What does it take to defend the universe from diabolical and wispy-mustaches menaces? For Ken and Philip, the unlikely sorta-heroes tasked with protecting the earth in the CTV Extend original web series Space Riders, it's a goofy combination of brains, brawn, and metallic Spandex. Co-created by Toronto comedians Mark Little (who plays Ken, i.e. the brawn) and Dan Beirne (who plays Philip, i.e. the brains), Space Riders follows the duo on a not-for-wimps mission to defeat bottle-blond supervillain Orson Ooze (Kayla Lorette) and his scary-looking but essentially useless minion, the Moon Monster (Kyle Dooley). Ooze wants to take over the universe—and he also gets really annoyed if you change the settings on his TV.
Space Riders season two begins shooting in spring 2015. In the meantime, we chatted with Little and Beirne about Power Rangers, Chewbacca, and punching.
Comedy: How did you come up with the initial concept for Space Riders?
Mark Little: I don't remember exactly where it came from. Just wanting to do something with space. I've always liked that idea of really huge, outlandish creatures having really petty, mundane arguments. That was the foundation of the idea, which is what ended up happening with our villain characters. They're these huge, strange creatures that argue about "don't unplug the TV." And I wanted to maybe do something with Power Rangers without doing a straight-up parody.
Comedy: Were you both big Power Rangers fans growing up?
ML: I mean, Power Rangers sucks. Definitely my favourite thing about that genre is that they really know how to waste time between very little plot. Any time there's any excuse to morph or get ready for a fight or come down from a fight, you just go into a full song. It's like a modern musical where they wedge in these fun, weird songs anywhere they can. But we tried to watch the show as research, and it is hard to watch.
Dan Beirne: The show and all its similar shows. There's, like, 50 of them.
Comedy: What was it like to put on the spandex costumes for the first time?
ML: Invigorating.
DB: We didn't try them on until the day of. We had already started shooting, but they weren't ready until the last minute. They were tight.
ML: I understand why cyclists wear Spandex. There's something about that fabric hugging you that makes you feel like a superhero. It really tricks your brain into thinking you're more capable of athletics than you are.
DB: Dance belt: it's where you want to be.

Comedy: In your Space Riders duo, Ken (Mark Little) is the strong one and Philip (Dan Beirne) is the brainy one. How did you determine that dynamic?
DB: It was very natural. It's a cartoonish version of our comedy dynamic that we've established with other things we've been doing for a long time. And the Power Rangers have their own individual powers. So when it came to just having two powers that we would somehow make a whole, it was like, "One's muscles and one's intelligence."
ML: Which makes sense when I'm in the suit and I've got the foam biceps. Makes less sense when I'm out of the suit and we have identical body types.

Comedy: Have you ever fought anyone in real life?
DB: Mostly passive-aggressive emails. Not in a way that I could say confidently that I have battle experience.
ML: I got in a fight when I was in grade one. And then I fought the same guy in grade two. He beat me both times. The first time he pulled a bunch of my hair out. And I cried foul. And then screamed and wept. I haven't been in a fight since but I've felt the aggression and the itch to fight. But then I'm a coward. I'm definitely just a coward at heart.
Comedy: How did you develop the concept and aesthetic for the Moon Monster?
DB: I wanted him like a steampunk Chewbacca.
ML: Those are the two nerd worlds that you wanted to cross-pollinate? Steampunks and Chewbacca fans. Oh God.
DB: You take those sources and you make something new. Also one of the things about Power Rangers is you've got this villain in the sky who sends their minions down. So what we wanted was to just one minion that came down and was the huge physical threat that we had to actually fight.
ML: But it actually is a modified Chewbacca costume. A costume store Chewbacca.
DB: Which means it's so sweaty.

Comedy: What are you liking about the web series as a comedic form?
ML: We're both learning how to do this. So it feels like the stakes are a little bit lower. We know we're going to fail in many respects as we get better at this. These are weird practical answers—a more fun answer that is that you can just do anything on the internet. Some of the storylines that we talk about, you just couldn't do those on TV. The internet is more wide open.
DB: May as well go as wild as we can in this context, so that we get the momentum and people expect that and you can make bigger things. But from a practical, making-it perspective, I don't really see a big difference between the web and TV. I would be trying to do this stuff on TV, it's just actually easier to do it on the web.
Comedy: What are you excited about for the next season?
DB: We're doing a couple less episodes than the first season, because we have the same budget, but we want to go bigger with each episode. We're excited to keep going with Orson Ooze and the Moon Monster. Probably bringing them to earth and giving them a condo.
ML: But also, we're just talking about bigger, nuttier ideas. Following this track of the limitless possibilities of what you can do on the internet. Take more advantage of that. And more super punches.