On Thursday evening [CBS, 10/9C], CSI: Crime Scene Investigation will go where it has never gone before – a science fiction convention. Hodges [Wallace Langham] and Wendy [Liz Vassey] are attending WhatIfItCon when they run into each other. She’s dressed as Yeoman Malloy from Astro Quest, a Star Trek-like classic SF series, while he’s carrying a very tricorder-like prop from the show. Before they can get over their amazement at encountering each other in such unlikely circumstances, the dead body of Jonathan Danson [Reg Rogers] is discovered in the captain’s chair on a replica AQ set constructed for the con.
When it’s discovered that Danson’s downbeat re-imagining of the series caused a major uproar, suddenly the list of possible suspects increases exponentially. Dr. Penelope Russell [Battlestar Galactica’s Kate Vernon], who is making a documentary on the AQ phenomenon; Melinda Carver Jaime Ray Newman], Danson’s financier, and one particular trio of fans would seem to be the most likely candidates, but can anyone else be ruled out?
The title A Space Oddity works on three levels: it serves as a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Pace Odyssey [as parodied by Mad Magazine]; it was the title of David Bowie’s third album – the one that made him a rock star, and it reflects on the sometimes overly zealous way fans can fixate on a beloved series/movie/novel. On yet another level, it could be a reference to an imagined romance between Hodges and Wendy, in an Astro Quest setting… And wait until you see the reference to the Klingon language! Don’t blink, though, or you’ll miss Galactica creator Ronald D. Moore’s cameo.
Written by Galactica veterans David Weddle and Bradley Thompson [from a story by Naren Shankar], A Space Oddity is a well constructed mystery that makes use of fannish temperament, professional jealousy, and even the set of the Astro Quest bridge to full advantage. The romantic imaginings of Hodges and Wendy make a fun counterpoint to the grimmer aspects of the mystery – and you will not believe what classic Star Trek phrase ends the teaser… Michael Nankin [another Galactica veteran] deftly weaves the dark, the prosaic and the humorous of the episode together to create an entertaining CSI investigation.
Final Grade: A-