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Quark

1 9 7 8 (USA)
1 x 60 minute episode
7 x 30 minute episodes

It is 2222 AD and Commander Adam Quark (a very 70s Richard Benjamin) longs for a life of adventure and derring-do but is stuck commanding an interplanetary garbage crew whose mission on behalf of the United Galaxy Sanitation Patrol is to clean up the Milky Way.

In order to receive his assignments, he returns his patrol ship to giant space station Perma One where disembodied Secretary-General ‘The Head’ (Alan Caillou) rules the universe from a TV screen.

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Orders also come from superintendent Otto Palindrome (Conrad Janis), Perma One‘s woolly brained chief architect with four arms and golden braids.

Quark was in command of first officer Gene/Jean (Tim Thomerson) – a transmute with both male and female chromosomes who was sometimes tough and sometimes delicate; science officer Ficus (Richard Kelton), a humanoid vegetable; glamorous buxom blonde ex-cheerleader co-pilot Betty I (Tricia Barnstable) and her clone Betty II (Cyb Barnstable) and Andy the cowardly Robot (Bobby Porter), a walking junk pile.

Whilst ridding the galaxy of superfluous litter, this motley crew met adventures with such colourful space inhabitants as the evil High Gorgon, Zoltar the Magnificent and Zorgan the Malevolent.

But the series was intended first and foremost as a spoof on space adventure epics. Star Wars was its first target (the hit feature film came out a year earlier in 1977), others included 2001: A Space Odyssey and Flash Gordon.

Quark first appeared as a pilot in 1977 (with a different cast) and debuted as a TV series in February 1978 with a one-hour special. The show’s slick blend of in-jokes, innuendo and slapstick gained a cult following but not a mass audience and the series was soon cancelled.

Mastermind of the series was Buck Henry who earlier had more success with spoof spy show, Get Smart.

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Adam Quark 
Richard Benjamin
Gene/Jean 

Tim Thomerson
Ficus Panderato 

Richard Kelton
Betty I 

Tricia Barnstable
Betty II 

Cyb Barnstable
Andy the Robot 

Bobby Porter
Otto Palindrome 

Conrad Janis
The Head 

Alan Caillou