A ‘Galaxy Quest’ TV Show Couldn’t Come at a Better Time
Captain’s log, star date 2023: news coming from the Paramount+ streaming service have fans of the 1999 sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest all riled up. Apparently, after years of waiting, lovers of the Dean Parisot-directed (Bill & Ted Face the Music) film are finally getting the television show that has long been promised. So far, little is known about what the show is going to be about, whether it will follow the adventures of the NSEA-Protector in the universe of the film’s titular television series or whether it will be a sequel to the events of the movie. Still, after eight years on the table, there sure is some excitement surrounding the project.
The excitement gets even greater when we consider that a Galaxy Quest TV show couldn’t be coming out at a more auspicious moment. After all, we are living through a Star Trek resurgence like few we have seen throughout history, and Galaxy Quest is largely inspired by the Gene Roddenberry-created show of the late ’60s. Furthermore, nostalgia for the time in which the movie came is at a high point right now. If Paramount+ plays its cards right and delivers on an actually good TV series, they will most certainly have a success in their hands.
What Is ‘Galaxy Quest’ About?
The original Galaxy Quest stars Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, and Daryl Mitchell as the washed-up stars of an ’80s television show about the adventures of a group of space explorers. Titled Galaxy Quest, just like the movie, the fictional show is a spoof of Star Trek, starring Allen’s Jason Nesmith as the Captain Kirk-like (William Shatner) Peter Quincy Taggart. Rickman’s Alexander Dane is his second-in-command, the Spock-inspired (Leonard Nimoy) Dr. Lazarus, while Weaver’s Gwen DeMarco is the show’s reluctant eye-candy Tawny Madison. Fred Kwan (Shalhoub) is the NSEA-Protector’s chief technician, and Tommy Webber (Mitchell) plays the ship’s boy genius navigator. Last, but not least, Rockwell’s Guy is a glorified extra who’s constantly afraid of dying in this week’s episode.
Unable to make a larger career out of the success of the show, Nesmith, Dane, DeMarco, Kwan, Webber, and Guy make their living out of appearances at conventions and fan films. But everything changes when they are called upon by a real group of space explorers, the last remnants of an alien race called the Thermians. Unfamiliar with concepts such as fiction and acting, the Thermians came across recordings of old Galaxy Quest episodes and believed them to be actual historical documents. So, with their race being systematically hunted down and exterminated by the terrifying Sarris (Robin Sachs), who better to negotiate peace than Captain Taggart and his crew?
The minute Galaxy Quest hit theaters in 1999, it became a certified cult classic. Its love for the genre it parodies, its utter respect for fandom culture, and its honest-to-god enthralling characters and plot were the perfect ingredients for a dish that is hard to resist. With such a beloved IP on their hands, Paramount just couldn’t fight the urge to expand it into something more. Talks about a Galaxy Quest sequel movie or TV series have been going on for quite some time. However, Alan Rickman’s untimely death in 2016 put a damper on the conversations. Now, seven years after Rickman’s passing, it seems that the project has gotten back on track as a TV series.
Nostalgia for the Late ’90s and Early 2000s Is at a High Point
And, indeed, apart from the relatively recent loss of one of its main performers, it does seem like the perfect time to put a show like Galaxy Quest on air. There are a couple of reasons behind this logic. The first one is that turn of the millennium, i.e. the moment in which the movie was released, is finally at the center of the 20 years nostalgia cycle. As older millennials enter actual adulthood, nostalgia for the late 90s and early 2000s reaches a high point. And even though the love fans feel for Galaxy Quest never waned over the years, the movie is now part of an era that is experiencing a comeback in the entertainment world.
This comeback can be seen in many aspects of our current cultural landscape, from the return of the infamous low-rise jeans to the myriad of announcements about TV shows and movies based on ’90s/2000s IPs. Most recently, HBO Max’s (or just Max) David Zaslav announced that the streamer will launch a new Harry Potter series based on the seven original books by J.K. Rowling. Shortly after, Lionsgate rose to the occasion with the announcement of a Twilight series. Both franchises were true staples of the first decade of the 2000s. Prime Video’s recent The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series can also be attributed to Y2K nostalgia, since Peter Jackson’s beloved trilogy based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien came out between 2001 and 2003. Fans of so many franchises of the era are being catered to right now. Why not invest in a Galaxy Quest show, considering how beloved the movie is?
It’s the Perfect Moment for a ‘Galaxy Quest’ Comeback
There’s also another subset of fans that are being very much catered to right now, and that’s the group of people obsessed with the long-lasting franchise, Star Trek. Originally released in 1966, the adventures of the USS Enterprise spawned 12 television series and 13 movies over the span of almost six decades. And, right now, there are four Star Trek shows currently running, all available to stream on Paramount+: Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. And that’s not mentioning the recent conclusion of Star Trek: Picard, which ran its final episode on April 20. Another show, titled Starfleet Academy, is currently in the works on Paramount+.
With so many Star Trek projects doing numbers for Paramount+, why shouldn’t the streamer invest on the next best thing? Fox and Hulu already had their shot at a Trek-inspired sci-fi comedy with The Orville, which experienced some success, but was not exactly a major hit. Expectations for a Galaxy Quest series are certainly way higher.
What Would a ‘Galaxy Quest’ TV Show Look Like?
Still, no one knows what the show will actually look like. The possibilities are as endless as the universe itself. The series can don an ’80s filter and show us what the original Galaxy Quest show would look like, or it can follow the events of the movie, showing the lives of Nesmith and the others after their actual space adventure. In this sense, there is also a third possibility: Galaxy Quest, the movie, ends with the intro credits to a follow-up series called Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues, starring the Thermian Laliari (Missi Pyle) alongside the rest of the NSEA-Protector’s original crew.
So far, everything is very much up in the air. In a 2020 interview with Collider, Dean Parisot gave us some idea of what he had planned for the franchise: “We were thinking of a 10-episode series that really was eventually one long movie. It was a three-act structure that took 10 episodes,” he explained. “It was finding these guys, they’re even more pathetic because it’s 15 years or 20 years later. Tim Allen’s character lets it go that he really went to outer space and have been mocked ever since, they lost their TV show and they’re even more of a disaster.” But considering how much has changed ever since this original draft, there’s no knowing whether the producers will follow Parisot’s plan or go with something different.