Dans une galaxie près de chez vous
Dans une galaxie près de chez vous (English: In a galaxy near you) is a Quebec French language television series that aired on Canal Famille (later Vrak.TV) from 1998 to 2001, and a movie of the same name, released in 2004. The second movie, Dans une galaxie près de chez vous 2, has been released on April 18, 2008. It is a humorous sci-fi parody.
The series chronicles the long, futuristic voyage of a team of Québécois space explorers looking for a planet capable of sustaining life, in the year 2034, after the destruction of the ozone layer through excessive human pollution, prompting the need for a new planet to welcome humankind. The seven crew members venture outside their own galaxy to explore other star system in search of a new planet large enough to sustain 6 billion people. The few habitable planets encountered are ultimately abandoned either because they are already occupied (emphasizing the wrongdoing of invading other civilizations and cultures), or because upon closer inspection they are found to have other problems (cow-sized mosquitoes, high radiation levels, dog overpopulation, unsuitable living environment, ...).
Using the classic sitcom style, the characters' interactions drive the main plot in the same recurring spaceship sets (the bridge, dormitories, medical room, hallways). Occasionally, scenes are shot outside of the ship on alien planets being explored; these generic alien-world scenes tend to be shot in-studio. The satirical humor of the show is heightened by playing on the fact that the characters themselves recognize the farfetchedness of the universe in which they live and much of the series' comic-relief is derived from the look and feel of low-budget set (an alien is obviously a human only painted green, gadgets are recognizable objects, etc.). The script, written by Claude Legault who also plays Flavien, plays a lot on clichés of all types, word play (especially Quebec slang), parodies and sketch comedy. Many aspects of the show reflect Québécois culture; some scenes involve a complete picture of traditional Quebec.
The starship, christened Romano Fafard, is led by Captain Charles Patenaude (played by Guy Jodoin), a presumptuous but endearing man prone to making pompous, solemn declarations (with a knack of screwing up when saying proverbs). Other member include: Flavien Bouchard (Claude Legault), the radar operator who possesses heightened senses and is in desperate search for his dad (it is learned in the last season that his dad is an alien), Bob Dieudonné Marcellin (Didier Lucien), a black chubby pilot who is best friends with Flavien and who obsesses over two things: food and Petrolia Staneslavsky (Mélanie Ménard). Petrolia is a half-Russian space orphan whose inventiveness seems to cause just as many problems as it solves. She is in a relationship with Flavien. Serge (Réal Bossé) is a humanoid robot Petrolia created, stricken with multiple personalities and abilities who is constantly falling in disrepair. Valence Leclerc (Isabelle Brossard first season and Sylvie Moreau subsequent seasons) is the ship's psychologist but assumes all medical functions as well. She and the captain are secretly in love. Brad Spitfire (Stéphane Crête), the resident scientist, is cause for most of the plot conflicts and complications. His main objective is to become captain. He is anti-social, power-hungry, egotistic, Machiavellian and incredibly weak and sensitive, though generally not of other's feelings. Despite these, actor Stéphane Crête makes Brad one of the series' most amusing and lovable characters.
The show evolved greatly between the first and last season. In the last episode of the first season, two characters disappeared: Falbo Gotta (Paul Ahmarani), the ship's soldier, and Mirabella Romario (Pascale Montpetit), a criminal employed as the ship's doctor. After their departure, Petrolia and Serge filled in their spots.
The series is an obvious parody of science-fiction works like Star Trek, a bit like the British Red Dwarf. A spirit of environmentalism, humanitarianism, pacifism and ethics is ever-present throughout the series. Sometimes, the social comment on the selfish errors of humankind regarding pollution and war can be misanthropic, but still hopeful and idealistic. Most members of the team subscribe to these noble morals, with the notable exception of Brad Spitfire.
The title translates to In a galaxy near you, a pun on the classic cinema advertising line Coming to a theatre near you. It was initially set to be broadcast on a mainstream network under the name Vadrouille de l'espace. Patrouille du cosmos (Space Patrol) is the Quebec French language title of Star Trek (France knows it by its original title); Vadrouille de l'espace basically translates to Space Mop. Science-fiction being rare in Quebec fiction, the main networks ultimately did not accept to risk broadcasting the show. The creators turned to the youth-oriented Canal Famille (the former name of Vrak TV), who welcomed the project. Even though it was presented on a Children's channel, its humour is, while caricatural, often relatively mature and sophisticated.[original research?]
A movie of the same title and premise was released in 2004. It proved to be a hit with younger and older viewers, and drew very good reviews relatively unanticipated from intellectual critics. It was also groundbreaking for its impressive special effects accomplished with a small budget and a short filming time, and for being one of the few sci-fi Quebec films, along with Dans le ventre du dragon. The second "Galaxie" movie, "Dans une galaxie près de chez-vous 2", was released to theaters on April 18, 2008. A third chapter of "Galaxie" is planned, however only very little information about it has been made public.
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