Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nostalgia Theater: Out of this World Edition

Space mutant Evie (Maureen Flannigan) terrifies human mom Donna (Donna Pescow)
I don't know if it's an actual fact or simply my jaundiced memory of the era, but it certainly feels like TV traffic in the 1980s was clogged with a disproportionately high number of sitcoms that revolved around sci-fi/fantasy scenarios, rather than quality writing, to do the comedic heavy lifting. I talked about one such example, the awesomely awful Small Wonder, a few years ago, and another such example is Out of this World, which ran for four seasons and nearly a hundred episodes from the late '80s into the early '90s. I'd go into the premise, but watch the intro after the jump and see if that doesn't clear the air first:

So, just to clarify: lady meets alien, alien knocks up lady, takes off for his home planet, leaves lady with mutant child possessed of horrible, world-destroying super powers. That about sum it up? Okay, maybe that's a bit more of a cynical reading than the producers intended, but seriously, when you think about it, little Evie (Maureen Flannigan), the spawn of human Donna (Donna Pescow) and alien Troy (voiced by Burt Reynolds -- yep, that Burt Reynolds), is gifted the ability to freeze time by pointing her index fingers at each other. Let's think about that for a second. Freeze. Time. 

How many paradoxes are occurring every time she does her parlor trick? How many butterfly effects are happening all over the world whenever she wants to get out of doing her chores? And that wasn't the only world-beating power this adolescent was given! Anyway, the show started its run on NBC, as part of a brief attempt by the Peacock to have local affiliates air first-run programming before the start of actual primetime. While that experiment didn't really pan out, Out of this World actually did well enough to warrant a revival in syndication, where it spent its next three seasons before running headlong into the '90s and cancellation.

My actual memories of the show are extremely fleeting from the few times it aired in Saudi Arabia when I was a kid, but I do have very distinct memories of the theme song, a catchy, hepped-up version of the Oscar-winning tune "Swinging on a Star." I'll occasionally bring up Out of this World to people from my vintage, and after describing it, I'm usually greeted by bemused "smile politely at the crazy person" looks. Indeed, there've been no recent reruns or DVD releases (well, they did put out DVDs in Germany, but come on, it's Germany). Maybe a global mindwipe was another power that Troy gifted to Evie?

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