Science fiction and fantasy fandom loves to complain and nitpick about terrible adaptations, remakes, reboots, or how their favorite characters/stories/ideas have been ruined by the wrong people or sometimes people who created the stuff in the first place. (We did it ourselves this morning, then before lunch, after high tea, and we'll probably do it again in a little bit.)
As an antidote, many of us often demand new ideas, new shows and fresh perspectives. And right now there seems to be a new onslaught of SFF TV shows hitting the screens. Between the various announcements from Starz, to the new SyFy channel line-up, it seems like the small screen is going to enjoy an SFF renaissance. But is this necessarily a good thing? Using a little time machine called the internet, one can locate all sorts of hazy memories of short-lived science fiction shows that may have just deserved their early demise.
An astronaut returns home from a Mars mission to find his brother murdered by some kind of conspiracy. So he decides to turn his spacesuit into a super-suit and fight crime as a vigilante. Though we’re fairly confident this show featured the tagline: “The year is 2020 and times are tough, but this man’s tougher” we can’t seem to find it in any of the clips. Further, the only the only good version of the opening credits we were able to find is in German.
Being developed for TV by Trek producer Harve Bennett should have been good news for Time Trax, but sadly this show was pretty darn silly. We admit, some of us had fond childhood memories of this one, but this is painful to watch. So, bad guys escape into the past, and yet all of them are hanging out in the 1990s? If his computer/hologram friend is on his credit card, what happens if his wallet gets stolen? Also, apparently being a “special breed of man” means he is really good at booking flights on Continental Airlines.
Homeboys in Outer Space
This show really seems like they were writing it as they went along. Sure, it was supposed to be a lighthearted comedy spoof, but for who? Were science fiction fans really laughing at these jokes? Was this really airing on UPN at the same time as Voyager? Check out this weird cameo from James Doohan in the clip below. (He comes in around second 51.) This is the same man who turned down returning for Futurama's “Where No Fan Has Gone Before” Star Trek cast reunion. (Welshyyyyy!)
Space: Above and Beyond
There are two camps of people in regard to this show. The first camp has never heard of it and has no memories of it. The second camp LOVES it. Could this show have been the Firefly of its time? Was it really all that bad? The first intro is okay. But the second one...it’s never good when the list of places you’ll fight the aliens get progressively more low stakes as you go along. “In space, on land, at sea…” What next? Underground? At the 7-11? Is there anywhere you won’t fight the aliens? Seriously the guy sounds like he’s making it as he goes along, like Jon Lovitz's liar character on SNL. “We’re called the 58th...yeah...the um...Wildcards. Sure...I’m Lt. McQueen.” (To be fair, the concept of the in vitro humans was sort of neat.)
Oh Shatner. We love you so much. But Tek War was a little on the dumb side. We’re not sure where to start with this one. There were characters who were actually called “cyberpunks.” We’re pretty sure one of them was named “Cowgirl.” Also, at some point in the 1990’s it was mandatory to have someone on your show do something with a virtual reality glove. I guess maybe this show (and comic book and novel series) was prophetic about internet addiction. Are you hooked on Tek right now just by reading this?
Anybody noticing a trend with the leading men for all of these 1990’s science fiction shows? Do they all have the same hairstyle? Was this known as “the MacGyver”? Could the guy from Super Force have subbed for the guy on this show? Or maybe Tek War? Was there a massive crossover possibility that all these producers missed? Anyway, the really troublesome thing about Space Rangers, other than everything, is the faux Ghostbusters uniforms various characters seemed to be wearing.
Come Back Mrs. Noah
This British 1970s comedy about a housewife trapped on a space station was so hated by the network that after only six episodes Mrs. Noah and friends simply spun out of orbit to their doom. Watching this closing credit sequence still gives us no idea what was really going on.
So what have we learned from all this? Should we collectively as fans really complain that much about the ending of Battlestar Galactica or the cancellation of Firefly? Maybe we should be thankful for what we’ve got, because all the upcoming SFF TV shows might end up like these ones!
Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of Tor.com. A show about Stubby would be awesome as long as one of those guys with those 90s haircuts wasn’t piloting.