Weird Science (TV series)
|Based on||Weird Science by John Hughes|
John Mallory Asher|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||88 (list of episodes)|
Robert K. Weiss
Robert Lloyd Lewis
|Running time||23 min. (per episode)|
St. Clare Entertainment|
|Original network||USA Network|
|Original release||March 5, 1994 – July 25, 1998|
The series follows the adventures of Gary Wallace (John Mallory Asher) and Wyatt Donnelly (Michael Manasseri), two socially inept high school students in an unspecified town in California (unlike the movie, which was set in Illinois). Together, using Wyatt's computer, they try to create a computer simulation of a perfect woman in order to practice communicating with women. However, a freak lightning storm brings the computer simulation to life, creating a real woman named Lisa (Vanessa Angel) – a drop-dead gorgeous genius with the powers of a "magic genie". The show followed in the tradition of 1960s fantasy sitcoms like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, combining a sitcom format with supernatural stories.
In the pilot episode, Gary claims that creating Lisa is possible because he "saw it in a John Hughes movie", referring to the original Weird Science movie.
- John Mallory Asher takes over the role of Gary Wallace. Unlike his counterpart in the film, Gary is a poor student and a slacker, always looking for shortcuts to get what he wants (usually to impress girls). His father, Al (Jeff Doucette) is a plumber. His mother Emily is played by Joyce Bulifant, Asher's real life mother.
- Michael Manasseri takes over the role of Wyatt Donnelly. Wyatt's wealthy parents are usually out of town, leaving him and his older brother Chett alone in the house. Most stories have him as the more cautious member of the group, more reluctant than Gary to use Lisa's magic. He is more popular with girls than Gary, and several episodes feature Gary being interested in a girl who likes Wyatt instead.
- Vanessa Angel takes over the role of Lisa. Lisa describes herself as a "magic genie", able to grant the boys' wishes, though she does this out of choice rather than duty and is free to deny them any wish she does not want to grant. Once she grants a wish, Lisa is unable to reverse it, no matter how badly it turns out; however, most of her spells wear off after an indeterminate amount of time. Other than those basic rules, the limits of her powers are never clearly defined, and she seems to get more or less powerful depending on what a particular episode's plot requires. Although she is physically manifested, she is apparently still a program running on Wyatt's computer, and she ceases to appear if the computer is switched off. She is addicted to Chunky Monkey ice cream.
- Lee Tergesen takes over the role of Chester "Chett" Donnelly. Chett is a military school graduate who turned down his commission, claiming that he did not want to be sent overseas to work for "Third-World slackers"; he lives with his parents and shows no interest in getting a job. Paranoid and angry, he takes out his frustrations on Wyatt and Gary, though less sadistically than in the movie; mostly he takes Wyatt's things without asking and calls him names like "wuss-boy" and "pit-lick". He also has a vendetta against Scampi (Bruce Jarchow), principal of the boys' high school, whom he remembers as "Ass-istant Principal Scampi". It was finally revealed in the series finale that Scampi was indeed Chett's true biological father. Most episodes have Chett getting caught up unwittingly in the magical shenanigans, often getting hurt or transformed without knowing what is going on. In the fourth season episode, "Master Chett," to expand Lee Tergesen's role, Chett was let in on the secret of Lisa's existence; it was explained that Lisa had so often erased parts of his memory that he had developed a mental callus making him immune to erasure. He occasionally had hints of sexual tension with Lisa. The two started to fall in love until she left him for Wyatt, with whom she broke up.
Weird Science was produced by St. Clare Entertainment in association with Universal Television. Premiering on March 1, 1994, the show ran for five seasons on the USA Network for a total of 88 episodes. However, new episodes ceased airing in 1997 with the final six still unaired. They would eventually air in the United States the following year on the Sci-Fi Channel; the show was also reran briefly on what was then the Fox Family Channel in 2001.
Kari Lizer, one of the staff writers, who later went on to create The New Adventures of Old Christine, said, "Weird Science turned out to be the best job because it made me realize I was more than an actress who could write monologues for herself. It turned me into a real writer because I had to write about things that weren’t close to home."
Seth Green was one of the finalists for the part of Gary. He later had a guest appearance in season 2 episode 1, "Lisa's Virus".
On January 1, 2008, A&E Home Video released the complete first and second seasons of Weird Science on DVD in Region 1.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|The Complete Seasons 1&2||26||January 1, 2008|
- "Weird Science". TV.com. CBS Interactive.
- "Moms of Reinvention".
- DVD commentary for the pilot of Weird Science.
- "Weird Science DVD news: Announcement for Weird Science - The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 - TVShowsOnDVD.com".