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Never has the world been better for television fanatics, as there are more streaming services pumping out original series as there are broadcast networks, not to mention the ongoing dominance of cable TV. Yahoo Screen put itself on the map by scooping up the fan-favorite comedy Community when NBC dropped it, and it has capitalized on that foothold with the consistently hilarious science-fiction comedy Other Space, which debuted on Tuesday, April 14.
While you probably haven't binged on the entire series yet, quite possibly because you have no idea what it is, here are five reasons why this is easily the next great comedy of 2015. If not the best comedy of 2015. "Past the moon. Past Mars. Let us sail to the stars!"
Paul Feig created it. Need I say anything else? Feig is one of entertainment's most consistent providers, with hits like Bridesmaids and The Heat under his belt, along with the upcoming Spy and Ghostbusters reimagining. Other Space is the first TV series he's created since the immaculate Freaks and Geeks, and while this series doesn't have that immediate timelessness, it's still a mighty strong sophomore effort.
It's a deft mix of character work and serialized storytelling. Other Space takes place on a spaceship called the UMP Cruiser (which used to be the setting for a reality TV show) in the year 2105. The story centers on a motley assortment of crew members, some friendly and some not, who must find ways to co-exist after their ship travels through a portal into a different and vibrantly-colored universe. Each episode is a step forward towards getting back to Earth, while also making the most of experiencing things that no other human being has had a chance to live through. With tons of wit and awkward jokes, of course.
It brings Mystery Science Theater 3000 actors Joel Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu back to TV. As the most recognizable face of the bunch to comedy fans, Hodgson is perfect as the creatively daft engineer Zalien, whose brain has been completely fried by fumes. Beaulieu plays the requisite robot, a sassy bastard named A.R.T. that generally resents everyone besides Zalien for not accepting him as part of the crew. I would easily watch these two characters in their own series.
The rest of the cast is equally excellent. Karan Soni (Betas) plays the ship's slightly immature captain Stewart, whose love of his job is buoyed by a mismatched rivalry with his hard-nosed second-in-command sister Karen, played by Murder in the First's Bess Rous. Third-in-command is the constantly put-upon Michael (Kings of Summer's Eugene Cordero), who used to be Stewart's babysitter. The navigator Tina (CollegeHumor vet Milana Vayntrub) is constantly obsessing over her Earthbound boyfriend Ted (Björn Gustafsson), which doesn't stop Stewart from obsessing over her. Then there's the completely oddball tech-meister Kent, played by Inside Amy Schumer's Neil Casey, whose weird background gets explained as time goes by. Even Dave Franco is there for a while as too-cool Chad.
Every sci-fi trope is comedy gold. Seemingly a loving throwback to classic sci-fi shows, Other Space takes place mostly inside a handful of the UMP's rooms, and a lot of the comedy comes from the weird things onboard the ship, such as the banter-friendly coffee machine and the A.I. computer Natasha (Klondike's Conor Leslie), whose screen-based existence provides many of the show's wonderfully weirder points of humor. The crew's trials and tribulations on their travels are always fun, especially as the story heads in different directions. In particular, the way that time dilation enters into the narrative is genius. To say more would be a detriment to the journey itself.
All 8 episodes of Other Space are currently available for free on Yahoo Screen. Paul Feig seems keen on getting a second season underway at some point, so tell everyone you know, even those not on this planet.