913. Quest of the Delta Knights (1993)

So I’m not alone! I too refuse to use “SyFy.” Such a stupid abbreviation. Is it hyberbolic if I say this sort of thing sums up all that’s wrong with the world today? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


The thing with stuff like SyFy and all the other stupidly misspelled corporate names is trademark. You can’t legally trademark a word that’s in common use. So Cash & Carry is already alliterative and makes sense, but both those words are in the dictionary. In order to trademark the company name, they need to use a more creative spelling. Thus we get Kash & Karry, which just hurts my brain.

The other thing with SyFy, though, was that the network got new management and decided to rebrand. They wanted to expand their audience by including content that was not actually science fiction. So they figured the misspelling would give them room to branch out without people wondering why these other shows were playing on the science fiction network. Which just… sigh, fie.

I do like this episode, though. I always enjoy episodes where the movie is dumb and cheesy but I could almost watch it unriffed on one of those days when you just need to turn your brain off and chanel surf until you find something pleasantly stupid.

Y’all have already covered most of what I want to say, but I do have some scattered thoughts that will, if I know myself, end up filling half a page anyway.

It really says something about a show when you can honestly say “This one’s pretty good. It’s probably in my top 80 episodes.”

I’ve felt the same as McCloud. It’s not that I’m intimidated, per se. It’s that you truly and deeply love the show, know each episode intimately, and say eloquently what it is you love about it in ways that express my own thoughts better than I could.

Still, you make a good case for us saying something more anyway, if only to add a slightly different perspective, and that was a beautiful and kind thing for you to express. Thank you.

The mint always jumps out at me because it’s this gesture from Pearl that’s not even half-hearted. Barely pro forma. And yet it wins the bots’ undying love. Despite the fact that Mike has given them so much more, and actually meant it.

But what I really love is Pearl’s relationship with Art. The one being she genuinely gets along with and seems to actually like. He’s like the son she always wanted. It’s a similar dynamic to her brief overlap with Frank, and their relationship as pen pals and besties. But it comes in a place where Pearl has had a chance to evolve as a character, coming into her own as the boss rather than just hanging around as Clayton’s shrill nuisance. I wish they’d kept up Pearl’s chats with Art in Season 13, but I’m curious to see what happens with Kinga in the finale.

As for the movie…

A millennium ago, Archimedes was a prominent scientist in Atlantis. (Why is it always Atlantis? Can’t we get beyond Atlantis already?) Despite being best known today for realizing that solid objects displace water, in Atlantis he had invented helicopters and super lasers and all manner of things thousands of years ahead of the times. But, like Jor-El, he knew that his advanced civilization was doomed and needed desperate measures to save it. His advanced technology and keen insight had given him a prophecy. He knew what to do. He saved up a vast library of science and engineering and hid it away in a cave in England, thousands of miles from where he lived. He then left a clue to the cave’s location.

His power of prophecy was such that he knew that a particular boy would grow up in a specific location which would eventually be specifically named Sandstone Hill, and that he would be found and trained by a particular secret order of knights. This one boy would be able to decode the map because he would know his own birthplace, a thousand years after Archimedes made the map. Furthermore, Archimedes the ancient Greek scholar knew that in the boy’s time and place the word “right” would hold a double meaning.

The boy does find the cave, a trove of knowledge that has been waiting for a thousand years and which is still a thousand years ahead of the science of his day, and decides… The world isn’t ready for it so we should just blow it up. Thus making moot the entire thousand-year plan and the secret order which had carried the prophecy forward all this time. Archimedes, apparently, had not foreseen this outcome. Or he was stabbed before his prophecy writing could get to that part.

But at least Leonardo Da Vinci (also thousands of miles from home and speaking the wrong language) gained the inspiration to stop being a useless creep and start bringing about the end of the dark ages by giving birth to the renaissance, which is appropriate because half the time they were running around a renaissance faire in the first place.

It’s so incredibly patently ridiculous, and that makes it perfect for riffing.

Random side note: The actress who plays the Princess Barmaid didn’t do much in the way of film or TV for a while after this, but she did end up playing Gert and Molly’s mom on Marvel’s Runaways which is still available to watch on Hulu.

Love the host segments. I always love Tom singing with himself, and the details they put into his costumes. Like the “sweet Delta lady” Servo having cleavage. The poker scene is a delight. It just fits the characters so well. And the details like Bobo holding his cards backwards and declaring that “I’ve got nothing here” when he’s actually holding a full house (3 queens and a pair of 5s). And Bobo totally failing to get the “ask your girlfriend” joke to work, with the payoff of Mike failing it even harder. I’m also always impressed by how seamlessly they pull of Brain Guy’s teleports, getting everyone’s positions exactly right even if they were moving.

As for David Warner, to me he’ll always be the bad guy from Tron.


optiMSTie does the Joel’s thoughtful monologues while the rest of us do the bots’ stupid quips, with the occasional “Richard Basehart”. :stuck_out_tongue:


Except you just did. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:



I’m getting Knights Who Say Ni vibes right now…
Ahh! I said it! I said it again!



[Graham Chapman voice]

Let’s not use “SyFy.”

'Tis a silly name.



Like, seriously. Season 1’s The Robot Vs. the Aztec Mummy is my second-least favorite episode of the series, and I still have a good time with that one.

With this show, it’s banger after banger after banger after banger…

Very welcome, always. And much obliged for the kind words.

It’s you folks that keep me coming back here, and your commentary, insights, perspectives, backgrounds, and viewpoints are extremely invaluable, interesting, and important. It all means something tremendous, and I thank Y’ALL for that.

It’s also interesting in that it’s a consistent character trait of Pearl’s, too, to some degree, if we think back to all the random stuff that Pearl digs out of her purse for the omnipotent space children in The Incredibly Strange Creatures etc.


I would LOVE to see a return to the Pearl/Art dynamic from seasons past!

And that’s just it, that it’s come from a place of evolution, that you can trace this fascinating line from Bloodlust to Deathstalker to Time Chasers to this very episode in question.



There’s so much being juggled around to weave this pseudo-epic narrative tapestry that it all comes across as ambitiously dumb, which is GOLD for the writing team.

Even amidst all the admitted ridiculousness of a guy playing poker with a sapient talking gorilla and a pale cosmic being who carries his brain around in a bowl, there’s something… accessible about it all.

And those edits ARE choice.

I loved him in whatever he did, but he SHINED as villains. Warner had a particularly and wonderfully nasty turn in Time After Time, for one.

In a non-villainous vein, he has a one-scene moment in Scream 2 as Sidney’s drama professor, but hot damn, he put work into a role that other folks would have sleepwalked through. That was David Warner.

OH, P’SHAW, NOW :stuck_out_tongue:

You folks consistently and constantly bring it, and I thank y’all for that.


Just wanted to add: These write-ups/essays are the best! Thank you to everyone who takes their time to share and elaborate their thoughts behind a particular episode!

Keep 'em coming! :smiley:


You know I am in total agreement here. :slightly_smiling_face:


Agreed. Those infrequent chats are truly missed. You expose another side of Pearl you don’t often see.


Speaking of topics like this. Would any of you be wanting of writeups of the KTMAs I haven’t done? There are several. Previously the reaction has been hit or miss and I wasn’t sure if there was any desire for them. Thanks.


Funny you dart to Scream 2 (1997). He is staggering as a Drama Teacher who urges Sydney to harvest and channel her trauma for the arts. He appeals to the therapy that will lend her before exposing his desperation of having no one to fill the part were Neve Campbell to bail out of playing it. We are privy to Warner’s sincerity and ability to inhabit nicer folks while still tasting his ability to throw wrinkles in at the final second. This same dexterity allowed him to convey two distinct people in Delta Knights (1993).


Mmhmm. He possessed a terrific, nuanced versatility that could enable him to tackle any number of roles, and what he did in Scream 2 made that abundantly clear.

The TV Tropes has a trope for such in-and-out-of-the-film characters, defined as the One-Scene Wonder: “A character that has limited screen time, and usually not much in the way of plot relevance, but is still one of the most memorable things in the movie.”

There it is, right there. Some things drift in and out of mind about that movie. I find myself going “Huh… oh yeah, that’s right” when I’m reminded that Sarah Michelle Gellar and Joshua Jackson were in Scream 2, but for me, Warner is a highlight there.

That was also the case with his dual character portrayal in Quest of the Delta Knights.


Well the channel was still called Sci-Fi at the time.


I just want to remind everyone of what may have been David Warner’s most fun role.


You’re selling David Warner short, he was also in countless BBC radio dramas… and he also did lots of audio books. The guy played more professional acting roles in one lifetime than a lot of nations have people, I suspect. Don’t think he ever phoned it in either.

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He’s terrific as a foil to Malcolm McDowell in Time After Time.

He also plays Detective Wallander’s (Kenneth Brannagh) dementia-addled father in the BBC series Wallander, which is really good if you haven’t seen it.


Malcolm McDowell! He’s delightful. He can bring gravitas, but he can chew the scenery with the best of them. Like in Tank Girl.

And… he was in two of the Wing Commander games. Sadly not in the movie. But, dang, now I really want to see the movie riffed…

ETA: McDowell played Admiral Tolwyn in Wing Commander III & IV. (They were experimental CD-ROM games that used live action videos for the cut scenes between missions.) But in the 1999 movie based on the franchise, Tolwyn was recast. Instead, he was played by… David Warner!

(Wing Commander IV had Mark Hamill as the main character. Which was simultaneously cool and sad. Seeing him back, middle aged and looking gristled, playing a space fighter pilot again, but in small cutscenes for a video game… complex feelings. But it was neat that you could make different choices and the scenes would play out a little differently.)


This movie boasts a Big Message every bit as punch-worthy as that of Terror From The Year 5000.

lol me and my royal heritage and my Breck Girl hair say that the rabble can’t have an education because they won’t know how to use it as well as me and my dimwit dead dad and my dorky sidekicks! Nyah!

Munch my Medieval leggings, “T.” You, too, Mystical Dead Dad. What in the bloody blue blazes was even THE POINT of reclaiming your son only to NOT TELL HIM that he’s your son until you’re in the throes of death?! GAH!!!11