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Series / Otherworld

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For tropes associated with other worlds, see Otherworld Tropes. For the anime fan fiction series, see The Otherworld Series. For the Urban Fantasy series of novels, see The Otherworld.

Otherworld was a science fiction series that aired on CBS in 1985. It followed the Sterling family, who got Trapped in Another World when they went on a tour of the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt, during a rare conjunction of planets. They end up in a world called Thel, that is under an authoritarian regime, with apparently no means to return home.

Even worse, the family quickly gets on the wrong side of Kommander Nuveen Kroll, a high-ranking officer in this government, when they flag him down on a highway for some help. He tries to arrest the family, and they are forced to overpower him and take his access crystal that allows them to access any government computer system in the Otherworld, giving them their one edge to keep ahead of his relentless pursuit of them. Unfortunately, recovering that crystal after that embarrassing incident is enough for him for that officer to maintain that pursuit after branding them as wanted terrorists.

Now, that family must keep on the move, encountering that world's bizarre various cultures that have developed in the regime's enforced regional isolation zones as they to find a way home.

Sam Groom and Gretchen Corbett played the parents of the Sterling family, while Jonathan Banks played their nemesis Kroll. The show did not do well in the ratings and lasted only eight episodes before being canceled.

This show provides examples of:

  • Disintegration Chamber: In the last episode of the series the Sterling family are threatened with execution in a disintegration chamber.
  • Do Androids Dream?: In the episode "Rules of Attraction". The older son Trace falls in love with a young girl named Nova (which means "new" in Latin). Invoked when Nova tries to convince Trace to stay with her after he finds out she is an android.
  • Gangsta Style: The laser guns are all designed to, improbably, be held upside-down: you hold onto the grip and the rest of the gun hangs beneath it. Who knows how you're supposed to aim it like that, but it was used to deliberately show that they're in a strange other world.
  • Lady Land: One episode involved them trapped in such a zone, where men were little more than sex toys for militant women.
  • Like Reality, Unless Noted: Some of the zones that the protagonists find themselves in are extremely similar to those of suburban America, just with more laser beams. This allows them to blend in more easily, fortunately.
  • A Little Something We Call "Rock and Roll"
  • Mechanistic Alien Culture: The Church of Artificial Intelligence filled this role for the Alternate Universe where the heroes, an American family on vacation in Egypt, founded themselves stranded. It was the state religion of a totalitarian government that enforced strict conformity through the Zone Troopers. More like this trope is what they were striving for though, than what they actually achieved.
  • Nuclear Family
  • Stern Chase: Kommander Nuveen Kroll's pursuit of the Sterling family.
  • The Spartan Way: the older son is subjected to boot camp when he is forced to enlist in the Zone Troopers.
  • Trapped in Another World
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Mansion of the Beast" is totally a straight "Beauty and the Beast" plot, with a Beast Man who only wants love but doesn't know how to get it kidnaps the mother of the family.