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Starstuff was a locally produced children's science fiction TV series made by WCAU channel 10 in Philadelphia in 1980, and periodically rerun on that station for years afterward. The theme song and much of the incidental music was taken from Gustav Holst's The Planets. 18 episodes were produced.
Chris is a normal albeit very intelligent 10-year old living with his mother in Philadelphia. His pride and joy is the home-made computer he has assembled in his room out of an old TV set and countless electronic odds and ends. When he tries it out, however, he discovers that by some fluke of physics (owing mostly to where he happened to build it), his computer is able to communicate with another computer which will exist on an orbiting space colony in the year 2010. This future computer is owned by a 10-year old girl named Ingrid, and the two kids are able to communicate by audio/video transmission. The children decide to keep their amazing discovery secret, and they quickly become best friends. The show consists mainly of their conversations, comparing their very different lives on Earth and in orbit, as well as dealing with Chris's relatively mundane everyday troubles and Ingrid's more exotic but still basically everyday travails. It was surprisingly awesome.
Roughly midway through the one-hour program, the show would switch to a fifteen-minute serialized puppet segment, "The Edge Of Space," about two aliens, Commanders Krikles and Zornad, and their "faithful robot companion" Giz, as they tried with varying degrees of success to study life on the mysterious planet Earth.
Starstuff provides examples of:
- Better Than It Sounds Live Action TV
- Exty Years From Now: Thirty years, in this case.
- The Final Frontier
- The Future
- Gustav Holst: This show made a generation of Philadelphia kids love Holst's The Planets.
- Homemade Inventions: Chris's computer
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: WCAU no longer has a complete collection of this series. If you have any episodes on tape, count yourself lucky and share it with your friends.
- Laurel and Hardy: Chris is a huge fan, and shares his videotape collection with Ingrid.
- Love Transcends Spacetime: They're just kids, so it's more just friendship, but there's certainly an element of this to it.
- Meanwhile in the Future: Justified. Time flows at the same rate in both locations.
- No Budget
- Our Time Machine Is Different
- Perfect Pacifist People: The space colony is hardly perfect, but it is such a small and Close Knit Community that crime is effectively unknown.
- Portal to the Past
- Show Within a Show: Chris's video collection.
- Space Clothes: Everybody on the Space Colony wears a loose-fitting jumpsuit.
- Space Station: Always identified as a "space colony."
- Teen Genius; Actually, Chris is only about ten.
- Twenty Minutes Into the Future
The Edge of Space provides examples of:
- Applied Phlebotinum: "The Edge of Space" is much more phlebotinum-heavy than the relatively hard science of the live action show.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Shambor
- Deadpan Snarker: Giz
- Downer Ending: The ship plummets into a black hole. Giz bravely (and we presume, accurately) predicts that they will emerge into a whole new universe to explore, and sounds almost optimistic, but Krikles and Zornad both still look horrified, and who can blame them?
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The Time Travel episode, near the end. (With the toy plastic dinosaur as a prop! Hah! So awesome!)
- Nice Hat: Both the guys with their little silver beanies.
- Robot Buddy: Giz
- Lovable Coward: Zornad