When I heard Paul Feig was returning to serial storytelling as an executive producer and writer with co-partner Yahoo!, I knew I had to tune in — Freaks & Geeks is one of my all-time favorite shows, and even though I’ve enjoyed Paul’s forays as actor and/or director in shows like Arrested Development, The Office, Parks & Rec and 30 Rock, I was ecstatic that we’d once again get to see Feig’s specific vision of young adulthood. Other Space does not disappoint.
I’m the same age as the main cast of Other Space. These are my peers, and seeing their characters navigate the complex world of social interaction, familial relationships, and workplace issues produced a recognition, a sense of similarity, in myself and, according to other devotees of the show in their statements via Twitter, Yahoo! and other social media, a large number of Millenials.
Seeing ourselves on screen shows that there are people who understand us, who get what we’re going through, and who aren’t there to poke fun at us, but to laugh with us, like Paul Feig and his team of Other Space writers. That’s what was so great about Freaks and Geeks, the raw honesty of relationships, inner turmoil, and the hard questions we all want to ask, wrapped up in absurd situations and poignant dialogue.
Other Space is lighter in tone than Freaks and Geeks, but the honesty is still there, and the relationships are just as complex. Brother-sister duo Stewart and Karen Lipinski fight to maintain their positions as older sister, younger brother, even when Stewart gets awarded with the title of Captain, forcing Karen to take the role of Second In Command, much to the chagrin of Stewart’s former babysitter, Michael, who is also a member of the crew, as Third In Command.
Stewart’s crush Tina is also on board, which could have been great except for the fact that she’s already dating someone else. There’s also some inept, unwanted members, like Kent Woolworth, who got aboard because of his mother’s connections, and Zalien Fletcher, a fudge-eating, long-haired hippie who works in engineering, not to mention Dave Franco as bit part Chad Sampson, in Auxiliary.
With this ramshackle crew, Stewart’s dream of cruising through space doesn’t stand much of a chance, especially after they get sucked into a black hole and discover themselves in a bit of a quandary: they’re lost, they don’t have any food (except for boxes of fudge, courtesy of Fletcher), and they might not be able to make it back home.
Other Space is a creative, whimsical, humorous splicing of old Star Trek, workplace comedies, and the Millenial existential crisis of how to survive in a world that is constantly pushing us to be other than what we are. It’s a brilliant expose on how we are viewed by older generations, as well as how we view ourselves, with all our insecurities and dreams attached.
I’m looking forward to watching the rest of Other Space, which promises more ingenious twists on the sci-fi stereotypes we all know and love, as well as an exploration into the space we carve out for ourselves in society. Who are we? Why are we here? And what do we do with the time given us? The crew of Other Space might not have the answers, but in Stewart’s rousing speech near the finale of the pilot episode, we’re ready to ask these questions and look for answers with them.
It’s thrilling to see the potential of partnerships with sites like Yahoo! and Netflix. It’s encouraging to see trailblazers like Paul Feig explore options outside of the mainstream, cutting out the middle man of Hollywood, allowing for more creativity and imagination outside the control of networks. This is where we’re headed, folks: serial storytelling is evolving, and we’re being offered a front row seat on this new ride.
If this is the future, I’ll boldly go.Image Credits: Paul Feig, Apatow Productions