Tuesday, April 21, 2009


'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'
"A Space Oddity" Now, THIS should have been the 200th episode! Last week, 'CSI' attended a sci-fi/comic book convention in Las Vegas, the Whatifitcon, and of course, somebody was killed. Jonathan Danson was the driving force behind 'AQR', otherwise known as 'Astro-Quest Redux'. 'AQR' was going to be a major "re-imagining" of the original 'Astro-Quest' series, to be grittier, more political, and it would abandon all the trappings that fans held dear about the original version of the show. It sounds like what happened here in the real world with Ron Moore's version of 'Battlestar Galactica', which just recently concluded to much acclaim. Danson wasn't as lucky with his version of 'Astro-Quest', however: somebody caused his nose bones to get shoved back into his brain....... The 'Astro-Quest Redux' situation may have been similar to the early stages of 'Battlestar Galactica' here in the real world, but the original 'Astro-Quest' series was pure homage to 'Star Trek'. The costumes were similar to those worn by the Enterprise crew; the aliens could almost be mistaken for the races guest-starring in 'Trek' episodes; and women were seen in the same light as those who acted on the original show (either as exotic alien playthings or as dead-end job yeomen who would never break the glass ceiling in space).

Just from this one episode, we learned more about a fictional TV show than we may have from any since the 6 O'Clock News at WJM-TV12 on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'.

'Astro-Quest' ran for at least four seasons during the 1960s on Thursday nights. Three of the characters on the show were:
Commander Artemus Bishop (great name!)
Corpsman Scully
Yeoman Malloy There was a special alien fighting technique called the "Cephalon Submission Claw" (similar in effect to the Vulcan Neck-Pinch).

The main alien race seems to have been the Vellikans, which had its own language. Although the name sounds similar to "Vulcan", I think the Vellikans were meant to be more like the Klingons.

There was a Vulcan-like alien on board the starship's bridge; only his ears had long droopy earlobes with holes through them, rather than being pointy-tipped.

"A guy in a red shirt dies at the beginning of most 'Astro-Quest' episodes." - Hodges

'Astro-Quest' props include Trajillion Ale with Vellikan skull worms (the outer space equivalent of tequila), similar in effect to Saurian Brandy, I imagine. And then there's the Compliance Yoke from the episode "Slavers Of Serenidon", which looks to be almost too similar to the 'Star Trek' episode "Gamesters Of Triskellion".
In fact, within Toobworld's reality, 'Astro-Quest' appears to be a complete rip-off of 'Star Trek', which (unfortunately for Toobworld) does exist as a 20th Century TV show as well as a 24th Century reality.

"The Slavers Of Serenidon" - "Gamesters Of Triskellion"

"Dollop Of Apocalypse" - "A Piece Of The Action" (Amphibians who worshipped the book "Peyton Place" as a sacred text vs. humanoids who emulated the lifestyle depicted in the book "Chicago Mobs Of The Twenties") Agillian concubines (feral, carnal, voracious) - Orion slave girls

In Season 4, there was a three-part story, "Yesterday's Tomorrow", which may have been similar to the 'Trek' episode "All Our Yesterdays". In the episode, we see Ron Moore, who is the real world equivalent to the murder victim Jonathan Danson, lead the protest against 'AQR'. As it was just a nameless cameo, we can assume he was appearing as himself, which he's now done in two different TV dimensions in as many months. Also in the crowd was Grace Park, who played both Boomer and Athena in the newer version of 'Battlestar Galactica'. I suppose it could be that she was playing herself, but I'd rather think there must be some other TV character she has created in Toobworld who could be an ardent sci-fi fan and who would have gone to the fourth annual Whatifitcon in Vegas.

If you're interested in seeing 'CSI' - "Space Oddity", head over to cbs.com; they've got the episode up on the site.

Toby O'B

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there an episode of Star Trek called "Tomorrow Is Yesterday"?

Jim Botaitis