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Series / Raumschiff GameStar

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Top: Dr. Chris, SO Peter, First Mate Martin, and Captain Langer. Bottom: The (second) GameStar, in all her CG glory note 

"Oh Gott, wir werden alle sterben!" Ger. 
Captain Langer's Catchphrase

Raumschiff GameStar (RSGS for short) Ger.  was a German Live Action Gag Series produced by the staff of the PC gaming magazine GameStar between 1997 and 2004 and released on CDs (later, DVDs) that came with each issue. The magazine editors and layout designers were cast as either the heroic crew of the Cool Starship GameStar (e.g. with the editor-in-chief playing The Captain) or the villainous adepts of The Dark Side commanded by The Emperor. They travel the universe and fight each other for no apparent reason.

The series was first and foremost a continuous Affectionate Parody of classic and contemporary Video Games, TV Series, Films, and Science Fiction literature, with the most noticeable pastiches being of Star Trek (the goodies) and Star Wars (the baddies). RSGS ran for five seasons and 58 episodes, each about six minutes long on average, and was discontinued when the original editor-in-chief left the magazine. It was released in its entirety on DVDs twice but never translated from German. Nowadays, it can also be watched for free on the official GameStar YouTube channel (German only).

In June 2009, the series was seemingly Un-Canceled, with the release of a trailer (watch it with English subs here) parodying the Star Trek's. However, as of December 2009 issue, this proved to be a Real Trailer, Fake Movie: instead, the third season of the Spiritual Successor to RSGS, Die Redaktion, started "airing".

Tropes found in the series:

  • Aggressive Negotiations: In one episode (released just before Attack of the Clones hit the screens), Darth Vader confronts the crew and the lower-rank Gamestars suggest that The Captain and Vader resolve their disagreements diplomatically but without them. Vader gladly accepts: "Very well, here is my basis for argumentation..." and flips on his lightsaber.
  • All Just a Dream: Episode 49.
  • Big Good: Admiral von Heimburg episodically throughout the series.
  • Boot Camp Episode: Episode 39, aptly titled "Drill Sergeant".
  • Brain with a Manual Control: When the GameStar's communications officer Mikkl ends up on the Death Star with a bomb surgically inserted into his body, the villains decide that their best cause of action is to shrink Darth Mopp to minuscule size and send him into Mikkl's brain to defuse the bomb manually. While there, Mopp discovers a control room inside and causes the GameStars a lot of trouble when they eventually rescue Mikkl.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: How Peter saves the crew from Darth Vader early in season four.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Upon capturing GS communications officer Mikkl, Darth Lott plans to makes him listen to techno music until his brain turns into "watery broth".
  • Cool Starship: The Gamestar. Especially the last two.
  • Doomed Home Town: The Game Reviewers' Planet a.k.a. Feldkirchen is this to most of the Gamestar crew after it is destroyed by the Death Star just before the first season.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first season is markedly different from the other four: there are no uniforms, no catchphrase for the Captain, the GameStar looks more like a good version of the Death Star than like Enterprise, some members of her crew never appear afterwards, the Empire is commanded by Darth Vader instead of the Emperor (who is only mentioned), etc.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: The ending of the fifth (and final) season saw the GameStar and the Death Star colliding with each other and exploding, presumably killing everyone on board. Certainly puts Captain Langer's Catchphrase into perspective...
  • Evil Counterpart: Inverted, the original GameStar looked like a softer and fluffier version of Death Star (which it was built to fight), complete with a giant CND sign instead of Death Star's Wave-Motion Gun. Also, their names, though it's probably more of a coincidence.
  • Exact Words: In the first episode, Mick the Flight Sim Reviewer is promised a chance to "review everything that has wings". His eventual job? Ornithology studies.
  • Fake Static: In episode 22, when Mikkl dictates the coordinates for a time jump, Peter just has to open a bag of chips at the very same moment.
  • German Humour: Lots and lots.
  • Gilligan Cut: When the new First Mate Stangl learns about the overalls, he is certain he is exempt from having to wear them. Next scene is him grumbling and putting one on.
  • Got Volunteered: Often employed by Captain Langer to find participants for risky missions. To be fair, though, he then often comes along.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: After almost every episode.
  • Hostage Situation: A Two-Part Episode in the third season is dedicated to a wacky hostage exchange of Mikkl against Darth Mopp.
  • How We Got Here: Season three opens with the GameStar preparing for a desperate Last Stand against the Death Star and being utterly destroyed. The narration rewinds to five years earlier, technically making the rest of the series this trope... except that the series ended just over 4.5 years later, technically never reaching that point again (and both parties are destroyed under different circumstances in the Grand Finale). Confusing matters even further is an almost identical scene in episode 22 (where the GameStar warps away in the last moment) which takes place centuries in the past relative to the start of the season, not five years in the future.
  • Human Popsicle: Flight Engineer Tony starts the first season in deep freeze, a la Han Solo.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: When Martin is dying, Captain Langer demands from Dr. Chris to do something, to which he can only reply "I am a doctor, not a maintenance technician!"
  • Improvised Lightning Rod: When the crew of the eponymous starship is stuck in The Middle Ages, they obtain the energy necessary for their time jump back to modernity by catching a lightning with a flying kite (and redirecting it to the ship with a frying pan).
  • Invisible Writing: The employee contract clause that forces all crew members (except The Captain and the medical officer) to wear bright orange overalls is printed in ink that is only visible if you hold the paper against the light of a full moon on a certain date and day of the week.
  • Jesus Was Way Cool: Jesus makes a cameo in episode 50 to warn the GameStars about impending apocalypse resulting from the theft of the Golden C64.
  • Killed Off for Real: Despite the series' comedic approach, several characters (most prominently, Martin and Darth Lott, though the latter makes a guest appearance in the fifth season) do get killed off for real... which usually has to do with their respective actors leaving the magazine staff.
  • Looks Like Jesus: Jesus' actor makes an appearance As Himself in season five, asking the viewers to rescue him from this show if they need "an experienced Jesus impersonator".
  • MacGuffin: In season 4, the newly-christened third GameStar is tasked with recovering the "Golden Commodore 64" — the last personal computer that (supposedly) didn't waste any computational time and thus "ran at light speed".note  When the Empire learns about this mission, they immediately jump on the chance to do something evil by thwarting it, and later on, a Mega-Corp (all but stated to be Microsoft) hires an operative to retrieve the golden hardware for their own R&D, as well. While everyone fights for its possession, however, none of them actually do anything with the GC64, which could have just as well been replaced with any other artifact.
  • The Mafia: Don Michelangelo's organization in episode 40.
  • Myth Arc: The hunt for the Golden Commodore 64 in season four. Other seasons didn't have one.
  • No Ending: Season four ends with the Wise Man from the Mountains securing the Golden C64 from the Evil Emperor and his goons, and then immediately, Darth Lott and Darth Schmitz holding him at gunpoint. The next episode started season five, leaving the Golden C64 arc without a clear resolution.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Mikkl and Peter join the GameStar crew at gunpoint. It works out, though.
  • Puff of Logic: In episode 4x15, an Alien Invasion is thwarted by a random bystander calculating that the probability of the GameStar, the Death Star, and the Andromedans duking it out over Earth at the same time is exactly zero — the aliens promptly disappear in a puff of logic (although the other two parties are mysteriously unaffected). Subverted immediately thereafter when the same bystander claims that a meteorite from Krypton hitting just behind him at that very moment is just as improbable — can you guess what happens next?
  • Pun: The 2009 trailer plays with the Catchphrase:
    • "Wir werden... Haare färben?" — "We're all going to... dye hair?"
    • "Wir werden alle... werben?" — "We're all going to... advertise?"
    • "Wir werden alle... Serben?" — "We're all going to... become Serbs?"
  • Putting the Band Back Together:
    • The first season opens this way, mirroring the real-life search of the editor-in-chief of the newly started GameStar magazine for his former colleagues from PC Player (a major German gaming magazine at the time).
    • Also, the second season, after the first season crew is trapped in a Stable Time Loop.
  • Rapid Hair Growth: Played for Laughs when the (bald) First Mate Stangl starts mutating into the Stanglnator, he suddenly "grows" not only wild blond hair, but also a pair of Cool Shades, a leather jacket, and a battle guitar.
  • Rationalizing the Overkill: In one episode, Darth Vader orders his henchman to deliver a parcel bomb onto the eponymous starship. When the henchman rightly points out that the Gamestar is currently sinking, anyway, Vader retorts "Twice destroyed holds better."
  • Reading Ahead in the Script:
    • In episode 26, Captain Langer figures out the villains' Evil Plan by reading it from the script of the episode.
    • Also, in episode 53, the "schematics of the Death Star engine" that the GameStars steal turn out to be the script of the episode.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Specifically, the introduction and deaths of many major characters coincided with their respective actors joining and leaving the editorial staff of the magazine.
  • Real Time: The penultimate episode 57 (aptly titled "Echtzeit") takes place in real time. Never mind the fact that it features the usual wacky RSGS time travel.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: The 2009 trailer.
  • Recruitment by Rescue: Both Mr. Lenhardt and Martin join the crew in return for Captain Langer saving their lives.
  • Repeated Rehearsal Failure: Played for Laughs in the Real Trailer, Fake Movie for its fake "reboot", where the Alternate Universe version of Captain Langer repeatedly attempts to get Prime!Langer's Catchphrase right, but always messes up in hilariously rhyming ways. The original Captain's Catchphrase is "Wir werden alle sterben!" (German for "We are all going to die!"), while the AU!Captain's attempts included "Wir werden alle werben" ("We are all going to advertise"), "Wir werden alle erben" ("We are all going to inherit"), "Wir werden Haare färben" ("We are going to dye hair"), and "Wir werden alle Serben" ("We are all going to become Serbs").
  • Reset Button: Invoked in a fifth season episode, when the GS crew end up in an ancient Gaul settlement. When Cadet Klinge asks how are they ever gonna get back to their ship, the Captain reassures him that everything will be back to normal by the next episode.
  • Robotic Reveal: In the first season, Terminator!Mick (after getting shot by Charles).
  • Running Gag: The same as the Catchphrase above. The Captain even lampshades it in a bonus episode.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: In an inversion, the show's darkest and edgiest character, Charles, was ousted after season one to make way for more clowns, just as the series was about to find its own identity.
  • Shout-Out: The series runs on them.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: The series swung between Level 5 (Full Lockout) in seasons 1, 2, and 4 and Level 4 (Arc-based Episodic) in seasons 3 and 5, occasionally tapping into Level 3 (Subtle Continuity) at some points in the third and fourth seasons.
  • Sliding Scale of Fourth Wall Hardness: The Fourth Wall has never been particularly solid in RSGS but towards the fifth season, the characters became ever more aware and savvy of their fictional nature.
  • Stable Time Loop: The entire first season. It starts with Captain Langer assembling the crew from the survivors of the Game Reviewers' Planet gone Alderaan, and ends with him traveling back in time to help said survivors (including his younger self) escape from the planet before the Empire destroys it and disappearing.
  • Violence Is Not an Option: Played for Laughs. When threatened by a space terrorist, The Captain of the (ostensibly) good guys prepares to answer with a volley from the ship's main gun, only to be informed that all weaponry is currently in maintenance, and that he instead should seek a diplomatic solution.
  • Virtual Assistant Blunder: In the episode "Open Death Star Day", Darth Mopp gets carried away hurling insults at the supposedly dumb Death Star visitors, not realizing that the Death Star's voice activated AI interprets everything he says as a command, eventually leading to a massive malfunction.
  • Visual Pun:
    • One particularly subtle example is that Captain Langer is one of the shortest characters of the show... while one of the meanings of "Langer" in German is "long one" or "a tall person". Michael Graf, who played him in the 2009 trailer, had to lower his relative height to other actors artificially (usually by standing on his knees).
    • Also, dozens happen on misinterpretations of the Captain's orders. Always followed by the Catchphrase.
      • "So, Mikkl, bin fertig! Gib Stoff!", literally: "Alas, Mikkl, I'm ready! Hand me the cloth!", the latter colloquially meaning "Speed up!". The literal thing happens.
      • "Das reicht nicht. Wir brauchen mehr Saft!" - "That's not enough. We need more juice!", with "juice" intended to mean "power". Guess what he gets then...
  • Weight and Switch: In episode 18, Rudi swaps a pack of exquisite Imperial Coffee used for propulsion by the Death Star engine with one of the GameStar's own sloppy brew, crippling said engine.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Mr. Lenhardt is the first crew member the Captain saves/recruits and has an entire episode ("The Search for Lenhardt", no less) dedicated to him, but is never found or mentioned again in the first season. In the second, he appears briefly but gets derailed again and ends up in an Imperial base — and is never heard from again.
  • You Got Murder: Half of the first season revolves around Darth Vader trying to smuggle a parcel bomb onto the GameStar and accidentally blowing up the Death Star instead.