[show=htsaaar size=large]If you were to judge the world of science fiction based on the number of male characters vs. females featured, with few exceptions you’d probably find that space is a man’s world, baby. And that’s essentially the premise of Hurtling Through Space At An Alarming Rate, Babelgum’s mash-up of sci-fi comedy and dude humor.
The series, marking a definite shift in tone from the team who created Streamy-nominated drama After Judgment, charts the adventures of Mike (Michael Davies) and Stuart (Stuart Paap), two beer-swilling dudes flying about through space in a ship that looks like a modern two-bedroom apartment. How does the apartment manage interstellar travel? What are these guys supposed to be doing aside from ridding space of “annoying creatures” (which makes them sound like the astronaut equivalent of exterminators)? No freaking clue. The main point of the show is to fling about sci-fi references, goof around with toy weapons, and talk about boobs, while facing foes like a monstrous pile of dirty laundry, a planet filled with oddly timed bombs, and Comicbook Orange‘s Casey McKinnon in an upcoming guest appearance.
Unfortunately, while Hurtling means well, the series is uneven, specifically because the show is at its best when the guys are just being guys, and there’s no serious effort being made to spoof sci-fi franchises.The opening of the second episode, for example, is a poorly paced attempt to imitate Battlestar Galactica in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. While the cinematography is a good match for the original series, it’s a pointless interlude that has no relation to the plot, and isn’t nearly as fun as the opening of the third episode, in which Mike and Stuart go back and forth over which is the more hacky impression — Sean Connery or Christopher Walken.
Length is a major issue, too, as the first and second episodes are both over 10 minutes long — while I’ve loosened up dramatically about my old five-minutes-or-less rule for web series episodes, the problem with Hurtling is that it’s just too drawn-out. The third episode, coming in at 10 minutes, is the tightest so far, but even then there are long pauses and overplayed jokes that could have been trimmed.
The cast, all drawn from the web series world, is solid overall, and the casual way in which references to Star Wars and Mad Max moments are dropped into ordinary dialogue keeps the series nerdy but not necessarily alienating. But the good jokes and original ideas are drowning in unnecessary spoofing and unfunny gags — a much harsher hand during both the writing and editing process is what was lacking here. I’d love to sit down and enjoy a beer and a Star Trek flick with Mike, Stuart and the gang. But I don’t know if I’d want to travel through space with them.