Quark (TV Series 1977– ) Poster

(1977– )

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Small comedy gem, seemingly forgotten
jfg1-12 January 2005
I was very sorry when "Quark" was taken off the air. The writing was brilliant, and ahead of its time. This is no wonder, with Buck Henry in charge. After all, Henry is the man that brought us "Get Smart", among others.

Richard Benjamin was very good as the idealistic galactic sanitation worker, Adam Quark, and Tim Thomerson, often seen as a heavy, was hilarious as "Gene/Jean", the male-female crewperson. Patricia and Cyb Barnstable carried on ably as the brainless blonds, Bettys I and II, arguing the question of which was the clone and which was the original. Bobby Porter as "Andy the Android", Conrad Janis as "Otto Palindrome", and Alan Caillou as "The Head" were very good in their roles. My favorite was Richard Kelton as "Ficus Panderata", the highly evolved plant man, a Vegaton. I would swear that his was the character in mind when they created the character of Data for Star Trek:TNG.

This show was witty, bright, and more than a bit sarcastic and cheesy. I have read in another comment that a winter storm that knocked out power in the Midwest was responsible for the demise of "Quark", but in my never-to-be-humble opinion, it was that the majority of viewers simply couldn't deal with the fact that it was so different from anything else on TV at that time.

Considering some of the stuff out on DVD today, I don't see why Rhino can't put "Quark" out for us, "Quark"'s small, loyal fan following.
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Want a DVD!
cobblerjon7 June 2004
I long for this complete series (only 9 episodes, what was NBC thinking?) to be available on DVD. After 26 years I still laugh when remembering the Star Wars parody (Tatooine became PooPoo, so that the battle-cry of the planet's defenders was, "We must save our beloved PooPoo!"), and the pollination ritual of Richard Kelton as the plant man and guest star Joan Van Ark as the princess of an insect culture ("Bee bee bee bee bee beebeebeebeebeeBEEBEEBEEBEEBEE!"). See how well it fits with today's sense of humor? This material is just too good not to be shared with all the potential fans who weren't even born when it was first aired. In current jargon (and with the Barnstable twins in mind) it's like Farscape meets Eurotrip.
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The one that got away
GTDMAC2 June 2005
Buck Henry's 1978 Series "Quark" was one of those shows that will always be remembered by its' few fans as the one that got away. Most people don't really remember it since they were watching something else on Friday nights but those of who do know that Buck Henry should have had another "Get Smart" on his hands and didn't. The satire was VERY dry and a lot of the gags missed with those few viewers who weren't sci-fi fans. I don't blame NBS for cancelling the show I just wish there was a Sci-Fi channel back then because they would have immediately snatched it up. Richard Benjamin at least got a lot of exposure and this helped his career despite it being cancelled so soon.
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I'd love to see a DVD!
craft477 June 2006
I've read comments from folks that were just kids (7 - 15 years) when this show aired. I was an adult and found it hilarious! Except for my best friend who watched it with me, no one I've talked to seems to remember it! I've searched the internet on and off for years to find it again. It was a great show, some very clever writing, but too short-lived. I'm glad to find more information and renewed interest in this show. The Sci-fi channel should air it as a summer replacement and then Sony could release it on DVD, they'd make a killing. I'd definitely buy it, and I think from the comments, many more would like it, too. I think my favourite line (and episode) was "goodbye, Polumbus", cracked me right up!
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Excellent Satire Cut Short
Ursus CO1 November 1998
This was an excellent satire program of Sci-Fi in general and traditional "Space Operas" in particular. Should you ever happen to run across the odd episode of Quark, be prepared for laughs in the extreme.

Quark tells the tale of an inter-galactic garbage hauler and his crew of misfits as they find adventures well outside of their normal duties. The humor, though rooted in the cultural strangeness of the 70s, will be very entertaining to adults who remember the 70s as "the good old days". Quark poked fun at most popular culture of the era and the Science Fiction of the day was not spared. Star Wars and Buck Rogers were almost constant targets of jabs and pokes. Even the venerated Star Trek series was humorously taken to task on occasion.

Tragically, it was cut short by circumstances of weather. The entire midwestern US was crippled by power outages during the worst ice storm in US history. The resulting loss of rating points cost it dearly.
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One of the BEST!
DennyBeMe3 August 2007
I was an adult when this show came out. I changed my whole schedule on Friday evening so I could see the show, and then the network would change their scheduling. My niece, who was in grade school, would act out female characters in the show. It had a great, great following, and I think the network had rocks in their head to discontinue the show. As more and more space themed TV shows came back after the original Star Trek, their decision appears more and more flawed.... Richard Benjamin was great as the captain. It would work even now if they brought it back in new form. Buck Henry was a comedic genius. I am sure something like this would work very well now.... and we need something like this again.
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Cult series finally comes to DVD
Dave from Ottawa15 April 2012
Long available only from bootleggers, this series which played on TV very, VERY briefly (two months in the summer of 1977) and became a cult item among sci-fi and Get Smart fans is now finally out on DVD.

The look is cheap and cheesy and the humor is almost cringe-inducing at this point, so it hardly needs mentioning that the series has not aged well. Nonetheless, fans who remember the series and fringe-dwelling thrill seekers are advised to give this curious 70s reliquary a look. Basically, it's a lower budget Star Trek spoof with Get Smart level humor, courtesy of Buck Henry. Some gags still work, others just make you gag, but the cast is likable, especially Richard Benjamin as the eponymous Quark and his barely-clad twin female sidekicks, the Bettys. Like Get Smart there are several running jokes - each of the Bettys claim the other is the clone, while Gene/Jean the transmute flip-flops from gung-ho to girlie at random moments - but the show never ran long enough to wear them out, so some are still pretty funny.

A viewer seeking something a little different may find the series entertaining, but low expectations are a must.
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a spoof on the star wars craze
LONESOLO14 August 2004
QUARK was a spoof on the STAR WARS craze and had a limited run in 1978. It's run was brief but it was ahead of it's time. The crew lead by a man named Quark got into weekly intergalactic adventures aboard a space faring garbage scow. The show was funny but it's fate was decided and it was never renewed. The show I believe was on a friday night and it made the ratings battle too hard for QUARK to compete with. However the show was created by BUCK HENRY who had done such things as CATCH 22, and GET SMART and THE GRADUATE. Buck Henry is known for high quality work. The audience henry was dealing with was not prepared for this kind of humor. The spoofing of the science fiction craze just didn't float in 1978.
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See this show... except you can't.
roarshock21 July 2000
Like "Police Squad" and "On the Air", "Quark" is another television series I caused to be cancelled. That's right, I'm responsible. Whenever I find a show I really really like, the series gets cancelled. So obviously it has to be my fault. I can't tell you to see it, there's no way you can. BUT... if you happen to somehow find it showing somehow, somewhere, then see it. If you don't, you'll never get another chance and your life will be poorer for it.
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Hilarious sci-fi parody series
Woodyanders10 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Created by the brilliant Buck Henry, this extremely hip, clever, and often sidesplitting sci-fi spoof series was quite simply too ahead of its time to catch on with a mass audience in the late 70's. Back then send-ups of big hit movies and various pop culture phenomenon weren't as prevalent as they are now, so this show's appeal was pretty much limited to mainly hardcore science fiction fans. Chronicling the misadventures of bumbling, but eager outer space garbageman Adam Quark (marvelously played to dry'n'deadpan perfection by Richard Benjamin) and his colorful crew of engaging misfits, the eight entertaining episodes of this sadly short-lived series cheerfully poked fun at such famous sci-fi fare as "Star Wars," "Star Trek," "Flash Gordon," and "2001: A Space Odyssey" with a knowing wink that was always good-natured and affectionate instead of smug or condescending. Benjamin's amiable low-key presence served as an ideal anchor for all the inspired lunacy happening around him. The rest of the top-rate cast likewise did well in their more off-the-wall roles: Tim Thomerson put his stand-up comedian skills to expert use as Gene/Jean, a wildly erratic "transmute" who switched from his macho and hyper-aggressive male personality to his more demure and passive female persona at the most inopportune moments; Richard Kelton was in fine stoical form as resolutely pragmatic and emotionless humanoid plant science officer Ficus (this character was clearly a neat caricature of Mr. Spock), gorgeous blonde real-life identical twin siblings Cyb and Tricia Barnstable were quite sexy, charming, and vibrant as two pilots named Betty (one's human while the other is a clone, but poor smitten Quark could never figure out which was which); Bobby Porter was an absolute hoot as abject coward robot Andy, a spineless and sniveling bucket of bolts made out of spare parts who turned into instant jello the moment things got even remotely hairy; and Conrad Janis was a deliciously smarmy treat as Quark's fretful and unctuous boss Otto Palindrome. The rinky-dink (not so) special effects and groovy disco theme further added to the considerable tongue-in-cheek charm. A highly amusing and enjoyable program.
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It did exist
demsvcs20 February 2005
I vaguely remember this television show from when I was 13 years old. I am not surprised it got canceled, it was pretty bad, but it stuck with me because it was different. I have mentioned the existence of this show to certain people I have met to try and at least remember the damn thing's name and who was the star and all I received was blank looks with them feeling sorry for me losing my mind at such a young age.

Until recently I couldn't think of where I had seen the actor (Richard Benjamin) who was the show's main character, so I was really lost in trying to find something on this show. Now if I could just find something out on the Levitra actress.

One thing I remember about the show was that the ship the main character "flew" around in space in opened up in the front like a jaw to gobble up the trash they had to pick up.
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DVD please classic comedy Sci-Fi
rasilon200030 July 2006
I think Quark was one of the classics of comedy Sci-Fi. At the time it was unequaled Adam Quark (Richard Benjamin) as the Bumbling Captain of the garbage space scow was well acted. His antics trying to avoid the continual advances and affections of the two Betties Clones played by (Cyb Barnstable) was always a laugh. Then there was the gentle but strong Vegiton human appearance but was from a planet where vegetables had evolved as the higher life form. The brave warrior who was really a coward. The Head he was the commander at base and not to mention the robot. Looking back I would say Quark had aspects of many Sci-Fi's before and after. Lost in Space TV series not the movie, Red Dwarf, even early Star Trek. I'd love to get it on DVD to add to my collection.
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Cheesy Fun
antiwolf18 June 2003
I watched the Quark in 1978, and was sorry to see it go. It was fun to get the chance to watch it again. It does a pretty good job of spoofing science fiction movies. It fails a bit when it uses standard (for the time) sitcom gags.
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Funny Science Fiction series
shaneyfex9 December 2001
I watched the first run of Quark and later saw a couple episodes on The Comedy Channel. Richard Benjamin was great and the twin gals were babes. I hope it'll be aired again or released on Rhino Video or something. Other Sci-Fi to watch: Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, Red Dwarf.
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Ahead of Its Time, Yes, It was Good
richard.fuller120 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I guess it was just too soon after Star Wars craze to begin satirizing it, but that is what Quark did (tho we took it more as a Star Trek parody).

But unlike most parodies today, from Airplane on, you had to watch the original to appreciate (and understand!) the satire.

Quark wasn't so much like that. You could watch the program and follow it and enjoy it, then if you caught one of the 'original' programs, you might understand what the joke was now from Quark.

Unlike Airplane or Vampires Suck or these Teen Slasher Movie Parodies, in which you have to have seen something of the other movie. Yes.

But back to Quark. We liked it to begin with. I've always thought about this show (I even remember Ficus wasn't there all the time. In the pilot, it was an elderly scientist).

Rather surprised to see the pilot was half an hour, and the other episodes are an hour. I think I remember that. Actually one episode on the DVD set seems to run an hour, the episode with the Source, then the show returns to being a half hour. The Source ep isn't divided into two parts, like the other two parter is. I haven't watched all the episodes yet.

Again, it does seem I recall all this mucking about with the show.

I think the laugh track might vanish in a couple of episodes as well, suggesting the show wasn't certain if it wanted to be a comedy or dramedy.

Still it was a good show. This was about the first place I saw Benjamin. If at that time I had seen Westworld, I didn't realize it was the same actor.

He's kind of a smoothed over, serious Tony Randall, isn't he? Watching this, I couldn't help but notice similarities in Tim Thomerson to Jim Carrey and Conrad Janis to Billy Crystal.
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a bizarre slice of sci fi history
robrosenberger14 March 2011
QUARK, a sci fi spoof from the mind of Buck Henry, aired in the fall of 1977. It lasted only eight episodes, and understandably so. It wasn't good, particularly the first four episodes. Much of the humor was flat and groan-inducing. Yet there was lovely potential. With nods to both STAR WARS and STAR TREK (they used the same audio library), it was obviously a labor of love. The hero is Quark (a well-cast Richard Benjamin), the long-suffering commander of an interstellar garbage ship. His first mates are Betty and her clone Betty (Cyb and Patricia Barnstable, the Doublemint twins), both in love with him. He's in love with her too, but can never consummate because he can't figure out which one is the original (another beautiful moment lost to monogamy's insidious grasp, or just the ugly face of anti-clone prejudice?). Crewmember Gene/Jean (Tim Thomerson) is a transmute, whose personality shifts unpredictably between macho male and fey female. The snarky HQ supervisor Palindrome is well-played by Conrad Janis (MORK AND MINDY). There's a homemade robot who is (unsurprisingly) annoying. The greatest character is Vegeton crewmember Ficus (Richard Kelton), a plant-creature who looks exactly like a human. His dry debates with Quark (no slouch at dry himself) are beautiful, and he takes his place admirably in the emotionless Vulcan/android continuum. Guest stars include Henry Silva (BUCK ROGERS) in "May the Source be with You", and Joan Van Ark in "All the Emperor's Quasi-Norms", the greatest episode of a too-brief run.
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Yes, but also maybe not.
Randell G3 March 2008
I also remember watching it on TV when i was a kid and enjoying it. I recently had the chance to view about 5 of the few episodes of this show that were ever made and though it was a lot of fun to see it again, i'm not so convinced it would do so well thru a DVD release.

The humor is rather dated, of course, but the show also suffers from a huge lack of direction in some cases. Most of the episodes i watched had a feeling of being pieced together rather hap-hazard.

Would be interesting to see what a network could do with the show and premise if they decided to bring it back to a television series. Chances are very good that if one of the three networks did give it a go .... they would completely mess it up though. It would probably be best served on a pay channel. HBO could use more comedy series, thats for sure.
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Definitely ahead of its time
jamie48619 August 2007
I was a preteen when this show aired and I loved it, but I was savvy enough to realize that most people wouldn't get it. I wasn't surprised at the cancellation. As an adult, I couldn't find ANYONE else who remembered it, even my husband who is a huge SciFi Fan. I finally found a copy of a small film clip in the Television Museum in L.A. Based on the condition of that clip, I fear that there may not be surviving episodes, but I would LOVE a DVD of whatever episodes still exist. I know a great many of my friends who would enjoy it now, even though they missed it then. Perhaps with so much communication through the internet, there will be enough interest generated to get a DVD released, preferably before the turn of the NEXT century!
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A running commentary while watching the DVD.
jrfranchi25 January 2009
I'm watching the DVD now. I am less than impressed so far. The humor is a bit off, the music is cheesy rip-offs and the acting is weak. Tim Thomerson stands out as extra terrible. It is amazing how well he has stayed employed. The Barnstable Twins are about as bad actresses as you would expect. It was fun watching Conrad Janis. Richard Kelton actually appears to be fairly good.

I don't know why, but I watched all 8 episodes yesterday. I would recommend you pass on watching it again. Rent Get Smart instead. That has held up very well and the acting and writing and humor was far better. If you want Sci-Fi humor rent Red Dwarf.

Watching Quark did inspire me to see if the Wild Wild West is available yet. It is and I added it to my Q.

Ross Martin of Wild Wild West played a Ming the Merciless like villain in Episodes 5 & 6. (7 was the final but the first was 0).
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