“ BBC. Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy. A sci-fi British comedy about the adventures of Her Majesty's Ship Camden Lock in the year 2151. It's mission: to convince alien governments to relocate their businesses to Britain. The odd crew is a bunch of good-to-nothing led by the equally useless but means well Commander Henderson (Nick Frost). „
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This show could have been good, but is predictable tripe.
The "David Brent"-style captain could be made a lot better. The show is a cheesy rip-off of Red Dwarf. It is a cross between the office and Dr Who, with all the same jokes.
My biggest complaint is always the necessary happy ending. There are a few good jokes, but they are dwarfed by the huge amount of obvious one-liners that are designed for children.
This show should have poked fun at being British in a way similar to the office, where we are all made out to be losers with little hope in life. Instead there is always a happy ending and the "heroes" are always the good guys. Red Dwarf was funny because there was no such good and evil line drawn. Invariably the "heroes" always ended up in trouble, and happy endings were not guaranteed.
The people in this programme should be about losers not succeeding. We should mock our entire culture of a small island thinking it is at the centre of the universe.
Where is the sleazy Tony Blair figure, or all the management lingo of the office making a ship wholly incompetent? Where is the British tabloids, and the aristocrats of a empire destroyed? Where is the Britain that struggling to be heard and dominated by America? Where is the rich folk? The tabloids? The neds? The ethnic tensions present in the UK? The overtly politically correct culture? The programme is trying to be mainstream, programmes like this must be cutting edge.
This programme could have been good. The whole genre has been ruined by the BBC making a sort of Dr Who comedy. It didn't work, it is easy to watch garbage designed for morons.
I am sorry to anyone who liked it. I really wanted to like it, but when you look past the few one-liners the programme is crap. Don't tolerate for second best, just get yourself a copy of Red Dwarf, or the hundreds of other programmes funnier than this.
It is not a novel idea, but an idea that has always had potential.
With Red Dwarf long gone (like Crag Charles brain after one too many gurgles on the bong in a taxi or two) theres been a bit of black hole opening up in the space time continuum as far as comedy Sci-Fi on TV goes. So it was inevitable that the BBC would come up with something to fill that slot, as you would expect pretty much on the same formulae as Grant & Naylors excellent work, complementing the enjoyable Heros on the same channel the day before.
Thursdays at 9-30pm
Hyperdrive is Red Dwarf 2 in all but name. I dont need to tell you guys that fact. Its the same level of humor and mischief as the cult classic that ran for nine series (I think!) and the writing just as good and observant, at times refreshingly contemporary and sardonic. The episode in series two where they had to pick up the princess and make sure she went to university was very on the ball and well observed.
The show follows the adventures of HMS Camden Lock and its motley crew in the year of 2151, a kind of government owned deep space galleon, promoting planet Earth in the depths of the known universe. Their job is to encourage trade and tourism with GB from other races and galaxies without getting shot at, which, of course, they frequently do. That means there is plenty of comic potential for their own version of Star Trek and the gags, some obvious and Red Drawfy, do indeed come thick and fast like the meteor showers they get pebble dashed by when asleep at the wheel.
Under the captaincy of the portly and bearded Commander Henderson (the excellent Nick Frost of Space and Shaun of the Dead fame) we are well into the second series now and I expect this to start winning awards soon, if just because its on its own in this comedy niche slot. It has also introduced us to the exciting comic talent of Miranda Hart as Frosts big boned, right hand girl on the bridge in the neurotic Officer Teal, as scatty as a dizzy cat.
Teal, a very plain girl who has a huge crush on her not so heroic and incompetent captain, is determined to get her evil way with him, a concurrent them of the show. But Henderson spends all his hours swooning over Captain Felix, a fictional soap opera legend of the space core, searching for inspiration from him on how to lead on the Camden Lock. There is a reason Henderson isnt allowed to captain a proper military vessel.
There are also good comic turns from sadist weapons man in the sociopathic 1st Officer York (Ken Eldon) and science officer Jeffers (Dan Antopolski). With some blossoming peripheral characters around them the show is always developing new layers.
Appearance wise its the same old problem-locations. Just as the new Dr Who tends to end up in the same Cardiff Street and comprehensive school for its external sets, the crew of Hyperdrive always seems to end up in the same forest just outside of London. But the writing is very good and funny so you really dont care, where as in Dr Who the locations were beginning to become wearing and noticeable like the show was becoming predictable. One more series of Dr Who is one too many for me.
With its Blake Seven ironic edge and much bigger budgets than that particular show had for special effects in the bad old days of British Sci-Fi this really looks good. The days of skimping on sets in this genre are long gone now digital effects are much cheaper to create and purchase. In fact its hard to fault this visually. I suspect the biggest criticism from hardcore Sci-Fi fans is its not Red Dwarf.
Nick Frost ... Commander Henderson
Kevin Eldon ... York
Miranda Hart ... Teal
Dan Antopolski ... Jeffers
Stephen Evans ... Vine
Petra Massey ... Sandstrom
Paterson Joseph ... Space Marshall Clarke
Waen Shepherd ... Captain Helix
Last nights episode was a cracker, Teal left in charge of the ship after Henderson has to take York to Starbase 6 for disciplinary reasons, a Rodney King style beating of a contract cleaner earning his incarceration.
Whilst Teal is color coding the grenades, Star Base six has been taken over by the mind stealing shiny red robot mother ship, soon clamping onto the Camden Locks hull with a menacing probe heading up the exhaust pipe. With killing machine York in solitary it was left to the captain to come up with a cunning plan. Like a typical dithering woman she didnt, and nor did the captain, York having to be unleashed to save the day.
The thinking on it
I really like it and pleased they didnt go into this half-heartedly. It would be so easy to try and remake Red Dwarf and mess it up I dont think they have done that here. Yes they use the same comic formula of one lay-about, one incompetent leader, and a droid or two, but what space film or show doesnt.
The comic turns are great fun and with Nick Frost at the helm it was always going to work. I never really got his C4 sitcom Space and feel hes much more effective in a lead role as he is here. Miranda Hart is destined for great things too. Definitely a movie career ahead of her in naff British romcoms...
Like series one theres 12 episodes here, last night was episode 4. As with Hero they play the next episode on digital BBC 3, which, for some reason, isnt free on the license. So if youre short of ideas on the TV front in this extremely boring summer then why not jump on board the HMS Camden Lock for an interstellar comedy treat. It really is better than it looks.
Cast: Nick Frost (Space Commander Michael "Mike/Lucky Jack/Hendo" Henderson), Kevin Eldon (First Officer Eduardo Pauline York), Miranda Hart (Diplomatic Officer Chloe Teal), Stephen Evans (Navigator Dave Vine), Dan Antopolski (Technical Officer Karl Jeffers), Petra Massey (Sandstrom)