The crowdfunded brainchild of ‘90s children’s TV duo Trevor Neal and Simon Hickson, Strangeness in Space sees sensible NASA Space Centre gift shop manger Sophie trapped with the juvenile Trev and Simon on an unreliable spaceship orbiting the bizarre planet of Mirth, where they are periodically sucked into sci-fi shenanigans.
Strangeness in Space is aptly named, and is also very, very silly. And that’s why it’s so much fun. While the first episode, Featherheads, involved a shoe storm, day-glo eggs and space chickens, this time the spacecraft develops a case of hiccups and the intrepid trio must travel to Mirth to locate a cure, along the way encountering a gang of RhinocerBikers and a doctor who apparently moonlights as a mad scientist, the latter causing the use of a large assortment of utterly unidentifiable sound effects that really push the boundaries of the kind of thing your imagination can come up with.
The Trev and Simon characters are as indistinguishable from each other as their real life counterparts and often get into trouble on account of their childlike distractibility, complete absence of a sense of responsibility, and indefatigable belief that that their 1980s-style synth-pop act Pink Custard has cross-universe appeal. Sophie is the sole voice of reason as she constantly attempts to get the two to act their age and prevent them from blundering into danger in the surreal comedy landscape of Mirth. Keeping things straight is narrator Bounty Flightingale (Doon Mackichan) who sounds like a slightly demented 1950s BBC newsreader, and periodically interrupts events to pimp out numerous disgusting-sounding cough remedies and offer snarky comments on the action.
The humour’s sophistication is roughly equivalent to that of the average issue of The Beano, where wordplay, cheesy humour, childish jokes and bad puns abound, with cleverest gag being a sequence that plays like a simpler variation of Abbot & Costello’s classic Who’s On First sketch and the most subtle being a brief nod to Sophie Aldred’s past as a Doctor Who companion. And all of this is certainly no bad thing; Strangeness in Space is simple and inoffensive fun that people of all ages can enjoy.
STRANGENESS IN SPACE EPISODE 2: THE FIVE / PRODUCER: CLARE EDEN / STARRING: SOPHIE ALDRED, TREVOR NEAL, SIMON HICKSON, RUFUS HOUND, PETER GUINNESS, DOON MACKICHAN / PUBLISHER: INDEPENDENT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW