Saturday, November 11, 2017

But I Digress...Too Much Questing in the Galaxy?

By Cat

Out of the gate, I will tell you up front that Galaxy Quest (1999) is one of my favorite movies of all time. At its core, it’s about the intense love of fans for an entertainment property – in this case, a Sci-Fi television show that was, perhaps, cancelled too soon. 

Sure there’s your typical space exploration saga trappings familiar to the genre pioneered by Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991) with his ground-breaking series Star Trek (1966-1969). Of course, there have been so many incarnations of his vision since then. I’ve long been a fan – perhaps not to the degree of dubbing myself a ‘Trekkie’ (or ‘Trekker’), but the show and its universe holds a very special place in my heart. In fact, I’ve been rather heartbroken that I haven’t been able to watch the new Star Trek: Discovery (2017-) yet…but I digress.

Galaxy Quest was a spoof that poked at the behind the scenes of such shows and brought us the idea of ‘what if beings far outside our corner of the universe watched some of our stuff and misunderstood’ long before Pixels (2015) brought that concept (albeit in a different framework) to the big screen. It was funny and a labor of love done by fans, and for fans. 

I’m getting to the point, I promise. This isn’t solely a love-letter about the movie. 

Back in 2015, Deadline reported that Paramount announced that it was working on bringing the beloved movie to the small screen for a TV Series. Original writer, director, and producers were on board with this concept. 

This had me super excited – especially with rumors flying that they were working on bringing in the original movie cast. I may or may not have mentioned before that I am not the biggest fan of Tim Allen (Wild Hogs, Toy Story of Terror, Last Man Standing) – mostly due to being burned out on his grunting from the Home Improvement (1991-1999) era – but I really enjoyed him in his Galaxy Quest role.

Unfortunately, with the passing of legend Alan Rickman (CBGB, Lee Daniels' The Butler, Eye in the Skye) in 2016, amongst other casting issues, it seemed that this series would get shelved. 

Not so. 

Flash-forward to mid-August 2017. Deadline, once again, was in the lead reporting that this series still had a pulse when they announced Paul Scheer (Filthy, NTSF:SD:SUV, The League) was going to be taking over the writing. One of the original producers, at least, is still noted to be involved with the project; but beyond that, little is known about casting choices or even plot direction.
“Without giving much away, I don’t think there has ever been a better time to continue the Galaxy Quest story with the explosion and popularity of sci-fi films in recent years,” Scheer said. “To be able to create and be a part of this world is just mind-blowing, and I’m approaching this truly as what I’d like to see as a fan.”
They’re doing this without Rickman?

While Allen seems to have some of his production schedule lightened with the ending of his most recent show, it’s unclear if they’d be able to bring in Sigourney Weaver (The Cabin in the Woods, Chappie, The Defenders); considering her involvement in the filming of multiple movies on Pandora and future entanglements with xenomorphs, she seems pretty busy. 

I just don’t know. I think I would really need to get some more concrete details about the framework of the show before I can make my final decision as to whether or not I want to watch it. I am really trying to be open-minded here; but outside of replacing the cast (which seems heinously disrespectful) or writing in sad character exits to explain away those that don’t return, I don’t see it working as a concept. 

Maybe the aliens at the center of the misunderstanding in the movie might go around the galaxy kidnapping other crews? It doesn’t seem like it would have the same punch. The whole thing was centered on those specific actors from that specific show and the very specific starship built based on the series. 

Switching gears a little here, I feel it’s only fair to mention that I think the comparisons between Galaxy Quest and its potential series and Seth MacFarlane’s (Ted, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Family Guy) series The Orville (2017-) are off base. 

Sure, they’re both Star-Trek-like comedies with an occasionally cheesy ship captain and a crew rich in diversity – but that’s where the similarity stops. In my mind, The Orville runs parallel to the Trek series – showing a lighter take on the genre. Galaxy Quest had that fan and actor interaction, such as Allen’s character’s interaction with Justin Long (Planet 51, Yoga Hosers, Ghost Team) in his big screen debut. The journey of growth the actor characters go through between being ‘so over’ their old roles but chugging along in an effort to keep their bills paid, and where they end up at the end of the story wouldn’t be the same without that element. 

Unless MacFarlane is planning some huge 4th-wall break down the line to take the show into that territory, they’re nowhere near close. I seriously doubt he would do that, considering he’s gone on record to say that Galaxy Quest was not an inspiration for his show, and he’d only watched the movie once. Don’t get me wrong, though, I like The Orville and have enjoyed watching that series immensely. I just have seen too many references to both shows in the same breath that it needed addressing.

If you’re a fan of the movie, keep your eyes peeled for future developments. I can assure you I’ll be glued to the entertainment news feeds, myself. Hopefully, Paramount and Amazon won’t tarnish such a stellar story. (Or we might have to set loose the child-like aliens!)

For a little lagniappe, here's the original trailer for the Galaxy Quest Movie.

But I Digress... is a weekly column for that can't be pinned down to just one thing. It's our celebration of tangents, random references, and general fan geekdom that both intertwines with, revolves around, and diverges from our movie-review core. In homage to the beloved Brit comedians, we want to bring you something completely different!

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