Thanks to G&T regular Jonsmad, who pointed us towards something rather interesting on YouTube – Galaxy Beat, a US SF comedy pilot, created by Alan Spencer. It was made in 1994, just two years after the failed Dwarf US pilots, and it never went to series either – but it’s well worth a watch.
TRACEY SCOGGINS TOPLESS.
I actually think it shows a lot of promise, and it’s a shame it didn’t make it to series. The teaser is a bit weak (apart from the wrong number gag – obvious, but good), but once that’s over with, there’s a lot to enjoy – “You are now sterile”, the mirror gag as they’re getting ready for take-off (terrible in every way on paper, but executed with such aplomb that it works), and best of all, the whole sequence with Sheila’s simulation screen. And you can’t beat the “This conversation never left the room” bit for one of the weirdest jokes I’ve ever seen.
Unfortunately, it occasionally falls into the trap of doing something so surreal that it completely destroys the world they’re trying to build up, and brings you completely out of it – “Rubik’s world”, for instance, or the “Such a good listener” gag. It doesn’t help that both of them are pretty weak gags, mind. There’s also the odd bit that just plain misfires – the “our ship is the one right over there” joke doesn’t really work, because the second ship still looks pretty neat – just slightly smaller. And a few too many jokes are just “LOL IN TEH FUTURES THINGS ARE DIFFERENT”. But then, it is a pilot, and they’re obviously just trying to find out what works.
There’s a lot of nice ideas here – I like the line “I meant the rumour about him coming home one night and catching his wife in bed with his clone”, and there’s a lovely bit from Cod about his family: “It was difficult leaving them behind, but my career’s become an important symbol of underwater evolution”. There’s some great visual comedy as well – apart from the aforementioned simulation bit, the cockpit doors opening and closing as Dack stands right in front of them is a sheer joy.
Of course, there’s the obligatory Dwarf moments – the travelling coffee pots (“I bet they’ve sent him to the wrong bloody airport again…”), Baywatch: The Next Generation (shades of Hammy Hamster), and Cod allows them to do some very Cat-like jokes – but the most obvious one for me was the following:
DACK: This is an unusual piece of art. What’s it called?
SHEILA: A room deodoriser.
The whole thing looks like a Star Trek: TNG episode – and indeed, it was directed by one of that series’ directors, Les Landau – and the score is obviously done in the style of Trek too. The show has a personality of its own, however, and doesn’t come across as simply a bad Trek parody, like it so easily could have done. Unfortunately, just like some of Trek, the ending is extremely unsatisfying, with the amphibian hand thing feeling totally and utterly contrived. And no, mentioning it early on in the show doesn’t let you get away with it.
Good fun, then, and although it’s got its faults, it really would have been interesting to see where they would have gone with it. But the most important thing to take away from the show is: TRACEY SCOGGINS TOPLESS. If you freeze it as she turns round, you can see the side of her tit…