‘The Inspector Chronicles’ Is the ‘Doctor Who’ Spoof Movie Sorta Spun-Off From ‘Community’

By  · Published on February 22nd, 2014

Once upon a time there was a TV show called Community. No, wait, first upon a time there was a TV show called Doctor Who. Then the show Community paid tribute to Doctor Who with a parody version called Inspector Spacetime. Fans liked it so much that they helped in the creation of a web series of Inspector Spacetime. Except NBC and Sony weren’t okay with that, so the series was renamed Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time. Lasting six short episodes and starring original Inspector Spacetime portrayer Travis Richey, the web series was very popular and also quite acclaimed.

So, logically a second season was planned, and it was going to be even bigger. A prequel episode was released last September with newly added cast members Mayim Bialik (Blossom; The Big Bang Theory), as the voice of the Inspector’s telephone-booth time machine, and Robert Picardo, who I know best from Joe Dante movies and The Wonder Years but who you may know best from Star Trek: Voyager, where he played The Doctor. Speaking of people named The Doctor, since then an actual Doctor Who Doctor, Sylvester McCoy (also of the Hobbit movies), has joined the cast. So has Chase Masterson, of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and a couple episodes of the Doctor Who audio drama.

And now there will no longer be a second season of the series. There will be a feature-length movie instead. And it is titled The Inspector Chronicles: Untitled Motion Picture About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time.Like most of the Inspector Spacetime but not Inspector Spacetime projects so far, this one is also crowdfunding. While previous efforts were done through Kickstarter, the movie campaign is set up at Indiegogo, probably because they can guarantee to keep some of the money even if their goal of $25K is not achieved. That’s not a lot for what’s expected to be a 90-minute feature, especially given that the prequel episode is only eight minutes and raised almost half as much. Well, that’s because the actual budget for the movie is $250K, but they have to fund some early steps in the making of The Inspector Chronicles and then the hope is to find investors to take on the rest of the burden.

As a Doctor Who fan, I’ve been enjoying the Inspector series, even if I don’t think it’s necessarily funny as a spoof. I know Richey understands that this is a case of something parodying a work that doesn’t really take itself that seriously anyway. Doctor Who is often filled with enough self-parody to not warrant something like the Inspector adventures beyond what was seen for a few seconds on Community. But some of the best spoofs are those that come into themselves in a way that it doesn’t matter if the parodic parts work anymore. Austin Powers, for instance, didn’t have to only be funny in terms of its Bond lampooning. It could just be funny. And that’s a direction that the Inspector series seems easily headed in.

I think that really shows in the fandom for the series, a lot of it (all of it?) overlapping with the Whovians obsessed with Doctor Who (see one of the biggest little fans of the Doctor and the Inspector in the great Indiegogo video below). These are fans who would want some of the special perks like a replica of the Inspector’s Optic Pocketknife (a parody of the Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver) and autographs of the cast – though of course the latter includes the famous guest stars. Other incentives include the opportunity to be in the movie and the opportunity to be drawn into a comic book version. One perk that is notably missing is a copy of the finished product. That’s likely to do with unknown investor/distributor deals that could come into play later.

The Inspector Chronicles is written by Richey and Eric Loya (who also plays Boyish the Extraordinary) and will be directed by Nicholas Acosta, who shot the prequel episode. But you could have learned that all by watching the following video:

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.