I vaguely remember seeing promos for the show back in the day stating that stuff would change. I also remember seeing that some balding guy was the new captain. Little did I know that this was Michael Ironside, a well-known actor and the voices of Splinter Cell’s Sam Fisher and Darkseid from DC's Animated Series. So, you might be wondering what I might probably was wondering back then: What Happened?
To put it nicely, Season Two wasn’t well received. As you saw last time, I thought it was pretty subpar as a whole. Apparently, Roy Schieder (Captain Bridger) was dissatisfied with that season to the point that he wanted to leave. He was able to get out of his contract but he had to make a few guest appearances because of that. Rosalind Allen (Dr. Smith) and Marco Sanchez (Lt. Ortiz) were also let go for the third season. While I didn’t really care about Dr. Smith, it does suck that Bridger and Ortiz were gone.
There weren’t many additions to the cast. Of course, Michael Ironside (Capt. Oliver Hudson) became the new captain on the show. Elise Neal (Lt. JJ Fredricks) joined the show as the seaQuest’s sub-fighter pilot. The biggest change was the premise of the show. It was decided to bring back some of the political and reality-based elements of the first season and mix in the action of the second season. The really weird stuff from the second season was gotten rid of for the most part. There are still some sci-fi things left. The show also takes place a decade later hence the new title, seaQuest 2032.
In Season Two’s finale, the seaQuest was transported to another planet to fight in a civil war. They succeeded but lives were lost. At the start of Season Three, the aliens transported them back to Earth but a decade had passed since they were gone. When the ship went missing, the world basically went to hell with corporations gaining more power and a new faction called the Macronesian Alliance making plays to conquer the seas. The UEO does its best to keep a world war from coming to pass. Capt. Hudson spent the decade trying to find out what happened to the sub when it’s eventually found. Capt. Bridger decides to retire (his son is still alive) and Hudson takes command of the seaQuest in order to bring hope back.
Well, I can definitely say that this season is much better than Season Two even if it is an unfortunate short season. The show comes out running with its new premise. It a world that’s on the verge of war and the seaQuest is needed to make sure that doesn’t happen. The stories pretty much revolve around keeping the peace and saving lives. I liked the new additions to the crew. While Hudson is no Bridger, I really like him as the captain. Before I stepped into the season, I thought Hudson would be pretty stiff and unlikable. While he is more military-oriented than Bridger, he also a lot like Bridger in that he’s not too traditional. I also liked Fredricks since her position was pretty different.
The rest of the cast is still pretty good. You’d think being losing a decade would hurt them, but they take it in stride. Ford, Lucas, Piccolo, Dagwood, O’Neill, and Henderson were handled well. A bunch of stuff changes for most of them. Lucas and Dagwood enlist. Dagwood also is less childlike this season. While he is still simple-minded, he’s not the comic relief anymore. Lt. Ford and Henderson… well, that would be telling too much. Brody is still not my favorite but he is a little better here this season. Darwin is also downplayed a lot this season and that is kind of a plus for me. There is a new theme song this time around. While I do like it, the theme from the other seasons is better in my opinion.
The show also adopts a bit of a serialized format. Small subplots do carry out over the season. While you did have recurring characters in the first two seasons, there was more focus on tying this season together. We got some noticeable guest starts this season. Michael York, Tim DeKay (White Collar), Bernie Casey, Ralph Wilcox, and Brittany Murphy were ones I noticed. Roy Schieder does come back for a couple of episodes but he isn’t the only familiar face we see. John D’Aquino (Lt. Krieg) returns for the second episode of the season. Finally, the special effects were pretty decent this time around. They definitely outshine the second season’s effects and some of the first season as well. You might have a couple of bad spots, but they were good.
I actually don’t have many negatives against this season. There weren’t really any bad episodes since the season is pretty short. You did have some less than average episodes. The writing and acting weren’t always on point throughout the season. Lt. Fredricks kind of felt shafted since she wasn’t in many episodes. She did get an episode that explored her background though. She has a chip implanted in her that basically removes her fear and that episode revolved around that. We also get one episode aired out of order (“Brainlock”) and it’s noticeable because a dead crew member is then alive for no reason. Who is it? Just watch the show to find out.
Another thing that I kind of wish got focused on was the fact that it’s 2032 and the main crew really does take this in stride. To be fair, it was only a few days for them. Instead of seeing what happened to their family members and friends, they head right back to the job. We get a little bit of that, but they could have gone farther with it. I would have at least liked one episode that centered on that. It is possible that they did have an episode planned but it didn’t happen because of the cancellation.
The final negative I do have isn’t against the show per say. As you can kind of tell, I enjoyed this season. I don’t think I can blame the cast and crew for its cancellation. The show ended up getting cancelled after 13 episodes in 1996. From what I’ve read, the show was supposed to go for a full season but I guess the ratings were pretty low and NBC cancelled it early. The show changed so much in these three years I can see why some folk stopped tuning in. It just sucks that it ended during a pretty exciting time for the show story-wise. Luckily, it wasn’t a cliffhanger… sort of anyway.
Mason Freeman: a pretty hilarious henchman.
Finally, here are my favorite episodes of this small season. Since we only got 13 episodes, here are my top five episodes.
1. Brave New World – The seaQuest reappears on Earth after being missing for 10 years.
2. Good Soldiers – Bridger returns and takes Ford, Lucas, and Dagwood on a secret mission.
3. Spindrift – Henderson is falsely arrested by the Macronesian Alliance, so the team does their best to help her out.
4. Equilibrium – Bridger returns and butts heads with the seaQuest for trying to stop a viral outbreak in a part of the ocean.
5. Weapons of War – While O’Neill is having woman problems, an elusive Asian power called the Chaodai enters into the UEO/Macronesian fray. Final episode.
Overall, this was a good season that’s at least on par with the first season. I’m a little sad that it didn’t truly end. Even if this had been the show’s final season, I wish it got a proper conclusion. Still, this was a nice season with good characters, good stories, and nice action for once. I can’t find much on what later episodes would have been like, but I did find a wiki page that talked about some unproduced episodes. I wonder if there are any other media tie-ins out there that furthered that story. I guess someone has some fan-fic out there…
In the end, seaQuest DSV was a pretty decent show. I do recommend that it should be checked out. Season One is pretty good as a whole even if it has some hiccups. While Season Three is unfortunately short, I thought the changes made there were good ones. As for Season Two, I’m not so sure. It’s really where the show began to fall which led to its short (but good) third season. Check out Season Two if you’re curious. If anything, just watch the premiere and finale of that season to get an idea on what happened. Well, that’s all I have for this show. Peace, God Bless, and check out Season Three for Mason Freeman. That dude cracked me up!