Hyperdrive is the best of both comedy and sci-fi. Forget all the comparisons to Red Dwarf. Hyperdrive refrains from the acid-induced insanity of Dwarf and aims right for Star Trek/Farscape/Stargate/Gallactica parody all while staying broad enough to be a great watch. Even if you’re not a trekkie/scaper/gater/gallactite? frakhead? there’s a lot to enjoy.
Think of Hyperdrive as Star Trek: TNG but intentionally laughable, or as a live-action Futurama where Planet Express is replaced by members of a volunteer force stumbling through heroic missions to protect British interests in a changing galaxy.
Space Commander Michael “Mike” “Lucky Jack” “Hendo” Henderson is an optimistic if not idealistic, space nerd leading his rag-tag crew on low-priority missions with all the vim and vigor of his TV hero Captain Helix.
Awesome. The Commander, as played by Nick Frost, has an insatiably positive attitude. Under all the comedy he actually cares about the mission and the values he’s meant to espouse. That really sets the show apart from other sci-fi series, serious dramas included, as they’re mostly lead by characters with few redeeming qualities and vague patches of motivation in place of actual depth.
Don’t get me wrong, this show is a wacky comedy with snappy self-deprecation (the hero trap joke for example) but they’ve so perfectly crafted a world that while you’re laughing, you’re also genuinely interested. And that’s what makes it brilliant. Once past the Glish characters early in the first episode, the crass jokes mostly taper off and are replaced by comic situations, gut-busting character foibles, parody, and subtle touches like the Commander’s various uses for the word commencify.
You’ve just got to love a show whose view of the future includes karaoke as an Olympic sport. The supporting cast are incredibly entertaining, especially Miranda Hart whose scene-stealing performance as Diplomatic Officer Chloe Teal lead me to find another great series.
Miranda, played by Miranda Hart, deals with the kind of humorous situations I find I’m entirely paranoid of personally committing. Sure there are absurd over the top situations but in every episode there’s a moment or two where I completely identify with the character.
Like attempting to take your sweater off and realizing your shirt’s gone with it, trying to be a “new you”, being called sir because of your height, falling asleep in a library, or reading nazi propaganda to children. Alright, well not the last one.
On the DVD cover it says “One of the few recent laugh-out-loud sitcoms.” It genuinely is. Miranda Hart is the smashing combination of Frances de la Tour’s Madame Maxime, Toni Collette, and a wonderful, hilarious, awkward red-headed friend of mine from long ago. So as she talks to the camera, I already feel I know her. It’s nice to watch a show about a woman who isn’t a completely poised, anorexic, wanton stick insect. In fact, Miranda’s rather a spaz. But she’s always in on the joke, or makes it before you do, so the sense of humor never feels too sardonic.
It’s kind of funny how breaking the third wall, as the show frequently does, doesn’t seem to matter. I still very much care about the characters and no episode is a better example of why than Let’s Do It from series 2. It’s one of those hard to watch/can’t look away episodes British shows are fond of and I’ve come to love.
For both shows the second series is better than the first, the best episode is the first one of the second series, and I was sad when it was over. All good signs of a pitch perfect, must own, tell everyone, show. I know they’re not everyone’s taste. But then, some people like CBS programming.