Space Precinct, the futuristic buddy cop series from Gerry Anderson might be the worst TV show ever made and I say that in the kindest way. Space Precinct features terrible writing, bad acting, poor special effects and comedic one-liners that aren’t funny in this universe or any other. It’s a fabulous show and it will delight any scifi genre fan and is a must see for all the Fandersons out there.
If, by now, you think I’m purposely writing in double speak, contradicting myself at every turn, you would be right and that is the problem and the joy of this series. Made ade in the UK in the mid-nineties, Space Precinct suffers from an identity crisis. Visually, it looks like a children’s show, which is understandable since Anderson is the man who gave us Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. But when the characters start to talk and the plot rolls out, it’s clear that the show is aimed at adults with elements of UFO, Space 1999 and even Protectors thrown in!
The show revolves around NYPD Detective Patrick Brogan (Ted Shackelford of Knott’s Landing fame) who is now chasing bad guys on the planet Altor in the year 2040. As if Brogan doesn’t have enough to deal with at the precinct, he’s got a wife who can’t cope with him being married to the job, and a teenage son who is going through the rebellion stage. Moving across the country is hard enough, so moving to another planet. . . not surprising that the kid’s are having trouble fitting in.
Once you get past the scifi setting, Space Precinct is basically an 80’s buddy cop movie. Brogan’s partner, Jack Haldane (Rob Youngblood) is the wise-cracking, young upstart who cooks hot dogs in their patrol ship while bantering with their latest snitch. The rest of the cast of characters is a combination of humans mixed with actors wearing rubber masks. Many of the masks have advanced puppetry aspects, but it doesn’t keep them from looking like low budget version of the cantina creatures from Star Wars. Fans of Anderson’s signature model work, however, won’t be disappointed in the array ships and space oddities that pop up over the course of 24 episodes.
Drug dealers, serial killers, smuggling illegal aliens, prostitution, organ theft, hate crimes, murder for hire — this is not your ordinary scifi show. And I say again, despite the fun aliens and colorful look, it’s not a show for kids. What Space Precinct is is a campy, special effects heavy, crazy cop show in space and I doubt you’ll ever see another series like it. For that reason, you need to own Space Precinct: The Complete Series.
It’s guaranteed to make you laugh, even when it’s not supposed to.
Do you have a favorite Gerry Anderson production? We’d love to hear about it.