Tuesday, 3 February 2015

More SF TV - Andromeda

Time to continue James' education in classic (and maybe not so classic) TV - this time it's Gene Rodenberry's Andromeda, which the UK satellite channel Pick (or as it used to be known, Sky 3) is doing a rerun (of at least series 1) of at present.

It starts, in my mind, superbly - it's apparently an attempt by the series' showrunner (Robert Hewitt Wolfe) to develop a show based on a TV pilot of Roddenberry's called 'Genesis II' (with whom it shares the main protagonists name and a lot of plot elements, even if the setting moves from a post-apocalyptic Earth for Genesis II to space for Andromeda). The first season has some decent hard science, a stunning and very different theme tune with many layers of electric guitar by Rush's Alex Lifeson, and the potential to be brilliant. The dialogue includes some snark that Joss Wheedon would be proud of, and for once it's a Rodenberry show with a male lead who's actually a bit of a dick on occasions.

During season 2, sadly, Wolfe got into a disagreement with the studio, who, predictably, wanted "more aliens, more space battles, and less internal conflict" and evidently less decent plot. Oh, and let's replace the brilliantly different theme music with... oo, I know. There's a stack of library music - how about 'Generic Orchestral Sci-fi Theme One'...?

I'm not in the least bitter about the theme music. Not a bit. At all.

"I'm a warship, and I don't like running
away from a fight."
Wolfe quit. Things went, to the mind of people with brains and taste, sadly downhill, and Season 5 was just downright weird.

But there is some brilliant stuff in season one - my favourite character is still Lexa Doig as the three representations of the ship's AI - the on-screen face, the hologram and the gynoid, Rommie - who in some cases end up arguing with each other. It'd be all too easy (translation, from season 3 on) for Rommie just to be a kick-ass brunette in tight leather, but there's a lot of stuff early on that actually explores what a warship's AI with the capability for human emotions would be capable of...

It started out well. It could have been so much better.


4 comments:

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with your summation of this series that had so much promise, but then failed to deliver on it. Kevin Sorbo is also to blame too, because he had a hand in the decisions made in the changes to the series.

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  2. I quite enjoyed the early days of this as well and thought the setting had a lot of depth and interest. I particular, the factions and politics of the post Commonwealth universe were excellent.

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  3. Yeah. First season was quite fun if a bit generic at times; after that it just fell apart for me and I didn't even watch as far as season 3.

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  4. I was thinking I hadn't seen Andromeda for ages and thought with all the re-runs it was odd that it hadn't been 're-run' and there it popped out on the telly. Worth a watch again even if it is a bit 'Rodenberry' at times.

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