The Earth is in peril and all we’ve got to save us are this groups of amateurs and idiots. It is one of my favourite sci-fi tropes, most often used in my favourite bastard genre sci-fi comedy: Guardians of the Galaxy, Galaxy Quest, Red Dwarf. Even The Fifth Element, though I am stretching the definition of the genre there.
There’s something comforting about a group of mis-matched screw ups coming together, bringing it and saving the goddamn world. It makes you think, ‘you know what, if the Earth were in danger from an elitist interplanetary conspiracy, then I might even be able to help,’ because we are all a bit wonky in some way, and if you’re not, then congratulations, you insane narcissist.
I have just made a short webseries about dogs that play sport in space called Galaxy Ball Team EARTH. The Earth has unfortunately been drafted into a massive interplanetary ball game where different species compete to earn resources and establish their hierarchy in the universe. The other planets send their best and brightest athletes who train in purpose-built monasteries knowing that the fate of the planet rests on their performance.
Thanks to a historical event, which I’m sure you can guess, Team EARTH can only be comprised of dogs. Not only this, but the aliens who have come to Earth to coach the team don’t seem to be anyone’s first choice, as they appear to be stupid, neurotic, arrogant, obsessive and on the verge of breakdowns themselves. These are the amateurs and idiots who will hopefully save the Earth from destruction.
I have wanted to make this idea for years, but whenever I pitched it to a production company, the words ‘sci-fi comedy’ seemed to make them drift off, they would tell me how difficult it was, and in some cases tell me that no one wants to make sci-fi… which to be honest was just a bizarre response. That’s like saying, ‘this writing thing will never catch on’ – it always has been popular and always will.
My favourite sci-fi is the sort that combines real people with the futuristic; every day grime with the epic expanse; space stations with coffee machines; stubbing your toe on the transporter platform and wondering why your cress sandwiches taste weird in zero gravity. It is why comedy sci-fi is such a beautiful bastard of a genre, my favourite genre of all and why I chose to make this webseries. It is also a mockumentary, because lets tick as many boxes as we can whilst we’re here.
I have worked for a long time to make this idea happen, and initially I was a go-it-alone amateur, because due to a lot of initial negative reaction I questioned myself and the idea, but it was the realisation that no one ever truly succeeds alone that began bringing the idea into existence. Kirk might be on the mountain, but Spock is at the controls of the Bird of Prey. It was teamwork that brought this webseries into reality: I relied on the kindness of talented people who gave up their afternoons so I could face paint and film them; I relied on generous dog enthusiasts who would dress up their dogs in my handmade team uniform. I relied on the patience and kindness of my filmmaker husband who directed each episode and patiently let me drag him away from his work to see some tiny improvement I had made on mine. These people were not amateurs or idiots. Quite the opposite in my opinion: they were generous, hardworking and thoughtful.
My name is Diane Spencer, I am a stand-up comedian with seven shows on YouTube, and a comedy award. I work in comedy clubs up and down the country, sometimes abroad and I know how it feels to dazzle like a singular star, but also to die alone in front of a horde of ‘aliens’.
Some people look down their noses at me because I like sci-fi, and some people who love sci-fi look down on my mongrel bastard genre (comedy sci-fi) and my mongrel dogs here to represent Earth on a galactic scale. They can look down all they like: I have a team of enthusiastic people who have stood by me to make my idea real: to others we might look like amateurs and idiots, but we’re here to save the damn world. We are both underdogs and actual dogs. The series is called Galaxy Ball Team EARTH. It’s about dogs that play sport in space and the aliens who have come to Earth to manage them. Please watch it.
Galaxy Ball Team EARTH releases a new episode fortnightly. You can watch it here. Each week Diane does a Facebook live broadcast at midday from the Galaxy Ball Team EARTH Facebook page. Keep up to date with the series on its Twitter page.
You can watch episode 1 here: