In the wake of the success of Star Wars in 1977 came a flood of science fiction-related movies, television shows, toys, games, music, clothing, and all sorts of cultural bric-a-brac, the likes of which had not been seen since the 1950s. For the first time in ages SF was It and everyone wanted to jump on the gravy train. Naturally, 90% of this was crap. But here and there one could find jewels of brilliance lodged therein.

Quark, a short-lived humorous SF television series created by Buck Henry and starring Richard Benjamin, was one of these. For a mere nine episodes in 1978 Benjamin played Adam Quark, captain of a spacegoing garbage scow of the United Galaxy Sanitation Patrol. His crew consisted of Ficus, the ship's coolly logical, deceptively human-looking science officer (he was actually an alien species of fern); Gene/Jean, the half male, half female First Mate whose temperament swung widly back and forth between macho aggression and cloying sensitivity; Betty I and Betty II, gorgeous identical twins who eschewed the standard uniform worn by everyone else in favor of skimpy silver halter tops and short shorts; and Andy the Android.

The crew received its orders from the head of the Federation, who was in fact a disembodied head with a gigantic brain called "The Head", as well as Palindrome, the architect of the ship who was played by the ever-fussy Conrad Janis of Mork and Mindy fame. Though it contained allusions to Star Wars (particularly the characters' references to a mystical power called the Source) and other works of science fiction, the show was more than anything a parody of Star Trek. There was even an episode where the crew landed on a planet where all their wishes came true and which paralleled the Trek episode Shore Leave.

and my own memories of the show