You know what’s better than a cop show? A show about cops in space. You know what’s better than a show about cops in space? A show about cops in space by Gerry Anderson, the genius behind Thunderbirds, Space: 1999, and Captain Scarlet. Space Precinct is one of the defining TV shows of my childhood. A vibrant set of locations and characters, fantastic alien creatures, mind-bending plots, and outrageous special effects.
Let me give a brief synopsis: Lieutenant Brogan is an ex-NYPD cop who gets transferred out to another precinct. This precinct is in SPACE. Brogan and his partner Jack Haldane have to solve a variety of crimes in the shady, noir-esque Demeter City. These crimes vary from drug dealers, master thieves, assassins, and even to horrifying, nightmare-inducing serial killers. I kid you not. But more on that later.
If you don’t believe me, that Space Precinct is one of the most overlooked gems in TV history, then please just take a look at the intro:
That tells you all you need to know. The great theme tune (STILL the best theme tune ever in my opinion), the incredible costumes, bizarre alien creatures, and explosive action scenes.
What I love most about the show, though, is the wide array of characters. Rather than just being about Brogan and Haldane, the show had a great supporting cast. Other cops including Jane Castle (Haldane’s on-off love interest), the psychic alien cop Took, the C3PO-meets-R2D2 robot buddy SLOMO, and the inexplicably Irish police chief Captain Podly.
The most important thing that Space Precinct did, though, was to scare the absolute crap out of me. Since I was a little kid, I’ve basically been a poster boy for the conservative right: “this child has become completely desensitised to violence and horror! Ban this sick filth!” etc. This obviously happened due to my playing of videogames (such as the shocking and disturbing Super Mario Bros) and watching films such as The Terminator at age six. And, you know, it’s made me a total psychopath who isn’t happy unless copying videogames – I regularly spend my spare time jumping on turtles and wearing dungarees.
Anyway, there were very few things that really scared me as a kid. One of these things was The X Files episode ‘Squeeze’, about some monster bastard who eats people’s livers. Another was an episode of Space Precinct.
Entitled ‘Predator and Prey’, the basic premise is thus: there are a string of bizarre deaths in Demeter City, happening at places such as awesome 90s night clubs. It turns out that the murders are being committed by an intergalactic space demon that infects its hosts and feeds off their life essence.
And did I mention that the space demon in question is non-corporeal most of the time?
And did I mention that when it does appear, it looks like this?
Yeah. It scared the crap out of me.
So – please, if you can, check out this brilliant show. There are a few episodes knocking around on Youtube. I also have the whole thing, so if you fancy having a marathon session sometime then it’s on like Donkey Kong.
This is my first blog on the 90s and why it was an awesome time to grow up. Join me next time for something video-game related…