Hyperdrive is the 2006-2007 sci-fi comedy television series by Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley. It ran two seasons at six episodes each. Each episode is half an hour. All episodes are available on Vudu, iTunes, and Amazon Instant. There is also a 2-season DVD box set (region 2/PAL) that includes commentaries, video diaries, deleted scenes, and more.
The year is 2151, and starship Camden Lock is voyaging around the galaxy, spreading Britishness. Does this mean conquering new worlds to expand the British empire? No, it means sales visits to alien worlds, cold telemarketing calls to distant planets, and making sure the errant daughter of a respected member of Space Corps gets to her first day of college on time. Captain Michael Henderson (Nick Frost) leads the crew with passionate speeches with a profundity the actual words can’t quite live up to. Directly under him is war machine Eduardo York (Kevin Eldon), a stickler for the rules and gusto toward killing things. Next in command is Chloe Teal (Miranda Hart) whose whims flit from trying to get the commander in bed to trying to get command over the whole spaceship. There’s also navigation officer Vine (Stephen Evans), who’d rather be working in a pub than in Space Corps, and passively rebellious hippie technician Jeffers (comedian Dan Antopolski). Paterson Joseph plays the cheery space marshall who never brings good news. Finally, Petra Massey plays Sandstrom, a young woman who was talked into getting an “enhancement” that allows her to be a psychic pilot…and completely changes her personality. The one regret with this two-season show is that her story is never really explored. There’s a tantalizing glimpse into her memory, where we see her original, much more human personality agreeing to take on the enhancement in order to erase her student loans (proper satire) and York’s concern that she shouldn’t still have those memories. Then of course, we learn that Sandstrom and York are hot for each other, but that doesn’t come to fruition either. A little disappointing. Ultimately though, the show uses all the over-done sci-fi plot elements but with a funny twist.
Season 1 starts out with almost entirely fart jokes and gags about exploding testicles. Really the only highlight of season 1 is the appearance of Sally Phillips as Clare Winchester, a brave solo pilot driven mad by seclusion whereupon she forges a new friendship with a drinking glass and kidnaps Commander Henderson for his skills in saying nice things to her.
Season 2, however, is (forgive the pun) is worlds away. The lowbrow, dirty jokes are almost entirely eradicated, leaving room for more epic plots that take the officers to a reality show planet where they are left to battle monsters in the woods, which is broadcast live around the planet; or when they get lost inside dreamland, slipping in and out of each others’ heads, trying not to get absorbed and become a dream character. Probably the funniest moment is Miranda Hart and Stephen Mangan trying to kiss each other while simultaneously singing agnostic hymns. The season finale will leave you satisfied, where we discover a dark secret about the Commander that not even he himself knew, but without ever losing sight of the characters at their purest.
Overall, season 2 is worth a look, but I’d recommend bypassing season 1 altogether. The brilliance in this show really comes from the subtle inadequacies that undermine all the stereotypical science fiction moves and speeches, even in something as tiny as the Commander spinning his chair after a successful video dealing and it looking just a little stupid is enough to make fun of the entire science fiction genre.