Several people wrote to let us know that PC Gamer has posted a weekend article about Wing Commander Academy. This is pretty good exposure for an underappreciated part of the series. The piece is peppered with some common gaming journalism conceits - back-handed compliments and dramatized complaints - but hopefully it introduces new fans to Wing Commander. The author has typed up a play-by-play of the pilot episode here.
Perhaps most notably, the usual cartoon rule that everything has to be wrapped up nicely by the end of every episode… is not in force. Academy isn’t afraid to end stories on a downer, or present war as something other a cheery, glorious adventure. In one early episode for instance, one of the main cast has to blow up a comrade who recently declared his love for her. In another, a legendary hero turns out to have taken a turn towards Nietzsche. In others, the show plays with the fact that the cast – as fighter and bomber pilots – aren’t privvy to the high-level tactical decisions being made elsewhere on the ship, and often have very distorted ideas of what they’re risking their lives for. None of this is desperately earthshaking for fiction as a whole, but for this timeslot, it’s good stuff. It’s also a rare case where this kind of spin-off has both slipped into canon, and generally been embraced by the fans.