We are in a golden age of television. Today’s critically and commercially successful shows deal with diverse subject matter. They’re set in varied places and eras. While it seems that there’s no one pathway to popularity, it does seem like high stakes drama combined with a specific sense of place and time is a common thread between the last decade’s most popular shows. With that in mind, here is, in my best estimation, the blueprint for the greatest television program the world has ever known.
The year is 1914. The location, outer space. Tensions are running high between Mars-tria and Germoony. The United Asteroid Belt of America tries to remain neutral, but the murder of Spaceduke Franz Ferdinand touches off an intergalactic conflict that involves all corners of the galaxy.
On one small asteroid, a man named Jeremy Van Buren prepares to go to war. The Van Burens are wealthy, landed aristronauts. Jeremy leaves behind a family in chaos. Servants who want to learn how to pilot space crafts on their own. Daughters who are experimenting with their newly awakened sexualities. A disabled son, injured playing football on Earth’s Texas.
Reginald Van Buren, Jeremy’s brother, agrees to manage the estate in Jeremy’s stead. Unbeknownst to Jeremy, however, Reginald has ulterior motives. He has already made alliances with several other asteroid barons in an attempt to consolidate power. He also has a rare form of space-cancer. His greed and his illness cause him to withdraw from Emily, his brother’s wife. In turn, Emily embarks on an affair with a detective from inner city Space Baltimore.
Here’s where things get really complicated. To ensure his family’s continued wealth and prominence, Reginald Van Buren has developed a chemically pure strain of pipe tobacco that gives the user an unbridled nicotine rush and a feeling of immense patriotism. He forms an alliance with Space Baltimore street tough Jupiter to distribute the tobacco throughout the streets.
Jupiter is a marketing genius, and he manages to create a word of mouth campaign that quickly skyrockets (pun intended) their brand of pipe tobacco to the top of the Space Baltimore drug underworld. When Reginald begins to synthesize other illicit substances (a triple strength sleepytime tea, cucumber sandwiches with extra cucumber), it becomes clear that Jupiter’s skills as a pitchman are going to be tested if he is to market these new innovations to Space Baltimore’s criminal element.
All the while, Space Baltimore detective Chase Umbridge, Emily Van Buren’s lover, is hot on the trail of this new kingpin. Ironically, he remains unaware that the new kid in town is none other than his paramour’s brother!
Jupiter’s keen acumen and Reginald’s brilliance and restless hunger for power drive the pair to new heights of wealth and influence. But how long can it last?
When the Earth Texas-Space Baltimore high school football teams play for the universe championship, the pressure is too much for poor crippled Dewey Van Buren. He gets busted trying to purchase an ounce of medicinal crumpet in the men’s room.
There is such a level of tension and intrigue the viewer can barely stand it.
Will Jupiter and Reginald’s empire come crashing down?
Can Dewey avoid a stint in Space Jail through his family connections?
How long will Emily and Chase carry on their dalliance?
Is one of the sisters (gasp) a homosexual?
When Jeremy returns from the war, will his family have crumbled around him?
How did everyone get into space?
Also, everyone has British accents and there are dragons. And that’s just Episode 1.
If this show were real, it would set the internet on fire with fan response. Viewers would debate Emily’s status as a feminist figure and Reginald’s moral fiber. Superfans would create a system of physics to explain the effects of Space Cancer. Disabled watchers would commend Dewey Van Buren’s nuanced character, resilient yet flawed.
It would be called: Orbital Resonance.
Ultimately, Orbital Resonance would win eleven Emmy awards and be cancelled after once season on account of its abysmal ratings.