It was a kind of joke (but not really) for years as Trekkies fans of all stripes identified the 1999 sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest as the best Star Trek films in years. A nice complement that also has the virtue of being true thanks in no small part to a great cast and sharp editing and visual effects work. For Trek fans, it was an Easter egg-filled delight of all the Star Trek tropes, not mention a kind of parody of all the behind the scenes drama of cast discord with the show’s conceited and marginally talented star (ahem). But might the Galaxy Quest concept be durable and adaptable for television? Well, Amazon certainly thinks so.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Paramount is teaming up with the streaming service to deliver a series version of Galaxy Quest, which was the cast of a Trek-like sci-fi adventure series from the 70s who are believed to be real space explorers by a group of alien refugees. The aliens press the crew into service in order to save them from an evil force out to destroy their race, and bring them onboard a very real version of their TV spaceship.
Key players from the original film will be back to helm the news series. Co-screenwriter Robert Gordon will pen the pilot and executive produce with Dean Parisot, who directed the film, will now also direct the pilot. As for the cast – which included Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, and Sam Rockwell – it seems likely that their roles will be recast, but who knows? They did get Bradley Cooper to commit to appearing irregularly on the new Limitless series.
Now that’s not to say that Galaxy Quest can’t work as a series, certainly the material is there and ripe for some awesome comedy, but as a fan of the original film, I have to ask if maybe Gordon and Parisot are trying to capture lightning in a bottle? While they certainly deserve credit for the great movie they made, I do wonder how much of its success is owed to the alchemy of the cast, especially Rickman as the straining-to-be-taken-seriously Alexander Dane, and Rockwell as the frightened-former-red-shirt Guy “Do I Have a Last Name?” Fleegman.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Amazon Prime tried to make TV gold out of movie magic, but Zombieland never got past the pilot stage despite having the backing of co-screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Again, I would suggest it was the chemistry amongst the original cast that made the concept work beyond paper, as the movie Zombieland remains as enjoyable on the 10th viewing as it is on the first. As for Glaxy Quest the series, maybe it will buck expectations. I certainly hope so because this can be a lot of fun.
No word on when the show might premiere, but it is possible that it may be part of Amazon’s next pilot seaon in 2016. We’ll have more news about the show as it comes in.