There are so many streaming options available these days, and so many conflicting recommendations, that it’s hard to see through all the crap you could be watching. Each Friday, The Verge’s Cut the Crap column simplifies the choice by sorting through the overwhelming multitude of movies and TV shows on subscription services, and recommending a single perfect thing to watch this weekend.

What to watch

Galaxy Quest, a 1999 science-fiction comedy in which the cast members of a canceled but still beloved Star Trek-like television series are whisked away by Thermians, a high-minded but credulous alien race. Not realizing their heroes’ adventures are fictional (they can’t grasp the concept of storytelling), the Thermians have modeled their civilization after the series and its lofty values. Oh, and they’re also hoping the actors can help defend them against a murderous, reptilian adversary.

Due to celebrate its 20th anniversary in December, Galaxy Quest arrived near the end of a film year filled with striking visions from new and emerging voices (as chronicled in Brian Raftery’s first-rate recent book Best. Movie. Year. Ever.). A big, crowd-pleasing, effects-filled comedy starring Tim Allen, Galaxy Quest doesn’t exactly match that profile, but that doesn’t make it any less daring or accomplished. (In his book Bambi vs. Godzilla, David Mamet even includes it on a list of “perfect” films that includes The Godfather, Dodsworth, and A Place in the Sun.)

Conceived by first-time screenwriter David Howard, then reworked by Robert Gordon, Galaxy Quest began as a Harold Ramis film for the still-new studio DreamWorks. But Ramis didn’t want to cast Allen in the lead part of the vain actor Jason Nesmith — he tried to bring in Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, and others. That opened the door for Dean Parisot, who’d never helmed a project that big, didn’t mind working with Allen, and probably didn’t mind making a movie with Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shalhoub, and Sam Rockwell, either.

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