When Paul Feig announced his new comedy series would premiere on Yahoo Screen, most people assumed the show — which is about a group of misfits lost in space — would just be an American copy of Red Dwarf. I certainly did. And then I watched it, and discovered it was much, much more.
Seriously. I’m here to tell you that if you like scifi comedy in the slightest, you need to watch Other Space (all eight episodes of which are totally free, by the way) — or at least give it a try, because it’s not Red Dwarf. Yes, as mentioned above, the premise is pretty much identical. But where Red Dwarf mines humor from that British tradition of lovably awful characters and insane situations (which is by no means a bad thing!), Other Space is actually a much smarter science fiction show, and one with a lot more heart, too.
Let me explain: While the crew of the Cruiser are goofballs, they’re not nearly as lovably awful as the crew of the Dwarf. Newly minted captain Stewart Lipinski is plenty smart, but also hilariously eager to be loved by his crewmates, which include: his sister Karen, who’s incredibly bitter that her goofy little brother is no her boss; sad sack Michael, who is the Cruiser’s version of Britta from Community; navigator Tina, who is vastly underqualified and only on board because Stewart has a crush on her; Kent, the cold, logical Spock equivalent who is unbelievably weird in some bizarre ways that I can’t spoil; Zalien, the brilliant engineer who’s been completely fried by years next to radioactive space engines and is played by MST3K’s Joel Hodgson, and who has a wisecracking robot companion voiced by Trace “Crow” Beaulieu (seriously, if you’re any kind of an MST fan, you need to start watching Other Space yesterday) and more.
Where Red Dwarf mined humor from its characters’ incompetency and terribleness to each other, Other Space primarily draws laugh from their relationships. It’s a different dynamic — not better, necessarily, but not worse, either. In this way, Other Space has a lot more in common with Galaxy Quest than it does with Red Dwarf — these characters might have issues with each other, but their relationships actually develop, and they develop as characters, too. Regardless of how insane or tense things get, they do manage to pull together when necessary, and seeing this makes the show a hell of a good time. In this regard, it’s somewhat reminiscent of Paul Feig’s first TV series, Freaks and Geeks — although Other Space never tries to be anything but ridiculous.
But the best reason to watch Other Space is because it loves science fiction, especially classic Star Trek. In the show’s first season, they encounter worm holes, an A.I. uprising, a mysterious space cloud, someone accidentally jettisoning all the instant food replicator material, and several alien encounters, including a shapeshifter hidden among the crew, an alien that makes contact in sex dreams, and more. I could give you more specifics, but a lot of the jokes are so good I don’t want to ruin them for you if there’s any chance of you guys watching it on your own.
Look, I’m sure Other Space isn’t for everyone, and some of you will try it and come back and hate me for suggesting they watch it (I will say, try to give it at least two episodes; if “Chad” doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will). That’s fine. Just don’t make the mistake I made, and assume it’s a Red Dwarf knock-off, okay? Give it a try. Again, it’s free to watch. I honestly believe more of you will thank me than curse me.
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