Horny robots! Bad singing! Frontier wisdom! Crappy looking aliens! All of these wonders and so much more can be found in Starstruck, a failed CBS TV pilot from 1979 that just resurfaced online thanks to Reddit’s invaluable Obscure Media subcategory. At first we thought that this was a prank released to surf the wave of televisual weirdness in the aftermath of Too Many Cooks. But then we noticed the unmistakable appearance of a young Roy Brocksmith (best known to genre fans as the Rekall doctor who tried to get Schwarzenegger to take a pill and snap out of his “fantasy” in Total Recall) and we knew it was legit.
This was uploaded to YouTube by Chuck Cirino, a visual effects artist who worked on Starstruck. Cirino provided some more background info on the pilot in a Reddit response thread that will certainly thrill fans of 1980s B-movies:
I did the visual effects and supervised the miniature space ships. My good friend Jim Wynorski, a production assistant on this show went on to direct dozens of b movies for Roger Corman. I now write the music for Jim’s movies. And many of them play on Syfy. Other people of note are Dick Durock who plays the villain at the end, who also played Swamp Thing in the film THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING, who was also directed by Jim Wynorski in that film 10 years later. Robert Short, who played Hudson the robot also created and built the robots for the cult classic, CHOPPING MALL… also directed by Jim Wynorski and music by me. Many of the aliens at the bar were played by actors who also appeared in the cantina band sequence in STAR WARS. The masks they wear in this show were of their own personal construction. I could go on and on…
Again, wow. The pretty incomprehensible story of the show can best be described as Little House on the Prairie meets Lost in Space by way of a Lucasfilm lawyer’s fever dream. It features one robot that speaks with a somewhat offensive Irish brogue and looks like the lovechild of WALL-E and an Omnibot, and another that acts like C-3PO hopped up on Viagra. There’s also a fight scene that makes Buck Rogers in the 25th Century‘s low-budget effects look like Interstellar in comparison. And the acting…so much bad acting.