Series: Dans une galaxie près de chez vous
The crew from season two onwardsDans une galaxie près de chez vous
(In A Galaxy Near You
), abbreviated as Dans une galaxie
, is a cult French-Canadian series parodying the sci-fi genre, most notably Star Trek
. It was written by Claude Legault and Pierre-Yves Bernard. The series is first and foremost a comedic show filled with absurd humor, but has its moments of heart-rending drama and serious, if not slightly anvilicious, environmental message
The premise is similar to that of Lost in Space
. In the year 2034, the Earth has become so polluted it will soon be unable to sustain human life. The World Federation pulls its resources together and sends the spaceship Romano-Fafard and a crew of seven to find a habitable planet for humanity. However, not long into the first episode, the crew is informed that there are no habitable planets in the Milky Way Galaxy, and they will have to venture outside the Galaxy, effectively rendering all communications with Earth impossible. In their travels, the crew members explore far-flung new worlds (including a Casino planet named O'Vegas, a planet covered with nothing but telephone poles and another planet filled with dogs
) and meet odd (if sometimes inexplicable) characters (including Réal Estate, a planet salesman; a Sith lord; and even the devil himself).
The series lasted for four seasons (1998-2001) and spawned two movies—the first in 2004, the second in 2008.
The crew consisted of:
- Captain Charles Patenaude: Played by Guy Jodoin. The Captain and often Only Sane Man. Malaproper with a love of speeches verging on Metaphorgotten.
- Psychologist Valence Leclerc: Played by Isabelle Brossard in season one, and by Sylvie Moreau from season 2 onwards. Team Mom and Love interest to the captain. She had a tendency to speak in heavy psychobabble before summing up her thoughts with "S/he's gone completely bonkers".
- Bob Dieudonné-Marcelin: Played by Didier Lucien. The Ditz Big Eater Pilot. Was revealed to be a Jedi in one of the final episodes, but his only "force" power was being able to hide his brain from mental attacks due to its small size. He is the only pilot on Earth who is able to handle the manual clutch-piloting of the ship.
- Flavien Bouchard: Played by Claude Legault. The Lancer and The Ace radar operator. Lacked self-esteem in the first few episodes, but soon learned to stand up to anyone who isn't the captain (and even then...). Was revealed to be half-alien in one of the final episodes; unlocking its potential effectively gave him heightened senses and made him immortal. Treaded dangerously in Mary Sue waters due to being played by one of the show's head writers.
- Brad Spitfire: Played by Stéphane Crête. Obviously inspired by Lost in Space's Dr. Smith (and even referred to as him in one episode), he is a Card-Carrying Villain, Token Evil Teammate and Large Ham. An ineffectual, cowardly traitor who wishes for the mission to end as soon as possible.
- Pétrolia Parenteau Stanislavski: Played by Mélanie Maynard. Teen Girl Genius who was able to build a fully sentient android with lawnmower parts. Love interest to both Bob and Flavien. Introduced in season 2.
- Serge 1, 2, 3, ... 19: Played by Réal Bossé. Fully Sentient android built by Pétrolia, introduced along with her in season 2. Was destroyed 18 times over the course of the series and movies. Was originally more human than robot in terms of appearance and personality, but became a lot more robotic following his first destruction due to Pétrolia being unable to recover some of the core processor parts.
- Mirabella Romario: Played by Pascale Montpetit. Only appeared in the first season. She was the ship's first doctor, actually a con artist who snuck onto the ship to escape the authorities using false credentials. Valence found out her secret early on but kept it to herself for the sake of the mission. Was Bob's Love Interest, and fled the Romano Fafard after her duplicity was found out.
- Falbo Gotta: Played by Paul Ahmarani. Only appeared in the first season. He was the number one mercenary of the 21st century (and ex-high school teacher) who served as security chief (and more or less a One-Man Army) on the ship. Was lost on a savage planet while chasing the fugitive Mirabella.
This series provides examples of:
- A Devil Am I: Brad (temporarily) become The Devil.
The Devil: "They call me Satan, the devil, Baalzeebul, but my real name... IS STEVE!"
- Ace Pilot: Bob. The only pilot on earth who knows how to handle a manual transmission spaceship.
- All Planets Are Earth-Like: Averted and Parodied, the planets shown and are at least somewhat Earth-like are either inhabited, conveniently uninhabitable (radioactive surface, truth gas atmosphere, too small for the human population, etc.) or otherwise, just plain weird.
- Alternative Continuity: The movies are set in a different continuity than that of the main series. Differences between the two continuity include the design of the ship, the Captain having a sister on Earth, Petrolia ending up with Flavien instead of Bob, etc.
- The only episode of the series that is explicitly contradicted by the movies is the last one ( where they find a planet and then Earthlings proceed to immediately start waging war over it, followed by the crew deciding to keep on looking for their own planet), which the first movie essentially took its main plot from. Pétrolia even only finally chose Bob in the last episode, and Flavien in the first movie, so it's a remarkably clean split.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking :
- Back from the Dead: Three times with Flavien, including one with Bob too.
- Serge is oftenly demolished and rebuilded.
- Big Book of War: From the first movie, Brad's personal items include "Betrayal for Dummies."
- Big Eater: Bob
- Big Fun: Bob again, natch!
- Blood Brothers: Childhood best friends Bob and Flavien who have indeed made a pact.
- Brilliant but Lazy: Brad, the ship's original designer and engineer. While he can basically build or repair anything as the story requires, he only does the absolute strict minimum amount of work out of laziness and greed.
- Brown Note: In the first movie, the aliens vomit at the sound of the word "Earthling"note . This works even for the robot clones of the cast!
- Butt Monkey: Brad. Everybody hates him, rightfully so considering his constant failed attempts to assume command or trying to sell out his friends to the monster of the week, thus the Captain approves any physical violence upon his person, taking part in it on a regular basis.
- Call Back: The crew trying to hide the fact that they come from Earth and that they are Humans at the start of the second movie comes from the running gag of aliens vomiting at the sole mention of the word "Earthling". Good thing the Creamys don't have this pejudice.
- Captain Ersatz:
- Captain Patenaude of another famous science fiction captain, of course.
- Brad is based of Dr. Smith from Lost in Space. The show even hangs a lampshade over it by having him called as such in an episode. Unlike his inspiration, Brad is treated as more of a joke.
- Brad can also be seen as an expy of Arnold J. Rimmer, though this one is proud of his opportunistic cowardice.
- The Cast Showoff: Being a robot with a remote control and a large variety of functions to select from, Serge's actor uses a different voice and personality for each one of them.
- Catch Phrase: "Going where the hand of mankind has never set foot.note "
- After briefing his crew, Patenaude always ends with "Question? Action!!!"
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The sentient onboard computer, Gervais, was all but forgotten after the first season, without being Put on a Bus like Mirabella and Falbo.
- Creator Provincialism: Turns out that Canada is the remaining superpower in-universe.
- Interestingly, this was caused by Executive Meddling. The series was threatened with receiving no more subsidies from the Canadian federal government after the first two seasons because the Ministry of Heritage thought the series lacked "Canadian content" (which was their way of saying it was in French and mentioned Quebec a couple times but never Canada). The creators's response was to put a Canadian flag patch on each uniform and add a line in the opening about how "The Planetary Federation asked the first world power, Canada. It's Canadian know-how that allowed...". As a result, the subsidies kept coming.
- Darkest Hour: The next-to-last episode. Food supplies are down to just one day's worth, oxygen is almost out and only a few planets are within range where they could possibly pick supplies. The first few planets all turn up barren, and everyone is afraid of the last probe returning because another barren planet would mean the entire crew would die and by the failure of their mission, the entire human race. It's a viable planet with breathable air and edible food!
- Department of Redundancy Department: Used a few times
Captain Patenaude: Brad, you are mean, and on top of that you are not nice!
- Despair Event Horizon: This ends up happening in the second film when The cast ends up in Limbo where they gets news that they have much less time than previously thought. They end up fufilling the Creamy leader's Batman Gambit of making them destroy a civilization of harmless aliens or, as it actually happened, make them evacuate their own planet so he can use the artifacts inside.
- Disability Superpower : Too Dumb to Live Bob is immune to mental attacks because his brain is so small it can hide into the back of his head.
- Downer Ending: The TV series ending and The second film's. See Shaggy Dog Story below.
- Driving Stick: The Romeo-Fafard has a manual transmission and a clutch. Only Bob knows how to work it properly. Bob even leans and turns backwards when backing off the ship as if he's looking through a rear windshield. The only thing he should be able to see this way is the Captain's chair, the ladder up to the defense station, and the door out of the bridge.
- Evil Laugh: Brad attempted on once, only to choke in mid-laugh.
- Evil Chancellor: Brad is the original 2nd officer, and his dream is to become captain of the ship.
- Fail O Sucky Name: As the crew travels the galaxy, they start running out of names for planets, ending up with names like "Moisturizing face cream relieves dry skin".
- In the second movie, the aforementioned planet's inhabitants give names to the crew. They each end up with Awesome McCoolnames (Such as "Immutable mountain" for Bob, "Sparkling fox" for Brad and "Magestic eagle" for Flavien)... Except for the Captain, who is given the name Sonia Champoux, much to the amusement of his crew.
- Flanderization: In first season, Bob is highly skilled for his job and not so much dumber than Flavien or Falbo. He’s so dumbered down after the first season than he’s rewritten as absolutely incompetent when he’s not working with Flavien.
- Fictional Video Game: "Try to save the king if you can"
- To clarify, it's a virtual reality game that seems to be a parody of KingsQuest, right down to the Trial-and-Error Gameplay (it took Flavien 34 tries to get past the first puzzle (get past a acid-urinating skunk), Moon Logic Puzzle (the solution was to piss on said skunk) and Nintendo Hard (the last "puzzle" is to defeat Olaf the warrior and apparently, no one has ever beaten him before). The goal of the game is to go through 10 challenges to save the king. The only difference is that injuries in the game becomes real. Really, this game that appears in a single episode could have it's own trope list.
"If you want to save him, you have to beat the ten challenges. I AM THE TENTH CHALLENGE!!!"
Captain (reading Flavien's notes):
"After 45 tries
(to solve a riddle), I found out that there is a trick. Just put your right leg parallel to the ground, your left hand pointed to the sky, your head down, your right hand under your armpit... Come on! This is ridiculous!"
- Nausea Fuel: The 8th challenge, Invoked in universe by Serge (a rope bridge over a chasm).
Serge: "That game's completely crazy! Lucky I don't have a digestive system or I would've emptied it."
- Freudian Excuse: Brad's evil is often blamed on his parents, who outright hated him, and an all around crappy childhood. Once, it was mentioned he wanted a career in ballet, but his father forced him to become a scientist.
- Glamour Failure: The first movie's robot clones of the cast can be indentified by vomiting at hearing the word "Earthling". This works even for the Bob clone in the beginning but everyone thought he had reflux from eating too much berries. He was dispatched when Flavien noticed he didn't ask a question.
- Green Aesop: Half of the premise of the show.
- Hearing Voices: Bob fishes in a paddling pool because a voice in his head says him he can rescue Flavien and Pétrolia, previously lost in space, by doing that.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Flavien's super hearing. It sounds useless on the surface until you realize that he's the ship radar operator and his ability to detect incoming asteroids is borderline precognition.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: The Captain's, Brad's and Flavien's. Brad's parents didn't like him because they wanted a daughter (and dressed him as a girl for the first few years of his life), Flavien was an orphan who was moved from foster home to foster home (of his mothers once sent him to a girl's summer camp because the boy's was full and she didn't want him around during the summer), and the Captain had a very distant relationship with his father, even though he doesn't seem to realise it (he considers his father telling him "it's raining" a very intimate moment).
- Brad's childhood in particular borders on a running gag, as it doubles as his Freudian Excuse. He once insults someone by saying terrible things about their childhood, culminating with "Kids at school once had a contest of whom could throw the biggest rock at you, and your teacher won." only to stop and say "No wait, that's my childhood."
- Brad's parents apparently somehow both wanted a girl and dressed Brad up as one, and disapproved of his dream of becoming a ballet dancer and forced him to go into science. At some point you just have to wonder if they weren't fucking with him on purpose.
- Human Alien: Most of the time, any time an alien will show up, they'll end up looking no different than the crew. Otherwise, they will be Rubber-Forehead Aliens or outright Starfish Aliens.
- Humans Are Bastards: And how. The crew usually refer to the 4 billion humans left on Earth as morons, and when encountering alien life forms who know about Earth, their reaction is usually unpleasant. In the movies, aliens went so far as to vomit when hearing the word "Earthling". A prophet the crew visited claimed that they would eventually find a habitable planet, but that a terrible creature would guard it. The terrible creature turned out to be a second human crew, who, unlike the original team, had no problem with killing the tribes that were already inhabitting the "promised" planet.
- The final episode has the crew finding their goal of a perfect planet to move humanity and sends a signal back home. When the first ships get there... they just start a whole NEW war and force the crew to leave in a hurry, determined to find another perfect planet to leave behind the population of massive idiots.
- I Have Many Names:
"I am Satan! Lucifer!! Belzebub!! The demon!!! But my real name is... Steve.
- Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: When Brad was finally demoted after nearly killing the captain. Took about 3 times to finally get all of Brad's hidden insignias off.
- Insistent Terminology: Throughout the entire series, the aliens are referred to as E.T.s
- Intoxication Ensues: After eating pizza that Bob unknowingly made using an alien mushroom, Flavien starts hallucinating about a monster (which happened to be real but not as outlandish as Flavien repeatedly describes it) and goes outright bonkers after admitting that he is a cheese puff.
- Jerkass: Dear lord, Brad Spitfire. He's not just a self-serving conniving bastard who will sell out everyone faster than he can yell "Please kill HIM first!" but is immensely proud of that fact, stating that this is the essential survival trait that has made the Spitfire family thrive and succeed. When he recovers his memory after alien Phlebotinum gives everyone Easy Amnesia, the first he does is try to be sure he's back to normal:
Brad: "Okay, think back. You're ten years old and it's Christmas morning. You're on the porch with grandpa and the snowblower is coming... What do you say... Five bucks or your wheelchair ends up on the snow pile! (proudly) YES! I'M A DIRTY BASTARD!!!"
- Killer Rabbit: The monster that terrorizes the ship during "La Créature"note is actually an alien mouse.
- Lampshade Hanging: When the Captain asks Pétrolia why she hasn't finished fixing up Serge yet, she replies that she never has the time to do anything because something always happens, "it's like being in an adventure tv series".
- Large Ham: Patenaude, especially considering his "template".
And that's only the first episode.
- Love Triangle: Both Bob and Flavien compete for Petrolia's affections. In the series finale, she chooses Bob and lets down Flavien gently who backs down gracefully and wishes them well.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Flavien is sometimes obsessed by his unknown father who’s finally an alien of the week in season 4.
- Metaphorgotten: Patenaude has a lot of trouble getting his metaphors and proverbs right.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: "My friends... and Brad."
- Mushroom Samba: In one episode, Flavien accidentally eat samples recovered from a planet and begin to hallucinate horrific monsters. We never see them, but the description implies they are rather horrific to look at. The real monster is a mouse (See Killer Rabbit below).
- The Nudifier: The crew has a few guns that strips the target of their clothes. It's usually accidentally used against another crew member though.
- Overly Long Gag: Each time the crew tries to list Brad's character flaws, it takes very long. In one instance, characters have gone to bed for the night mid-way through the process to return the next day and find this still ongoing (Some of the crew decided to pull an all nighter to attend this).
- Pet the Dog: Brad eventually feels some genuine remorse for his action in the final two episodes, although he never really makes up for the mountains of crap he caused up to that point.
- Projectile Toast: Due to Pétrolia upgrading the ship's toaster with "turbine springs note ", two toasts got launched at supersonic speeds. Bob ends up having one of the toasts embedded into his skull, missing his brain. The other bounced all over the place, without losing momentum.
- Put on a Bus: During the first season, there were two additional characters, Mirabella Romario (a fake doctor) and Falbo Gotta (a mercenary). In the first episode of season 2, Mirabella's secret is exposed and she escapes to a jungle planet. Falbo is sent after her and is lost as well. The two characters never returned, but were mentionned a few times afterward.
- Red Alert: Parodied, and how. Some of the most outrageous alerts include "Yellow Alert with Mauve Socks" and "Dark Blue Alert with a little dog on the side".
- Running Gag: The best way to stop Brad is to simply karate chop his neck and exclaim "No, Brad!".
- Hilariously done in the movie, where all the main cast does it simultaneously.
- Serge getting destroyed repetitively in the first movie.
- Whenever the captain mentions The Mission, it's with dramatic emphasis on those two words and everyone assumes a dramatic fists-on-hips pose, looking up and to the right into the distance.
- Shaggy Dog Story: The second movie. The crew discovers that they have reach the end of the universe and that there is no habitable planets for the humans, yet in their discoveries, they found a time rift who leads to a past version of Earth (in 2007). Charles Patenaude sends a message to the earthlings only for it to become an Internet Meme. So not only they failed to find a planet for the humans but the process will repeat itself in an other timeline.
- Shout-Out: Pretty much to ANYTHING related to Science Fiction, but mostly Star Trek.
- Otherwise, Hockey and especially the Montreal Canadiens.
- At the end of the first movie, Flavien is only allowed half a question by an old sage who could possibly reveal the location of a viable planet. The complicated legalese he uses to pad out the second part of his question (so that only the first half remains and provides his complete question in a useful form) is a historical shoutout to the 1980 Quebec Referendum which is notorious for formulating its question in a convoluted, confusing wording.
- Sorting Algorithm of Mortality: Invoked in-universe when the crew is faced with a peril that forces them to send "the most expendable member of the crew" to fulfill a Suicide Mission. Mission control prepared a sorting order of usefulness to the mission in order to know who is the least necessary onboard to the continued progress of the mission, decided upon their role in the ship. Bon, Brad and Mirabella score top three as the ship's pilot, engineer and doctor respectively, making them critical to the mission. Captain Patenaude is shocked to find that he is considered most expendable and ranked dead last.
- Take My Hand: After being lost in space and abandoned on an unknown planet, Flavien and Pétrolia are rescued when Bob's hand open a passage between a paddling pool on the ship and the spring on the planet.
Valence: What's great about science-fiction is that you can say anything!
- Trademark Favorite Food: Bob's favorite food is by far Pogo brand corn dogs, a typical canadian grocery store offering.
- The Devil Is a Loser: He's evil. He has no friends, no familly, no girlfriend and think he sucks. He just want to retire. All he need is a successor.
- They Killed Kenny: Serge is killed often in the movies and this is Played for Laughs.
- Token Minority: Bob.
- Used Future: The ship look like its made out of recycled junk... and probably IS! As of the second movie, it is also possible that its simply getting old. Considering all the damage it took during the course of the show, it makes sense.
- The ship was revealed to be built by Spitfire Industries, and thus built on the cheap by cutting every possible corner. Truly a hallmark of Spitfire Industries if there was one, it's a wonder if even made it off the Earth to begin with.
It's garanteed to last three years. And after three years? It's garanteed to break!
- Weirdness Magnet: The ship. This is Lampshaded.
- Write Back to the Future: Failed epicly in the second movie via Youtube.
- Zero To Hero : At his first appeareance, Flavien is even dumber than Bob and is listed as the less important man on the ship in importance AND utility. At the end of the series and in the movies, he’s an heroic and reasonable Second officer.
- When he saves the Captain in the first season finale, he’s already becoming into an underconfident good guy and pomising crewman.
- From the second season, he’s way smarter than his flanderized friend Bob and ultimately becomes necessary for having Bob piloting well.
- His nearly super senses are explained in season 4 by his newly discovered half-alien nature and come with a then unknown superior physical strength.