Media: The Strangerers: An Expert’s View - The Strangerers has some endearing features but it falls flat, Ivan Pollard says

I am not entirely sure why I was asked to pass judgment on Sky’s new ’genre-crossing science fiction road comedy’, The Strangerers. The barely attained physics O-level? The fact that I knew Dune was more than an expensive perfume?

I am not entirely sure why I was asked to pass judgment on Sky’s

new ’genre-crossing science fiction road comedy’, The Strangerers. The

barely attained physics O-level? The fact that I knew Dune was more than

an expensive perfume?



Perhaps it was because of the work we did with Lucasfilm, marketing Star

Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace?



I wouldn’t claim to be an expert in science fiction programming, so what

follows is my reaction as a punter. The first episode of The Strangerers

was stranger than I had expected. I got the idea - botched alien

invasion of earth, two dumb cadets adapting to human behaviour and a

host of opportunities for ensuing gags and spoofs.



But I began to lose it a bit when a babe in a skin-tight blue PVC suit

got involved (perhaps this is just a reflection of my age). Suffice to

say that the X-Files meets Mork and Mindy with a bit of A Clockwork

Orange thrown in is one way of describing it.



But will it work? We have a tradition of Brit-based sci-fi comedy - Red

Dwarf, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - and it is laudable that

Sky should back this as its first original comedy series.



And I can see what it is aiming at: a Rob Grant production that could

become a cult staple attracting more of the young, upmarket audience

that Channel 4 keeps claiming as its own and a language that can enter

the youth club as easily as the nightclub would be a valuable addition

to Sky One. But for me, it just misses the mark.



It seemed too contrived, too cold, too slow and a bit too narrow to be a

big hit. Perhaps the plot will develop and the gags will get better, but

I don’t think it will ever quite break away from the ’I’ve seen that

before’ syndrome with slicker products such as Third Rock From the Sun

and Earth Girls Are Easy around.



Comedy has moved on from this stuff with The Fast Show and Trigger Happy

TV. Somehow The Strangerers didn’t have enough zip.



But what do I know? I grew up wanting to be Mork from Ork. Perhaps there

are people out there who want to be space cadets just like Niven and

Flynn.



Ivan Pollard is a founding partner of Unity.



Channel Sky One

Broadcast time 9pm

Audience viewing figures 617,000 (unofficial overnight figures)

Advertisers in first break include Toyota Celica, Bounty Kitchen Roll,

Scoot, Source, BT, Fairy Liquid



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