Speculative Fiction Saturday: Other Space

Other SpaceI’ve been talking about Community last week, and I will have to say there are good episodes and bad episodes. I still watch it because it sometimes produces a gem, and I guess it was worth Yahoo bringing it back for a sixth season. Another series that Yahoo has “birthed” is a science fiction comedy series known as Other Space. In talking about Other Space, I am going to have to say this about it: it almost works.

There has been a lot of mixes of comedy and science fiction in the past. In the eighties, Douglas Addams had his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book series, and then there was the Red Dwarf TV series. Those are considered classics of the science fiction comedy genre, but not all iterations of those worked. Red Dwarf had its share of bad episodes, and the Hitchhiker’s Guide has never really been successfully adapted to the screen even thought it has been tried twice.

Other Space is made to satirize Star Trek, but this has been done before. One was Galaxy Quest, but that is a different type of satire altogether, and that could have a television series. Another was Hyperdrive, another British science fiction comedy show about a crew on a starship.

Other Space was created by Paul Feig. This man has a great career in comedy, and he is going to direct the reboot of Ghostbusters. It is very clear that Feig has a lot of love and respect for shows like Star Trek, as the show really satirizes a lot of plot points and other conventions.

Some of these conventions Other Space flips on its end. Most Star Trek captains are these role models of bravery and command, but the commander of this starship, Stewart Lipinski, is kind of passive aggressive. I don’t think that has ever been done before, and Stewart is not completely incompetent. What makes it a real twist is Stewart’s second-in-command is his sister, which is awkward, but also original.

There is also an emotionless character named Kent, who is like the Mr. Spock of the crew. Then there is also an engineer named Zalian Fletcher, who is played by Joel Hodgson, who used to be on the classic show Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). If you have never heard of that show, you should just try and watch it, because it is one of the funniest shows every made. I won’t bother to describe it, but it also starred Trace Beaulieu, who is also a regular character on Other Space as Art the robot. These two are both welcome here.

I’m not certain what kind of universe that Other Space takes place in, but apparently this world has had a lot of peace. So humanity has nothing better to do than explore the universe. So they put a crew of people aboard a spaceship and send the off to explore space. The crew finds a ripple and ends up on the other side of the universe. There seems to be a backstory here that we never quite get, but that is okay.

As I said before, I say that this show almost works because it is funny at times, but it isn’t that funny. I’m not laughing at this like I feel that I should be, but there are things that it does that are pretty clever as far as its satire of science-fiction television.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *