Why Paul Feig Never Gave Up on Cult Hit 'Other Space'
For the past five years, filmmaker Paul Feig has spent his time in the features world, directing films such as Ghostbusters (2016), A Simple Favor (2018) and Last Christmas (2019). Yet all along he's been hounding his agents about a much smaller project: Other Space. In 2015, Feig created the little-seen sci-fi comedy about a crew of misfit explorers trapped in a parallel universe. The show was released to little fanfare on the now-defunct platform Yahoo! Screen, but in the years since has developed a tiny cult following. In 2017, Feig went as far as putting the show on his Tumblr account in hopes of building an audience.
Now, after years of trying to get the show a new streaming home following the collapse of Yahoo! Screen, Feig's dreams are coming true with Other Space's first (and so far, only) season migrating to the Gunpowder & Sky-owned streaming service DUST on Aug. 1. If successful, there is even hope there could be more.
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"There's nothing I want more in my life than more seasons of Other Space," Feig says with a laugh.
Feig notes that he's confirmed with his stars that they would be open to continuing the story. The series stars Karan Soni, Neil Casey, Eugene Cordero, Conor Leslie, Milana Vayntrub, and Jessica Chaffin, with guest star Dave Franco.
The series' origin story dates back to 2004, back when Feig was then best known for creating NCB's Freaks and Geeks, which led him to a deal with the network and saw him pitch Other Space as a workplace comedy in space. The network passed, and nearly a decade passed and Feig went on to become a successful features director with Bridesmaids (2011).
"My old assistant was going through a bunch of old scripts of mine and read it," recalls Feig. The assistant urged Feig to take another stab at getting Other Space made. He was about to film Spy (2015) when word came that Yahoo! was launching a digital entertainment hub and was willing to put money into a show from the filmmaker. As he was busy with Spy, he tapped The Office's Owen Ellickson to showrun.
"We had like three days per episode," Feig recalls of the whirlwind schedule that produced eight kinetic episodes in which it is eventually revealed the space ship has cameras set up to shoot a floating reality show. "Each take is a new take of a complete scene. You can play. Everyone I hired is good at improv. I was just so happy with it."
But, as Feig recalls, Yahoo! Screen's planned advertising and marketing campaign disappeared ahead of Other Space's launch.
"As it got closer they suddenly decided they didn't want to do that. They wanted to do it more through the algorithm of the site. That's when I was like, 'Oh my god, I don't think we're going to have the reach we need.'"
Yahoo! Screen launched with a small roster that also included a season of Community, the cult hit that had previously been canceled by NBC. The service was a bust.
"Then somehow in the press [Other Space] and Community got blamed for the whole thing caving in," Feig says. "No, actually we made really good shows and nobody saw them. It was a real heartbreak when it kind of just disappeared."
Still, there was some hope. Feig saw two people co-splaying as Other Space characters at San Diego Comic-Con that first year ("That was the happiest day of my life," Feig says.) And every few years, a journalist would come calling about the show, having recently discovered it, and in the meantime Feig kept tweeting links to watch the show on his Tumblr page.
Now is his biggest push yet, with the filmmaker noting he's done more press during this round of Other Space's new streaming home than for he's done for some of his movies.
Part of his drive is getting a fair shake for those people who made the show. He notes the failure wouldn't have hurt so much had people seen Other Space and just not dug it. The fact that only a a small number of people even saw it is why he hasn't stopped pushing it.
Says Feig: "Nobody knows this is there. ... it makes you as a creator become very rabid about trying to proselytize about getting it out there."
Other Space begins streaming on Gunpowder & Sky’s DUST Aug. 1.
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