What if you combined the social awkwardness of “The Office,” the boundless enthusiasm of “Parks & Recreation,” and the space exploration of “Star Trek”? You’d have Paul Feig’s Other Space — Yahoo! Screen’s hilarious, spot-on original eight episode series about a spaceship crew who probably would have been red shirts on someone else’s ship.
Paul Feig, known for the cult classic TV show “Freaks and Geeks” delivers an incredibly thoughtful and silly show about the failings and triumphs of a mostly Millennial crew tasked with exploring the universe. Despite its short run, “Other Space” has garnered praise from fans and critics alike. The true depth and breadth of its genius is only revealed after multiple viewings.
It’s interesting to see where the Millennial mindset comes into play with this series — the excitable passion of the geek, the laid-back emphasis on orientation and diversity, and the acknowledgement that while we have been given a less than stellar chance at success, we’re taking whatever chances we have and running with them.
Seeing Captain Lipinski’s thrill at being given command of the UMP Cruiser (he played with a model of it as a kid), his tenuous relationship with his older sister (now his second in command) and his former babysitter (now his third in command), and his unrequited love for Tina, the navigator, is actually comforting. He doesn’t have it all together. He’s young and inexperienced, and this makes him endearing. I relate to him as a young professional, a Millennial, and a human being.
Pair this connection with the encouraging message of the show (“We’re not that great, but dammit, we’re good enough!”) and you have a clear depiction of what this show means to those of us who grew up with “Star Trek” but have to live in “The Office.”
Unfortunately, Yahoo! Screen has decided to discontinue the show — following in the footsteps of FOX, which canceled “Freaks and Geeks” after just one season. Why is it that the shows that matter the most are the ones that get such ill treatm
ent? Is it a money issue? A viewing issue? And how can we rectify this situation and get our favorite shows the time they deserve?
I believe the main reason Yahoo! Screen didn’t do well with its original programming is that the platform they use is incredibly frustrating. It takes forever to load and the streaming quality is subpar. I loved the show enough to view it several times, but not everyone has the time or patience to do so. Why should a show be punished for being on a problematic platform?
Both web series and original online content can do quite well with the proper tools, advertising and backing. Look at Netflix’s success with online content — with almost 500 hours of original programming including specials, revivals of shows like “Arrested Development”, pairing with industry moguls like Jenji Kohan for “Orange Is The New Black,” and Tina Fey for “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, and joining Marvel to bring “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” to life. The popularity of these shows is evident at a street level. Any time I start talking TV with people, we inevitably end up talking about Netflix original shows.
Not only is Netflix producing quality storytelling, they’re getting recognized for it, with thirty-four Emmy nominations received for “House of Cards” and “Orange Is The New Black” last year, which puts them almost on par with major network programming. People who have Amazon Prime or Hulu still prefer watching Netflix, for quality and quantity reasons, according to research by Strategy Analytics.
Not having to rely on viewership numbers for life support (Netflix employs another method, called consumer control — it allows Netflix to gather extremely specific information, rather than just the number of people who watched the show), original content on Netflix, so far, has a longer shelf life than that of counterparts on network TV (such as Crossbones, Almost Human, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, Firefly, Cavemen, etc.).
Millennials love web content. We watch YouTube videos, web series like “The Guild” and “Oscar’s Hotel,” and other original programming from Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. It’s easier, faster, and more varied than turning on the TV and searching through the Guide for something that isn’t problematic or something we haven’t seen a million times in reruns.
“Arrested Development,” with a new season on the way, is a fandom success story, after getting canceled (after cutting the episode order short) and then getting picked up by Netflix. The fan base grew bigger and bigger even before the move to Netflix, and something like this could be done with Other Space. With a better platform, a more well-known streaming service like Netflix, and targeted advertising, we could see more from the Other Space universe.
If you haven’t yet given Other Space a chance, please do so. Tweet about it using the hashtag #SaveOtherSpace, and follow the actors and writers. They’re a fantastic team and we would lose out on an incredible story if they had to go their separate ways. Contact Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, and other streaming services to ask if they would consider picking up Other Space. Like Other Space’s Facebook page, share their posts, and encourage them to keep trying to get their story told.
We need this show right now. Other Space resonates with us. It’s a peek into a possible future where one day, Star Trek won’t be science fiction, but fact. It’s a gentle reminder that we won’t be perfect, we won’t always have the right answers, but with our passion, our hope, and our teamwork, we’ll be able to explore new worlds and take whatever adventures come our way.
We need its wisdom, its humor, and its encouragement.
Will someone please #SaveOtherSpace?