All rise — or levitate — for Space Judge. A sitcom about an attorney who becomes a judge in an alien version of Judge Judy is seeking a network, and we talked to the creators.
In Space Judge, an attorney gets abducted from Earth, and forced to preside over a People's Court-type courtroom for the amusement of bizarre-looking aliens.
Here's the synopsis:
On the planet Tukluk, Jack, an earthling, is forced to preside over an alien court where common punishments are severing of limbs (they’ll grow back), or 500 years in prison (if that being’s lifespan might be, say, 600 years). It’s all bizarre and extreme, and Jack, as Space Judge, succeeds at bringing a sense of decency and a moral code to the planet that didn’t exist before. As a result, Jack is hugely popular, and his biggest fan is the Earth-obsessed Overlord’s daughter, Chevy (named after the beautiful Earth transportation device). Chevy would like to be a lawyer herself, but her father won’t allow female lawyers (Who would take them seriously? Seriously!). There’s an intelligent banter between Jack and Chevy, and the sexual chemistry is obvious but, the Overlord warns his daughter, “People can’t date humans.”
You might have guessed that the Overlord is a pin-headed, sexist and homo-phobic buffoon. He’ll quickly laugh at his own stupid jokes, or pat his daughter on the head as he sends her on an important mission: “Find me the two coldest beers in the galaxy.”
Jobee, the Overlord’s sycophantic assistant, has the hots for Chevy too, and is obsessed with getting rid of Jack and taking over as Space Judge.
Gross says the idea of Space Judge came about as way to satirize thorny social issues without falling afoul of network interference. "I was working on a show for ABC, and the network was squshing a lot of our stories because of advertising." With an outer space setting, you can address racism, for example, using red and green people. And nobody will object. Also, Gross was attracted to the idea of a sitcom about a guy who's trapped in a place where he doesn't belong and doesn't want to be — but where people need him.
Gross and Schofield shot a 10-minute short video of Space Judge, and then edited it into the three-minute trailer you see above. They don't have a complete episode yet, but they have enough of a "sizzle reel" to show to the networks. As you can see from the above, the show is done very cheaply, using a greenscreen for all the backgrounds, but the cheapness is part of the show's humor. The show deliberately plays with its fake-looking stuff — for example, one spaceship is a Nerf football. Schofield says he and Gross thought about making the show much bigger and more ambitious, but decided it would actually be funnier to go small and "make your limitations part of the story." Silly touches include an alien overlord's chambers, which are one of the rooms in the palace at Versailles.
So far, the duo is just starting to talk to cable networks, including Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" block. They've also considered doing it as a webseries, which would give them more artistic freedom and less pressure to appeal to big advertisers. "There's huge advantages on the web," says Gross. But there might be more money, and more of of a chance for it take off, if they do it for a cable network.
I really like the weird cartoony look of the greenscreen fakery and the rubber-monster looking aliens. If the new space sitcom Boldly Going Nowhere takes off, I could totally see it riding that wave. One thing's for sure: the Space Judge is going to rule! (Sorry, couldn't resist.)