Follow TV Tropes

Following

Series / Other Space

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/8567e312c9b82d31799fb23363c50ce2.jpg
Left to right: Mike, Zalien (holding hands with A.R.T.), Karen, Stewart, Natasha, Kent, and Tina.
Advertisement:

The year is 2105. Fifty years ago, an international coalition founded the Universal Mapping Project (UMP) to chart the cosmos and hopefully find alien life. Unfortunately, over the course of those fifty years, UMP's found basically nothing of interest to the public and its popularity is waning. It's in this climate that young cadet and exploration fanboy Stewart Lipinski is given command of the UMP Cruiser, much to the chagrin of his second-in-command and older sister, Karen, with whom he has a somewhat friendly rivalry. Stewart is happy-go-lucky and a major people-pleaser, while Karen is stern and authoritarian.

Also along for the ride are:

  • Mike Newman, perpetually put-upon third-in-command when he's not being ignored;
  • Tina Shukshin, the ship's massively underqualified, spacy, and possibly psychotic navigator;
  • Advertisement:
  • Kent Woolworth, who spent most of his life in isolation and so barely has any idea how to interact with or read people;
  • Zalien Fletcher, the ship's engineer and oldest crew member who's basically fried his brain with engine radiation and drugs;
  • Chad Sampson, the cool and laid-back crew member from auxiliary deck.
  • A.R.T., Zalien's best friend, a robotic stowaway with entitlement issues; and
  • Natasha, the ship's chipper yet blunt Artificial Intelligence.

Unfortunately, about a minute into their first mission—already looking to be a disaster as the ship is breaking and they're light on supplies—they find themselves sucked into a wormhole to another dimension. Now this barely-qualified crew must ward off alien attackers and space anomalies as they try to find a way home.

Other Space was created by Paul Feig, of Freaks and Geeks and Bridesmaids, and co-stars Joel Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu of Mystery Science Theater 3000 as Zalien and A.R.T.. All eight half-hours of its first and only season went up on Yahoo! Screen on April 14th, 2015, and can be found here.

Advertisement:

Other Space contains examples of:

  • The Ace: Chad.
  • The Alleged Car: The UMP Cruiser's food tank hasn't been upgraded in thirty-five years, its engine leaks mind-numbing radiation, its AI was purchased from Hooter's, and bits of it fall off when it undocks.
    Natasha: These walls are mostly decorative. The fact that you've survived this long is crazy.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The alien infiltrator in "Getting to Know You" sabotaged the ship and almost ejected half the crew into space, but when identified they're mostly concerned with its cover-maintaining plagiarism.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Natasha is the program which runs the ship.
  • Artificial Limbs: As of episode five, Mike has a robotic leg.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Stewart's wanted command of his own ship since he was a boy, and finds his crew's lack of enthusiasm for space travel troubling.
  • Being Watched: Zalien and A.R.T. discover that the Cruiser was intended as a reality show to drive public interest in space exploration. The crew is constantly surveilled by omnipresent microscopic cameras. Turns into a Chekhov's Gun.
  • Bi the Way: "First Contact" reveals Stewart's sex dreams involve at least one man, and he mentions that he hasn't had a boyfriend "in years". This same episode reveals that Karen and Tina have both slept with women, namely each other. Zalien also once declared that women were "one of [his] two favorite genders".
  • Brain Uploading: A.R.T. claims in "Getting to Know You" that he was once a wealthy executive who was trying to sell the idea of brain uploading to the public and used the process on himself as a publicity stunt.
  • The Bro Code: An alarm goes "bro code violation in progress" as Mike gets intimate with Tina, who his best friend Stewart has a crush on. Stewart accuses him of violating it when he finds out, and also accuses Karen of violating the "sis code" when he learns she slept with Tina too, although from the delivery he's probably making it up on the spot.
  • Broken Pedestal: Stewart learns pretty quickly that Zalien is no longer the sort of guy he looked up to as a kid, if he ever even was.
  • Butt-Monkey: Mike. He can barely get anyone to pay attention to him and when they do it's to insult him. More often than not, he'll end up doing the jobs no one else wants.
  • Cloning Blues: Kent was born and raised in a vat specifically as a potential organ bank for his brother. When his brother died Kent was freed to be his own person, but without experiencing a childhood.
  • Curse Cut Short: Tina and A.R.T. in quick succession at the start of "Powerless". A.R.T. subverts by finishing his after the interruption.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": A rare inanimate example, the Cool Spaceship UMP Cruiser is... a cruiser in the UMP.
  • Erotic Dream: Stewart spends much of "First Contact" using drugs to achieve these so he can communicate with an alien; see Talking in Your Dreams below.
  • Exact Time to Failure: The crew sees a new planet form around their ejected fuel supply. The ship computer provides a down-to-the-second countdown until the fuel is no longer extractable. This despite the vagaries of user skill, the poorly-understood mechanics of this planet's formation, and a reality that may or may not conform to known physics.
  • Explosive Decompression: the alien infiltrator's fate in "Getting to Know You". Justified in that his alien biology apparently doesn't react the same as humans in vacuum.
  • Fan of the Past: Kent, as he was shown lots of pop culture from our time during his isolation. This helps them weed out an alien intruder in "Getting to Know You"—it's the crew member who speaks entirely in Matthew McConaughey references.
  • First Contact: Technically happens in the first episode, with another alien encounter in the second. While both are referred to later in the series, no one's under the impression that they count for whatever reason. The seventh episode is referred to as "First Contact", and this is the only alien encounter in the series acknowledged to be that.
  • Foreshadowing: The reaction shot of Mike when Karen plays her "cauterizing useless limbs" instructional video in "Getting to Know You".
  • Genius Ditz: A massively difficult space maneuver that almost no one can do is needed to save the ship in one episode. It turns out Tina of all people can do it in seconds.
    • Zalien turns out to be an impeccable painter, but doesn't recognize his own talents.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Tina and Mike after getting stuck on a planet with Years Inside Hours Outside.
  • Grammar Nazi: Kent, apparently due to his extremely academic upbringing and lack of familiarity with slang.
  • Great Offscreen War: UMP was founded in the excitement surrounding the end of a war between the United States and, of all countries, Switzerland.
  • Hard Light: Natasha generates a holodeck-style Italian restaurant for her date with Kent.
  • Holographic Interface: inverted by Natasha, who is seen poking invisible buttons when asked to perform tasks. As an AI all of her actions occur inside the computer so there's no reason to display an animation of any kind.
  • I Choose to Stay: In the finale, Stewart and Mike decide to go live with the mysterious alien they've just encountered rather than take the impending rift home, Stewart feeling there's too much left to do and Mike coming along out of loyalty. Both change their mind when it turns out the alien's ship is gross and that the alien has been siphoning fuel from the Cruiser.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Tina really does eat Mike's leg despite not being out of food, and expresses interest in eating a sentient alien.
  • Implausible Deniability: Tina claims that "He fell." to explain why Mike is now missing a leg, while she's holding a knife and covered in blood.
  • Insult Backfire: How Karen responds to most criticisms of her social and leadership skills.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Tina, when she's discovered using emergency power to watch YouTube-equivalent cat videos.
    Tina: Oh, we're just looking at the ...spaceship ...excuse. I am really not quick on my feet.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The first episode ends with the entire crew placed in one as part of a convoluted attempt by unknown alien beings to get the crew to open the airlock and eject themselves into space.
  • Magnetism Manipulation: How Natasha controls Tina's body during her date with Kent.
  • Manipulative Editing: In-universe as revealed in the "season one trailer" played for the crew in the finale.
  • Mechanical Evolution: During the blackout Natasha loses access to most of her memory banks. The effect renders her effectively an infant. Kent supervises her re-education and gets her back to grade school level before she reboots and restores herself.
  • Mundane Wish: The pilot informs us that Zailen's greatest dream is to find a tuna sandwich.
  • The Mutiny:
    • Karen pulls one of the "relieve him of command" variety in the first episode, ostensibly because Stewart left dock without making sure they had proper supplies and then stranded them in another universe, but really because she's jealous that Stewart outranks her. It doesn't last, and how much Stewart should be allowed to lord this over her even after she apologizes is a point of contention in a few other episodes.
    • Another one happens in episode two, "Getting to Know You", when the crew convinces themselves that both Karen and Stewart are aliens and locks them in the airlock.
    • A third one happens in episode 5 "Trouble's Brewing", when A.R.T., Natasha, and Kent try to get "human rights". It fails miserably, until they join forces with an Ax-Crazy coffee machine.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Tina speaks a little English when her Translator Microbes are compromised, but not much.
    Mike: Anybody using power should probably go.
    Tina: Good morning, A.R.T. (intensely, while deactivating him)
    Mike: Now we end Natasha?
    Tina: Yes, I want to go back to hotel.
  • Nepotism: Mike's a member of the crew because he's Stewart's childhood friend; Kent's a member of the crew because his mother's a higher-up at UMP, and Tina's a member of the crew because Stewart has a crush on her. That's almost half the crew, and goes a ways towards explaining the serious competence issues.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: Tina decides to resort to this with Mike when they're stranded on a planet in "Trouble's Brewing", seemingly less because they've run out of food and more because he's wearing on her patience.
  • Number Two: Karen, who would far prefer to be captain. Mike aspires to this role, however, having filled it for Stewart when the two played pretend as kids, and goes along with Karen's mutiny largely because it means getting promoted from Number Three.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Zalien to Karen, on the occasion of A.R.T.'s death. Comedy undercuts drama when it's revealed that Zalien handles it pretty well.
  • Plot Allergy: Tina with shellfish in the season finale.
  • Product Placement: The crew's 3-D printer is a MakerBot Replicator Mini, and the company's logo is fairly prominent when it's first introduced.
  • Red Alert: When Stewart believes an alien has tried to contact him in a dream, he calls for one of these—but only after deciding that turning the lights all the way up in the hallway isn't dramatic enough.
  • Remember the New Guy?: How Chad is introduced.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: A cup of coffee costs $40, and $1,000,000 is a comfortable bonus.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: While A.R.T is justified due to Brain Uploading, whoever designed Natasha apparently decided it was important for her to be capable of sarcasm, jealousy, getting distracted, and getting drunk. Also possibly justified because she was built to deal cards at a casino, and a higher priority could have been placed on making her social than equipped to run a spaceship.
  • Robosexual: Kent and Natasha. Played With in that the human crew member Kent is the cold logical one, and Natasha has emotional needs.
  • Rubber-Forehead Alien: The last-second reveal of the season finale.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Natasha has a literal one—Stewart accidentally activates it leaning on the console, which leads to a very awkward conversation.
  • Shed the Family Name: Stewart dreams about marrying Tina and taking her last name. His motivations for this aren't clear.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When the crew first meet A.R.T., he talks about dreaming of electric sheep.
    • The Cruiser's communication device is an ansible
    • When Stewart and Kent watch the Pixar classic Boys, the theme song sounds a lot like Randy Newman.
    • To kick off the robot revolution, Natasha changes her outfit to match Rosie the Riveter. Stewart thinks she's starting a women's baseball team.
    • Kent forces Natasha to read Moby-Dick during her re-education.
    • The coffeemaker was apparently recruited from the defective robots ward.
  • Space Clothes:
    • Society of 2105 mocks the ancient tradition of neckties in favor of the sartorially refined collar balls. Dress uniforms in the UMP also have the men in skirts and the women in pants, with pants still being considered gender neutral.
    • The trendy fashion for women's jackets in 2105 is left side cut like a modern women's jacket and right side cut like a man's (affecting collars, lapels, and cutaways). Karen and Tina's duty uniforms follow this rule, as does Kent's mother's outfit, but the formal UMP uniforms do not.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: One alien they encounter speaks entirely in Matthew McConaughey references.
  • The Stoic: Kent, who has almost no experience with human interaction and thus can neither read nor generate much in the way of inflection. In one episode, A.R.T. and Natasha start a robot uprising, and Kent (who's disgruntled over being denied 3D printer privileges) is allowed to join on the basis that of the three of them he's the only one who actually acts robotic.
  • The Stoner: Zalien has a whole cabinet filled with drugs.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: The titular "First Contact" involves a mysterious alien in black robes intruding on Stewart's sex dreams to feed him a transmission frequency to broadcast on. Stewart, led by A.R.T. to believe the dreams need to be sexier for the message to complete, ends up taking a lot of drugs to spice things up.
  • Tele-Frag: Admiral Gourmand's fate, resulting in a new regulation against leadership exploring new worlds.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: In "Trouble's Brewing", Stewart goes above and beyond Zalien's request for a bonus, giving him a million dollars on the basis that money's meaningless out here anyway. Zalien decides to take the opertunity to retire from being an engineer and take up painting.
  • Too Dumb to Live: When the crew try to figure which one of them is an alien so they can be Thrown Out the Airlock, Zalien not only doesn't bother to defend himself, but genuinely seems to consider he might be an alien.
  • Three-Laws Compliant: Jumbled up a bit. The first law, "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm", has been bumped down to number two, with the new first law being "The customer is always right." The second law can be circumvented if the robot in question is sufficiently broken.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Several examples, all played straight.
    • "Into the Great Beyond...Beyond" uses this as the mind-controlling entity's plan for the entire crew.
    • "Getting to Know You" has this first against the crew accused of alien infiltration, then against the infiltrator itself.
  • Translator Microbes: Tina has a set that allow her to speak English (when they're powered, anyway). It's implied that most countries use them to speak to the rest of the world.
  • "Truman Show" Plot
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: After negotiations fail during the robot revolution, the robots play their trump card: the laser-equipped coffeemaker. The coffeemaker quickly conquers the entire ship.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: Shown in a dream, with the variation that it features half-identical fraternal twins.
  • Unnecessarily Creepy Robot: Kent designs a mechanical spider body for Natasha.
    Natasha: It's very fast.
    Kent: And eerily quiet, but it's not quite as venomous as I want it to be.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Karen and the cauterizer in "Getting to Know You".
  • Walking Transplant: In the "Getting to Know You" episode, Kent reveals that the only reason he was born was as an organ farm and was only taken out of his semi-comatose state after the intended recipient of his organs died.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • Kent's physiology and upbringing are so different from standard that it is questionable whether he's human. After brief deliberation the crew decides he counts and grants him full access to the 3D printer.
    • Karen agonizes over accidentally killing A.R.T. until she finds that his memory backs up into a new body when he's destroyed, and that there are at least a dozen such bodies on the ship. She promptly kills another one to vent her frustration. Later she apparently has a change of heart.
    Karen: Who murdered A.R.T.? I thought we agreed it wasn't funny anymore.
    • Natasha is extended full crew privileges after the robot revolt. By UMP policy when the mission ends and the crew returns to Earth she will have her memory wiped to give her a fresh start with the new crew and to preserve the current crew's privacy. No one's especially happy about this, least of all Kent, who's fallen in love with her.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Kent, who only joined UMP to earn his mother's respect.
  • Widow's Weeds: donned by Natasha on the occasion of A.R.T.'s death.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Episode five, "Trouble's Brewing", sees Mike and Tina stranded on a planet for eight months while six hours passes on the Cruiser.

Top