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Weird Science
Format Science fiction / Sitcom
Created by Tom Spezialy
Alan Cross
Starring John Mallory Asher
Michael Manasseri
Vanessa Angel
Lee Tergesen
Country of origin USA
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 88
Production
Executive producer(s) Leslie Belzberg
John Landis
Robert K. Weiss
Producer(s) Adam Barr
Ed Ferrara
Robert Lloyd Lewis
Peter Ocko
Running time 23 min. (per episode)
Broadcast
Original channel USA Network
Original run March 1, 1994 – July 25, 1998

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

Contents

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 Illinois). 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."[1] 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 and occasionally had hints of sexual tension with Lisa.

The End

In an episode about Groundhog Day, based on the film Independence Day, a huge alien ship threatens to destroy the school at 3 PM. Once again Lisa's magic failed to stop them, as it failed a number of times late in the run. Gary is killed, trying to infiltrate the alien craft, as is Principal Scampi in his office, but not before he has admitted to Chett that he is his real father which is why he was always tough on him. Gary is brought back to life by the aliens and marries one of them. Chett decides to become the new Principal Scampi. The show ends with the main cast and the school members including the now Guardian Angel Scampi singing a song.

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. However, new episodes ceased airing in 1997 with the final six still unaired. They would eventually air in America the following year on The Sci-Fi Channel.

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.” [2]

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. He later had a guest appearance in season 2, episode 1 "Lisa's Virus"

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. [3]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete Seasons 1&2 26 January 1, 2008

References

  1. ^ Weird Science TV Show - Weird Science Television Show - TV.com
  2. ^ Moms of Reinvention: KARI LIZER, TOP TV PRODUCER, ACTRESS, MOM
  3. ^ Weird Science - Have A Weird New Year's Day with A&E's 2-Season DVD Set!

External links

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