|Gene Rodenberry's Andromeda
Review by Ernest Lilley
Week of Ep # Prod # Title (source: www.sftv.com)
Cast: Kevin Sorbo .... Captain Dylan Hunt / Lisa Ryder ....
Beka Valentine / Keith Hamilton Cobb .... Tyr Anasazi / Laura Bertram
.... Trance Gemini / Brent Stait .... Rev Bem / Gordon Woolvett ....
Seamus Harper / Lexa Doig .... Andromeda
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I've seen the first season of Andromeda, or almost all of it, and I've
had time to think about my first reactions to the show. I still think
Rev Bem's makeup is overdone and more than one of the cast lacks the
polish that the characters need to bring their roles across. On the
other hand, I still think the show is one of the best things to come
along in a long time...better than Voyager in concept, better than B5 in
I wish it had the production quality that FarScape has. I don't know what the two shows relative budgets are, but I do know which does the better job. On the other hand, I love shows like Red Dwarf, which are done on a real shoestring, so budget's not everything.
What I really like about Andromeda is that it takes on the tough job of reconciling Trek with Anti-Trek and does a pretty good job of it.
Once upon a time in the 20th century there was something called modernism. Modernism believed in technological solutions to problems, a bright future, and heroes saving the day. Gene Rodenberry was a modernist, though it stopped being popular after the 50s.
After the modernists came the Post-modernists. They believed that the future was a pit, heroes were idiots, and technology was more likely to hurt you than help you. From 1960 to the end of the century, this was a very popular point of view.
Modernists had World War II. Post Modernists had Vietnam. Everybody was waiting for World War III...and the Post modernists said it was inevitable.
The funny thing is that Trek was created by a modernist and if you look at all the criticism of it over it's life, it tends to get attacked for not being post modern. Too many heroes, too much technology helping people, too bright a future. Too unbelievable.
Andromeda tries to take both schools and sit them down to the table to work things out. It's at brave thing to do, and somebody has to do it. It's a Herculean task, but I think they've done a decent job.
We've put together a lot of material from the cast about the show, and what comes across from them is that they have fun with the science fiction, but have a great time with the human elements of the story. They want to have fun with it. Fun for everyone is a very modernist concept.
What about the stories? They tend to be a bit hokey, which means there's a lot of human sentimentality in them. It's hard for jaded audiences from the end of the 20th century to sit still for happy endings, and we can trust the writers to through in enough curves to keep them from bailing.
I didn't like Trance at the outset. Too light. Too frivolous. Too Kess like. I've largely gotten over it...she's not the victim that Voyager's Kess was, and over the run of the show, her agenda may turn out to be one of the most interesting on the show. Rev Bem's not threatening enough, and we need to see some unreformed members of his race so we can appreciate his struggle. Becca playing the Han's Solo to Dylan's Kirk is brilliant. I love Harper as the annoying nerd chief engineer, Rami is a nice touch as the "ship made flesh", and Lexa Doig does a lot with what is often Uhura like dialog. Dylan Hunt is over the top as captain nice of course, so Tyer's philosophy of pragmatism and power is a welcome breath of bad air to balance him.
Sometimes I wish shows would only last one or two seasons. The X-Files ran out of Truths to uncover long ago, and Star Trek TNG ran out of dilithium long before they ejected the warp core. Andromeda has a lot to say, and the news that they will be back for another season is good news.
The challenge will be for the ship to stay on it's course for the
future, to mix hero and antihero and come up with something between the
two that can serve as the kind of inspiration for the next generation
that early SF was for the adults of today.