GENE RODDENBERRY'S ANDROMEDA: SEASON ONE
Based on an idea by Gene Roddenberry, Andromeda
confidently wears its debt to Star Trek
on its sleeve, recalling the best sci-fi of Roddenberry's heyday. The two-part premiere "Under the Night" and "An Affirming Flame" make for a terrific introduction to the lead character, Captain Dylan Hunt, played by Kevin (ex-Hercules
) Sorbo. He's a sympathetically flawed idealist in command of the Andromeda Ascendant
, a massive starship of the now-disbanded Systems Commonwealth. The fall of civilization has meant that although she ought to be a relic she remains the zenith of technological advancement.
In the series opener we see Captain Hunt in battle against 10,000 enemy ships, winning a bout of fisticuffs with a close friend turned enemy traitor, wrestling with the shock of being frozen in time for 300 years and then diplomatically negotiating his way out of a salvage rights battle for his ship. The Andromeda Ascendant's emotionally driven, life-like computer is desired by the Eureka Maru salvage vessel, and feisty Captain Beka Valentine can barely stop her engineer Harper from drooling about tinkering with her. The Maru's shipmates are similarly driven: Rev Bem (from another sworn enemy race) has a spiritual calling, while cutesy-pie Trance Gemini's motivations are part of her winning mysteriousness. One final addition is the show's muscle, Tyr, the enemy with a conscience who would later get the spotlight in such episodes as "All Neptune's Great Oceans" and "Music of a Distant Drum."
"The Pearls That Were His Eyes" was one of the first conceived episode ideas, but was delayed until the availability of a Star Trek regular. That eventually turned out to be John (Q) de Lancie, who gives a brilliant turn as Beka's long-lost Uncle Sid. "Star-Crossed" is the first-season episode that caused more gossip than any other. Stargate regular Michael Shanks guest stars, falls in love with Rommie on screen (and with Lexa Doig off screen), and then suddenly quits SG-1. There's certainly a spark between them in the show to support the gossip. The secondary cause for talk was its broadcast rescheduling in sympathy with the events of September 11 since it opens with a terrorist attack. Criticized by some for its extreme violence, the season finale "Its Hour Come 'Round at Last" will stay with you one way or another. Maybe for the sight of an alternate Rommie turning uncharacteristically nasty to everyone and seriously kicking butt. Or maybe the mind-blowing Magog Worldship, made up of 20 planets and their sun. Or maybe just the seemingly impossible scenario each major character is faced with as the show ends. --Paul Tonks