Kevin Sorbo as Captain Dylan Hunt
Lisa Ryder as Beka Valentine
Gordon Michael Woolvett as Seamus Harper
Keith Hamilton Cobb as Tyr Anasazi (seasons 1-4)
Laura Bertram as Trance Gemini
Lexa Doig as Andromeda “Rommie” Ascendant
Brent Stait as Rev Bem
Steve Bacic as Telemachus Rhade (after season 3)
Randy Ledford as Doyle (last season)
How often do you hear someone complain that “there’s nothing but crap on TV?” This complaint often stipulates that TV was much better in the past. Whatever you say.
I am about to turn thirty-two and I have already come to realize that every generation thinks of itself as the best. Take the millennials who consider the 2000s to be the golden age of television. I know why this is. They remember The Sopranos, Smallville, some of the best Law and Order seasons, The Shield, Mad Men’s early days, and the Family Guy relaunch. Why? Because you want to remember these things. What you don’t want to remember is stuff like too many bad reality shows to choose from, Fastlane, Star Trek: Enterprise, Blade: The Series, and Too Late with Adam Corrola. Actually, wasn’t this the precise era in which Matt Groening began to run out of ideas to use in The Simpsons but kept it going for more seasons anyway? That is ironic because in any rant about how remarkably bad today’s TV is, the decade-long argument that The Simpsons must be retired comes up without fail.
One of that era’s worst shows was Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda. Oddly, Gene was not on this show’s crew, although his wife did produce it. In fact, the father of Star Trek had been dead for ages. Turns out that Andromeda was loosely inspired from little-used concepts and notes Gene had used in the 1960s and 1970s. That is grasping for a reason to leech onto the credibility of others, but at least it’s not like how the similarly atrocious Neighbors From Hell was advertised as “from the studio that brought you Family Guy.”
Although “Hercules in space” would turn out to be a prophetic jibe, the first season wasn’t too bad. There were serious problems, particularly where the low budget was concerned, but it actually had a decent concept. The idea is that Captain Dylan Hunt had been suspended in time by a black hole and been found and saved by the crew of a salvage ship three centuries later. He discovers that The Systems Commonwealth, of which we are members, is a society in decline. Many member worlds even want to leave. So Dylan makes a crew out of the people who discovered him. Their mission is to restore the seemingly hopeless Commonwealth to its former glory.
Unfortunately, the second season begins this series’ steady slide into the status of dumber than dumb action show. So much so that The Commonwealth’s unpopularity is reversed at the drop of the hat for no apparent reason other than to move on to harmless fun. The first ten to fifteen minutes of the average episode is dominated by cringingly awful dialogue. I’m talking Batman and Robin bad dialogue here. After that we view unconvincing shootouts and/or badly choreographed hand-to-hand combat. The firefights are especially laughable, as the good guys always hit their targets and the bad guys can’t hit a barn. These episodes tend to end with a nauseatingly sentimental moral statement by Dylan resembling those of 1980s action cartoons. In the episode Dance of the Mayflies, for instance, he says, “Love doesn’t die. It’s the only thing that lasts forever.”
It doesn’t help that the acting is simply atrocious. It’s a largely novice cast and does it show! Gordon Michael Woolvett (Harper), in particular, speaks more like a teenager than the inexperienced engineer he’s supposed to be. Even Kevin Sorbo, who I actually liked in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, seems to be sleepwalking through his lines.
Speaking of Sorbo, he seems to have had a lot of stroke and played a key role in the show’s change in direction. This change seems to have happened in the immediate wake of head writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe leaving the show. Sorbo’s explanation: “Robert is a genius, but was developing stories that were too complicated and too clever for the rest of us to understand.” Aw, Christ!
Some suspect that Sorbo was simply thinking that 9/11 required a more cartoonish kind of show. Never mind that the crime and courtroom dramas continued to succeed after that tragic incident. Or maybe Sorbo’s always been a John Wayne holdover? Either way, Sorbo’s ego hurt Andromeda much like William Shatner’s ego once ruined Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
Amazingly, the show continued to get worse and worse and worse. Among the lowlights was Tyr betraying our heroes so Keith Hamilton Cobb can be one of worst-performed villains I have ever seen.
I was talking about how 2000s TV is falsely glorified. You know that protest that good shows get their plugs pulled and bad shows last awhile? Well, Andromeda lasted five f*cking seasons. Part of the reason why was that the vague connection to Roddenberry got it a two-year commitment right out of the box. And Sorbo’s name recognition kept it around some time longer. But really, I can’t believe I’m even rationalizing this. Do you realize that five seasons is just one less than The Sopranos?
So if you think that TV in the era of Game of Thrones is worse than it was ten years ago, remember that for every classic there was an Andromeda.
Overall: 2 out of 10