Comic science fiction
|Based on||Weird Science|
by John Hughes
|Developed by||Tom Spezialy|
|Starring||John Mallory Asher|
|Theme music composer||Danny Elfman|
|Opening theme||"Weird Science"|
by Oingo Boingo
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||88 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers||Leslie Belzberg|
Robert K. Weiss
Robert Lloyd Lewis
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production companies||St. Clare Entertainment|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
|Original network||USA Network / Syfy|
|Original release||March 5, 1994 –|
July 25, 1998
Weird Science is an American television sitcom, based on John Hughes' 1985 film of the same title, that aired on the USA Network from March 5, 1994, to April 11, 1997. Six previously unaired, "lost" episodes aired on Syfy from July 11–25, 1998.
The series follows the adventures of Gary Wallace (John Mallory Asher) and Wyatt Donnelly (Michael Manasseri), two socially inept high-school students in a fictional California town. Together, using Wyatt's computer, they try to create a computer simulation of a perfect woman in order to practice communicating with girls. However, a freak lightning storm brings her to life, creating Lisa (Vanessa Angel), a gorgeous genius with the powers of a "magic genie".
- John Mallory Asher replaces Anthony Michael Hall in the role of Gary Wallace. Like his film counterpart, Gary is a poor student and a slacker, always looking for shortcuts to get what he wants (usually to impress girls). Gary is a nice guy and nerdy. Sometimes he is successful with women. His father, Al (Jeff Doucette) is a mechanic and tow-truck driver. His mother Emily is played by Joyce Bulifant, Asher's real life mother.
- Michael Manasseri replaces Ilan Mitchell-Smith in the role of Wyatt Donnelly. Wyatt's wealthy parents are usually out of town, leaving him and his older brother Chett alone in the house. Most stories have him as the more cautious member of the group, more reluctant than Gary to use Lisa's magic. A few more seasons, he was more dependent and more excited for Lisa to help them out. Just like Gary, they are labeled as nerds and outsiders. He is more popular with girls than Gary, and several episodes feature Gary being interested in a girl who likes Wyatt instead.
- Vanessa Angel replaces Kelly LeBrock in the role of Lisa. She describes herself as a "magic genie", able to grant the boys' wishes, though she does this out of choice rather than duty and is free to deny them any wish she does not want to grant. Once she grants a wish, Lisa is unable to reverse it, no matter how badly it turns out; however, most of her spells wear off after an indeterminate amount of time. Other than those basic rules, the limits of her powers are never clearly defined, and she seems to get more or less powerful depending on what a particular episode's plot requires. Although she is physically manifested, she is apparently still a program running on Wyatt's computer, and she ceases to appear if the computer is switched off. She is addicted to Chunky Monkey ice cream. She is more like the big sister or mother figure of the series to the boys.
- Lee Tergesen replaces Bill Paxton in the role of Chester "Chett" Donnelly. Chett is a military school graduate who turned down his commission, claiming that he did not want to be sent overseas to work for "Third-World slackers"; he lives with his parents and shows no interest in moving out or getting a job. Paranoid and angry, he takes out his frustrations on Wyatt and Gary, though less sadistically than in the movie; mostly he takes Wyatt's things without asking and calls him names like "wuss-boy" and "pit-lick". He also has a vendetta against Scampi (Bruce Jarchow), principal of the boys' high school, whom he remembers when he was "Ass-istant Principal Scampi". It was finally revealed in the series finale that Scampi is indeed Chett's true biological father since he met Marcia before she and Wayne got married. Most episodes have Chett getting caught up unwittingly in the magical shenanigans, often getting hurt or transformed without knowing what is going on. In the fourth season episode, "Master Chett," to expand Tergesen's role, Chett was let in on the secret of Lisa's existence; it was explained that Lisa had so often erased parts of his memory that he had developed a mental callus, making him immune to erasure. He occasionally has hints of sexual tension with Lisa. The two start to fall in love until she leaves him for Wyatt, with whom she subsequently breaks up.
Weird Science was produced by St. Clare Entertainment in association with Universal Television. Premiering on March 1, 1994, the show ran for five seasons on the USA Network for a total of 88 episodes. However, new episodes ceased airing in 1997 with the final six still unaired. They would eventually air in the United States the following year on the Sci-Fi Channel; the show was also reran briefly on what was then the Fox Family Channel in 2001 and Encore Family in 2004.
Kari Lizer, one of the staff writers, who later went on to create The New Adventures of Old Christine, said, "Weird Science turned out to be the best job because it made me realize I was more than an actress who could write monologues for herself. It turned me into a real writer because I had to write about things that weren’t close to home."
Six episodes that did not air during the series' original run on USA Network eventually aired on Syfy. The first two premiered July 11, 1998, with the remainder premiering as pairs of episodes July 18 and 25, 1998.
The complete series was released on DVD in Australia on August 16, 2017.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|The Complete Seasons 1 & 2||26||January 1, 2008|
- "Weird Science". TV.com.
- "Moms of Reinvention".
- DVD commentary for the pilot of Weird Science.
- Lovece, Frank (July 15, 1998). "Better Living Through Science...Weird Science!". Gist TV. Syndicated to CNN and to Yahoo! TV. Includes annotated episode guide, "The Lost Episodes of Weird Science".
- "Weird Science DVD news: Announcement for Weird Science - The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 - TVShowsOnDVD.com". Archived from the original on 2007-10-16.