Author Topic: Other Space  (Read 1155 times)

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Offline RooksBailey

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Other Space
« on: April 17, 2015, 01:27:29 AM »
It is always nice to stumble across an unexpected treat, especially when it comes to a television (or, more appropriately, internet) series. That is what happened today when I heard that Other Space had launched on Yahoo (it is a Yahoo series). Truth be told, I only heard about the show because Joel Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu of Mystery Science Theater fame are two of the cast members, something that was trumpeted by one of the MST3K groups on Facebook. That alone was enough to get me to watch.   But now that I have watched five of the first eight episodes, I have to say that I am enjoying the show just because it is really good and really funny. 

The show is a lot like Star Trek: Voyager: the plot revolves around a ship crewed by misfits that get sucked into another universe and have to fend for themselves. The captain, Stewart Lipinski (played by Karan Soni), resembles TV's trendy tech nerd right out of Big Bang Theory, or some other geek-based show. Truth be told, I found this character to be the weakest because he is such a wimpy anti-captain in many ways, but having said that Soni does manage to bring some subtlety to the character, something that helps him blossom into a tragic underdog you can't but help to cheer on in later episodes. His nemesis is his Second Officer... who also happens to be his sister Karen (played by Bess Rous); she resents the easy success her brother has enjoyed while she was forced to slave away with no recognition in his shadow (this also sort of points to a weakness in Stew's character design: if he has enjoyed easy success, why is he such a wimp and not arrogant?  Stewart's character remains a conundrum to me.). I think her character is the most interesting to follow because she starts out as a cold witch, but the viewer gets to see the ice slowly thaw as she begins to warm up to the other outcasts (with the realization that she, too, is an outcast despite her superiority complex). The there is the passive aggressive ditz Tina (Milana Vayntrub), who was chosen as navigator only because Capt. Stew has a crush on her. Third Officer is Michael (Eugene Cordero), the Meg Griffin of the crew, a well-meaning schlub who is so bland and forgettable that people talk behind his back...right in front of him (LOL! That was one of my favorite moments in the series ). Then there is the quirky Spock-like Kent (wonderfully played with a lot of charm by Neil Casey), a vat-made human desperately trying to fit in with the other regular humans. Natasha (Conor Leslie) is the ships AI personality, much like the holo doc on Voyager, but with more curves and a personality that swings from the impish to the innocent girl-next-store. Lastly, he have the great Joel Hodgeson as Zalian, a legend of the space program who is now a burnt-out hippie serving as an engineer (basically reprising his role from MST3K), along with his robot pal ART, played by Trace Beaulieu (yes, basically reprising his role as Crow T. Robot).

While I mentioned this show most resembles Voyager, I think what it really resembles is Children's Hospital, a late night, 15 minute per episode cult web/tv comedy series (and another Abominable Pictures production). Much like Children's Hospital, what sells Other Space is not the setting as much as the aforementioned fantastic cast that really play off each other with a lot of humor and affection. While I initially watched the show for the sci-fi, it was the characters that pulled me back more and more. That is no easy feat when it comes to me, especially in a contemporary comedy (I find most characters in TV comedies to be annoying and snide).

Story-wise, it is too early to say much. Again, the basic storyline will be familiar to Voyager fans, but how this version is going to develop remains to be seen. Early on, the crew encounters a shadowy alien menace, but who or what this menace is, and what it has planned for the crew, is still unknown to me. Not really a surprise, though, as the show has spent the first five episodes smartly developing the characters and their interpersonal relationships before getting too deep in the space opera weeds. I can wait, especially seeing how this crew can deliver a lot of belly-laughs just taking shots at each other.

Episode-wise, the first episode is the weakest, partly due to the need of setting up the story and characters, but also because I felt it played it a bit too close to The Office and Big Bang Theory. But once the formalities are out of the way, later episodes pick up and start doing their own thing. I found Episode 5 to be the best so far seeing how it involved a mutiny led by a sentient coffee maker. 

Anyway, just wanted to give a heads up. I think Yahoo has a winner with this one. If you are a fan of MST3K or Voyager, or even cult sci-fi comedies like Dark Star, Galaxy Quest, or even Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you owe it to yourself to watch this one.

Promo vid here:

Watch it here:

EDIT: review from TIME:

Review: Other Space Is a Cosmic Blast

Early in the pilot, the crew of the Cruiser discovers that its food replicator is busted, leaving them with nothing to eat but a massive stash of fudge in the ship’s hold. It feels like a metaphor for streaming the show. It might be too much to binge this odd confection all at once (just as, Karen dourly informs the crew, an all-fudge diet will lead to a ghastly death within weeks). But who doesn’t like fudge? Other Space may not be TV’s, or streaming’s, next great comedy. But it’s a welcome and unexpected treat.

More, please! I loved it.  Now that I have seen all eight episodes, I have to say it most reminded me of the original BBC production of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  Low-fi, but lot's of character-driven humor.

« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 11:09:38 PM by RooksBailey »
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