Before we get started, take a trip back in time to explore a couple other criminally-ignored (and quickly-cancelled) television gems from the past:
Pearls Before Swine, Part 1: Captain Power And The Soldiers of The Future
Pearls Before Swine, Part 2: Police Squad!
Modern television is in a sad state of affairs. Between reality shows about millionaire botoxed sea hags, depressingly patronizing dance/cooking/singing/weight-loss/dating competitions, unfunny sitcoms starring washed-up actors from the mid 90's, and sadistically "fair and balanced" quote unquote news programs bent more on dictating public opinion than informing it, I think it's safe to say that television is in its (creative) death throes -- a pathetic, withering old crazy person grasping at the last straws of its own sanity before succumbing to the final, total darkness.
But TV used to be good, right? In the 70's? The 80's? When exactly did television crest, break, and fall back toward mediocrity? Funny you should ask, because I can tell you EXACTLY when and EXACTLY where.
The time? May 13, 1997. The place? UPN.
The show? Homeboys In Outer Space.
HBIOS ran for only 21 episodes from August '96 until its untimely cancellation in May 1997, but in those few months it turned the entire science fiction community on its pointy Vulcan ear. Starring comedian "Flex" and Darryl Bell as two ne'er-do-well space travellers traversing the galaxy in their high-tech Space Hoopty (right), Homeboys was a spoof on all things ghetto AND all things Trekkie, sort of like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air set in space, in the future, or maybe A Different World aboard the Millenium Falcon. Is your mind blown yet?
That's right. Awesome 1996-TV computer animation, street-smart, ethnicky humor AND a list of guest stars including Gary Coleman, Erik Estrada (as "Mr. Dork"), Little Richard, George Takei, Casey Kasem (as "Spacey Kasem", ZING!) and soft-porn queen Shannon Tweed? Where the fuck do I sign up!?!?!?
Homeboys In Outer Space was indeed one of the finest television programs of all time, but somehow ended up on TV Guide's "50 WORST Television Programs of All Time" list. Baffling, to be sure, but American culture has never been known for its discerning tastes for the finer things in life. Alas.
You want witty episode titles? HBIOS has you covered. How about these:
- Episode 1: "There's No Space Like Home, or: Return of the Jed Eye"
- Episode 10: "A Man's Place is in the Homey, or: The Stepford Guys"
- Episode 15: "The Longest Yard and a Half, or: The Shawshank Redemption Center"
- Episode 16: "An Officer and a Homeboy, or: Full Metal Jackass"
Or perhaps the final episode, "The Adventures of Ratman and Gerbil, or: Holy Homeboys in Outer Space"?
Such cunning! Such razor-sharp wordplay! The acting! The music!
And talk about special effects!
Are you ready to go watch an episode yet? I hope so. There's only ONE anywhere on the internet: 1, 2, 3.
As far as I can tell, HBIOS never made it to DVD, and understandably so. The company that produced it, Touchstone Productions, is owned by Disney. And we all know Disney ain't got the time or money to partake in such foolishness. Fuckers.
Speaking a space, how 'bout a quick show of hands?
Apophis: Wipes out mankind in 2029 or 2036?