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Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Season 1 Collection
The First Season
Andromeda starred Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journey's) in a science fiction series created by Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) with a variety of executive producers Robert Hewitt Wolfe (The 4400, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Majel Rodenberry (Earth: Final Conflict), Allan Eastman (Star Trek: Voyager), Robert Engels (seaQuest DSV), Jay Firestone (Mutant X, La Femme Nikita), and Adam Haight (Mutant X, Highlander: The Raven). With its diverse crew of producers with extensive experience in science fiction and drama productions, Andromeda put in five solid seasons from 2000 to 2005 and totaled one-hundred and ten episodes.
The back story to Andromeda is about the adventures of the crew the Andromeda and their efforts to rebuild a massive civilization that spanned the universe. Thousands of years ago a technologically advanced species called the Vedrans in the Andromeda galaxy developed a method of near-instantaneous travel between star systems. The technology was called the slipstream. After the development of the slipstream, the alien race began to form a united federation of planets (similar to Star Trek) with a different cultures and races across six galaxies. This new massive government was called the Systems Commonwealth, or simply the Commonwealth.
After signing a treaty with one of its most feared enemies the Magog, a race known as the Nietzscheans, genetically engineered humans who believe in survival of the fittest, opposed the Commonwealth and plunged the massive federation of races into a civil war that resulted in the downfall of the Commonwealth. For three hundred years, the universe went into "The Long Night", a period of darkness with no peace and anarchy. But despite the dissolution of the Commonwealth, one of its most dedicated military officers Dylan Hunt (Kevin Sorvo) survived for three hundred years frozen in time. He returns to rebuild the Commonwealth.
For more details about the series, refer my reviews of Andromeda: Season 1 Collection, Andromeda: Season 2 Collection, Andromeda: Season 3 Collection, Andromeda: Season 4 Collection, Andromeda: Season 5 Collection, and Andromeda: The Slipstream Collection
The first season begins with a two-part story "Under the Night" and "An Affirming Flame" about the formation of Dylan and his new crew. Gerentex, a nightsider, hires the crew of the Eureka Maru: Beka, Harper, Trance, and Rev. Gerentex wants them to do a salvage operation and find the fabled Andromeda Ascendant. The ship is worth a lot of money. After a long effort by the crew, they find the Andromeda and tow it from the black hole singularity.
When Beka, Harper, Trace, and Rev board the ship, they find Dylan on board. Gerentex sends a secret assault team, led by Tyr, to kill Dylan. Suddenly, the mission changes and Beka's crew have a change of heart. They want to leave the ship to Dylan, because it is his ship after all. Gerentex does not react happy to the news and he only leaves the ship when it is sucked back into the singularity. Of course, he leaves Beka's crew and the assault team to perish. Dylan inspires the crew to work together to get out of the situation. He saves them, and later reveals to them his desire to rebuild the Commonwealth. Reluctantly, everyone joins him. Not because they believe in his cause, but because it is better than smuggling.
The two-part story is a pretty exciting introduction to the series. Some of the characters' performances are a bit over-the-top and their ability to instantaneously adapt to using the Andromeda's advanced computer systems and having security codes to launch the massive nova bombs (think nukes in space) is little on the unreasonable side. But, if you do not take the show too seriously, the introductory two-part story is quite fun. Another part I enjoyed about it was the mysterious hints about Trance. She was shot and killed, but miraculously recovered without any medical attention. While she seems like an innocent character with a small part, the writers have some big plans for her as the series progresses.
However, despite the promising two-part series premiere episode, the remaining season one episodes are a mixed bag. For instance, in the immediately following episode "To Loose the Fateful Lighting", I had to force myself to stay awake. The Andromeda finds a High Guard space station. When Dylan, Beka, and Harper board the station, they find a ragtag band of kids in charge. The kids are decedents of the station's original High Guard and they have been taught to kill all enemies of the Commonwealth. They have lots of nova bombs and the radiation from the bombs has student their growth and made them sick. The kids have been waiting for the day to unleash holy warriors (kamikaze pilots with nova bombs) on their enemies, which they call the Day of Lighting. They believe Dylan's arrival is a sign of that day. Dylan has to teach them right from wrong. The story is pretty hokey. The notable portion of this episode is the introduction of the computer AI Andromeda into the humanoid android form Rommie.
Basically, what it comes down to is episodic storylines versus story arcs. When the episodes focus on episodic storylines, they are not as enthralling or exciting as the season's story arcs. There are some exceptions like "Star-Crossed", where Michael Shanks guest stars as Rommie's robot lover, and "The Mathematics of Tears", where the Andromeda finds its sister ship the Pax Magellanic. Episodes like those tend to be enjoyable. However, what really grabs your attention is the season story arc that can be found throughout the episodes. It is about Dylan trying to restore the Commonwealth. This storyline ties into some bigger, grander plot happening with the Andromeda crew tends to be a lot better than the standalone episodes. There are episodes that tie in a super duper bad guy called the Abyss. In "Harper 2.0", the Abyss sends an assassin into the known world to erase its existence. In the season finale "It's Hour Come 'Round at Last", the crew run into a huge ship filled with millions of Magogs. It becomes a very interesting story.
There are also some interesting stories with detailed background into the characters like "Angel Dark, Demon Bright", where the Andromeda accidentally travels back in time to a major turning point in the battle against the Commonwealth and Nietzscheans. Dylan is in a position to change the future forever, but decides against toying with fate. Then there is "The Banks of the Lethe", which puts Dylan back his fiance Sara (Sam Jenkins). Episodes like theses offer insight to the characters, their backgrounds and personalities, and the relationships they have with each other. These developments become a fairly intriguing part of season one (at least more so than some of the episodic storylines). For instance, Tyr is a Nietzschean and cares more about his wellbeing than those he serves with. In several instances, his loyalty and duty to the crew is questionable. Like in the episode "Double Helix".
Overall, the first season of Andromeda offers viewers a decent science-fiction series filled with action, some corny dialogue, over-the-top performances, decent stories, and a cast of likeable characters. While I did not fall in head over heels with the show, I still enjoyed it enough that I think it is worth sitting down. The story arc introduces in the season finale gets pretty exciting.
1. Under the Night: Captain Dylan Hunt and his ship the Andromeda Ascendant are rescued by the Eureka Maru, an opportunistic salvage ship, after being trapped in the event horizon of a black hole for 300 years.
2. An Affirming Flame: Dylan and the crew of the Eureka Maru agree to join forces and become one team aboard the Andromeda Ascendant as they set forth on his mission to restore the Systems Commonwealth.
3. To Loose the Fateful Lightning: Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) inadvertently gives a group of child warriors power to destroy a solar system.
4. D Minus Zero: Beka (Lisa Ryder) and Tyr (Keith Hamilton Cobb) square off against Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) for leadership of Andromeda during a dangerous face-off with an unknown enemy.
5. Double Helix: Captain Dylan Hunt (Kevin Sorbo) must save the Andromeda from the Nietzcheans, who are trying to persuade Tyr (Keith Hamilton Cobb) to help them destroy the ship and rebuild his Nietzchean life. His new life would include a wife to carry on his lineage.
6. Angel Dark, Demon Bright: Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) is faced with a difficult decision when Andromeda slipstreams back in time -- days before the climactic battle of the Nietzschean Revolution where the Commonwealth was defeated and the Nietzschean Alliance was destroyed.
7. The Ties That Blind: Beka's (Lisa Ryder) con-artist brother unexpectedly shows up claiming to be a devout Wayist making the Andromeda a prime target for Restorian attack.
8. The Banks of the Lethe: Finally, after 300 years and a black hole keeping them apart, Captain Dylan Hunt (Kevin Sorbo) reunites with his true love, Sara (Sam Sorbo).
9. A Rose in the Ashes: With their communication with the crew of the Eureka Maru completely cut off, Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) and Rommie (Lexa Doig) are forced into exile on a prison planet and must befriend fellow inmates to attempt any escape.
10. All Great Neptune's Ocean: Tyr (Keith Hamilton Cobb) and Rommie (Lexa Doig) are framed for the assassination of the Castalian president (Allan Morgan).
11. The Pearls That Were His Eyes: Beka Valentine (Lisa Ryder) receives a distress call from her beloved Uncle Sid (John de Lancie), but to her disdain realizes that he has become Sam Profit, a big business tycoon.
12. The Mathematics of Tears: Andromeda (Lexa Doig) encounters her damaged sister ship, the Pax Magellanic, that leads the crew of the Andromeda Ascendant on an eerie mission.
13. Music of a Distant Drum: A crash landing on a strange planet leaves Tyr (Keith Hamilton Cobb) with a complete loss of memory and a mystery crate to protect from not-so-brotherly Nietzcheans.
14. Harper 2.0: Harper (Gordon Michael Woolvett) finds himself overloaded with information when a dying Perseid (Mike Desabrais) transfers data into his brain.
15. Forced Perspective: Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) is taken captive and forced to admit that he killed the Mobius leader and overthrew the Mobius government more than 300 years ago.
16. The Sum Of Its Parts: A humanoid robot (Matt Smith) visits the Andromeda crew, helps them fight off a culture of organized machines and learns what it means to be a living being.
17. Fear and Loathing in the Milky Way: Trance (Lauger ra Bertram), Harper (Gordon Michael Woolvett) and their former employer Gerentex (John Tench) are unwilling partners on a wild ride to find a valuable artifact.
18. The Devil Take the Hindmost: Rev Bem (Brent Stait) gets a call from a Wayist friend (Mark Holden) in need of his help to save the Hajira and its settlement, Serendipity, from being taken over by slavers.
19. The Honey Offering: An arranged marriage between two rival Nietzschean Prides puts the Andromeda Ascendant in danwhen Captain Dylan Hunt (Kevin Sorbo) agrees to transport the bride (Kimberly Huie) to the wedding.
20. Star-Crossed: Rommie (Lexa Doig) falls in love with a surviving android (Michael Shanks) of a destroyed ship, only to be betrayed as he turns out to be the ultimate enemy.
21. It Makes A Lovely Light: Beka (Lisa Ryder) jeopardizes the crew when she takes a mind-altering drug while attempting an exhaustive piloting mission that could bring Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) to his long-lost home planet.
22. Its Hour Come Round At Last: Andromeda's (Lexa Doig) memory of her current crew is wiped out when an old core personality is accidentally re-installed.
The video in this release is given in an anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color format. The picture quality is quite good. It suffers from a slight grain, but detail remains to be sharp and clear. The grain is most noticeable during the darker scenes. In addition, there is noticeable ghosting/aliasing during high-motion action sequences. The series incorporates a lot of visual effects with computer graphics and green screen, which sometimes look real, but most of the time feel slightly out of place.
The audio track in this release is in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. In general, the sound quality is very good and it provides an audible and clean track. The dialogue is usually a little flat while music and sound effects come fairly off rich and vibrant. The stereo capability is put to the limit with lots of scenes taking advantage of the left and right channels.
There are no subtitles included, but there is support for closed captioning.
Each disc is packed with extras from readable text information (cast & crew biographies, information about the series) to image galleries to audio commentaries to behind the scenes featurettes to interview featurettes to bloopers. Each disc also contains other extras like TV spots, TV teasers, and trailers for other ADV Films releases. Note: the TV spots/teasers and trailers are not listed in the disc-by-disc extras breakdown.
Commentary is an audio commentary for the episode "Under the Night" with Kevin Sorbo and Allan Eastman. Character Profile: Dylan Hunt is readable text information about Kevin Sorbo, the character Dylan Hunt, Hunt's costume, and a live interview. Alternate Takes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "An Affirming Flame, Scene 15", this alternative version features a different alien than the one used in the broadcast, "To Loose The Fateful Lightning, Scene 6", Dylan passes out force lances to the crew, "To Loose The Fateful Lightning, Scene 75", a short scene featuring Rev and Trance in a reflective moment. Image Gallery: Creation of the Andromeda is an image gallery with concept artwork: "Andromeda Bridge Concept", "Pilot's Chair Concept", "Service Conduit Elevations", "Elevations Int. Andromeda", and "Wide Set drawing". Some offer full size and close up views. All Systems University 101: Fighting Ships of the High Guard is readable text information about the fighting ships of the High Guard: "Fleet Organization", "Weapon Systems and Platforms", "Sensor Systems", and "Andromeda Ascendant Specifications". Glossary of the High Guard A-D is readable text information with definitions of key terms from A to D.
Behind the Scenes: The Andromeda Idea is a three minute featurette with cast and crew talking about the series' premise. Character Profile: Andromeda is readable text information about Lexa Doig, the character Andromeda/Rommie, Andromeda's costume, and a live interview. Alternate Takes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "D Minus Zero, Scene 75", alternative version of the basketball game between Dylan and Tyr, "Double Helix, Scenes 41-42", Dylan and Rev talk about trusting Tyr, then Seamus and Andromeda talk about trusting Dylan, "Double Helix, Scene 65", Tyr and fellow Nietzschean Guderian discuss betrayal and revenge. Bloopers is two and a half minutes of goofs and outtakes. Timeline of the Commonwealth: The Imperial Era is readable text information about the Commonwealth's history from 112 BIE to 2937 CY. Prop & Set Concepts is an image gallery of concept artwork: "F-Lance Extensions", "Eureka Maru Concept", "Eureka Maru Bridge", "Dylan's God Board", "Olma's viewing monitor", and " Tyr & Freya's Arm Bracelet". Production Biography: Robert Hewitt Wolfe is readable text information about Wolfe.
Commentary is an audio commentary for the episode "Banks of the Lethe" with Kevin Sorbo and Allan Eastman. Character Profile: Beka Valentine is readable text information about Lisa Ryder, the character Beka Valentine, Valentine's costume, and a live interview. Alternate Takes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "Angel Dark, Demon Bright, Scene 28", Rommie curses at an alien, "Angel Dark, Demon Bright, Scene 64", Harper brings Rommie flowers and apologizes, "Banks of the Lethe, Scene 2 (partial)", Tyr and Harper interact with the Perseids, "Banks of the Lethe, Scene 9 (partial)", Harper explains to Beka how the teleporter works, "Banks of the Lethe, Scene 22B", Harper works on the time machine and he talks to Rommie about sending Dylan back in time, "Banks of the Lethe, Scene 40-42", Tyr and Dylan have a one-on-one chat, Harper and Beka talk about sending a watermelon back in time, and Rommie tries to put Dylan's actions into perspective, "Banks of the Lethe, Scene 51", Beka and Tyr have a discussion at gunpoint, and "Banks of the Lethe, Scene 65A", the Perseids try to talk to Dylan. Image Gallery: The Eureka Maru is an image gallery with concept artwork of the Eureka Maru (inside and out). All Systems University 101: Commonwealth Transportation is readable text information about transportation ships: "Cargo", "Couriers", "Governmental Craft", "Military and Combat-Capable Craft", "Passenger Service", and "Private Craft". Glossary of the High Guard E-J is readable text information with definitions of key terms from E to J.
Behind the Scenes: E! Celebrity Profile: Kevin Sorbo gives a tour of the Andromeda set. It runs for a little over eleven minutes. Alternate Takes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "All Great Neptune's Ocean, Scene 24", Dylan receives Rommie's alert that a Castalian fleet is headed for the Andromeda, and "All Great Neptune's Ocean, Scene 29", Andromeda's crew prepares for the approaching Castalian fleet, who believe Tyr has assassinated their president. Bloopers is two and a half minutes of goofs and outtakes. Timeline of the Commonwealth: The Imperial Era is readable text information about the Commonwealth's history from 4150 CY to 4352 CY. Prop & Set Concepts is an image gallery with concept artwork: "Dyaln's Cuff","Wayist Monastery Asteroid - Beka's Arrival", "Sword For Wall Decoration", and "Kibbles & Bits Dispenser". Production Biography: Allan Eastman is readable text information about Eastman.
Character Profile: Tyr Anasazi is readable text information about Keith Hamilton Cobb, the character Tyr Anasazi, Tyr's costume, and a live interview. Alternate Takes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "The Mathematics of Tears, Scene 21", Dylan and Beka discuss Dylan's plan to have dinner with Lieutenant Pearce of the Pax Magellanic. Image Gallery: Cast Shots is an image gallery with pictures of the cast posing. All Systems University 101: Life Forms is readable text information about races in the show: "Artificial Life", "Humans", "Magog", "Nietzscheans", "Nightsiders", "Perseids", "Than-Thre-Kull", and "Vedrans". Glossary of the High Guard K-O is readable text information with definitions of key terms from K to O.
Behind the Scenes: Visual Effects is a short two minute featurette about computer graphics used in the show. Bloopers is a little less than two minutes of goofs and outtakes. Timeline of the Commonwealth: Growth & Peace is readable text information about the Commonwealth's history from 6811 CY to 9760 CY. b>Image Gallery: Cast Shots is an image gallery with pictures of the cast posing. Production Biography: Majel Roddenberry is readable text information about Roddenberry.
Character Profile: Rev Bem is readable text information about Brent Stait, the character Rev Bem, Rev's costume, and a live interview. Alternate Takes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "Forced Perspective, Scene 17 Extended", Dylan talks to the security architect Venetri and Rhade about a paranoid dictator, and "Forced Perspective, Scene 19 Extended", Rhade tries to put the situation into perspective for Dylan and Venetri, Ferrin must die. Image Gallery: Costumes is an image gallery with concept costume artwork: Dylan, Beka, Tyr, Trance, and Rommie. All Systems University 101: The Government of the Systems Commonwealth is readable text information about different aspects of the Commonwealth government: "A Representative Monarchy", "The Conclave", "The Legal System", and "Freedom". Glossary of the High Guard P-R is readable text information with definitions of key terms from P to R.
Behind the Scenes: Alien Make-Up is a three minute featurette about the special effects make-up process. Alternate Takes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "The Devil Take the Hindmost, Scene 68", in this alternate end to the action at the Hajiran settlement Serendipity, one of the Magog offspring thanks Dylan and Rev Bem for their help and for his life. Bloopers is two minutes of goofs and outtakes. Timeline of the Commonwealth: Conflict & Renewal is readable text information about the Commonwealth's history from 9766 CY to 9781 CY. Prop & Set Concepts is an image gallery with concept artwork: "Ammonia ocean surfing rig", "The Eureka Maru engine room", "Armor", and "Computer screens". Production Biography: Jay Firestone is readable text information about Firestone.
Character Profile: Seamus Harper is readable text information about Gordon Michael Woolvett, the character Seamus Harper, Harper's costume, and a live interview. Alternate Takes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "Star-Crossed, Scene 30", in this alternate scene, Rommie and the deceitful android Gabriel passionately kiss. Image Gallery: Technology is an image gallery with concept technological related artwork. All Systems University 101: Engineering, Science & Technology is readable text information about engineering and science: "A Basic Introduction to Terms", "Slipstream", and "Genetic Engineering". Glossary of the High Guard S-Z is readable text information with definitions of key terms from S to Z.
Behind the Scenes: On the Set of Andromeda is an eight minute featurette of behind the scenes footage of filming an episode. Character Profile: Trance Gemini is readable text information about Laura Bertram, the character Trance Gemini, Trance's costume, and a live interview. Alternate Takes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "It Takes a Lovely Light, Scene 20", Harper and Rommie discuss Beka's fitness as a pilot. Bloopers is two minutes of goofs and outtakes. Timeline of the Commonwealth: The Long Night-The Fall of the Commonwealth and Its Aftermath is readable text information about the Commonwealth's history from 9784 CY to 10087 CY. Prop & Set Concepts is an image gallery with concept artwork: "Gabriel's Prosthetic Piece", "Shura's Cockpit Set", "Harper Laser Tool", "Beka's Jury Rigger Pilot Station in Slipstream Core", and "Blood Mist's Armour". Production Biography: Adam Haight is readable text information about Haight.
The inaugural season of Andromeda puts the former half-Greek God Kevin Sorbo in an adventure against all odds with a misfit crew. And the show turns out to be pretty in its first season. The writing is not topnotch and the acting is slightly over-the-top, but it is done in a way that is hard not to like. Andromeda's first season has a likeable, goofy cast and watching them in get accustomed to each other and their overly do-gooder captain. The season also features some engaging story arcs. While Andromeda is not my favorite science fiction series, it is quite fun.