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Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Season 4 Collection
The Fourth 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
Life is not looking pretty for the Andromeda. In the season three finale, the Andromeda and the Commonwealth fleet were manipulated into a situation that resulted in the apparent downfall of the newly formed federation of planets. Dylan was betrayed by his friend Tyr for a cause that Tyr believes to be more righteous and important than anything else. In the season four premiere episode "Answers Given To Questions", the story is revisited. With the destruction of the fleet, the Andromeda crew decides what to do next. While trying to figure out their situation, they take on an injured pilot who brings Dylan a communication. The message is from a man named Paroo. He tells Dylan that the Commonwealth is no more and that he is holding one of its leaders and will kill her in due time. Dylan responds by chasing after Paroo, who he finds out is the head of Commonwealth security and the real cause behind the massive battle. But Paroo has manipulated the situation so that everyone thinks Dylan is the bad guy. Dylan kills Paroo and shows he was an agent of the Abyss. He then becomes a hero. More good news follows as enough leaders survived that the Commonwealth continues on.
In the remainder of the season, the series story arc dealing with the Magog threat is revisited in full. The majority of the episodes deal with the Andromeda crew caught up in one situation or another that ties into the Magog, the Abyss, and the Nietzscheans. A new addition to the Abyss story arc in this season begins to define Dylan's role in the overall scheme of things. Yes, he is the captain of the Andromeda and leading the cause, but there is more to it than just that. The truth about who and what Dylan is revealed and his role in stopping the Abyss is more important than any of the lives of his crew.
"Waking the Tyrant's Device" is an episode that takes a look at the creator of the Magog Worldship. Nicholas Lea (The X-Files) guest stars as Tri-Lorn, who gives the Andromeda orders to visit a planet. When they arrive, they are attacked. Dylan questions Tri-Lorn why they were sent to such a dangerous place without being told. Tri-Lorn reveals the importance of the mission. They are to stop Kroton, a half man, half robot. Kroton is building a massive army of androids and it is up to Dylan and crew to stop him. The episode itself is not the strongest, but it is still interesting to focus on the creator of the Worldship.
"Soon the Nearing Vortex" and "The World Turns All Around Her" is the two part episode where Telemachus Rhade joins the Andromeda crew on a permanent basis. In the first part, the Andromeda comes to the aid of a Commonwealth transport ship that is under attack from Nietzchean. On the transport is Rhade, who is holding Tyr as a prisoner. The Andromeda fends off the attacking ships and save Rhade's life, but not before Tyr escapes. When Dylan reports back to the Commonwealth headquarters, Tri-lorn demands Rhade be returned to Tarazed so he can be dealt with. Dylan decides not to take him back because he fears Tri-lorn is corrupt. The story continues with the crew facing corrupt politicians, a scheming Tyr, and the Route of Ages, a mystical slipstream that goes to the original Vedran home world.
In the second part of the story, Dylan is ready to take on the Route of Ages. Tyr appears in a ship, with Beka in custody, demanding that Dylan give up the map for Beka's life. Dylan comprises and allows Tyr to follow him on the journey. The Route of Ages is important because it is the key to stopping the Abyss. As the story unfolds, more intricate aspects of the plotline are uncovered, which include Trance revealing who and what she really is to Dylan, an avatar of the Vedran sun. The Abyss also makes a frightful appearance that puts the crew in a race for survival. This episode marks Tyr's final appearance.
Other strong episodes in the season include "The Torment, the Release", where the corrupt Tri-lorn demands Dylan hand over Rhade for prosecution, "The Warmth of an Invisible Light", where Harper's latest invention sends Dylan into an alternate reality, "Fear Burns Down to Ashes", Rev Bem returns with a weapon to stop the Magog, "Lost in a Space that Isn't There", where Beka becomes an agent of the Abyss, and other episodes. For the most part, they all tie into the larger plot and tend to add to the excitement.
The two-part season finale "The Dissonant Interval" is also an episode worthy of noting. The Andromeda goes to a space station called the Arkology when they learn the Magog Worldship is headed right for them. When the crew arrives at the station, they inform its leaders about the upcoming threat. The unfortunate part is that they are unwilling to listen. The people in the Arkology are of a peaceful nature and they believe they will be able to make peace with the Magog. But the Magog are not a peaceful people and they intend to kill everyone. The two-part story puts the crew in a battle with death-defying odds. And despite the odds, they put 110% into stopping the Magog. Unfortunately, as the episode ends, the situation is hopeless with death not far off from the horizon. Dylan is forced to abandon everyone and escape through the Route of Ages.
Overall, I enjoyed season four. The plotlines in the episodes tended to tie the material into a larger plot and it made for a much more intriguing watch. There were also several reoccurring characters like the devilish Nicholas Lea, the guy you love to hate, playing a questionable Commonwealth politician. The storylines touched upon the Abyss and the Magog, the Collectors, turncoat Tyr, and other exciting bad guys. Like seasons one and two, season four produces some exciting stories that are engaging and easy to get lost in. But the content was not as good as seasons one or two.
1. Answers Given To Questions Never Asked: The crew must rescue one of the Triumvirate in order to save the Commonwealth.
2. Pieces of Eight: A contractor for the Commonwealth tries to get rid of Dylan.
3. Waking The Tyrant's Device: The crew must stop the maker of the Magog World Ship from unleashing his android army.
4. Double Or Nothingness: Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) must escape two cruel gamblers' virtual game of death.
5. Harper/Delete: Harper (Gordon Michael Woolvett) risks his life trying to disarm a deadly weapon.
6. Soon The Nearing Vortex: An encounter with ex-crew member Tyr Anasazi (Keith Hamilton Cobb) brings revelations about the universe.
7. The World Turns All Around Her: Trance's true nature is revealed after the crew explores an ancient portal in space.
8. Conduit to Destiny: Fate brings Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) full circle to fulfill a planet's destiny three hundred years in the making.
9. Machinery of the Mind: The crew thwarts an assassin's attempt to steal the minds of the Commonwealth's most brilliant scientists.
10. Exalted Reason, Resplendent Daughter: Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) hunts down a notorious outlaw who has kidnapped a Commonwealth leader's daughter.
11. The Torment, The Release: Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) is arrested and tried by the Collectors and Triumvirs for high crimes against the Commonwealth.
12. The Spider's Stratagem: The crew intercepts a smuggler's stash of mysterious bio-armor on its way to a war-torn galaxy.
13. The Warmth Of An Invisible Light: Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) is transported to an alternate reality where Harper's (Gordon Michael Woolvett) evil counterpart has overthrown the Commonwealth.
14. The Others: The crew steps in to mediate an apocalyptic war in order to halt genocide and cure a fatal disease.
15. Fear Burns Down To Ashes: The Collectors trap Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) in a life or death test using a former crew member as bait.
16. Lost In A Space That Isn't There: The Andromeda is put in danger when the Abyss posesses the mind of a crew member.
17. Abridging The Devil's Divide: An enemy from the crew's past forces Harper (Gordon Michael Woolvett) to build a time travel device.
18. Trusting The Gordian Maze: The Triumvirate sends a beautiful spy to tempt Dylan and retrieve the Star Map.
19. A Symmetry Of Imperfection: Rommie's (Lexa Doig) emotional decisions sever her connections with the ship's systems, leaving the Andromeda vulnerable to a Magog attack.
20. Time Out Of Mind: The Abyss sends agents to murder the True Collectors and find their hidden library.
21. The Dissonant Interval, Part 1: The crew attempts to rescue a peaceful society from the path of the Magog worldship.
22. The Dissonant Interval, Part 2: The crew makes a last stand against the Magog onslaught.
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.
Meet the Cast: Laura Bertram is an interview with Bertram. It runs for seventeen minutes. She talks about her character's role, personality, and interaction with the other characters. Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "Answer Given to Questions Never Asked, Scene 11", Trance treats someone who is injured, "Pieces of Eight, Scene 2", surveys a planet system to Dylan and the crew, "Pieces of Eight, Scene 37", Dylan wins a fight, "Pieces of Eight, Scene 38", Trance and Romie question Beka's perception, "Waking the Tyrant's Device, Scene 7", Dylan, Beka, and Rommie talk about Beka's fines, and "Waking the Tyrant's Device Scene 26", Dylan asks Rommie what's for dinner.
Behind the Scenes: Visual Effects is an interview with visual effects supervisor Bruce Turner. He talks about some of the spaceship battle segments, big colorful explosions, etc. It runs for eight and a half minutes. Kevin Sorbo's Gags and Bloopers is four minutes of goofs and outtakes with Sorbo. Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "Double or Nothingness, Scene 19", Trance tells someone to be careful, "Double of Nothingness, Scene 30", Trance asks Andromeda about navigation status, "Double or Nothingness, Scene 32", Trance investigates a noise, "Double or Nothingness, Scene 35", Dylan gets his bearings while Molly washes up, "Double or Nothingness, Scene 45", Trance is talking to Andromeda while the power cuts out, "Harper/Delete, Scene 23", three Andromeda dialogues, and "Harper/Delete, Scene 101-102", the crew talks about the aftermath of their latest mission. Costume Design Sketches is a video clip of costume design sketches.
Meet the Cast: Steve Bacic is an interview with Steve Bacic, who plays Telemachus Rhade. It runs under nineteen minutes and he talks about his character and role on the show. Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "Soon the Nearing Vortex, Scene 14A", Harper outlines a confusing situation to Rommie.
Behind the Scenes: Bob Engels is an interview with executive producer and head writer Bob Engels. Engels talks about season four episodes and storylines. It runs for about twelve and a half minutes. Bio: Bob Engels is readable text information about Bob Engels. Lisa Ryder's Gags and Bloopers is five and a half minutes of goofs and outtakes with Lisa. Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "Machinery of the Mind, Scene 36", Rommie and Trance un-boost Harper's ego.
Meet the Cast: Brent Stait is an interview with Brent Stait, who plays the Magog Rev Bem. It runs for eighteen and a half minutes and Stait talks about his character, problems he had with make-up/costume, leaving the show and coming back, etc. Meet the Director: Richard Flower is an interview with Richard Flower, the director of the episode "Exalted Reason, Resplendent Daughter". It runs for nine and a half minutes. Character Bio: Dylan Hunt is readable text information about Dylan. Character Bio: Beka Valentine is readable text information about Beka. Andromeda Guidebook: Slipstream is readable text information about the slipstream.
Behind the Scenes: Make-Up is an eight minutes featurette with Kari Cox and Francesca von Zimmerman talking about special effects make-up for the season, the process, the characters, etc. Cast Bio: Kevin Sorbo is readable text information about Sorbo. Cast Bio: Lisa Ryder is readable text information about Ryder. Andromeda Guidebook: Power the Andromeda Ascendant is readable text information about the Andromeda Ascendant. Gordon Michael Woolvett's Gags and Bloopers is four and a half minutes of goofs and outtakes with Woolvett.
Behind the Scenes: Filming Andromeda is behind the scenes footage of filming the episode "Fear Burns Down to Ashes". It has rehearsal footage for several scenes. Runtime is eleven minutes. Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "Fear Burns Down to Ashes, Scene 4", Beka and Rhade land on the surface of Joku, "Fear Burns Down to Ashes, Scene 12", Saguro plots against the Andromeda crew, "Fear Burns Down to Ashes, Scene 16", Harper and Andromeda discuss productivity (or rather Harper's lack of), "Fear Burns Down to Ashes, Scene 18", Trance talks about her feelings to Rommie, and "Fear Burns Down to Ashes, Scene 30-32", Beka and Rhade meet the collector. Character Bio: Trance Gemini is readable text information about Trance. Character Bio: Seamus Harper is readable text information about Harper.
Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "Lost in a Space That Isn't There", Rommie reports to Dylan. Cast Bio: Laura Bertram is readable text information about Bertram. Cast Bio: Gordon Michael Woolvett is readable text information about Woolvett. Lexa Doig's Gags and Bloopers is four and a half minutes of goofs and outtakes with Doig.
Meet the Director: Jorge Montesi is an interview with the director Jorge Montesi of the episode "Trusting the Gordian Maze". It runs for under eleven minutes. Kevin Sorbo's Gags and Bloopers is three minutes of goofs and outtakes with Sorbo. Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "A Symmetry of Imperfection, Scene 46", Trance and Rhade search for the crew. Storyboard/Scene Comparison for a Symmetry of Imperfection is a short video clip of concept art shown side-by-side of the live action footage. Character Bio: Rommie is readable text information about Rommie. Character Bio: Telemachus Rhade is readable text information about Rhade.
Steve Bacic's Gags and Bloopers is under two minutes of goofs and outtakes with Bacic (Rhade). Guest Star's Gags and Bloopers is under two minutes of goofs and outtakes with season four guest stars. Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes is a collection of alternative and deleted scenes: "The Dissonant Interval, Part I, Scene 48", Dylan and Trance analyze a sample from Rev, "The Dissonant Interval, Part II, Scene 62", Dylan tries to inspire the inhabitants of the Arkology fight for their lives, and "The Dissonant Interval Part II, Scene 65", Dylan and Trance report to command. Alternate Ending to Season Finale is an alternate ending for "The Dissonant Interval, Part 2" with comments from Kevin Sorbo and Bob Engels. Storyboard/Scene Comparison for the Dissonant Interval is a short video clip of concept art shown side-by-side of the live action footage. Season 4 Visual Effects: From Concept to Completion is nine minutes of various concept animatics and the related live footage. Cast Bio: Lexa Doig is readable text information about Doig. Cast Bio: Steve Bacic is readable text information about Bacic.
I found season four to be a much better experience than season three. The content re-focused on developing the characters and the major story arcs. It made for more engaging content. However, while I did enjoy season four, I still do not feel the content as quite to par with seasons one or two. It was good, but just not that good. Regardless, this season is worth checking out because there are some important developments for the cast in the series story arc dealing with the Magog and the Abyss.