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Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Season 3 Collection
The Third 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 premise of Andromeda is about the adventures of the crew the Andromeda and their efforts to rebuild a massive civilization that spanned the universe
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
In the close of season two, the signing of the Commonwealth charter was under attack by mysterious alien forces. The disruption caused chaos and the crew had to make sacrifices to deal with the matter. In the third season premiere episode "If the Wheel is Fixed", the story is concluded. Tyr and Beka were left trapped in another dimension. Dylan frets and considers a way to get them back. He takes the Eureka Maru to reconstruct the events that led to the crew members being sucked into the alternate dimension. He is successful and Tyr and Beka return. Unfortunately, the two are not who they seem to be. Many problems happen on the Andromeda and it eventually turns into a mysterious plot to kill them all--Tyr and Beka are being controlled by a force in the other dimension.
The unfortunate thing about this episode is the direction the story takes. In the end of season two, the story had a lot of promise with aliens from another dimension attacking. However, in the concluding half of the episode, the story gets pretty hokey. I suppose the aliens from another dimension were not the strongest approach itself, but I liked it in the first part. The subsequent episodes also fail to be as strong as they could. This is not to say they are terrible or anything, but rather that they could have been better. The story arcs that ran through the first two seasons start become less significant. The content is more episodic with the Andromeda crew out on missions that are wrapped up in an episode.
"The Unconquerable Man" is a pretty solid episode, but one you do not want to think too much about. The storyline is based on time travel and alternate realities. The episode begins with Harper moving Gaheris Rhade's body and Dylan notices a mark on his hand he had never seen. Then the episode jumps into a point in time when a future Rhade had the opportunity to destroy the time machine Harper built in the season two episode "Ouroboros". Trance is with Rhade and tries to convince him not to do so. Rhade reflects on his life (an alternate reality of the events thus far). In this reality, Rhade killed Dylan and survived for three hundred years in the black hole. He teamed up with Beka, Rev Bem, Trance, Harper, and Tyr to rebuild the Commonwealth. As the episode unfolds, Rhade comes to realize it is Dylan's fate and not his. He sacrifices himself so that the original timeline is restored and Dylan is once again put in charge of the Andromeda.
"The Dark Backward" is an exciting episode because it explores Trance's reality. There is a deadly intruder aboard the ship trying to kill the crew. The episode focuses on Trance and one her of mysterious talents. In past episodes, she has offered advice that could only be explained by foresight of some kind. She has the ability to play out situations in many different scenarios in mere seconds. Trance explores different ways to maximize the crew's life and stopping the intruder. It is an interesting episode because it details more about how mysterious and special Trance is as a character.
Another strong episode this season is "What Happens to a Rev Deferred?", where Rev Bem returns. While monitoring the evacuation of Empyrium, a world that is on the brink of destruction, the crew receives a communication from Rev Bem asking to be rescued. To complicate matters, a group of renegades are after Rev. Dylan and crew go to the planet's surface to rescue Rev and witness a miracle. Rev under goes some spiritual phenomena when an unknown entity confronts Rev and he professes his sorrow for all his ill-natured acts as a savage Magog. He is given redemption and physical changed into a new being. Rev Bem has been an interesting character, with his struggles to be "civilized" over "savage", and his ties into the Spirit of the Abyss make him an even more interesting character. It is too bad he is not investigated further.
In the season finale "Shadows Cast by a Final Salute", things take a turn for the worst for the Andromeda crew and the Commonwealth. The assistant minister of war informs Dylan that there is something afoot with the Nietzschean clans in the Commonwealth. There have been rumors going around that they are considering leaving the allied forces and forming their own united front. They are rumors no longer, but fact. Afterwards, Andromeda is put on high alert when an elite strike force of Dragans takes hostages and demands their lives for the bones of Drago Musevini. As the sitatuion unfolds, it becomes evident Tyr's hand had play in the situation. With his son, the genetic clone of Drago Musevini, he plans to unite his people and save the universe. At the end, Dylan and Tyr bid a final farewell to each other with no promise their next meeting will be peaceful. But the situation was more than just Dylan and Tyr, as a plot to stand against the Commonwealth became an important issue. The Nietzscheans and several other forces joined in a battl against the Commonwealth fleet, which ended with the fall of the Restored Systems Commonwealth.
Overall, I was not nearly as impressed with this season as I was with seasons one or two. The episodes were more episodic with Dylan and his crew going on this or that adventure. The overall story arc with the Commonwealth, the Spirit of the Abyss, the Magog, Trance's past, and others were not addressed as they were in the past seasons. The focus was a lot different. While this is not an awful move (the episodes were still entertaining), it just was not as good. The fortunate news is that the pace picks up again with the season three finale and it puts the entire universe of Andromeda in upheaval
1. If The Wheel is Fixed: Energy from a dimensional tunnel takes control of two crewmembers.
2. The Shards Of Rimni: Commonwealth Security considers Dylan the prime suspect in a murder investigation.
3. Mad To Be Saved: The Andromeda encounters problems after picking up a group of mentally imbalanced refugees.
4. Cui Bono: Andromeda transports Sid Barry (John De Lancie), who is running for the top government office in the newly reformed Commonwealth.
5. The Lone And Level Sands: The Andromeda crew encounters a spacecraft from Earth, which set out to explore deep space hundreds of years ago.
6. Slipfighter The Dogs Of War: The Andromeda crew stops the evil rulers of the planet Marduk from making weapons of mass destruction.
7. The Leper's Kiss: Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) goes on a mission to seek out "The Leper" in order to prevent Marshall Man Ka-Lupe's assassination.
8. For Whom The Bell Tolls: The Andromeda is haunted by a crew member who died over 300 years ago.
9. And Your Heart Will Fly Away: Tyr (Keith Hamilton Cobb) encounters a long lost love and the man who had hired him to kill her.
10. The Unconquerable Man: Gaheris Rhade sets out to reshape the universe according to his will and restore order amid the chaos.
11. Delenda Est: The Andromeda crew must thwart an invasion from a mysterious enemy.
12. The Dark Backward: Trance (Laura Bertram) runs through a series of possible outcomes in order to save the crew from a deadly intruder.
13. The Risk All Point: Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) and the crew rescue the passengers of a doomed High Guard ship.
14. The Right Horse: Beka (Lisa Ryder) puts her feelings for a past love ahead of the safety of her crew and endangers an entire planet.
15. What Happens to a Rev Deferred?: The crew receives a cry for help from the long lost Rev Bem (Brent Stait).
16. Point of the Spear: The crew battles against the Pyrians in order to save the planet Samsarra and avoid a galactic war.
17. Vault of the Heavens: Dylan is beckoned to a far off planet by the voice of a mysterious woman.
18. Deep Midnight's Voice: Dylan and the crew search for a Nietzschean slip-scout carrying a probe that enables one to map every meter of the slipstream.
19. The Illusion of Majesty: Dylan and the crew take a wrong turn ending up in the Prolon System where they discover a princess who is not what she appears to be.
20. Twilight of the Idols: Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) and the crew set out to find a colony that disappeared. Unbeknownst to them, they are not the only ones looking.
21. Day of Judgement, Day of Wrath: Rommie's (Lexa Doig) old lover takes over her mind and a new High Guard ship.
22. Shadows Cast by a Final Salute: Tyr's (Keith Hamilton Cobb) disloyalty spawns the destruction of the Commonwealth.
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.
Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "If the Wheel is Fixed, Scenes 13-15", Harper and Trance talk about the difference of being scared and sensible while they investigate the unknown, "If the Wheel is Fixed, Scene 85", a sad Tyr inquiries about his friendship with Dylan, "If the Wheel is Fixed, Scene 85", Rommie asks Beka talk about where she was, "The Shards of Rimni, Scene 16", Dylan flirts with someone, and "The Shards of Rimni, Scene 66", Beka requests someone's help. Design/Conceptual Art Gallery is a video clip of assorted concept artwork stills, prop stills, and CG animatics.
Kevin Sorbo's Gags and Bloopers is ten minutes of goofs and outtakes with Sorbo. Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "The Lone and Level Sands, Scene 8", Tyr runs into some guards, "The Lone and Level Sands, Scene 9", Harper makes a sleazy comment, "The Lone and Level Sands, Scene 9A", Rommie and Harper annoy Tyr by singing, "The Lone and Level Sands, Scene 33", Harper leaves Beka and Trance to get something to drink when they need his help, "The Lone and Level Sands, Scene 33B", the crew discusses their current situation, "The Lone and Level Sands, Scene 34", Harper talks one of Metis' crewman about defecting, and "The Lone and Level Sands, Scene 49", Beka and Trance great Rommie, Tyr, Harper, and Dylan as they return to the Andromeda. Design/Conceptual Art Gallery is a video clip of assorted concept artwork stills, prop stills, and CG animatics.
Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "The Leper's Kiss, Scene 4", Dylan asks for the crew's assistance to help a friend. Meet the Cast: Kevin Sorbo is an interview with Sorbo talking about filming and acting, his motivation, and other things. It runs for almost twenty-one minutes. Design/Conceptual Art Gallery is a video clip of assorted concept artwork stills, prop stills, and CG animatics.
Commentary is an audio commentary for the episode "For Whom the Bell Tolls" with Kevin Sorbo and Philip Segal. Lisa Ryder's Gags and Bloopers is four minutes of goofs and outtakes with Ryder. Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "And Your Heart Will Fly Away, Scene 23", Rommie asks Bartolame Naz about his physical handicap. Design/Conceptual Art Gallery is a video clip of assorted concept artwork stills, prop stills, and CG animatics.
Meet the Cast: Lisa Ryder is a fifteen minute long interview with Ryder, where she gives you a chance to get to know her better. Design/Conceptual Art Gallery is a video clip of assorted concept artwork stills, prop stills, and CG animatics.
Behind the Scenes: Production Design is a featurette with production designer Richard B. Lewis season three related production designs. He shows computer graphic models of characters/scenes and discusses them. Laura Bertram's Gags and Bloopers is two minutes of goofs and outtakes with Bertram. Design/Conceptual Art Gallery is a video clip of assorted concept artwork stills, prop stills, and CG animatics.
Meet the Cast: Lexa Doig is an interview with Lexa Doig about her character Rommie. She talks specifically about the character and the visual effects related aspects when she plays the holographic version of herself, Andromeda. It runs for eight minutes. Meet the Director: Allan Harmon is an interview with the director of the episode "Point of the Spear" and it runs under three minutes. Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "The Right Horse, Scene 38", Rommie gives Beka shocking news. Design/Conceptual Art Gallery is a video clip of assorted concept artwork stills, prop stills, and CG animatics.
Behind the Scenes: Stunts and Fights is an interview with student coordinator Ernest Jackson. It features six and a half minutes of Jackson talking about the stunts and fight scenes. Exclusive Students Training Footage is footage of stunt fighting and runs for five minutes. It features Kevin Sorbo and Ernest Jackson providing commentary. Gordon Michael Woolvett's Gags and Bloopers is four and a half minutes of goofs and outtakes with Woolvett. Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "Deep Midnight's Voice, Scenes 22 (partial) & 23", on the bridge Harper blows up in front of the crew and consoles in Trance, and "Deep Midnight's Voice, Scene 65", Dylan and Tyr talk about Gaiton's death. Design/Conceptual Art Gallery is a video clip of assorted concept artwork stills, prop stills, and CG animatics.
Meet the Cast: Gordon Michael Woolvett is an interview with Woolvett about his character, interaction with other cast members, writing for the show, and so on. It runs for eighteen and a half minutes. Meet the Director: Peter DeLuise is an interview with the director of the episode "The Illusion of Majesty". It runs for twenty-seven minutes. Lexa Doig's Gags and Bloopers is five and a half minutes of goofs and outtakes with Doig. Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "Twilight of the Idols, Scene 15", Tyr tells Harper to listen more and think less, "Twilight of the Idols, Scene 36", Rommie, Harper, and Tyr on the bridge talk about the success of Tyr's ploy, and "Twilight of the Idols, Scene 47 (partial)", Beka prepares to fire weapons and Harper complains. Design/Conceptual Art Gallery is a video clip of assorted concept artwork stills, prop stills, and CG animatics.
Behind the Scenes: Tour of the Andromeda Set is an interview with director of photography Gordon Verheul. It runs for twelve and a half minutes. In it, Verheul shows the set and talks about different aspects of filming. Behind the Scenes: Toni Rutter is an interview with costume designer Toni Rutter talks about designing different clothes for the characters. She shows real samples and sketches in her notebook. It runs for thirteen minutes. Gags and Bloopers from Season 3 Guest Stars is four minutes of goofs and outtakes with various guest stars. Design/Conceptual Art Gallery is a video clip of assorted concept artwork stills, prop stills, and CG animatics.
In season three of Andromeda, the quality takes a slight dive. While the season three episodes are not outright awful, they lack the same punch the first two seasons held dealing with the character development and various story arcs. Still, season three offers some good content that fans of the show should appreciate. The good news is with the season finale, the exciting tempo picks up again.