Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi "Super Adventure Team" on MTV

By Devin D. O'Leary

AUGUST 24, 1998:  Summer was once the pure providence of reruns. In my youth, I used to emerge from the house for at least three months out of the year thanks to the television networks' policy of redundancy. Now, though--with a hundred thousand cable networks scrambling for a chunk of the coaxial--the "summer series" is becoming more and more of a regular event. This week alone, we'll see premieres for "Stressed Eric," "The Upright Citizen's Brigade" and "That '70s Show." Oh well, who needs sunshine and fresh air anyway?

MTV, never one to stick with conventional TV "seasons" anyway, has launched several new series this summer. One of the most recent (and certainly one of the more twisted) is "Super Adventure Team." The acronym-named "S.A.T." sprung forth from the crazed minds of writer Robert Cohen and comedian Dana Gould. The dynamic duo met several years ago while working on "The Ben Stiller Show." According to official documents, "their love of puppetry, lack of dates and servitude to 'The Ben Stiller Show' led to the godless creation (known as 'Super Adventure Team')."

"Super Adventure Team" concerns the members of a high-tech action/adventure team--all of whom seem to spend more time dealing with assorted sexual peccadillos than they do saving the universe. The team is led by lantern-jawed idiot Colonel Buck Murdock, who manages to look the hero no matter how badly he screws up each S.A.T. mission. Murdock's love of adventure is matched only by his love for the flame-haired Talia Criswell. While Murdock and Talia are rolling in the sack, Talia's husband--the brilliant but clueless Dr. Benton Criswell--remains steadfastly locked in a state of deep denial. Rounding out the team are the trigger-happy, Murdock-hating Major Landon West and the sexually confused Chief Engineer Head. Aside from being severely dysfunctional, the team is also composed entirely of marionettes!

For those with long memories (or exceptionally geeky ones), "S.A.T." is easily recognized as a cruel parody of Brit puppeteer Gerry Anderson's long-lost "Supermarionation" series "Thunderbirds." Way back in the 1960s, Anderson used a bunch of creepy latex-faced marionettes to tell the tale of the space-spanning heroes, the Thunderbirds. S.A.T. are a thinly veiled riff on the old Thunderbirds team with plenty of sex thrown in for good 1990s measure. Whether they're rescuing the president's plane from the side of an exploding volcano or protecting the planet from an enraged alien, the team always finds time to sleep around on each other, engage in a little backstabbing and otherwise corrupt the spirit of teamwork.

Mix one part "Star Trek," one part "Melrose Place" and one part "Howdy Doody" and you've got a recipe for TV's newest cult hit. Join the Super Adventure Team now!

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