GeekPlanetOnline’s resident telly addict, Gillian Coyle, likes to write about the box almost as much as she likes to watch it. From soap operas to space operas, if you need some thoughts on a television show she’s your woman…
You may remember, some months ago, that I bemoaned the lack of crush-worthy TV shows, and asked for suggestions. I tried several of the shows that readers recommended and one of them hit pay dirt. Stand up and take a bow Martin Thompson: you introduced me to Fringe. This televisual crush had an added dimension of awesome: since we've lived together, it's the first genre programme that my partner and I have both crushed on at the same time! We gave it a nickname (“Minge”, yes we're really that grown up), we argued about our favourite characters, we counted how many different versions of Walter Bishop there have been, we obsess about universe variations and anomalies. We even (shh, don't tell him I told you) do little dances and clap when there's a new episode.
Ahh, ain't telly love grand?
As we caught up with the UK airing schedule (our design being able to talk to other fans without worrying about accidental spoilers), we started looking for a new show. Our Lord High Emperor, Mr Matt Dillon, showed us a few episodes of Community a few months ago, and we'd really enjoyed them. So we got started.
This is not an exaggeration: we watched 59 episodes of Community in five days. A couple of weeks later, we've watched all the episodes of season one at least twice, including commentaries, and we've watched some of the DVD extras multiple times. We cannot get enough of this show. We're jonesing for the region two release of Season 2. It's so bad we may just buy the region one box set. This is not a crush; this is going out on a first date and spending a week together. Granted, it's not technically genre (although I think I could make a compelling argument based on the zombie episode), but it's the geekiest show on telly in years. To quote Mr Jim Moon: “I'm not saying it's the American Spaced, but it's the American Spaced.”
Unfortunately, now we're in the same position as the rest of Community's fans. The title of this article has gone from being a delightful quote to a bitter, heart-breaking irony.
The phrase “six seasons and a movie” first appeared in the season two episode Paradigms of Human Memory. Abed, the pop culture obsessed, fourth wall leaning character, is convinced that's how long The Cape would last. Alas. In the season three première Biology 101, it's used again in reference to Abed's favourite show, Cougar Town, which has been moved to mid-season. We all know what that means, don't we kids?
In November last year, NBC announced that after the tenth episode, Community would go on hiatus to make room for 30 Rock. When will we show the remaining episodes of season three? Oh you know, some time.
There's still no news on that, let alone on whether Community will get its six seasons and a movie or be cruelly cut off in the prime of life. Oh, did I mention that Fringe is in danger of cancellation too? As Lydia Bennet would say, “Our hearts are broken.”
So where next? For Abed, with the help of his friend Britta, the answer was simple, a British science fiction show about a traveller in space and time, which has been running since the early 1960s. In Abed's mind it's “the greatest show ever”. That show, of course, is Inspector Spacetime.
I beg your pardon? You thought I was going to say Doctor Who? But everyone knows that Doctor Who is just a pale imitation, a shameless rip-off of the earlier and vastly superior Inspector Spacetime. Just look at the Inspector's immense online fandom.
No, really. I'm not joking. Since The Inspector and his adventures with his Associates first débuted in the aforementioned Biology 101, it has earned a dedicated online fandom. And it's a thing of beauty. Not just a fandom dedicated to a fictional parody of one of the best-loved TV shows of all-time, but a parody of the fandom of the TV show that's being parodied. Geeks. I bloody love you. There are arguments about which Inspector was the best (my favourite is Stephen Fry, but that's highly controversial) and whether the TV movie, starring Steve Carrell as the eighth Inspector, is canon or not. There's fan fic. Masses of it. There are even comparisons between Spacetime and the only US show which can rival it in terms of longevity and popularity: Galaxy Quest. The only thing about which fans agree is that Jeffrey (played by Rik Mayall) was the worst associate. Everyone hates Jeffrey.
I highly recommend you spend some time exploring the Inspector Spacetime sites, tumblrs and forums. Not only is it a huge amount of fun, but it's restored my faith in fandom. If my current loves do die (please don't let them be cancelled, please don't let them be cancelled), there will be other loves. And if I get desperate, I can just invent one.
Thank you Inspector. You've saved the day again.