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A Space Cases Primer
Comics: Explain yourself!
lucythedragon wrote in rigelianculture
Just to let everybody know ahead of time, I'm completely ripping off the pure genius that is the Firefly and Doctor Who pictoral guides (which are totally worth a look, see them soon as possible). I just did it because it's the best idea ever, and Space Cases totally needs one, just so when people don't know what we're talking about we can go: HERE. Lookit this!

Now, on with the show -

A Pictoral Guide To Space Cases
(because there's no fandom I've needed to expain myself for more)

Once upon a time there was this thing called Snick and it aired Saturdays on Nickelodeon (didja catch that clever wordplay?). It had some really good shows on it, like The Adventures of Pete & Pete, and Are you Afraid of the Dark?
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Then the Snick people got a hold of the guy that wrote The Hulk and a bunch of Star Trek and the guy that was on Lost In Space and Babylon 5 and asked the two of them to write a TV show. Since they were good friends and all-around creative guys they said "sure!" (but in unison, of course).
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They got themselves a plot, some characters, went to Canada, and had Harlan Ellison to do the introduction; and thus Spaaaaaaceee Caaaaseeees was born!
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It had living spaceships.
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I mean ... it had a living spaceship.
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It had Square Dancing!
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George Takei!
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Kaylee!
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And reeeaaaally ugly puppets.
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Despite the fact that the show had a budget raised from the sale of somebody's old Gremlin, and had plot holes so large you could drive a Mack truck through them, it was whimsical, fun, bright and hopeful. And it had fans. Perhaps its greatest strength was that it aired at the beginning of the internet age, and had to have been one of the first really active online fandoms.

Then, halfway through it's second season, it was cancelled.
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Since it wasn't popular or recent enough to merit a DVD release like Firefly, Wonderfalls or any of our recently departed TV shows, I'll have to run you through the story of Space Cases.

The Cast

Yes, that is the Black Ranger from Power Rangers. Harlan is the leader of the group, which translates to: "he doesn't have any superpowers, so we gave him that role to compensate". But the show gets mad props for giving the lead role to a black guy, especially when he wasn't conceived as such originally.
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Catlina is an engineering genuis, and she works on spaceships a lot. This pretty much makes her the same as her character in Firefly, except that she talks to an imaginary invisible best friend named Suzee, can bust stuff up with a sonic scream, and has one hell of a dye job.
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Radu is an Andromedon with the strength of ten men, the hearing of a bat, and the emo of a thousand AFI albums. All the ladies love Radu. However, we're pretty sure he's the gay.
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Bova is a twelve year old with the power of a GOD and pessimism that would outdo Eyeore. Because he was so incredibly awesome and powerful, they had to underplay his character. Poor guy. But I think he knew that was going to happen. Also, he is from Uranus. Which would explain why he's so depressed.
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Rosie is Bova's complete opposite in everything but power. She would still be cheery if she were facing a firing squad of tenthousand heartless cyborgs. Also understated. But I'm sure that's okay by her. She also has a habit of bringing aboard deadly lifeforms because she thought they were cute.
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Seth Goddard is a disenchanted ex-military commander who got stuck teaching the stupid class. Also, he is sexy.
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Miss Davenport was the vice principal. She is British. Actually, she's from Mars. But man, she's reeeaally British. She also faints a lot and makes with the hilarity.
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The Christa is a living spaceship made by guys named the Lumanians, who are birdlike, so of course their ship would be shaped like a bird (my guess is that it's the equivalent of a mech for them). It also bonds with it's crew and only lets those she bonds with use the controls, which is really just a convoluted way of only letting the kids pilot a big spaceship.
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Thelma is the service android for The Christa. Because her data crystal was damaged she mostly malfunctions and square dances. She's da best android EVAIRE.
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Season One

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We Gotta Get Outta This Place; It begins at the Starcademy, which is a Military Smartness School missing an "A" from the middle of it's name for no good reason. We are introduced to the main cast and it soon becomes apparent they are the "special students", and have to stay in detention while all the other kids are doing Neat Space Tests. Then a spaceship shows up. Being the kids from the "special class", they decide it would be a really good idea to board an alien vessel and their teachers have to chase after them. Because of a big deus ex machina, the engines start up and they go really far out into space, where they get sucked through a big hole and end up seven years, four months and twenty-two days away from home. We also learn that shutting down the hyperdrive engines flush all the toilets on the ship.

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Who Goes Where?; An evil, glowing teddy bear from Babylon 5 gives Radu a cold that makes him paranoid and internal-dialoguey; we learn that when Andromedans get sick, they snow. Also, Thelma tells the story of the universe and Catalina wears lots of outfits and goes "Zabagabe!" There is a big fun-time happy dance party at the end, in which Bova does not participate.

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A Day In The Life; Bill Mumy and Mark Hamill do Liverpool accents and try to blow up the Christa in a very wordy Douglas Adams kind of way. They are defeated with charades. It's funny.

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Spung At Heart; A psychic lizard girl named Elmira shows up and ruffles Radu's hormones. Exposition happens about the Spung/Andromedan war and we learn some of the political stuff that makes this universe interesting. Commander Goddard has to be the cook, and we meet Suzee for the first time - sort of. George Takei! shows up as Warlord Shank. He is a Spung, a lizard-like warrior race that really likes to shove people around and take their stuff.

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Forever Young; Goddard and Davenport get turned into little chitlins by a suspiciously Doctor Who bad guy named Neinstein. Obligatory food fight ensues when there are no adults around. A really big bolt of electricity fixes everything.

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Nowhere Man; Harlan turns invisible 'cause he spills green goo on the engines and gets to hear what people say about him. We learn Thelma solves problems by either ignoring it and hoping it will go away, or by using percussive maintenance. Also, Miss Davenport eats glue.

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Desperately Seeking Suzee; Catalina has an argument with her imaginary invisible friend Suzee, who then disappears along with all of Catalina's genuisness. They find out The Christa can manipulate time, and there is the best. slow motion. sequence. ever. This was filmed early on and aired out of order, so everybody's characterization was reeaaaally awkward.

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It's My Birthday, Too (Yeah!); Everybody has to make a family tree and Radu angsts because he was born in a hatchery and doesn't have family. It's Bova's birthday and nobody knows; when they find out Radu says its his birthday too, which it is not because he doesn't have one. Poor Bova is glossed over to make room for Radu/Harlan tension. We also discover Rosie's secret ego. Radu makes up for lying by being sappy. A glowy rock causes lots of trouble. And reaaaaally ugly puppets.

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Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Court; There is a big Freudian looking ionic storm and they recieve a message from their future selves. They put Harlan on trial, and several versions of what happened are presented. Davenport and Goddard get all itchy and then turn into Spung. This episode won an award, 'cause it was all clever.

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Prisoner of Luff; OH DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN. Some girl whose name could be Sofiana or Sophiana (nobody cares enough to find out) trades places with Catalina to escape a prison, and then hijacks The Christa. That's right. They get bossed around by a fourteen year old girl. But there are Battle Royale exploding collars, mind wipes and stir-crazy inmates, so it's kinda cool.

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The Impossible Dram; This is the episode to see if you want to understand what we see in this show. It's quixotic in a perfect form. Catalina meets an old man who believes himself to be a Knight, and that Catalina is his daughter Mirabella. He tries to protect the ship from an evil monster that only he and Catalina believe in. Goddard gets to be the "lord of the vessel", everybody faints, and you cry. OH! And "Excellent idea Pierre. The corn muffins looks scrumptious today!"

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Break On Through To The Other Side; Goddard looks sexy in his pajamas, Miss Davenport is teleported into The Christa's computer, and nobody notices the humungous black hole outside the ship until they have to save Thelma from it. We also learn meanacing things about The Christa and OMG Bova saves the day.

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On The Road To Find Out; A ship identical to The Christa gets all beat up in a fight with Spung, even though it is teh win at fighting. They poke around to look for stuff and they find George Takei! Elmira is back too, and she rambles all looney-like. Goddard and Shank fight, Bova is awesome again, and the Lumanians are obviously not nice guys.

And now I get to tell you some backstory. Jewel Staite was double-contracted to do both Space Cases and a show called Flash Forward, and so decided to get out of playing Catalina and stick with the other show. So they wrote her out of the series by having her character die. In the final confrontation, Catalina gets stuck on the self-destructing twin ship and perishes along with Warlord Shank. It was actually very well done, emotional, and heartfelt, some of the finest writing on the show.

And so the characters flourished after the emotional loss of one of their crew, and intricate development occured. Elmira joined the crew in her place, and joined the Casers on their travels, her psychic visions helping along the way. Seeing what a good job everybody was doing, the executives gave the writers complete creative control and upped the budget.

do de do de do de do de do de!
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doo de doo de doo de doo de doo.
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After Peter David and Bill Mumy wrote Catalina's death, the Nick executives decided that children didn't have the copacity to deal with a character death, and changed it so that instead of Catalina being dead, the force of the blast forced her into another dimension, switching places with her invisible friend Suzee. Catalina is not dead at all.

No, really.
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See? They think its stupid too. And right after they done all that good acting.

And what became of Elmira? Well, she was originally planned to replace Catalina, but the Nick execs in their infinite wisdom decided that Elmira was too alien. That's right. Too alien. Goodbye Elmira.
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Hello Suzee.
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The thing about Suzee is, the decision for her character to be created was so short-notice that they didn't have time to actually give her one. So they just made her beautiful, a genuis, psychic, and gave her multicolored hair streaks, plus the ability to breathe in any atmosphere. She was snarky and flirty, and not in any of the good ways. The other characters took to her immediately, and the boys were totally crushing. This was not a good thing to do.

Season Two

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New Places, New Faces; Everybody has a really hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that this person is really Suzee. The audience shares the feeling. Then Spung show up! Then they fight the Spung! Then Elmira is the Royal Daughter of Warlord Shank! It is all very exciting! Everybody shakes back and forth! Thelma does a Hawaiian dance! It is all so exciting that they have to do a blind hyperdrive jump and end up crash landing on a tropical forest kind of planet. The ship is broken and everybody uses new sets.

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The Sporting Kind; More ugly puppets! This time it's called a Rhomby, and if you drink its spit you become psychic. Some poncy Spung lords want it for their games, and once again Rosie totally gets away with endangering the entire crew by bringing it on board. Ambush formation Alpha Gamma One does not work and is never used again. Also features Miss Davenport in a box, and Tongo.

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Long Distance Calls; Two words: SPACE. PIRATES. We find out lots about why Goddard was demoted and made a teacher, and it all has to do with this pirate named Reaver. Their conflict screams "ex-boyfriend", and they do lots of subtext. Reaver wants this communication device they found on the planet, but find The Christa in the meantime. Reaver is ruthless, powerful, cool, and the best villian this show has had. Then the writing goes to crap in the last ten minutes and he is defeated by thousand island dressing and plot device vines which are never seen again. Reaver's sidekick is Ubi, who is a big kitty that can teleport. Catalina makes a cameo and we meet Bova's dad (who is played by Peter David. OMG SELF INSERTION!).

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King of the Hill; Midget Hill People think Harlan is a great king come to be smoting a big bad monster. He drinks magic plot device juice that gives him the ability to understand their language. They braid Harlans hair to make him cute, then tell him he's all prophecied in the book of Spatzchow. But it's all okay because the big monster is a little kid with lots of noisemakers. While all this is going on Miss Davenport and Bova have to eat their way out of a big piece of produce.

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Truth Hurts; This episode is stupid.

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Homeward Bound; Radu gets psychic messages from Elmira which do not say "meet me at Denny's at 8" as he would like, but rather "Uh-ohs, Spung are coming!". Goddard comes back from looking for a power crystal, and he is being all rugged. Everybody thinks the UPP (United Populated Planets, which is like the Federation on Star Trek, but it isn't because of the spelling) have come to rendez-vu with them, but they are really Spung, which is like "duh". Suzee reads Radu's mind and finds out he's right, and then finds out a sekrit about Radu, which we apparently will never know. They fix da' ship just in time, escape the Spung and get back into Space, but during the daring escape the ship falls on Goddard and he gets the internal injuries. He is all comatose and healing for the next few episodes, and we don't see him for a while.

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All You Can Eaty; Even more ugly puppets! This time it's a small furry thing called Eaty and it ... eats. And gets bigger. And eats. And then they jettison it into space. Also, Little Pete and Nona from Pete & Pete cameo as practical jokers Stewart and AAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!. Suzee is wearing a Starcademy uniform even though she isn't a student, and we are baffled.

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Both Sides Now; Also known as: Kristian Ayre Gets Out Of His Andromedan Make-Up And The Fangirls Gush. Miss Davenport somehow gets a giant superbrain and decides to turn all the students into a different species to teach them a lesson about tolerance, omg. Suzee is the worst Robot EVAIRE, Thelma is freakin' adorable, and Radu goes all commando on everybody. Goddard? Still comatose.

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Mother Knows Best; In this episode we learn that Miss Davenport's favorite food is waffles with strawberries! This is because an energy force that calls itself "Ma", and is voiced by Peg Bundy, makes everybody feel warm and fuzzy so that they don't notice they are being zapped for their energy. Harlan acts five years old and is really adorable. Goddard? Comatose.

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A Star is Boring; Bova becomes a celebrity! Bova gets fed up with everybody so he decides to hang out with Robin Leach for a while. He becomes a media freak and has lots of merchandise because they think he has an immortality potion. This is cool for a while, but then he is imprisoned in a display case and it is not so cool. There is a Vogon Hyperspace Bypass. Goddard is still unconscious.

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Runaway; Apollo 13 just got made, so they had to do a "stuck in the middle of nowhere" story. Their teamwork sucks, and Suzee is not so smart as she says she is, so Radu and Bova are left to DIE in a small vessel called a Starling. Suzee almost gets chopped up by obligatory spaceship blades that are in every spaceship ever even though they don't need to be. They learn lessons. They do some problem solving. They have some romance. And Goddard is still NOT AWAKE.

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Trouble With Doubles; Goddard comes back, yey! Everybody gets their report cards and are cranky. The crew is trying to make nice with these snooty guys that have a hyperwarp wave (read: shortcut) that'll cut down on three years of travel time, so of course some weird space dust shows up and gives everybody evil twins with heavy makeup and fuzzy eyebrows. Only Goddard knows what's going on 'cause apparently he had evil triplets once. They win against the doppleganger, and they get permission to use the shortcut but can't because their ship is not compatible. Suddenly everybody knows what it feels like to be Bova. Also: "NO! NOT THE JUMPTUBES!"

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A Friend In Need; Cardboard Sets! Abandoned outposts! Spung! Aaaaand, GEORGE TAKEI! And hologram George Takei! A crazy fangirl computer suddenly thinks Suzee is really cool and decides she wants to be bestest friends forever with the girl. Of course, when you're trying to make friends with someone you really admire, the first thing you do is periodically exterminate their other friends until there's only the two of you, and you can be together foreeeever. Thelma goes EBIL 'cause of a crazy-making virus. And in the end the crazy computer fangirl decides to play with the Spung instead. Afterwards there is a thorough amount of love triangle establishment between Suzee, Harlan and Radu; Bova gets reeeeejected.

Then it never came back. They stuck it in the Sunday slot of slow and agonizing repeat death, and it was all but forgotten, except by the thousands of fans who did (and some of them still do) send letters to Nickelodeon telling them to bring it back. And we're all totally underdogs, 'cause we will never get a "Serenity"-type movie.

EDIT: Intrigued? Spoiled? If you're one or both of these I encourage you to check out the YouTube Space Cases Channel where you can view full episodes.

Space Cases on YouTube

first comment!

yugami this is sooooooo funny, especially radu's emo of 1000 afi albums (too true!!!)!

and "Truth Hurts; This episode is stupid." man is that true. except for the gay reference at the beginning. i like those two minutes of banter before they actually play truth or doom. oh and radu/harlan are really cute in those white fencing outfits. but that's it.

also, sorry about this, this is a little stupid thing but i think it's "rendez-vous" but i'm not sure. you might want to check it.

I wanted to mention Radu's ponytail and the fencing scene, but "This episode is stupid" is too perfect a description.

And you're probably right, since I hardly ever (purposefully) use French phrases.

radu is kinda studly with the ponytail, but you were right to sacrifice it for the description. do you have any screencaps of him with the ponytail?

I have the player open right now, so here's some. I hate how pixely the pictures are, but it's the fact that I have to turn down my hardware acceleration to get past the copyright crap on my DVD player.

http://photobucket.com/albums/y230/yugami/studlytail/

I hate that there's all that subtexty Radu/Harlan goodness in such a shit episode, 'cause they're really laying it on thick. I just can't stand the fact that the entire plot centers around: "OMG, everybody thinks Suzee is hot and it's such a drag."

*SQUEE* *hug* very studly tail!!!

you know i think the end was really weird, too, how rosie was like "and everyone thinks i'm hot now" and even though she was kidding she semed... i dunno, oldr than she seems in the rest of the series. maybe i'm just imagining that.

i think radu and harlan should so totally get together. then beat each other up. then reconcile.

It was weird; Bova and Rosie started looking older near the end of season 2, but the writing never really acknowledged their growth. At least I think it didn't.

Radu/Harlan could be the master of all hurt/comfort, omg.

You already know this of course, but you officially OWNZ OMG! XD

This is officially The Awesome, and I'll be linking it on my Livejournal because of all the AWESOME contained herein. OMG, I was cracking up at work.

Also, Suzee isn't so bad if she's in the hands of a talented someone writing good fanfiction.

"Would you two like to be left alone" is her best line in the series, though.

HEY. SPACE PIRATE. YO-HO-HO.

also good was "i've never powered up a real live spaceship before!"

/subtext

Seriously, you do write Suzee excellently. *awards you the Golden Lime Pie Award for excellent characterization and saving of hopeless causes*

AUGH You beat me to it! XD Of course, you did it better than I ever could have SO I LOVESES YOU FOREVAR.

This is great. XD I refuse to comment on specific lines I loved because I'd just be retyping the whole thing. YAY FOR YOU, SIR.

I love you for this.

YOU WIN AT THE INTERNETS!

That ... was effing WONDERFUL!

And I shall show it to my friends ... though I think I'll still think it's funnier than them since I know fully about the episodes and they don't (just always meant more explaining for me to do, woe. BUT NOT NOW w00t!).

Favorite lines - the whole thing XDD (I'm not copy-pasting that much!)

That was hilarious! And the fact that you refered to Both Sides Now as "Kristian Ayre Gets Out Of His Andromedan Make-Up And The Fangirls Gush" I wanted to saw Amem Sister! I thought that Kristian was beyond cute in that eppy and I gush about it for a week. Wonderfully done!

Hello~ first of all I want to say I'm here because I read that thing on your personal LJ and knew absolutely nothing about Space Cases about ten minutes ago. I distinctly remember Snick, but I guess I was born to late for Space Cases.

I'm seriously sorry I missed it. You make it sound really funny. XD

Oh my god that was so funny and awesome.

...Seeing what a good job everybody was doing, the executives gave the writers complete creative control and upped the budget.
That's what could have happened.
Here's what really happened.


I love it! Although I would have saved the "this episode is stupid" comment for the Eaty ep. It seems like Davenport is the only one who remains in character throughout the agonizing 22 minutes. "Let's kill it." The whole ep was like a huge joke on Davenport. And, worst of all, NO ONE learns a valuable lesson at the end...except maybe never put furry animals under your shirt if you're ticklish.

yes and bova and i could have learned how to tell the difference between a boy and a girl.

*doubles over laughing* This was just amazing... and it sharpened my memory too. Thank you!

I just found this community today, and you all have absolutely just sent me to my happy place. This is absolutely the most amazing place ever.

*late'd*

Both Sides Now; Also known as: Kristian Ayre Gets Out Of His Andromedan Make-Up And The Fangirls Gush.

Oh, but isn't it just true?

Haha, thank you for this. I laughed a fair ammount.

Thanks for this! I'm a Firefly fan who just in the last few months started watching and loving Space Cases - now I've got some SC and some SC/Firefly crossover plotbunnies, and I'll refer people who don't know about Space Cases to this primer ^_~

I, too, have a crush on Kristian Ayre, and I just saw "Both Sides Now" *squee* Too snazzy.

I love you. I love you so hard.

Ah! My friend recorded this on VHS and we were watching it the other day.
This is fantastic.

Haha, if you were part of this fandom back in the internet's early days, we may have known each other. :D I was FANATICAL about this show. I even remembered the crazy amounts of Shelby Woo hate because that show took Cases' spot. Good times.

lmao... I LOVE Goddard's description! *dies a happy repeat death*

I've recently started a marathon of watching this show, and I found this. I love what you've said.
And just so you know.. Suzee didn't only have the boys crushing.. :P She had confused 7 yr old girls crushing too. Of course at that age, I just wanted to be her, or so I thought. Between her and Catalina I'm surprised I didn't come out of the closet when I was 10.

I love what you've written.

I love this. Freaking love it. And I agree with your "Goddard is sexy" statement. It is fact, not opinion. ^_^ I wish Shank had said "Oh my" instead of "Oh dear" at the end of A Friend in Need. That would have made my life.

This is such a wonderful Primer! It really lifted my day and made me love this show even more! (It was interesting and sad to read about the back-story of Catalina's death and the impromptu decision to include Suzee and exclude Elmira. If only your original ending to season one had come true!)

Watched this when it was first on (great writeup, btw) but when I got to this one:

Prisoner of Luff; OH DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN. Some girl whose name could be Sofiana or Sophiana (nobody cares enough to find out) trades places with Catalina to escape a prison, and then hijacks The Christa.

I just had to laugh, because SGA reused that plot with the same actress in its final season - Jewel Staite's character is mind-swapped with a prisoner on another planet.

SGA really wasn't even trying at that point.

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