Starstuff was a locally produced children's science fiction TV series made by WCAU channel 10 in Philadelphia in 1980, and periodically rerun on that station for years afterward. The theme song and much of the incidental music was taken from Gustav Holst's The Planets. 18 episodes were produced.
Chris is a normal albeit very intelligent 10-year old living with his mother in Philadelphia. His pride and joy is the home-made computer he has assembled in his room out of an old TV set and countless electronic odds and ends. When he tries it out, however, he discovers that by some fluke of physics (owing mostly to where he happened to build it), his computer is able to communicate with another computer which will exist on an orbiting space colony in the year 2010. This future computer is owned by a 10-year old girl named Ingrid, and the two kids are able to communicate by audio/video transmission. The children decide to keep their amazing discovery secret, and they quickly become best friends. The show consists mainly of their conversations, comparing their very different lives on Earth and in orbit, as well as dealing with Chris's relatively mundane everyday troubles and Ingrid's more exotic but still basically everyday travails.
Roughly midway through the one-hour program, the show would switch to a fifteen-minute serialized puppet segment, "The Edge Of Space," about two aliens, Commanders Krikles and Zornad, and their "faithful robot companion" Giz, as they tried with varying degrees of success to study life on the mysterious planet Earth. This segment was the creation of puppeteer Mark Ritts, known to kids a generation later as Lester the Rat on Beakman's World.
Starstuff provides examples of:
- Exty Years from Now: Thirty years, in this case.
- The Future: The distant future year of 2010!
- Gustav Holst: This show made a generation of Philadelphia kids love Holst's The Planets.
- Homemade Inventions: Chris's computer
- Laurel and Hardy: Chris is a huge fan, and shares his videotape collection with Ingrid.
- Love Transcends Spacetime: They're just kids, so it's more just friendship, but there's certainly an element of this to it.
- Meanwhile, in the Future : Justified. Time flows at the same rate in both locations.
- Our Time Machine Is Different: Strictly a time communication device, discovered purely by accident.
- Perfect Pacifist People: The space colony is hardly perfect, but it is such a small and Close-Knit Community that crime is effectively unknown.
- Portal to the Past: Communication over a gap of 30 years.
- Show Within a Show: Chris's video collection.
- The Slow Path: The only way they can ever meet face to face.
- Space Clothes: Everybody on the Space Colony wears a loose-fitting jumpsuit.
- Space Station: Always identified as a "space colony."
- Teen Genius; Actually, Chris is only about ten.
- 20 Minutes into the Future: A show about 2010, made in 1980.
The Edge of Space provides examples of:
- Applied Phlebotinum: "The Edge of Space" is much more phlebotinum-heavy than the relatively hard science of the live action show.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Shambor
- Deadpan Snarker: Giz
- Downer Ending: The ship plummets into a black hole. Giz bravely (and we presume, accurately) predicts that they will emerge into a whole new universe to explore, and sounds almost optimistic, but Krikles and Zornad both still look horrified, and who can blame them?
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The Time Travel episode, near the end. (With the toy plastic dinosaur as a prop! Hah! So awesome!)
- Lovable Coward: Zornad
- Nice Hat: Both the guys with their little silver beanies.
- Robot Buddy: Giz