Cosmic Slop was a 1994 TV anthology series on HBO featuring three short black science fiction movies. (I have also seen the broadcast date listed as 1995.) It features three short “Space Traders” based on the Derrick Bell short story; “The First Commandment” and “Tang”. It’s kind of a Twilight Zone vibe with George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic during the intros. (It’s as bizarre in the way only George Clinton can be.)
Space Traders is probably the most well known mainly for its political satire, star studded cast, and is the strongest to of the three. Robert Guillame plays Golightly, a black conservative cabinet member, who is asked to join the President’s discussion of a trade agreement. Aliens have come to Earth and offered gold, technological advances, etc to the US if it will turn over all of its black people to the aliens. A national referendum is held to decide the fate of the US black population. There is a resistance movement let by civil rights pioneers as well as another attempt by corporations to use advertising to swing the vote. It is a deep, thought-provoking discussion confronting the political realities of black life in the US. At times its distressing to watch; at other times its almost over the top satire. If there is one criticism, I think its that some actors seem to go with a dramatic interpretation of their roles and others go for broad parody which makes it a bit uneven. Robert Guillame keeps it all together because he’s a fantastic actor. It’s definitely worth watching.
The First Commandment focuses on a catholic priest and a statue of the Virgin Mary that comes to life. This is a commentary on the cultural conflict within the church-being European in origin; yet largely third world in its parishioners and its traditions that incorporate tradition African beliefs. (Vodun). It’s interesting especially if you know something about religious rites, transatlantic slave trade and religion; otherwise it may not have as strong of an impact.
Tang, based on a story by Chester Himes, involves a couple in an abusive relationship and a mysterious package left at their door. It touches on the complex issues of racism and misogyny. It’s hard to watch, although the actors are brilliant. Chi McBride playing an unpleasant character was a shocker-I don’t usually see him in these type of roles.
*Thanks to author PJ Dean for telling me about Cosmic Slop. She write futuristic/SFR as well as multicultural historical romances. Check out her work.
**It’s taken a while to post. I have been watching the new Lost in Space. Will take some time to see how I feel about it. They’ve cast a Captain Pike for the next season of Star Trek Discovery. Infinity War left me emotionally spent. I will go see the Solo movie. I might regret it, but I will go. Because.
***Nothing to do with SF but I love the Peaky Blinders.
3 responses to “SF Obscure: Cosmic Slop”
Where did you find this to watch it? Netflix has nothing. (You would believe what came up when I searched for it.) Amazon only has a VHS copy of it for $69.95. (Do people still watch VHS?) I may have to have my daughter search her sources for this. It does sound interesting. I do like Robert Guillame. Thank you.
The new Lost in Space is still on my watch list. Haven’t decided if I want to watch yet, though it does look okay. Haven’t seen Star Trek Discovery on Netflix yet. (I don’t have regular TV so haven’t seen any of it yet. Someday.) Infinity Wars? I have heard a box of tissues is required. Makes me think twice or more. As for Solo . . . Rogue One has become my new favorite Star Wars movie. I have hopes for Solo. Will look forward to seeing it.
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I think it’s something you have to get from someone or bootleg. I still have some VHS but no where to watch them. 🙂
[…] (19) SF TV ARCHEOLOGY. Echo Ishii’s tour of old sf TV leads this time to “SF Obscure: Cosmic Slop”. […]