'Galaxy Quest' takes off with series deal

Video screenshot: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Sam Rockwell in 1999's "Galaxy Quest"

A sincere "Star Trek" spoof that was warmly received in 1999, "Galaxy Quest" is making a return -- as a TV series -- after Amazon Studios struck a deal with the film's Paramount. We take a look at what made the movie special in the first place.

The plot
An iconic sci-fi TV series "Galaxy Quest" has been discovered by a far-off alien race who didn't realize it was fiction, based their entire civilization upon the show, recreating its technologies, and then calls upon its original heroes (the actors) to rescue them from galactic oblivion when space war breaks out.

The tone
Key to its charm was the way that "Galaxy Quest" riffed on its inspiration without any signs of cruelty towards "Star Trek" or its fandom. Though taking on the tone of a light comedy, and in spite of its ridiculous premise, its human characters weren't caricatured -- and it was the somewhat obsessive fans of a fictional "Galaxy Quest" series that helped to save the day.

The cast
At the time, its on-screen talent pool was a mix of grade-A names, recognizable screen actors, and rising stars.

Tim Allen had two "Toy Story" films and nine years as the lead in "Home Improvement" -- a more down-to-earth show about life on and off a TV series' set.

Sigourney Weaver had completed four "Alien" films, while Alan Rickman was acclaimed for "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" and "Sense and Sensibility"; Tony Shalhoub had 144 episodes of "Wings" and Daryl Mitchell accrued 84 appearances on "The John Larroquette Show."

Contrast with Sam Rockwell, who didn't yet have "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" or "Moon" on his resumé. Instead, he was on the cusp after "Lawn Dogs" and "The Green Mile." Meanwhile, both Justin Long ("Live Free or Die Hard") and Rainn Wilson of "The Office" were debutants.

Getting the gang back together might be a tough call, and with Amazon having just come on board for the remake, casting has not been announced. Behind the scenes, several core players are still involved: writer Robert Gordon, director Dean Parisot, and two of executive producers to boot.

The homages
The film was, of course, stuffed with references to "Star Trek," but didn't require more than a passing knowledge.

There was a send-up of Kirk's fight with a Gorn when Allen's character was pursued by a rock monster (also a William Shatner allusion), plenty of commanding poses, and a crew shaken by a flubbed take-off.

Spock-like haircuts adorn the aliens' heads, while production design was cribbed from 30 years of franchise tropes.

How much familiarity will be required by Amazon's series is for now a mystery -- perhaps just enough to nudge viewers towards reruns on Prime Instant Video.