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September 18, 2012 12:51 PM   Subscribe

What do you do when you can't get enough of a television show that doesn't exist, yet has an extraordinary 50 years of backstory and history? If you're Travis Richey, the answer is, you create: UNTITLED WEB SERIES ABOUT A SPACE TRAVELER WHO CAN ALSO TRAVEL THROUGH TIME. Episodes 1 and 2 are now showing, as well as a behind-the-scenes "confidential" episode.
posted by jbickers (38 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
When is this show airing, Inspector?
posted by gauche at 12:52 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well this was inevitable.
posted by Mister_A at 12:57 PM on September 18, 2012


The question isn't WHEN is this show airing, but "When is the show THEREing?"...!!!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:01 PM on September 18, 2012 [16 favorites]


The big test will be when Community runs its planned episode about an "Inspector Spacetime" convention... if it does not suck (the series being Dan-Harmon-less now), it could make the unauthorized version nothing but ANOTHER Doctor Who spoof. Then, the two entities would have to meet on an abandoned space station sometime in the 23rd century to thumbwrestle for the title "Not Quite As Silly As The Original"*.

*come on, DW just did "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"... who's gonna out-silly THAT?
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:08 PM on September 18, 2012


The internet is fan-tastic.

(I see what I did there.)
posted by maryr at 1:10 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Inspector Spacetime should be a television program in the Dr.Who universe. The series originated from a series of children's books written by Barbara and Ian Chesterson.
posted by charred husk at 1:13 PM on September 18, 2012 [13 favorites]


"Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"... who's gonna out-silly THAT?

I had started to suspect during the last season that Doctor Who had progressed to the point where it no longer needed spoofs or parodies, because it was doing that internally. "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" confirmed that suspicion.
posted by valkyryn at 1:14 PM on September 18, 2012


Yeah, it was silly, but it did have a very, VERY Tom Baker-esque line:

Rory's Dad: (pointing at flying things in distance) What are those things, kestrels?

The Doctor: (looks, hesitates, then with a grin) I do hope so!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:18 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


haha Piper Tate is the Inspector's associate.
posted by jepler at 1:22 PM on September 18, 2012


It's no Doctor Laser Rage.
posted by Artw at 1:23 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


One of the great strengths of Who as opposed to more straightlaced po-faced sci-fi is its complete inability to take itself seriously.
posted by brilliantmistake at 1:23 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


it could make the unauthorized version nothing but ANOTHER Doctor Who spoof

Which is what it is. The web-series isn't particularly funny or clever, and neither was the original 20-second clip on Community. It was simply a bare-bones, run-of-the-mill Doctor Who spoof. Who fans had seen this dozens of times before, for decades.

It didn't need to be anything else to perform its duty on the show, it worked fine. But that's not enough for fandom, which needs everything it sets its eyes on to be a thing, to be endlessly wiki'd, trope'd, mash'd-up, tumbl'd, etc. As a result, a servicable 20-second clip has been turned into a longer form thing without an attempt to add anything to it that might actually justify the time spent on it (seriously, the whole of the second "episode" is two minutes of essentially a single joke.)

I am a little curious about how "fans of the show", before it existed as a "real" thing, are reacting to the web series.
posted by Legomancer at 1:24 PM on September 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


I actually found "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" to be underwhelming on the silliness front. Sure, there were the titular dinosaurs on a spaceship, but other than that it was pretty standard Doctor Who fare. It wasn't a madcap adventure with space dinosaurs, they weren't a device for silliness beyond their own existence*, they were just sort of there.

*Okay, yes, they do ride the dinosaurs, which is pretty silly, but other than that, it was just normal Doctor Who.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:26 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


A lot of people say "satire" when they mean its idiot sibling "parody". But what do you call this sort of thing, that aims well short of parody? It's a bit like a knock-off, but an unapologetic one intended to be comedic, wherein the comedy consists solely of dialogue describing each detail as it's being knocked off.

I don't know what the word for it is but I will say that a little of it goes a very long way.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:26 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I went into "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" expecting the dinosaurs to be the star, but Rory's dad totally stole the show. I kinda wish he'd be the next companion.
posted by jbickers at 1:27 PM on September 18, 2012


TV Tropes uses “shallow parody,” which isn't really a new word but has serviced perfectly well as a term for the Seltzer/Friedberg “spoofs.”

(Also Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was a veritable breath of fresh air after the unrelenting pretentious dourness of the last season. I credit the new director – he's gotten some positively Hartnell-esque moments out of Smith.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:32 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


TV Tropes uses “shallow parody,” which isn't really a new word but has serviced perfectly well as a term for the Seltzer/Friedberg “spoofs.”

Imprecise. I propose "lomage."

And this whole thing feels like Community fans lashing out. Or despairing. (As one, I can relate... but let us remember that impermanence is the only universal attribute of existence. Yes, I'm pre-disappointed in the next season, why do you ask?)
posted by AugieAugustus at 1:41 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


If one wanted to do a satire, a show that purported to be an American remake of the only broadly popular UK show which hasn't been attempted as such, could be pretty damn funny. The joke would not be on Doctor Who but on flatulent American remakes.

To start with, you need a TARDIS disguise of approximately the right size and shape, which would serve the purpose that the police box was meant to have in mid-20th Century Britain, that of being unremarked-on regardless of where it turns up. I'm thinking Porta-Potty here; so there's your bathroom humor kicked off and we've barely gotten started.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:42 PM on September 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


The New Old Earth 7 joke was pretty funny, thought!

(Anyone else think that Moffat is just kinda doing audio-style adventures this season? No? Just me? Though of course, well . . . I would say more but spoilers.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:43 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


A lot of people say "satire" when they mean its idiot sibling "parody". But what do you call this sort of thing, that aims well short of parody?

Probably the closest classical term may be "burlesque". Travesty could also fit for certain types.
posted by dhartung at 1:49 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, "Dinosaurs On A Spaceship" was a stupid title for what turned out to be a pretty good episode; certainly better than any of last season's dreck.
posted by Legomancer at 1:52 PM on September 18, 2012


The joke would not be on Doctor Who but on flatulent American remakes...To start with, you need a TARDIS disguise of approximately the right size and shape...I'm thinking Porta-Potty here; so there's your bathroom humor kicked off and we've barely gotten started.

And then, of course, the American version carries a Sonic Handgun.
posted by straight at 1:53 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


If one wanted to do a satire, a show that purported to be an American remake of the only broadly popular UK show which hasn't been attempted as such, could be pretty damn funny. The joke would not be on Doctor Who but on flatulent American remakes.

There has been an absurd American remake of Doctor Who. Two of them, in fact. The first was the TV movie in 1996. The second was the sixth season of the new series. It wasn't made by Americans, but it sure felt like it was.
posted by Legomancer at 1:58 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked the movie.

But mostly only just cause Paul McGann.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:06 PM on September 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Speaking as a lifelong old Who fan (nuWho after Tennant leaves me pretty cold), and as a fan of Community (dreading new Harmon-less episodes), and an Inspector Spacetime backer (see my name in the closing credits squee!) I think the Inspector Spacetime series is rather spiffing. It made me giggle a few times and that's all I wanted from the unique-thing-born-of-fandom anyhue.
posted by Faintdreams at 2:07 PM on September 18, 2012


Wouldn't this be a homage? Couldn't Travis be a nerd who saw a way to do something he wanted to do? Nawwww never going to happen. Cons are rife with sendups as are Furries and Roller Derby. The fandom approaches fetish territory Dr. Who is obsessed about it's cheesiness was actually sincere before it became a parody of itselr.
posted by pdxpogo at 2:08 PM on September 18, 2012


If the movie had given us only Paul McGann, his TARDIS/library and his awesome shirt it would be...well, about a hundred times better, actually.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:09 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Audio dramas, man. They are the best Who. Even though you have to imagine his velvet coat.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:10 PM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


I got kind of excited, thinking, "Oh man, dinosaurs on a spaceship? This is, no joke, a thing that would get me to watch Doctor Who." Then I remembered: been done.
posted by curious nu at 2:14 PM on September 18, 2012


It wasn't made by Americans, but it sure felt like it was.


"Stetsons are cool."
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:55 PM on September 18, 2012


one of Doctor's Who many strengths is it's most often it's own best spoof. The series has a dramatic range from high camp silliness to bleak genocidal despair

I mean the Moffat penned Dr. Who parody for Comic Relief is basically a Doctor Who episode with more winking. The ability of the show to have fun with itself has always been a great asset that not many other series could pull off.
posted by The Whelk at 3:18 PM on September 18, 2012


You are enjoying it now, but will you still be enjoying it after the characters die after five episodes?
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 3:39 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


SPOILERS, DAMMIT
posted by Spatch at 3:51 PM on September 18, 2012


You know, you can all laugh, but since I was a small child I built up an imaginary story composed of every good TV show, cartoon, movie and comic book that read.

One day, I will tell you how the Herculoids and Illya Kuryakin teamed up with Space Ghost aboard the Sea View on a Fantastic Voyage to rescue Rod Serling and the Addams Family from a crazed Dr Smith.

But now is that that time.
posted by SPrintF at 7:03 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would totally read that fic
posted by The Whelk at 7:44 PM on September 18, 2012


I liked this Inspector Spacetime thing, but I admit I haven't seen many (any?) other Who parodies.

Travis's eye/mouth thing is highly distracting, but from the behind-the-scenes it's apparently natural?
posted by DU at 4:44 AM on September 19, 2012


Yeah, I would guess he's had a stroke or something.
posted by nushustu at 8:14 AM on September 19, 2012


Travis's eye/mouth thing is highly distracting, but from the behind-the-scenes it's apparently natural?

In a recent interview, he mentions that he grew up with Bell's Palsy.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:03 PM on September 19, 2012


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