Brought to the small screen by the filmmakers who unleashed the “House Party” film series, “Cosmic Slop” is a three-part anthology series that attempts to tackle serious social issues, backdropped by humor and biting parody. The result is well-acted but uneven, likely to confuse viewers when it switches from tears to jeers.
In the first installment, “Space Traders,” a fleet of UFOs offers to solve the nation’s most pressing social problems — crime, poverty and pollution — if the U.S. agrees to surrender its entire black population to the aliens.
Viewers able to get past the unlikely setup will find that scripter Trey Ellis, using a short story by Derrick Bell as a springboard, weaves an interesting premise while proficiently using current ideas and tensions as catalysts for his characters.
The result, which borrows heavily from sources as diverse as blaxploitation films and web docudramas, is a sometimes unsettling look at racism. Yet Ellis and the producers buffer the seriousness with fun-poking that attacks well-worn stereotypes.
Robert Guillaume brings credibility to Gleason Golightly, the lone black member of the Cabinet, who tries to rally the public against the surrender, which will be put to a national vote.
Golightly takes his case to the nation’s corporate chiefs, who detail losses that would occur if blacks stopped purchasing alcohol, cigarettes and athletic shoes.
Director Reginald Hudlin uses an array of angles to sell the story, and wisely gives Guillaume plenty of room to ply his trade. Top-notch contributions are turned in by George Wallace (as a wise-cracking barber) and Jason Bernard (as a respected news anchor).
Bruce Long and Scott Enyart serve up a series of special effects, some intentionally hokey, that link the aliens to the real world. A funky theme by George Clinton — who also intros the seg — helps give the show a solid foundation.