As we’ve learned from WandaVision, combining SFF elements and classic sitcom tropes can create delicious televisual chocolate and peanut butter. The rumored revival of classic ’90s sitcom Frasier made me think about how much fun it would be if one of these inevitable reboots did something really cool. Like, why not take some beloved characters and relocate them to a magical realm? Or fling them into SPACE?
Call it TGI-Fantasy. TGI-SFF? Or maybe Must-See-Sci-Fi.
Here you go.
Let’s start with the obvious: Frasier and Niles are centaurs, Daphne is a woodsprite, and Roz is shieldmaiden—and boy, does the writers’ room get a lot of mileage out of the use of the word “maiden”! For our purposes, Seattle is a Lothlórien-esque city, built into the towering redwood forests of the Pacific Northwest. (I’m haunted by the vision of a line drawing of the treescape.)
This show is a ready-made coffeeshop AU, as Frasier and Niles already meet for cappuccinos to discuss the latest wizard intrigue and rumors or war with The Dark Lord Who Is Rising In The East. We’ll never see any of the intrigue or battles, because they have to eat constantly in order to survive. The main conflict of the show is their attempt to balance insatiable hunger with their infamous gourmand sensibilities.
It’s just Dinosaurs, but with dragons! Admittedly, the idea of doing a working-class family sitcom with dragons instead of dinosaurs makes just as much sense as it did when it was dinosaurs instead of people, but the puppetry is great, and Baby is just learning how to breathe fire—how adorable is that?
Don’t watch the finale.
Khadijah James is lucky to live with some of her best friends in New New New Brooklyn, managing her retro lifestyle “magazine” FLVR, which is downloaded continuously into subscribers’ brains just like all other information in history. But having access to the accumulated knowledge of the universe doesn’t make it any easier to deal with life in a chaotic space city—it’s a good thing she has her girls! And her enbys, guys, androids, and the GLOWING ALIEN CONSCIOUSNESS who joins the cast in Season Five when it comes to New New New Brooklyn to make it as a DJ.
Two Elves, a Dwarf, and a Lembas Place
A happy-go-lucky elf and his neurotic BFF decide to share an apartment while they figure out what to do with their lives—a big prospect since they’re basically immortal. The two have lots of wacky adventures working together at the titular lembas place—I mean, they have to, a few bites of lembas can sustain a man for days, so they don’t get very many customers and they have to fill the time.
Things get complicated when a comely dwarf moves in upstairs, and both elves develop raging crush on him.
Steam is just Wings but with airships instead of planes.
Lowell is an Owlbear in this.
The Seinfeld Chronicles
Yes, “The Seinfeld Chronicles” was the original title of a proto-version of Seinfeld. (In that version, Kramer is named Kessler! The gang’s female member is a waitress not-named Elaine!) But obviously this version is set on Mars, as four urbane, cynical Martians bicker and offer acidic commentary on the foibles of the last remaining Earthlings who have fled to Mars to escape nuclear devastation back home. Standout episodes include “There Will Come Soft Raincoats”, “The Summer of Parkhill”, and “The Contest (On Mars).”
Over the course of the series you’ll gradually notice that the four main characters fucking suck.
3rd Rock From a Different Sun
A quartet of lovable Earthlings have adventures and find love on the Solomons’ home planet on the Cepheus-Draco border—but, plot twist, one of the Earthlings is John Lithgow playing himself.
Featuring a cameo from Joseph Gordon-Levitt as The Big Giant Head.
Space-elevator operator Harriette Winslow is facing a tough life as a widow after her husband Carl is gunned down in the line of duty. Even with Carl’s mother moving in to help, it’s going to be tough to raise three kids alone. But when the mysterious n Omni Consumer Products brings Carl back as a cyborg, the Winslows get a second shot at life as a family!
The only catch: the only person who keep Carl’s revived consciousness from being subsumed by OCP’s murderous AI is the Winslow’s nerdy hacker next-door-neighbor…Steve Fucking Urkel.
Fran Fine is a long way from Flushing—and a long way from Earth! The only thing better than watching everyone’s favorite nanny charm a family of Broadway royalty is watching her charm an entire family of space royalty. And if you liked the will they/won’t they of the classic show, you’ll love it when that dynamic is extended across three vaguely evil siblings all vying for the throne—which one will Fran choose? How can she juggle teaching all of them to love while tending to their vats of gelatinous children and her ever-more fabulous outfits?
Ned and Stacey
Aspiring town crier Stacey needs to get out of her suffocating parents’ house. Successful jongleur Ned has a fabulous cottage with a view of a magical forest—but he’s never going to get promoted to bard if he doesn’t have a wife. The obvious solution? One fake relationship, one real marriage, and whole lot of comic misunderstandings!
Ned is an Owlbear in this.
The greatest workplace comedy since The Mary Tyler Moore Show is even better IN SPACE. The staff of an intergalactic broadcast ship has to deal with forbidden workplace romance, primadonna reporters, taciturn IT robots, and, of course, their eccentric gajillionaire alien overlord/lovable boss.
Shenanigans ensue when a grizzled, war-weary Ranger has his life turned upside-down by his wacky cousin from the East.
What else should be included in Must See (SFF) TV? Pitch the prime time line-up of your dreams in the comments!