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|Index||19 reviews in total|
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*** This review may contain 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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