Gene Roddenberry's: Andromeda - Star Trek meets The Postman?
Lisa RyderKeith Hamilton CobbLexa DoigGordon Michael WoolvettBrent StaitLaura Bertram
images 2000 Tribune Entertainment Company.
(above images link to WB bios)
Official Site: http://www.andromedatv.com/ 
Cast: Kevin Sorbo (Captain Dylan Hunt), Lisa Ryder (Beka Valentine) , Keith Hamilton Cobb (Tyr Anasazi),   Lexa Doig (Andromeda Ascendant), Gordon Michael Woolvett (Seamus Harper), Brent Stait (Rev Bem),  Laura Bertram (Trance Gemini)
Producers: Majel Roddenberry - Executive Producer, Allan Eastman - Executive Producer, Adam Haight - Executive Producer, Jay Firestone - Executive Producer, Robert Hewitt Wolfe - Co-Executive Producer

In the opening round of Andromeda, the Federation like Systems Commonwealth is wiped out by the Nietzscheans, a depressingly rational offshoot of humanity. 300 years later Captain Dylan Hunt, sole survivor of the Starship Andromeda's crew, emerges from the stasis of a black hole's event horizon and vows that the Systems Commonwealth hasn't fallen as long as Andromeda is under his command. Now he just has to convince everyone else.

In the premier episode of "Andromeda" a new Gene Roddenbery production, starring of all things, Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) as a starship captain who runs smack dab into a trap designed to destroy the entire Confederation fleet and winds up the sole survivor (he orders the crew off when it's clear they won't make it) trapped in the gravity well of a black hole and dragged out by a salvage ship (they thought everyone was dead...but prepared for dealing with the odd survivor anyway) three hundred years later.

It turns out he's the sole survivor of the Confederation as well. Shades of Japanese soldiers on desert islands...now he wants to bring back the Confederation. If only he had a crew. Hey, maybe he'll talk the salvage crew and their mercenaries into the job before the premier is over. Ya think?

It's got cheesy sets and overacting, but besides that I like it pretty well.

Andromeda's opening episode kicks some major butt, and the target in its sights is Trek. The irony is that instead of Gene Roddenbury's name on the credits, I really wished we'd seen JMS's initials because the quality just isn't up to B5 standards.

The geeky engineer character gets some of the best lines from the opener. When he meets Hunt in Andromeda's corridor he breaks the new gently..."I hate to break it to you...you guys lost. There's been no Commonwealth for three hundred years." Then, telling his shipmates about the encounter, we get the series's not to subtle reference to Sorbo's last job..."The guy is huge. He's like some kind of Greek God or something." 

The downfall of the Commonwealth was it's do-gooder willingness to compromise, rather than take a hard line with bad guys, a clear shot at the "let's negotiate rather than fight" Trek style. Oh sure, Trek has tried to change its stripes, but it really shouldn't. There is a core idea in Trek, that everybody will grow up and learn to get along, and it's a good idea. It's not the only idea out there, though, and just at the moment it seems dated. I'd like to see Trek hang in there. Let others take a walk on the dark side. Others like Andromeda. On the other hand, Sorbo/Hunt explains to the aghast leader of the mercenaries that he will never kill in cold blood, insisting on leaving a vanquished enemy behind him. Let me get this straight. Does this mean it's ok to kill as long as you're all riled up? This unfortunately, is just the kind of thinking that got the Commonwealth in trouble. Here's a tip Hunt, if they aren't part of the solution, they're part of the problem, and if you've beaten them they either live in fear or for revenge. Sigh. You'll never learn.

Anti-Trek touches abound. The crew gets liberally thrown around during maneuvers. Nobody has shields or tractor beams. In fact the salvage ship grapples the Andromeda with "bucky cables" another excellent piece of SF engineering, evoking images of monofilament carbon super cables.

Majel Barret is executive producer, and of course as the deceased Trek creator's widow, she should know if he had any more ideas for a series, but seriously, Gene is in danger of upstaging L. Ron Hubbard for most creative dead person in SF. Not that I mind. I like Ghost Roddenbury's stuff better. 

The bummer is that the quality of the series sets and camerawork is pretty poor. It's charming in British SF, loved it on Red Dwarf, in fact. Here it doesn't play nearly as well, and even the CGI exteriors look slightly cartooney. OK, let's not get caught up in the SFX...all it takes is money to improve them, and I strongly support not putting the look ahead of the story. The story is a good one, with a fresh twist for media SF and clearly a lot of thought about how to use science to make the story interesting. But JMS managed to turn out a much higher quality look for B5, and one suspects he had less money to do it with. 

Andromeda is packed with solid SF, lots of excitement, and a classic SF premise. Bring it on Majel! Good luck Dylan (he says we don't have to call him Captain).

Episode Information
(from: http://www.sftv.org/sftv/sftv.html)

Week    Ep# Prod # Title
10/02/00 1  103 Under The Night
10/09/00 2  104 An Affirming Flame
10/16/00 3  102 To Loose The Fateful Lightning
10/23/00 4  101 D Minus Zero
10/30/00 5      Double Helix
11/06/00 6      Angel Dark, Demon Bright
11/13/00 7      The Ties that Blind
11/20/00 8      Banks of the Lethe
11/27/00 9      A Rose in the Ashes
TBA             The Pearls That Were His Eyes
TBA             The Sum of Its Parts [We Are the People]
TBA             The Mathematics of Tears [Pax Magellanic]
TBA             Harper 2.0
TBA             All Great Neptune's Ocean
TBA             The Devil Take the Hindmost
TBA             Music of a Distant Drum
TBA             Forced Perspective [Strange Attractor]
TBA             Star-Crossed
TBA             It Makes A Lovely Light
TBA             The Honey Offering
TBA             Fear and Loathing in the Milky Way
TBA             ...Its Hour Come Round At Last