Hellooooo! La la la! Remember the Seinfeld episode “The Voice”, where Jerry’s mocking, anthropomorphized rendition of a girlfriend’s stomach noises infuriates her? Well that voice is back, this time in deep space.
Zerks Ganymedewski of the League of Outstanding Planets (L.O.O.P.) recently become captain of the Ventura 553 after the untimely death of his superior. Unfortunately, Captain Zerks’ luck is hardly much better. The Ventura 553 has since disappeared, the only trace left is its log capsule; the equivalent of an airplane’s black-box. Now the L.O.O.P. S.C.I.T. (Starship Command Investigatory Tribunal) officials must view the 18 log entries Zerks left behind if they hope to figure out what happened to the Ventura 553.
This is Zerks Log.
Upon watching a few episodes of Zerks Log I noticed another, possibly inadvertent, homage to Seinfeld: this is, ostensibly, a show about nothing. Sure, it’s all predicated on the premise to discover what happened to Captain Zerks’ starship, but from episode to episode there is little more than the ramblings of a novice starship captain finding his bearings. My already-short attention span dissolved into the aether of space in the same manner of Zerks’ ship.
Speaking of homages, though, I heard a few utterances of “frak” here and there which clearly pins the creators as Battlestar Galactica fans. While it’s always nice to catch such sly little references, this show is, unfortunately, kiloparsecs from BSG‘s depth, ambition and quality. Then again, I don’t think the folks behind Zerks Log are necessarily aiming that high with this project.
What we have here is a dedicated group of film and/or sci-fi junkies experimenting with form and testing the limits of their talents. The highest marks go to the art designers as the design conceptualization is well executed and is assuredly the high point of the show. The scripts, on the other hand, definitely need work, though they are limited by the talking-head format.
I’ve watched enough of these (wo)man-talks-to-camera shows and it takes an absolute genius to pull it off with any measure of success. Sitting and listening to a 2-3 minute monologue about essentially nothing can be taxing even in the best of circumstances.
At the moment only 14 of 18 Zerks Log episodes have aired, but I couldn’t make it through all of these. The random warblings and pinings of Zerks was just too much for me to handle and too little of it was of sufficient interest for me to put in the necessary effort. Ideally, this sort of droning on about minutiae would serve a purpose, much as Ishmael’s excessive descriptions in Moby Dick instill in the reader a gathering madness. However, the symbolic intent of this in Zerks is speculative at best and, at worst, completely accidental.
Ultimately, if Zerks’ monologues were tempered and given a purpose, this show could actually be great for children, perhaps as a instructional science show or something. As it stands now, though, there just isn’t much of interest here.