RELEASE DATE: Tuesdays, 11:05 PM
There are generally two visions a science fiction program will present for the future: gleaming consoles or garbage in the street. Star Trek is the perfect example of the utopian future; Bladerunner its dystopian counterpart. Hyperdrive is a comedy that mixes the two, suggesting we will arrive in a pristine future with all our faults intact.
Imagine bureaucrats in space. Set in 2151, the inept crew of the Camden Lock bumble about known space attempting to fulfill their directive to “… protect British interests in a changing galaxy.” This often involves the surprisingly mundane tasks of ensuring spacecraft are properly registered, assisting elite sportsmen with engine trouble and ensuring Admiral’s daughters make it to college on time. It is a perfect parody of the ‘brave mission’ formats that have come before, suggesting what life in space would really be like if government departments were allowed to take part.
I’m late to the Hyperdrive party – the episodes airing on ABC2 were filmed in 2006 and 2007 – but it’s become something of an instant favourite. It will be a similar hit with fans of Red Dwarf and the spoof film Galaxy Quest. Comedy or not, like all good science fiction the series Hyperdrive puts the common in uncommon surroundings so we can get a better look at ourselves. We always think of the future as a place characterized by improvement – definitely for technology, probably for humanity. Hyperdrive suggests there will be plenty of room in space for all of our foibles, regardless of how spotless we manage to keep the surfaces.
Hawaii Five O
DISTRIBUTOR: Network Ten
RELEASE DATE: Sundays, 8:30 PM
I had my doubts regarding Hawaii Five O from the very beginning. After all, how easy was it going to be to reinvent a classic that had kept a generation of viewers riveted to their seats across the 60s and 70s? But I shouldn’t have worried. The producers of the new-and-improved Hawaii Five O have come up with what I consider to be compulsive viewing – though I don’t think it was comedy they were aiming for.
For those of you not familiar with this particular television icon, the original Hawaii Five O followed the cases of the chiseled Jack Lord as detective Steve McGarrett, accompanied by his trusty offsider Danno. It sometimes strained credibility with the amount of crime that took place on such a small island but that didn’t stop the funky soundtrack and catch-phrase “Book ‘em, Danno” permeating schoolyards across the country. The new series sees a re-think of McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) as a US Navy Lieutenant Commander specializing in terrorist activities, roped into running a special investigative team with virtual impunity from prosecution. Danny “Danno” Williams (Scott Caan) is a Newark detective who can’t stand McGarrett, but you get the feeling from episode one that they’ll be forming a grudging friendship before too long.
The problem with Hawaii Five O is the script. It’s not that it’s badly written. I believe it actually takes real skill to seamlessly sew together so many clichés in such a short space of time. It’s all there: key characters losing loved ones and screaming “Nooooo!” at the camera; terrorists with decidedly untrustworthy accents and homicidal tendencies; intense, prolonged staring off into the middle distance that reminds me disturbingly of Zoolander’s ‘Blue Steel’ posing. It’s not meant to be this funny I’m sure but my wife and I laughed our way non-stop through the first hour, playing an entertaining game of, “I bet he does that next – no, surely not – yes!” If this is modern crime fighting at its toughest then I can understand why our world struggles to take evil seriously.