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When I first started watching Andromeda I was blown away. A great
universe, with great ideas, both in technology and philosophy. Now, I
was a little concerned with Hercules being the captain of the ship, but
I said what the hell, Kevin Sorbo deserves a break.
Unfortunately, the only thing broken was the show. After the first season it all went up in smoke. The universe turned silly, the fights idiotic, the logic nonexistent. You can see how the first season had such a powerful effect on me because I spent the last two days watching the fifth season, even if it sucked immensely.
What started as a great saga, adventure, call it what you like, ended up in a silly fight against an impossible evil, moronic opponents and allies like avatars of stars, moons, hot chick androids that functioned differently in every episode. You might want to see suns that move from system to system while the heroes "evacuate" entire planets with two ships, or even black hole avatars converted into code uploaded to a solar sail energy deflector.
So, I gather Gene Roddenberry must be turning in his grave after his great ideas were perverted by money hungry TV producers with no technical expertise, no strategic thinking, no feel for the wishes of the audience or of the original creator of the series. The "Abyss" has won and it destroyed yet another great opportunity for a great sci-fi show.
This is NOT Gene Roddenberrys Andromeda, its someone else's.
What Andromeda does well:
1. The cast is, on the whole, quite good. Kevin Sorbo is the solid core (typical) central character one expects in this type of story, but the other characters are generally original and well-played. I especially like Harper and Beka, who manage to be fresh and compelling without being so iconoclastic as to distract the viewer from the plot. I also like that Rommie is not only an AI "learning to be human" but is also The Ship.
2. Backstory and plot are as interesting as any sci-fi franchise on television. The tale of Dylan's having been "stuck in a singularity" for 300 years, while scientifically suspect, makes a good yarn.
3. Effects and art direction are up to the best modern syndie TV can offer: benefitting from the advances in computer tech while likewise suffering from the vague sense of unreality it creates.
Where Andromeda falls short:
1. As the biggest "power that be," Sorbo has a slight tendency to overstress his character's importance. Dylan is, of course, the most important character, but as a fairly stereotyped "strong, silent captain," he's far from the most interesting character. The other characters should not only be allowed to carry some episodes, they should also be allowed to "be the hero" in more stories, even when Dylan is also featured. No captain, no matter how heroic, is always right.
2. Individual episodes are hit-and-miss. Not only are occasional episodes not much fun to watch, they don't even have much to do with the ongoing story. While I recognize that we can't get a barnburner every week, we do need *some* reason to tune in, whether it's humor or romance or whatever.
3. Not every unique touch has played out: Rev Bem was interesting in conception but not really in execution. I don't fault Brent Stait; I just think a Magog monk was compelling for about a week tops. I don't really mind that he was written out (for whatever reason). Another character who has failed to reach critical mass: Tyr. KHC is a good actor and undeniably an impressive physical specimen, but as the seasons have gone by, Tyr has never really developed much beyond a surly, untrustworthy bore. I think the problem lies largely with the concept of Nietzscheans in general; to make him more interesting, they would necessarily undermine the underpinnings of the character--it's a catch-22. I'm also underwhelmed by the "new Trance." The character as originally played was enigmatic and sweet; now she's just confusing.
4. Season 3 already misses the "rebuilding the Commonwealth" story thread. While the stories this year have been interesting, the show lacks dramatic impetus. Now that they're not concentrating on preparing for the Magog invasion or on strengthening the Commonwealth, they seem to be floundering around a bit. The plot lacks direction.
All told, I like Andromeda as much as anything on right now. But I can't help but feel it's not living up to potential. I'm afraid they may be trying to please a focus group rather than trying to make compelling television.
Thanks to it's release on DVD, I have managed to watch the first 4
seasons of "ANDROMEDA" while avoiding pesky TV commercials. Thus, my
take on the series might be different from someone who had the show's
rhythm broken by advertising - talk about taking one out of the moment.
I really wanted to like this show from the beginning, mostly because of
its origins with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. I strongly
disliked actor Kevin Sorbo's previous show "HERCULES" (except for the
rare appearance by the brilliant Bruce Campbell), but was willing to
give his new show a try anyway. After 4 seasons (season 5 is still
airing and not available on DVD as of this writing), here's my take on
ANDROMEDA: This might be as clear of a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
writing as I can remember in a TV series. There have been episodes that
stand up with the best of sci-fi television writing (the original
"TWILIGHT ZONE", "City on the Edge of Forever" episode of "STAR TREK",
"The Inheritors" episode of "THE OUTER LIMITS", etc.). The two-part
episode that ended season 4 was probably the best thing I've seen from
TV since "TAKEN", the Spielberg mini-series.
But when ANDROMEDA is bad, it's really bad. I've never been a fan of "BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY", and some of ANDROMEDA's shows must be compared to the very worst of "BUCK ROGERS". Unfortunately, it's not like there's a good season or a bad one. It's, as my summary states, a roll of the dice. This 50/50 result of script writing (and I really must put the blame there) is in some part due to the pace that TV writers must produce these days. But there's the rare quality TV show out there to make the case that it can be done. I won't blame the actors, because when the writing is good, they're all fine - even impressive at times.
I think the issue with ANDROMEDA is a lack of clear cut identity. Is it a light space romp with plenty of humor? Is it a serious take on a potentially exciting premise? Is it experimental? Is it space opera? Unfortunately, the answer is 'All of the Above'. Beyond this, it's hard to define just why the show is sometimes terrific and other times pathetic. The one thread that I found had to do with the character Trance Gemini. It seemed when the show centered on her, it was usually better than when it didn't. But even that is not always the case.
So my recommendation for viewing ANDROMEDA is this: If you like your sci-fi goofy, this might work for you. If you're really hardcore sci-fi, it also might be worth sifting through the episodes on DVD. As I said, when it's good, it's hard to beat. For special effects junkies, Season 4 has some stellar (excuse the pun) and stylistically unique CGI work, some of the best I've seen on TV. For most casual sci-fi viewers and others however, I imagine wading through the bad apples to get to the good shows will be more trouble than it's worth.
I heard Mr. Sorbo comment on that last season 4 episode I mentioned earlier, and he seemed to think it was their best and they should do more like it. I fully agree, but as the show is running out to it's end now, I think this was a case of finding what was best about the concept way too late. I really wanted to like it, but overall just not as good as it should have been.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Andromeda is a sci fi series about a star-faring battleship and it's
crew that, after being trapped in time, embarks to rebuild the
civilized universe after it's collapse.
As such, Andromeda's premise is interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first season (I own seasons 1-4 on DVD). Acting is average, but special f/x are top notch (and they stay that way through all seasons). Season One had it's ups and downs, but the characters fleshed out nicely, even though many stories appear to disregard logic or anything resembling realism. On the whole, though, I felt season one was a winner.
However, with the beginning of Season Two, the show began to break down. More and more shows appeared to be simply a vehicle for Kevin Sorbo (playing Captain Dylan Hunt) showing off his selfless heroism. By Season Three the show had become confused, disjointed, and lacking any shreds of logic. Routinely, Andromeda's crew of (apparently) six take out an army of Killer Aliens, find a single missing person on a large planet within seconds (while other people have looked for them for ages), infiltrate, and fight their way back out of, a garrison, etc. After a while, it becomes too difficult to suspend disbelief. But worst of all is that, at the beginning of Season Four, the writers appear to have abandoned all hope of delivering a single, coherent, and believable story. Season Four does not contain one single interesting or well written story. Watch in awe as five people manage to stand in the right place along a 36 by 8 mile long arc-ship to fend off invaders that should board everywhere. Try not to groan when a signal is sent through space (and travels faster than light) by way of ultrasonic burst (which, as everyone knows, travels by speed of sound, and can't cross vacuum). Try to comprehend how two races that have battled each other for 'countless generations' managed to do so without any mixed children (even though they do mix in everyday tasks). Then bow to the wisdom of the captain who, while dying from debilitating fever, manages to deduct that the cure for his fever is mixing the two bloods. He finds a cure for which the people have searched for generations themselves. And key to his finding is some corny video footage from the library. And on, and on, and on. After a while the writer's contempt for their audience becomes almost palpable. The computer f/x, however, have become very good, and they are worth watching, though.
At the end of season four, Andromeda, which began promising, had become a total ship wreck. Beginning with season two, the stories went from stupid over idiotic to abysmally (ha, ha - pun intended) bad and finish as downright insulting.
My recommendation is to get Season One, and enjoy it. Get the other seasons only if you *really* like the show, or for the great cgi effects.
After reading the reviews for the new fall season, I was expecting Andromeda to be another Star Trek clone, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this was not the case! Andromeda is an entertaining show with solid acting and a great mix of action, sci-fi and comedy. Kevin Sorbo slips into this role like it was made for him and the only obvious remnant of his days as Hercules is his wonderful ability to portray the noble hero without taking himself too seriously! The effects are decent, the cast is solid and you don't need to know the technical specs of the Enterprise to understand and enjoy the plot! This show is a treat for sci-fi and action fans alike and even stubborn Star Wars fans (myself among them!) will get a kick out of Rev's Yoda-esque witticisms! All in all, an enjoyable ride!
Shows like this make me wish IMDb allowed us to rate individual
Like Earth: Final Conflict, another Roddenberry posthumous series, it started out rather good, with a lot of potential. They both had interesting concepts, good characters and could have gone somewhere. Yet, as happened with EFC, the seasons got progressively worse until finally ending up as a joke, the likes of which you might expect to come from the SciFi Channel in the post-2003 era.
Andromeda's best seasons were 1 and 2. The plots surrounded the overall concept which was an idealistic captain from an idyllic fallen civilization seeking to restore an order to the fractured systems across 3 galaxies. It was evocative of Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire as the Dark Ages set in.
In season 3, the series lost its aim. There were still interesting plots but the overall aim of a lone captain in a powerful ship on a lone quest to restore the Commonwealth had been lost. While not as good as seasons 1 & 2 by any means, season 3 is still watchable.
It's at the end of season 3 when the series took a notable nose dive. Season 3 ended with a cliffhanger which made you think everything had changed; yet when season 4 began it was clear the only thing which had changed was that everything became less logical and the writing noticeably worse. I have to wonder if there was a major change in management and writing talent at this point. In season 4 things foundered and it was not the Andromeda of before.
Season 5 became a joke. The end of season 4 obviously set up a "reset" for the entire series but instead it appears in season 5 they ignored this set-up and created a scenario hardly worthy of Andromeda. Instead of roaming 3 galaxies trying to establish a grand civilization, the crew, which inexplicably survived clearly being killed, is now trapped by an absurd force in a single solar system plagued with ailments while Andromeda sits crippled. Season 4 was a disappointment but season 5 was so far removed from the original series that it only served as the butt of jokes from former fans.
All in all, Andromeda serves as an example that you should know when to end your show before it becomes pitiful. I average it out as a 5/10 because the last 2 seasons bring down the total score considerably. I would rank the seasons as follows:
Season 1: 8/10 Season 2: 7/10 Season 3: 6/10 Season 4: 4/10 Season 5: 2/10
After series finale I have been left with completely mixed emotions and
had to wait for a very long time to come to a complete summary of the
series. What started as one of the best Sci-Fi series, having enormous
potential ended as a trash series with nothing left of the grandeur it
The idea itself is intriguing and uncovers vast possibilities of exploring the personal and interpersonal nuances of feelings, relationships etc. And in the first season as well as in the first half of second season the signs were set to "GO". However, after Robert Hewitt Wolfe left the show and Bob Engels took over the show almost immediately began to drift into crappy action Sci-Fi. Each episode had to show at least 20 dead enemies, had at least 5 fighting scenes, 10 big explosions and so on. The once almost invincible ship became more vulnerable than MS Windows and she "went down" at least once per episode.
Character development went not further but backwards, the writers forgot what has already been seen and said, denied some aspects which were already stated clearly.
Bottom line: if it would be possible, I'd rate seasons as follows:
1. season 10
2. season 8
3. season 6
4. season 4
5. season 0
However, overall note is 5.
This could have been such a great show.... :-(
How the mighty have fallen.
This series began as very innovative in some regards with interesting characters. Some stories were downright interesting. Many were even INTELLIGENTLY written in some regards (a compliment one can only offer very few TV series today). Also, there was a theme and a purpose.
The intrigue and purpose seemed to peak around the end of the first season. Season 2 continued to be interesting. Only the Great Maker knows what happened in Season 3!
While a few interesting individual episodes still managed to sneak in to Season 3, this season was a marked decline. They had lost the original purpose from Season 1 and the redoubled anxiety we saw in Season 2. Now, in Season 3, they seemed aimless and downright pointless in many ways. The role of the Andromeda in the new Commonwealth was absurd and not completely clear. Most importantly the goals of the first 2 seasons seemed utterly ignored. They weren't even engaging in missions to build and strengthen the new Commonwealth as you might expect; instead they were puppets, albeit rebellious puppets, of naive political powers.
The only element which remained somewhat intact in Season 3 were the characters. Yet even then, one could not see them in their new roles. Would Dylan not say "hell with this, we have things to do"?
The end of Season 3 was such that it looks like it might mark the end of any worthiness to the show we once knew as Andromeda. One got the feeling the writers didn't like the show they'd created so they just pointlessly smashed it all. They had a monumental event handled in such a poor and pointless why that it left the viewer saying "why did they do THAT"? It seemed like a cheap and senseless way of saying "OK, we producers have changed our minds so we came up with the quickest, most pointless way to change almost everything without having to waste more than an episode doing it". We're not talking about a sudden and shocking plot twist like you might see in the best of shows. There was no sense of PURPOSE to this one. No promise of a PAYOFF for having changed the rules. No - rather it smelled of taking an eraser to the script and aimlessly wiping out huge elements.
While I can recommend the first two seasons of Andromeda to most SciFi fans because they appealed to many people on many different levels, I cannot recommend Season 3 or beyond to anyone who appreciates intelligent or well done writing. This series is no longer what it once was.
If the producers are merciful they will put Andromeda out to pasture before it becomes primarily an object of ridicule and the punch line to many jokes.
The Over-all Plot of Andromeda is based on Gene-Roddenberry's Genesis II. In Both, Dylan Hunt is somehow brought into the future. In the future he finds that the world (galaxy) has turned barbaric. He, with a little help from his friends, try to restore order against the barbaric powers. Many similarities between Genesis II and its retooled, more futuristic update exist but either way both were and are still good watching
In my opinion there haven't been many good sci-fi shows in the 90's/early
21st century. There are exceptions such as Stargate SG-1 and the awesome
Babylon 5 but overall, I think the sci-fi shows have been poor. So it's
refreshing to watch an action packed show like Andromeda.
When I watched the pilot episode of Andromeda I got the same feeling as when I watched Babylon 5. I knew that I was in for an awesome ride.
Kevin Sorbo makes a good Captain and he is supported by a brilliant cast. The good thing about this crew is that they are all different and possibly have their own agendas. The stories have been very good indeed.
Lets hope this runs as long as Babylon 5.
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