interceptors so that Nucella and Chidora’s rocket can finally make it through and destroy the entire base! Unfortunately, after locking the Stingray crew in a cell, they then leave the key on a nearby table, and…well, you can guess the rest.
Although they surrender at the end of the episode without too much convincing, the fact that they’ve gone to so much trouble building their lair and very nearly succeed in destroying Marineville has to put Nucella and Chidora almost at the top of this list.
#1 – The people of Solarstar (The Big Gun)
Another of the earliest threats faced by the Stingray crew (again, in production order), the inhabitants of the city of Solarstar – particularly their star aquanaut Mauritimus – waste no time in establishing themselves as a threat with the complete and total destruction of the island of San May. Stingray is able to destroy their craft before it can make an equally devastating attack on the West coast of America, but in pursuing its sister ship the crew find themselves in a subterranean sea, the pressure of which soon begins to crush Stingray’s hull.
While Mauritimus and his comrades do come across as utterly ruthless in their quest to destroy America despite looking like evil Lego minifigures, the city itself is also a fascinating and beautiful creation. Its residents appearing to live inside a giant starfish that they have adapted for their own use – even going to the trouble of installing approach lights to guide their ships home! Unfortunately the people of Solarstar chose the wrong day to cross Troy Tempest, who (with the help of Marina) proceeds to destroy their entire city after finally taking down Mauritimus. This casual extermination of an entire race may seem somewhat extreme, but it certainly cemented the people of Solarstar as among the most dangerous opponents the Stingray crew ever encountered – with even Commander Shore pointing out at the end of the episode how much the Marineville team still had to learn about the dangers posed by their new underwater adversaries.
So now that we’ve braved the waters of Stingray villainy, we want to know; do you agree with this list? Or was there a far more fiendish foe lurking beneath the surface that we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments below!