Thursday, December 20, 2007

Space: Above And Beyond

Remember this 90s SF show? I don't blame you if you don't. It ran one season and was cancelled. But that one season turned out to be something worth seeing.

The idea was essentially a rip off of Heinlein's Starship Troopers, produced by the makers of The X-Files (who denied any influence from Troopers). Its 2063. An insectoid race, known only by the pejorative "Chigs", destroy an Earth colony and a war erupts between our worlds. As the story unfolds the reasons behind the war get more and more complex, but the focus is always on a group of Marines, the 58th "Wildcards". The earlier episodes were pretty bad. The writing was awful. And unimaginative. I remember one scene in the pilot where a couple discuss the AI War in horribly overwritten sentences designed solely to give us exposition. But as the series went on everything improved. By the mid point of the season, it could hold itself up to most SF shows and by the end it was giving us some of the best stories any where. The final two episodes are worth the wait. The producers obviously knew this was the series' end and were freed from the need to wrap things up for the next season. Instead we go out, at one and the same time, on a down note and a blaze of glory.

The series was released on DVD a couple of years ago and I noticed it being on sale at a reduced price. That's not a break for me. I've already got my copy. But its a great time for new viewers to check it out.

Special bonus: In one episode X-Files star David Duchovny plays a robot. Typecasting?

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