Weird Science (TV series)

Weird Science (TV series)

:"For the 1985 film on which this is based, see Weird Science (film)"infobox television
show_name = Weird Science
format = Science fiction / Sitcom
runtime = 23 min. (per episode)
creator = Tom Spezialy
Alan Cross
producer = Adam Barr
Ed Ferrara
Robert Lloyd Lewis
Peter Ocko
executive_producer = Leslie Belzberg
John Landis
Robert K. Weiss
starring = John Mallory Asher
Michael Manasseri
Vanessa Angel
Lee Tergesen
country = flagicon|USA
network = USA Network
first_aired = March 1, 1994
last_aired = July 25, 1998
num_episodes = 88
imdb_id = 0108988
tv_com_id = 349 |

"Weird Science" is a mid-1990s American comedy series made for television, a spin-off of the 1985 movie of the same name.

Plot

The show follows the adventures of Gary Wallace (John Mallory Asher) and Wyatt Donnelly (Michael Manasseri), two socially inept high school students in an unspecified town in California (unlike the movie, which was set in Chicago). Together, using Wyatt's computer, they try to create a computer simulation of a perfect woman in order to practice communicating with women. However, a freak lightning storm brings the computer simulation to life, creating a real woman named Lisa (Vanessa Angel) - a drop-dead gorgeous genius with the powers of a "magic genie." [ [http://www.tv.com/weird-science/show/349/summary.html&full_summary=1 Weird Science TV Show - Weird Science Television Show - TV.com ] ] The show followed in the tradition of '60s fantasy sitcoms like "Bewitched" and "I Dream of Jeannie", combining a sitcom format with supernatural stories.

In the pilot episode, Gary claims that creating Lisa is possible because he "saw it in a John Hughes movie" - that is, of course, "Weird Science".

Cast

*John Mallory Asher takes over the role of Gary Wallace, played in the film by Anthony Michael Hall. Unlike his counterpart in the movie, Gary is a poor student and a slacker, always looking for shortcuts to get what he wants (usually to impress girls). His father, Al (Jeff Doucette) is a tow truck driver.
*Michael Manasseri takes over the role of Wyatt Donnelly, played in the film by Ilan Mitchell-Smith. Wyatt's wealthy parents are usually out of town, leaving him and his older brother Chett alone in the house. Most stories have him as the more cautious member of the group, more reluctant than Gary to use Lisa's magic. He is more popular with girls than Gary, and several episodes feature Gary being interested in a girl who likes Wyatt instead.
*Vanessa Angel takes over the role of Lisa, played in the film by Kelly LeBrock. Lisa describes herself as a "magic genie," able to grant the boys' wishes, though she does this out of choice rather than duty and is free to deny them any wish she doesn't want to grant. Once she grants a wish, Lisa is unable to reverse it, no matter how badly it turns out; however, most of her spells wear off after an indeterminate amount of time. Other than those basic rules, the limits of her powers are never clearly defined, and she seems to get more or less powerful depending on what a particular episode's plot requires. Although she is physically manifested, she is apparently still a program running on Wyatt's computer, and she ceases to appear if the computer is switched off. She is addicted to Chunky Monkey ice cream.
*Lee Tergesen takes over the role of Chett Donnelly, played in the film by Bill Paxton. Chett is a military school graduate who turned down his commission, claiming that he didn't want to be sent overseas to work for "Third-World slackers"; he lives with his parents and shows no interest in getting a job. Paranoid and angry, he takes out his frustrations on Wyatt, though less sadistically than in the movie; mostly he takes Wyatt's things without asking and calls him names like "wuss-boy" and "pit-lick." He also has a vendetta against Principal Scampi (Bruce Jarchow), principal of the boys' high school, who was assistant principal when Chett was there and whom Chett calls "Ass-Istant Principal Scampi." Most episodes have Chett getting caught up unwittingly in the magical shenanigans, often getting hurt or transformed without knowing what's going on. Near the end of the show's run, to expand Lee Tergesen's role, Chett was let in on the secret of Lisa's existence (Lisa was unable to wipe his memory due to a "brain callus") and occasionally had hints of sexual tension with Lisa.

Production

Weird Science was produced by St. Clare Entertainment in association with Universal Television. Premiering on March 1, 1994, the show ran for five seasons on the USA Network for a total of 88 episodes.

The theme song for the series was "Weird Science" by Oingo Boingo, the same as that used in the movie (though they received no on-screen credit for the series).

John Hughes had no involvement with the TV version of his movie. The creators and showrunners of the series were Tom Spezialy and Alan Cross, who had both been key writers on "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" and brought along many other writers, directors and producers from that show, giving "Weird Science" the feel of a fantasy version of "Parker Lewis"'s light high school comedy.

Kari Lizer, one of the staff writers, who later went on to create the Emmy-winning show "The New Adventures of Old Christine", remembered her "Weird Science" years very fondly: "Weird Science" turned out to be the best job because it made me realize I was more than an actress who could write monologues for herself. It turned me into a real writer because I had to write about things that weren’t close to home.” [ [http://momsofreinvention.blogspot.com/2006/11/kari-lizer-television-producer-actress.html Moms of Reinvention: KARI LIZER, TOP TV PRODUCER, ACTRESS, MOM ] ]

Seth Green was one of the finalists for the part of Gary. This is mentioned on the DVD commentary for the pilot of "Weird Science."

Themes

Episodes of the series often spoofed other TV series, including "The Twilight Zone", "The X-Files" and "Quantum Leap", as well as James Bond and slasher movies. Most plots involved Gary and/or Wyatt making a "wish" with unexpected consequences.

The show is also deliberately similar to "I Dream of Jeannie" not only in the story of a beautiful female genie but in the way it characterizes the male leads: Wyatt is the stolid, cautious one in the tradition of Major Tony Nelson, and Gary is the impulsive, goofy one like Major Roger Healey. Several episodes reference "I Dream of Jeannie" and in one episode, a guest character (played by Emma Caulfield) steals Lisa and forces her to dress in the costume Barbara Eden wore on "Jeannie".

DVD releases

On January 1, 2008, A&E Home Video released the complete first and second seasons of "Weird Science" on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time. [ [http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Weird-Science-Seasons-1-and-2/8218 Weird Science - Have A Weird New Year's Day with A&E's 2-Season DVD Set!] ]

References

External links

* [http://www.tv.com/weird-science/show/349/summary.html TV.com]
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108988/ The Internet Movie Database]
* [http://weirdscience.disneytvzone.com/content/welcome/entrance/index.html Disney TV Zone]
* [http://www.hulu.com/watch/12075/weird-science-spies-r-us Hulu]


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