At the beginning of the fall season, it looked as though there was a plethora of ‘Doctor Who’ references interspersed in television shows such as ‘Supernatural’ (they had a character named Amy Pond) and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (the ER was flooded with injured con goers hoping to get a miniature TARDIS signed by Russell T. Davies). But one reference that seemed to strike a chord in fellow Whovians was the one seen on NBC’s ‘Community’ when they showed a segment called ‘Inspector Spacetime.’
What turned out to be a 15 second parody became a trending Twitter topic and became the subject of fan fiction and video mash ups. If you recall, ‘Inspector Spacetime’ was a spoof of ‘Doctor Who’ described on ‘Community’ as “a British sci-fi series that’s been on since 1962” and involves a time travelling inspector who travels in a red box.
Travis Richey, who played the time travelling detective, was invited to Gallifrey One after the huge positive response from a Liar’s panel that was held at the Chicago TARDIS con last November. Tony Lee (writer of the ‘Doctor Who’ comics) had asked Richey to film a short message to the fans attending the panel as they discussed upon the ‘Inspector Spacetime’ show as though it was a real series with a history spanning 50 years. Because of the popularity of the panel, Richey was invited to hold a panel of his own at Gallifrey One about his “series.” There he discussed the show and even presented a slide presentation explaining the long line of actors who played the Inspector which included Christopher Lee in the 1960s, Stephen Fry in the 1980s, and Steve Carell in the 1990s TV movie.
After his panel, he was kind enough to speak with us about the popularity of the character and his work to bring the Inspector to a computer near you.
How did it feel seeing a character you played for only 15 seconds have such an impact over the web?
“It was funny because I was on the West Coast so I was seeing East Coast Twitter feeds start to have this wave of Inspector Spacetime mania sweep the country before it even aired where I was. And so, it was really great to see that. But even more than that, the instant reaction the fans that created, literally, an entire history of this fake show based on 15 seconds of work. It was so gratifying to see that the interest was actually out enough for people to sit down and write stuff. “
“People are writing old episodes of ‘Inspector Spacetime.’ Rewriting…I say rewriting because in the canon, they already exist so fans are creating those episodes from scratch.”
You mentioned a web series?
“We are going to launch (a web series). Because I haven’t been used on ‘Community’ again, I wrote a web series after my first episode on ‘Commnuity’ and offered it to them. It’s hard for that to be the way it works though because in Hollywood you have to go through agents and I’m still a small potato in Hollywood. But it’s obviously something that fans want and it deserves to exist. It’s a fun 6 episode web series that we’re just going to do it ourselves.”
Do you know when it may come out?
“We’re launching a Kickstarter campaign and we’ve got some great prizes lined up including an original poster by Jonny Eveson and things like signed stuff (to give out). The campaign’s gonna last through March and assuming it’s successful, we’ll go into production a couple weeks after that and put out the first episode probably in beginning of May.”
How exciting! Can you tell us about the first episode?
“We just did a reading of it here, and there will be a video of it on line. And also what I did was get illustrations from SharkeyeJones. He illustrated the entire first episode for me and so I will post that in a video format later in the week and add it to the Kickstarter campaign. So you’ll actually be able to watch kind of in animated form of the first episode and then the series itself features the return of the Inspector’s arch nemesis Boyish the Extraordinary and so fans are excited about that seeing the new incarnation of Boyish and what he looks like so it should be a lot of fun.”
Will any of the actors on ‘Community’ be making an appearance in the web series?
“We talked about that. We talked about asking them, although honestly, it’s awkward…just from a storytelling standpoint…because they don’t exist in the same universe, right? (In) ‘Community,’ they watch ‘Inspector Spacetime.’ What we thought is if we do it and it’s successful, maybe they could use the clips (from the web series) in the show.”
I understand this web series is a labor of love, so to speak?
“We’re not doing the web series to make any money. We’re not going to sell DVD’s. We are not going to make one dime out of the series. The reason we are doing it is simply because, and this is important….it deserves to exist. Fans want it and they’re not getting it now and so we’re gonna make it happen.”
As Richey mentioned, at the panel there was a reading of the first webisode and it involved the Inspector and his companion, Constable Reginald, visiting the planet Second New Old Earth 7 where they are confronted by the Blorgons. They manage to conquer the Blorgons using the Inspector’s Optic Pocketknife and run into a deserted warehouse where they become trapped. Sometime in the webisode, we’ll also get to see the latest incarnation of the Inspector’s arch-nemesis, Boyish the Extraordinaire!
If you’d like to help Richey out with getting ‘Inspector Spacetime’ made, then head over to their Kickstarter page where you can donate towards raising funds for this project. And if you’re not familiar with the “series,” here’s the segment from the show ‘Community’ that started it all!