Saturday, May 30, 2015

TV Talk - seaQuest DSV Season 1

So, I was wondering on what I could end this month with. I knew it had to be a TV show I used to watch or still watch. I almost chose Sliders, but I’ll wait on that for now. I then found a little show that I sort of used to watch back in the 90’s: seaQuest DSV aka seaQuest 2032. Since I’ve only recently finished the first season, I’ll be looking at the show by season by season. This is definitely a show I’ll have to do that with since I’ve heard things about its latter two seasons. Besides, it came on at the same time Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman came on, so I guess Sunday’s Sci-Fi is a thing here now. I guess I have to do Earth-2 next, eh?

As I said before, this was a show I didn’t watch that much. It came on at around the same time Lois and Clark came on and I was probably watching other shows as well. I do remember the show being in syndication on the Sci-Fi Channel. I think I saw a few episodes on there too. I know I saw some of the later seasons there. Anyway, I recently found it on Netflix and the rest is history.

The show takes place in the fictionalized future of 2018… so, we’ll be getting awesome submarines by that time? Earth has been colonizing the oceans, so an organization was created in order to keep order under the seas. The UEO (United Earth Oceans) Organization tasks an experimental submarine called the seaQuest to keep things in order. The Navy gets retired Captain Nathan Bridger (Roy Scheider) to command the submarine since he helped create the thing.

Throughout the season, the crew encounters a lot of stuff. They have to do deal with disputes between certain factions, perform rescue missions, and do their own exploration under the sea. They do also encounter their own brand of weirdness from time to time but it doesn’t go too overboard with it. One of the things the show tried to do was to stay as grounded as possible. It wasn’t too sci-fi… yet. That’ll be for another day. By the way, some dude by the name of Stephen Spielberg was an executive producer on the show, so this was pretty big.


While the first season wasn’t perfect, I did like it. The stories weren’t always the best, but I liked a lot of the characters. The acting from the main cast was fine for the most part. I also liked the interplay and relationships between everyone. Bridger (Schieder) was pretty cool. He actually felt like a nice mix of Kirk and Picard. I also liked Comm. Ford (Don Franklin), Comm. Hitchcock (Stacey Haiduk) and Dr. Westphalen (Stephanie Wooten).

Then we get to Lucas Wolenczak, the boy genius of the crew, played by the late Jonathan Brandis. I’m on two minds with the guy. He’s basically “Wesley Crusher with an Attitude.” While that may scare you, don’t worry because I did like the character. He’s a regular kid who happens to be a genius. I’ll get to the other thing about him later. Lt. Kreig is probably the only one of the crew I’m not a big fan of. It took me a while to get used to him since he’s the show’s comic relief. The rest of the supporting cast of characters were fine… even the talking dolphin. I’ll get to that down below.

The episodes ranged from “meh” to pretty good in the season. It wasn’t always strong but I do think it began and ended well. There were a variety of adventures and they did try to be as grounded as possible. There were a few exceptions and those episodes were generally good. There were also a lot of folk I recognized as guest stars. There were guest stars like Tim Russ, David McCallum, Charlton Heston (weird one), David Morse, Yaphet Kotto, Kent McCord (the better part of Galactica 1980), and Seth Green. The Seth Green one is kind of funny since his character’s nickname was “Wolfman.” I’m guessing Joss Whedon was a fan? There was another guest star (a big one), but I’ll get to William Shatner in the next section since that episode was pretty poor.

Almost everything underwater like the sub and many other devices were computer-generated. While it does obviously look dated, they weren’t bad at times. It’s pretty shallow underwater and that aspect helped make the effects not look too bad. Finally, the music was pretty good. It fit the feel of the show (High Sea Adventure!). I will say it reminded me of TNG’s music from the early seasons. I think I even they even tried to ape John Williams a bit since I swear I almost heard some of the Superman theme at one point.


Tonight’s episode features Ron Burgundy as Williams Shatner.

Well, I had to get to it. While the season had it fair share of good things, it also had its fair share of crappy things. First, the acting could go south from time to time. I first noticed this in the pilot with the villain of that episode. Man, she sounded bad. There is also the mention of Darwin, the talking dolphin. He’s able to talk via a device that Lucas and Dr. Westphalen created. I have to say that I’m not a big fan of the dolphin especially when the focus is all on him. While the CG effects were decent, you did have some pretty bad ones. When they tried to do something that was alive, the effects didn’t look really good. I remember this one scene that involved Darwin in the ocean and Darwin looked so bad.

While I liked Lucas, he could get on my nerves at some points. Maybe it was the fact that he’s a typical 90’s teenager. The show also tended to put him as a focal point in a lot of episodes and that did get a little tiresome especially when other good supporting characters are around. Then we get to the episode featuring William Shatner. He's sporting a weird mustache and playing a villain. Man, that episode was dull. It’s definitely my least favorite episode of the season. Even Shatner himself was actually quite dull. I really don’t know what he was going for. Overall, the season’s shortcomings don’t hurt the show that much.

Favorite Episodes
Finally, here are my seven favorite episodes from the season in no particular order:
1. Higher Power – The crew takes some needed time off. They then have to saddle up for possibly their last time to deal with an accident with the world’s new underwater power grid.
2. Better Than Martians – The seaQuest is sent out to find the survivors from the first manned mission to Mars.
3. Such Great Patience – While exploring an underwater earthquake, the sub finds an intact alien space ship that’s over a million years old.
4. Photon Bullet – The seaQuest is sent to Node Three, an underwater communications installation. Lucas ends up meeting with a bunch of computer hackers and meets one of the best.
5. Knight of Shadows – The seaQuest comes across a long lost ship that may be haunted.
6. Games – The crew has to deal with an escaped convict on the seaQuest.
7. To Be or Not To Be – Nathan Bridger takes command of the seaQuest.

Overall, I thought this was nice season. It has its pitfalls, but it was all good in the end. I’ve recently started on the second season. All I’m going to say about it is that it’s different but good. I’ll give more details next time.

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