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Other Space

I recognized the actress as Lily Adams, the AT&T commercial store manager. You know, the one who bedazzles, and offers “Zilch, zero, nothing, nada, Zamboni…down.” Though the commercial doesn’t compel me to run and get my next phone from the carrier she hawks, her face and character are recognizable. So in that instance when I saw it out of context, I did a double take and paid attention. Seeing her attached to the Yahoo.com show Other Space, heightened my curiosity and the show’s teasers grabbed my attention.

I’m have a fondness for the space pirates, the group of misfits thrown together in life and death situations, think Firefly. But this band of ragamuffins is decidedly different; still colorful but highly inept, and well worth watching.

Not that Firefly took itself seriously, Other Space really doesn’t take itself seriously at all. It’s a cross between madness and plain fun. As crazy and impossible as the situations are, it’s easy to suspend your disbelief and root for the inexperienced group of space travelers on their first mission. They work for the organization called UMP, the Universe Mapping Project, a space agency created as a result of the war between the United States and Switzerland. Chortle if you like but in the year 2105, this cooperative effort joins the two countries together in an attempt to study the universe.

The team is headed by Stewart Lipinski, newly promoted to captain of his first ship. A precarious undertaking as he also leads his first mate and older sister, Karen, an angry woman, jealous of her brother’s success and annoyed by his leadership style. This sibling rivalry causes tension, laughs and opportunities for things to go seriously wrong as their competition to lead the ship comes to a head.

The third in command is Michael, the former babysitter of Captain Lipinski, always passed over, much ignored, and is the doormat and recipient of the consequences to everyone badly laid plans.

The characters are rounded out by the creepy science officer named Kent, the son of UMP’s president created in a lab to grow spare parts for his older brother Derek. Zailian, the drug addled yet lovable engineer who forgets to stock a new food module leaving the crew to eat either the thirty-five year old food supply or a year’s worth of fudge. And lastly, my loveable pitch person as the navigator, Tina Shukshin from Uzbekistan; the C- student who cheated on tests, is crazy in love with her boyfriend Ted and was only chosen because she’s the object of Captain Lipinski’s unrequited crush.

The wacky crew isn’t without their non-human crew members; the robot named ART, the metal body housing the brain waves of a billionaire and the computer named Natasha, once a Hooter’s cruise ship computer, sold to UMP along with exercise equipment.

During their first mission, a routine exploration of the universe, the ship flies through a ripple into another universe, an other space unknown to anyone on Earth. With the lack of supplies, fuel and a clear way home, this inexperienced group pairs up to survive alien infiltration, space clouds and lightning storms. It’s complete with love triangles, sibling rivalry, and the opposition between human and machine. And that’s just in the first two episodes.

Somewhat cheesy, it’s just what I want from my entertainment. Something entertaining, with characters I’m interested in and at the end of each episode, the desire to see what happens next to the captain who sleeps like a masturbating baboon and the bizarro love affair between science officer and the computer.

It’s craziness that works, so suspend your disbelief and hang on for the ride.

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