Cult TV Essentials

Cult TV Essentials: Quark

I have always been a huge science fiction fan so this was a no brainer for me to tune into this show when I was a kid every Friday at 8:00 p.m. Quark was on NBC and starred comedy genius, Richard Benjamin. The show was created by Buck Henry, the writer of The Graduate and the brains behind Get Smart.

Despite having talented people behind the series, it only lasted from February to April of 1978. Another cast member was cult favorite, Tim Thomerson best known for the Dollman and Trancer movies during the 90s. The inspirations behind the program were Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lost in Space and Flash Gordon.

Adam Quark was the captain of the United Galaxy Sanitation Patrol Cruiser. His mission was to clean up space trash. The show was set in the year 2226. Another notable cast member was Conrad Janis who played Mindy’s father in the Robin Williams series, Mork and Mindy.

On the episode, All the Emperor’s Quasi-Norms (that garnered the program an Emmy nomination for costume design), Ross Martin (Artemus Gordon) from The Wild West guest starred. He played the vicious Gorgon space pirate, Zorgon the Malevolent.

Quark is a very capable leader who desires a better position but through his own missteps, he can’t seem to achieve that. Although he and his crew are supposed to collect garbage, they often end up having numerous adventures instead with various aliens.

This show was also groundbreaking in a sense because Tim Thomerson’s character, Gene/Jean was a “transmute.” He was a humanoid that had a complete set of male and female chromosomes. At will, or when the circumstances demanded it, he could easily switch from the domineering and somewhat aggressive, Gene to the softer and demurer, Jean.

At that time in television, roles that pushed the envelope like that weren’t very prevalent. Much like Soap, this program wasn’t afraid to do that. If you would like to add this show to your collection, you are in luck. In 2008, the complete DVD series was released.

3 replies »

  1. Very funny and all too short lived show. Humor was similar to Get Smart & Captain Nice.

    Always remembered this bit of dialogue with a laugh.

    Planet conquering evil villain in orbit with his gigantic star ship of a planet he intends to dominate.

    Villain:You have one minute to surrender your entire planet or I will start firing from orbit upon you.
    Planet people:We don’t believe you. And there is no space ship in orbit above our planet. We’ve only detected an enormous asteroid.
    Villain:That’s no asteroid you fools,that’s my ship!
    Planet people:Could you give us a few minutes to get some things out of the palace?


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