A couple years back, the NBC TV show Community aired an episode that featured a brief clip of a totally not made up TV series called Inspector Spacetime. A clear spoof of Doctor Who, the clip proved very popular; so much so that the actor who played the Inspector, Travis Richey, decided to launch his own spin-off webseries about the character. The lawyers vetoed that, of course, that he, along with his stalwart friend and co-producer Eric Loya, managed to launch something oddly similar. I caught up with both of them at this year’s Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles.
ME: Were you into Doctor Who before you landed the role of the Inspector?
RICHEY: My brothers watched the show on PBS when I was a kid, so I was like five, six years old, watching Tom Baker in the early 1980s. Then when he regenerated, I kind of got out of it a bit, but I was always amidst Doctor Who fans throughout middle school and high school. One of my best friends had a TARDIS console in his bedroom. He even had a second bedroom he’d converted into a TARDIS room. So I was always around people like that. I was kind of aware of the remake too late to get on board, because I’m one of those people who likes to watch stuff from the beginning, and initially it wasn’t available on Netflix. It started appearing on there just about the same time I came up for the audition on Community, and I knew just enough about Doctor Who to know that it mentioned bowties. So I watched the first Matt Smith, and then after I landed the role on Community, I went back and watched from Eccleston, and watched all the way through. Then I watched it all the way through again.
LOYA: I’d never really been a fan of Classic Who—
ME: Well, I don’t need to talk with you, then.
LOYA: (laughing) But I’d always been a fan of things like Joss Whedon’s work , and there were a lot of Whedon people who were telling me how amazing Doctor Who was, and how incredible it was, and how I needed to get into it. So I thought I’d try it, but never really made an effort. Then Netflix came along, and it was so easy, so I tried Eccleston, and I liked it, but wasn’t that into it. Then Tennant came along, I was like, oh my gosh, this show is the greatest thing in the world! By the time Travis got on Community, I was all caught up. And we then got the chance to poke fun at all the new Who stuff we’d come to love.
ME: Now I understand that, of course, the Inspector Spacetime character came from Community, but then there’s the Untitled Webseries About…let’s see…About an Adventurer Who Travels Through Space as Well as Time or something.
RICHEY: It’s super-easy! It’s an Untitled Webseries About a Space Traveler Who Also Travels Through Time.
ME: How could I mess that up?
LOYA: It rolls right off the tongue.
ME: Has it been well-received?
RICHEY: Oh, very. USA Today called it one of the best webseries of 2012. In fact, they didn’t even call it a webseries. They said it was one of the best television shows on the web, which I was very flattered by, because the people we were up against were things like Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome, and they listed us in that company.
ME: That’s good company to keep.
LOYA: We had a panel here earlier today, and it was standing room only. It was the same last year, but last year we had only the idea of the character from Community. This time I was a little bit nervous. I didn’t know if we were going to get the same response because this time it wasn’t about Community; it was about what we’d done between last year and this year.
RICHEY: People even lined up outside this year.
ME: So what’s coming up next?
RICHEY: We’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign for the season two prequel episode. It’s a smaller campaign; we’re only doing one episode, but we’re hoping for $10,000.
LOYA: It bridges the gap between season one and season two.
RICHEY: Yeah. We’re changing directors and so we want to give people a look at the new style of the show, and the new feel we’re going for with the new season.
LOYA: We have season two written and we are very hopeful that it will soon be coming to a computer screen near you.
RICHEY: Not just the episodes, but we’re also doing a Kickstarter campaign for things like optic pocket knife replicas, and a comic book series we’re planning that we also hope to do this year. So there is a lot going on.
ME: Plus there’s an entire page on TV Tropes listing episodes that you have to do.
RICHEY: We were actually thinking of doing radio programs and holding a contest for people to send in scripts, since some people have already written some. We would buy the winner’s script for a few hundred dollars, and then do a recording with us actors doing the voice roles. Then we’d pay a producer and audio engineer to produce everything, and put out fan-written Inspector Spacetime programming. It’s just an unformed plan at the moment.
ME: Any TV appearances coming up?
RICHEY: I just did another episode of Pretty Little Liars. My character disappeared from the school he was in, so I don’t know if he’s going to come back or not. There’s not really anything else in the immediate future. I’m involved in a couple feature films, but nothing is far along enough in the process to announce.
LOYA: I’ve written a comic book script for Untitled Webseries. We’re trying to figure out how to get that going. It’s a backstory for Boyish the Extraordinary. We have a few more ideas in that direction. I think the format would lend itself well to the comic book world.
ME: If nothing else, the special effects budget is probably lower.
Richey will be appearing at Wondercon on March 23, and promises big news for all fans!
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