From: sara adler [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2000 9:59 PM
Want to read a good piece about how Andromeda came together? Frank
Garcia has the very thing over at fandom.com. Now that the show has
been on for 6 weeks or so, the feeling is that it's getting better
and the cast are feeling more natural in their roles. Having started
watching the show from the beginning, I must agree.
****I must say that I agree. I have been watching since the beginning and was extremely wary of how the show
would progress. I originally felt that it was an attempt at a cross between Star Trek, Star Wars, and B5. It
is slowly growing on me. I can't remember this particular character's name, but the purple lady with the tail.
It's funny, I like her because she is innocent and naive, but at the same time I find her rather annoying at
times for that exact quality. Go figure.
In a number of the reviews I've read, fans have pointed to several critical elements of the series – one being
Kevin Sorbo's inability to "move" them. If memory serves me, there were intially two series proposed -- one
with Sorbo; the other with Bruce Boxleitner. Unfortunately, the second series never made it through the final
stage. I can't help but think that perhaps, Bruce might have made a more convincing Dylan Hunt. Time will tell.
***Here again, I agree. I feel that Kevin Sorbo is going at this character as if Hunt is another Hercules, and
I'm not sure that is a good thing. It keeps him from coming across as an effective leader. I would have liked
to have seen Bruce Boxleitner in this role instead. I too think he would have been more convincing. He would
have given the character a slightly rougher edge which would have made the character a little more interesting
and believable to watch. Perhaps then the show would flow more slowly.
Oh well, what's done is done and cannot be changed. Looks like we'll just have to live with what we have.
Subj: Discussion Topic: SF TV season so far
Date: 11/19/2000 10:17:13 PM EST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rick Riebs)
So far, so good. Nothing stunning me senseless, but those things that are
good are as good as ever. Buffy and Angel continue to surprise and
delight. A little too early to call X-Files, but I tend to be very
charitable towards things that I love or have once loved, i.e., it takes
me a long time to let go even when things go downhill. Not that X-Files
has become all that bad, but the concentration on the mythology brought
the last season down a bit, even with experimental delights like "X-COPS."
I've been a fan of Robert Patrick since his wiggins-inducing T-1000
portrayal in "Terminator 2," and thus far he's doing a great job as the
new non-believer. It'll be interesting to see how the new Scully-Doggett
dynamic works out.
As far as the new stuff, I gave Dark Angel a pass after the *desperately*
lackluster pilot. Coming from James Cameron and Charles Eglee (who was a
major part of the late, lamented "Murder One"), I expected SO much more. I
don't get the whole Jessica Alba thing at all. Sure she's cute, but I've
seen shots from her prior feature film "Idle Hands," and she didn't look
as hot there, so I think it's more Max Factor talking in the series than
her actual looks. That and she can't act. I'll admit, I'm making the
potentially fatal error of directly comparing her to Sarah Michelle
Gellar, an Emmy winning actress, but the similarities between the Max and
Buffy characters are too clear to avoid. All said and done, I don't think
I'm missing much.
I'm surprised to hear you're warming to Andromeda, 'cause my interest has
cooled to nil since the premiere. I was kind of surprised by all the
inital negativity I saw in many reviews around the web, but I now pretty
much agree with them. There are just a whole bunch of little things wrong
with it, and they effectively sabotage a really interesting and
potential-filled concept. First off, the role of Dylan Hunt *really*
needs a better actor. I wrote off Kevin Sorbo after barely one episode of
Hercules, but was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in this new
effort. There are some signs of life, but for this role Sorbo's
ill-suited. Hunt needs to exude passion and determination to be an
effective leader period, let alone to lead the rag-tag crew he's
assembled. I can see Sorbo trying hard, but he misses the mark.
Ironically, this is a role for which William Shatner would have been
perfect had he been born thirty years later. Captain Hunt is very much in
the mold of Captain Kirk, so there should be at minimum a Shatner-calibur
actor portraying the role. [This isn't the slight that some may see it to
be. You have to understand that, contrary to popular opinion even amoung
Trekkies, I think Shatner's an *excellent* actor and no one else could
have done Kirk as well has he has.]
I kinda like Rev Bem as well, but he seems like the G'Kar at the end of
B5, depriving us of the wondrous transformation that G'Kar underwent
throughout the run of that series. And the girls are very cute,
especially the lady playing Trance Gemini, despite the odd purple makeup
and tail. This Tyr guy has exactly one-note. He's not nearly as
interesting as Hunt's former XO was and that character had a hell of a lot
less screen time. The makeup is sub-par and oddly grubby-looking. Maybe
that's what they were going for with the alien races, but it doesn't come
close to the B5 or Farscape stuff. The special effects as well are
adequate, but below the state of the art. The ships have a very plastic
feel to them, looking as computer generated as they are instead of more
closely mimicing reality (or at least as they MIGHT really look!).
But above and beyond all this, the writing is where it all falls down.
It's most glaring in the dialogue, but the plots are awfully thin. The
"Miri" knock-off. The "Space Seed" knock-off. I'm sure there've been a
few other Original Star Trek episode re-treads since I stopped watching.
But the true flaw isn't in doing stories that are similar to other shows,
it's not doing them *well*. Farscape is a great example, where they've
started episodes with hoary sci-fi plots and concepts, but then spin it
around well enough that you don't know how the show's gonna end. Now
THERE'S some writing, in some cases by former Next Gen/DS9 writers (Naren
Shankar wrote the gripping ep shown last Thursday, detailing how the
current Pilot arrived on Moya), which just shows to go ya how well
shackled the modern Trek writers are.
A big "for instance" against Andromeda's writing is the sudden incarnation
of the ship's AI. Okay, Lexa Doig is MIGHTY hot (she'd have to be, since
I remembered her name!) and I'm sure she's glad to not be relegated to
performing her part by herself on a green soundstage. But where's the
in-show rationale for it? Just because the crazy, kookie techno-genius
guy could do it? And how the hell DID he do it? Is Andromeda an
android? Is she an engineered human? And where are the facilities on
either Andromeda Ascendant (wow, what a ship name!) or the Whatsitsname
Maru to knock out a replicant? Even then, how is the incarnate Andromeda
controlling the ship? A mental implant? Does the AI still exist in the
ship and just controls the body as yet another ship system? A most
frustrating enigma. And just as a basic plot point, wouldn't it be
*entirely* more interesting for Andromeda and Hunt to become romantically
linked if she DIDN'T have a humaniform body? Talk about the apotheosis of
the Kirk-Enterprise obsession!
Less vexing and almost as glaring is the miraculous revivification of
Trance in the pilot. Have they yet explained how she came back from
apparent death? And for all the tea in China, will they PLEASE write
these characters as if they really exist in the *future*, not as if they
were suddenly and violently extracted from late 20th century America?
Basketball? And the worst of it is, this is an EXCELLENT concept for a
science fiction show!!! THIS is what the next Trek show should be!
*Properly executed*, this show has the potential to be the next B5, but
they're (excuse my French) pissing it away with sloppy storylines, poor
characterization, dubious acting and absolutely APPALING dialogue! Hmm,
passionate much? >B-) Anyhow, that's why I no longer bother with
Andromeda. I've been down this road before, after seven frightfully long
years with Next Gen. Like the man said, fool me twice, shame on me.
Actually, the two brightest points in the SF TV firmament so far are
re-runs. Without the delays inherent in the regular production cycle of a
first-run program, B5 is truly displaying its richness. When I was
watching the shows the first time through, I saw characters and wondered,
"Who is that?" only to later find out that they were already either
mentioned or showed up briefly the season before. Now I see them (like
the guy Ironheart escaped with, who we saw briefly talking to Garibaldi in
"Chrysalis") or hear references to past events (Londo mentioning a
situation involving Minbari honor obliquely to Sheridan in "Where All The
Honor Lies"), and I instantly pick up on it. It's the difference between
reading a serialized novel week to week or month to month, and then
finally sitting down to read it straight through after its completion, and
And as I realized this last week, I've REALLY missed Farscape! An episode
a day for five days was just fantastic. Not that I took it for granted
before, but after being deprived for about a month and a half, I found it
an enourmous relief to see the familar title sequence rolling before my
eyes once more. This is just the best that's out there now in first-run
and I'm pretty hacked that SCI FI still runs that lame-o Invisible Man
show and even gives Lexx fans a weekly fix, but this is the first Farscape
since September!!! [I think. It's been so long, I've lost track!] C'mon
folks! Stuff this good only gets BETTER with repeat viewings, especially
the socko three-parter with Crichton's forced marriage and the Naren
Shankar episode I mentioned before. And now another frelling month and a
half till we get new eps?! Them drenn-heads down there at SCI FI need to
get with the program (Farscape, natch)!
Okay, bored yet? Oh well, doesn't matter if you never got through the
above or didn't bother to read it at all. Sometimes you write just to get
stuff off your chest, regardless of who sees it. But hey, if you did get
all the way down here, first off, congrats! Second, thanks for all you do
with the Zocalo Today and the weekly newsletter. The "Where To See
B5/Crusade Cast Members" section gets a little long and repetitive (and
some of those stations just don't exist in my neck o' the woods), but now
that the Official B5 Fan Club lays in the ruins of Netter Digital's
bankruptcy, what y'all are doing is even more vital than before. Thanks
EVER so much and keep up the high quality work! Take care!
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2000 2:07:01 PM Eastern Standard Time
Just want to add these comments to the genre discussion page:
I had been looking forward to Andromeda and although I had a few problems
with the 2 part pilot, I like Kevin Sorbo's character Dylan Hunt, and most of
the rest of them. I liked Lisa Ryder from her time on "Forever Knight", and
her character is a good strong woman character. Rev Bems looks take a bit of
adjusting to ( he is no G'Kar, and even a Pak Ma Ra is good looking next to
him) but, in the last episode even he proved to be thoughtful, bringing some
interesting thoughts into the show. I'd rather watch this than TNG or DS9 or
Voyager. Tyr is a treat for the eyes, as well. But strong. It is no B5, but
then what will ever be. But it is a servicable Sci-fi show, and has some
That is just a few comments I wanted to add.
In Valen's name,
The New TV Season
Date: 10/26/2000 7:36:29 PM EDT
From: email@example.com (Gary L. Tuck and Mike Tuck)
I hate to say it, but most of the new shows are disappointing to me. Andromeda is okay, but it is annoyingly preachy.
Every week, Sorbo's character is preaching against the action/violence on the show that is what makes it fun in the first
place. The Immortal is a bad rip-off of Highlander. Queen of Swords (while not sci-fi, I'll mention it anyway) is a
rip-off of Zorro. Dark Angel is okay, but at times boring and brooding in it's atmosphere. Cute girl, though! I'm
not sure if I like the changes in Roswell. On one hand, I like the more upfront sci fi storyline, but on the other
hand, they are breaking up the couples on the show, which is NOT appreciated! It seemed to have more "magic" last
season. We'll see how it goes. The changes in "The Lost World" (not really sci fi, but it is fantasy) are not
appreciated by me either. The relationships/couples on the show are non-existent so far this season and they keep
trying to put the characters together sexually/romantically with each week's guest stars. Much of last season's
character development has been ignored, too. Buffy seems about the same to me. I really think it's best seasons
were the first two. Freakylinks is the only one so far that I can say I like. Sometimes the shaky camera can get
irritating, but, so far, it has some of the best spooky stories since The X-Files heyday. I don't watch Voyager or
any of the Star Trek shows, so I can't comment on that. All I can say is: "I miss Babylon 5!!"
This season's new genre series are wildly divergent in quality.
Andromeda is everything Annoyager *should* have been: an unashamed space
opera with fresh characters, knowing writing, excellent performances,
interesting direction and spectacular F/X. The show's characters intrigue me
- especially Trance, for whom resurrection is a new thing, but is entirely
"in character for her". I also like the smart-ass engineer, Harper, and
the redemption-seeking, venom-spitting and philosophy-spouting Rev Bem. Not
that I don't like Beka, Tyr or Andromeda herself (both the vessel and it's
hologrammatic representation) - Beka seems a very competent captain in her
own right, Tyr strikes me as a more sensible take on Trek's Khan and his ilk,
and Andromeda is a terrific personality for a starship. As for Dylan Hunt,
he seems like the kind of captain that would be at the pinnacle of Starfleet
success, but without the pretension. If succeeding eps are even 75% as
effective as the two-part pilot, Andromeda will be the best new genre shop
FreakyLinks - still cliched as all heck. The second ep (the Exorcist riff)
was mildly amusing but not very scary. Last night's subterranean race was
hardly better. Still, it manages one or two genuine goosebump moments each
week, so it might have potential - I just won't be there to see it realized.
Dark Angel is slowly improving, but also remains something of a cliche-fest.
The difference her, is that the characters are actually showing signs of
growth. A plus is that Max is still working from a base of enlightened
self-interest - she's still fairly mercenary without becoming either a bitch
or a "thief with a heart of gold". When something has touched her, it has
been because of events in her life that she can relate to. As a result, even
when she's emotional involved, there is an undercurrent of vengeance to give
her an extra edge. Still, I can't see the show making it to a second season
without much better writing.
I enjoying The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne as much as Andromeda. It
works from the premise that Verne's writing came from his being able to see
the future and his books and drawings simply translate what he saw into a
Victorian sensibility. The show doesn't just stay with SF, though, it also
plays with (like a cat plays with) horror and fantasy. And Michel
courtemanche, a noted Quebecois silent comic (NOT a mime - trust me), is a
revelation as Passpartoute.
Queen of Swords - after two eps, this Lady Zorro riff is likable but not
terribly original. Outside of Andromeda and Jack of All Trades, though, it's
the only real swashbuckling on the tube today.
As for the returning shows:
Buffy/Angel: Whedon weirdness continues apace. Still among the smartest and
most entertaining shows on TV. The Dawn (Buffy) and Darla (Angel) arcs are
Voyager - haven't watched it since the middle of last season. It just isn't
very good on a consistent basis.
Jack of All Trades - it's a shame that this Zorro/Wild, Wild West hybrid got
cancelled eight eps into its second season - it's a lovely home for Bruce
Campbell's warped style.
Cleopatra 2525 - still a guilty pleasure that I watch solely for Gina Torres
and Victoria Pratt (who was wonderful in John Woo's It Takes A Thief). At
least Jennifer Sky hasn't been screaming as much this season. On the whole,
though, C2525 seems like an attempt at a live-action Tex Avery cartoon by
someone who's never seen one but rather, only had them described to him.
Roswell - the second-season focus on the show's SF aspects have been
undermined by poor research (carbon-dating being accurate under 300 years?
Just not so...) and less human-alien interaction. Though the show is still
plot-smart, it is in danger of losing most of its first season fans because
of the lack of screentime for the favoured relationships.
It's not better than its critically-acclaimed first season, it's just
I Was A 6th Grade Alien - One of the rare kids' shows that combines slapstick
with sophistication. The balance is leaning more to slapstick this season,
but there is still a *very* smart undercurrent that keeps it worth viewing by
So Weird - This "X-Files for kids" outspooked Chris Carter's show several
times last season (on probably a tenth of the budget), but has replaced the
main character, Fiona, for someone named Annie. The show is till weird, but
the actor who plays Annie isn't nearly as charismatic as the lass who
portrayed Fi. Still, it continues to be smart and strange.
I should include the return of the genre's most exasperating show, Earth Final Conflict -
which runs two or three great eps and follows them with two or three awful ones. The first
couple, this season, have been very good - even if they've taken Augur out of the mix (I
expect that this will hurt in the long run because his replacement, although
a lovely and capable lass, just doesn't have Augur's charisma and attitude).
Plus, they now have *THREE* script editors, which suggests a case of "two
many chefs soiling the broth". We can but wait and see.
The Superhero Who Gets Carried Away (So He'll Stop Now...)
So what do you think of the new shows so far? Did Andromeda do
anything for you? Did you enjoy the pilot movie for Dark Angel? What
about Freaky Links or any of the other new series on TV?
Date: 10/11/2000 1:45:39 AM EDT
Watched ''Gene Rodenberry's Adromeda.'' First, the name tells me that someone
dug up an idea Rodenberry had and made a TV show out of it. Like what has
been done with Jack Kirby ideas. This doesn't always bode well for series
The beginning of ''Andromeda'' was dramatic enough, although the
time-dilation scenes could be mistaken for slo-mo effects done for dramatic
flair, not just black-hole phenomenon.
The in-joke of a salvager running into the Kevin Sorbo's character brought a
grin: ''He's like a Greek god or something!''
Otherwise, the thought crossed my mind that it must be hard to come up with
new and original costumes and looks for aliens. There's a dog-man on the
show, complete with wet nose. And another alien on the salvage ship, too.
These two aliens could be Zathras from ''B5'' and D'Argo from ''Farscape,''
shows that do better what ''Andromeda'' comes in third place for trying.
And just how many shows can be done like ''Voyager''? How come everybody
always has to get lost with no hope of coming home? At least ''Farscape''
pulls that off with a crew resigned to where they are and good character and
I didn't really expect a lot from ''Andromeda'' to begin with. It's
entertaining, but the producers have got to see that the aliens get better
Captain Average dutifully responds:
I'm reacting ambiguously to Dark Angel and FreakyLinks, but am enthused by
Dark Angel: The gengineered human is rapidly becoming a cliche. In the
case of Dark Angel, much of Max's character is lifted from the Kurt Russell
movie, Soldier (right down to the barcode!). The pirate cyber-caster is
also becoming overused, although more in novels and short stories than on
OTOH, the Dark Angel pilot was slickly done, with terrific production
values. Plus, at the end, Max hasn't miraculously turned into the standard, ho-hum
thief with a heart of gold. She has done Good Things because Bad Things
have happened to someone she considered a friend. Revenge, not
good-heartedness, has been her primary motivation (although the plight of
the would-be witness and her daughter may have added to Max's motivation, it
was *not* her primary focus).
If the show's creative team can refrain from the temptation to turn Max
into the thief-with-a-heart-of-gold, this show might work. If not, it will
simply becoming too boring to live.
FreakyLinks: The pilot had lots of cliches (or at least stuff I've seen
an occult/supernatural website (So Weird); a weird little girl (Don't Look
Now); a shapeshifter (most recently, Roswell - also DS9); the entire
Roanoke sequence (very Blair Witch retread); the strange writing on the
walls, floors and ceilings (most recently, last season on Earth Final
Conflict); the twin connection, and the dead twin (The Pretender); he
search for truth about a lost loved one (So Weird); the spooky Rescue Guy
(1st season Buffy) - and so forth...
Again, the pilot was slickly done and did generate a couple of
goosebumps moments - but with the show's creators gone (axed or left because
FOX got the show they asked for, but now want to make it lighter, fluffier,
funnier) I can't see any potential it might have had being fulfilled any
Andromeda: a pure space opera with no delusions. Gene Roddenberry's
beliefs (as expounded in the original Trek) may be the underlying heart of
the show, but this is *not* Star Trek. It *is* a well-paced, fun ride.
There is a noble, yet very human hero; treachery & sabotage; a galaxy
completely undone & waiting to be re-built; and the ever-popular much, much
The writing in Under The Night is knowing and sly, as well as
melodramatic (in the best space operatic sense). The wink at Kevin Sorbo's
previous series is a moment of pure joy, and the rest of the ep maintains
the same level of wit and intelligence. And the F/X? Beautiful and
creative- the ship looks great, and the combination laser/staff/lightsaber
thingy looks like fun. If the creative team can maintain (or improve upon)
this high level of excellence, Andromeda should be one of the two best new
genre shows of the season.
I might also (highly) recommend a darkly whimsical little series called
The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne. It's the other new genre show I like