Hyperdrive, series 1 and 2
Endeavour, series 1 and 2
Hyperdrive is a classic British Space sitcom that follows the hapless office drones of the HMS Camden Lock through the Galaxy promoting England’s interests in commerce. Endeavour is a prequel series developing the early life of British favorite detective Inspector Morse (Endeavour is his first name). One is goofy and light, with cardboard sets and a silly attitude; the other is gloomy and dark, rampant with corruption and society’s flaws. Let’s look at them together!
- Both shows turn on both strong actors, with Nick Frost bringing an earnest embarrassment to his role as Captain Mike Henderson, and Shaun Evans bringing a powerful meditative feel to Morse. Both men are outsiders for those around them, though Henderson enjoys some admiration from colleagues while Morse is an outsider to everyone but his supervising DI.
- Set design on both shows plays a huge role in the feel of the respective series. Endeavor drips with 1960s rain and gloomy clouds, shaping the feel of the police station just barely able to outpace its own corruption to solve crimes. One can’t help but find Hyperdrive ridiculous, as the on-ship and planetside sets are all bonkers. These differences lead to wildly different outcomes for the characters. In Hyperdrive, incompetence has little effect and doesn’t shape the narrative at all; Endeavor roils with the flaws of its police, setting Morse up as a Serpico-type figure.
- Both shows, in their own way, teem with British-ness. They spring from English television tradition — Hyperdrive drawing on a staid sitcom style blending Fawlty Towers with Red Dwarf, while Endeavor not only draws on the British appetite for long-ish detective tales, but emerges out of them, as a prequel to a long running series which itself spawned a sequel in which a working-man DI recruits a smarty-pants DS. Indeed, the Morse from Endeavor has more in common with Hathaway from Inspector Lewis than anyone else on TV.
Both shows are enjoyable, though the probably appeal to vastly different crowds. Endeavor is due for a third season, but Hyperdrive seems to be done.