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Old January 7 2012, 07:34 PM   #4
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Re: SPACE: Above and Beyond - Reviews and general geekiness

I was devastated after watching the finale and realizing it really was the finale and there wasn't going to be a second season. Of course, like a good sci-fi nut I thought, "BASTARDS!" But I liked the way Morgan and Wong signed off in the last Exec. Prod. card:


Perfect endnote.

The two-hour pilot is a good one that introduces the characters and situations well. It's the late 21st century and the human race has been flying into deep space and colonizing other worlds under the impression that Humanity is alone in the universe. What the viewers see and what the colonizers find out later is that this impression is dead wrong. The colony seen in the beginning is destroyed and Earth is about to be dragged into an interstellar war. With this set-up we're introduced to the main characters.

Nathan West is a colonist who's bumped off of his colony flight in a shocking bout of PC finagling: several of the colonists must be replaced by In Vitros, human beings that had been created in test tubes to fight a previous war.

Cooper Hawkes is one of those In Vitros. We first see him trying to get away from Rednecks (of the Future!) intent on hanging him. He fights them off successfully, but ends up running afoul of the law and being put in jail.

Shane Vansen's first appearance is at the graves of her parents, Marines who were killed in a terrorist act committed by A.I.s, the enemy the In Vitros were created to fight.

These three end up in the same Marine boot camp, along with Paul Wang and Vanessa Damphousse (supporters here, main characters in the series proper). What follows is the training and butt-kicking you'd expect in any movie version of boot camp. It even has R. Lee Ermey as the drill sergeant! (Brilliant!) Of course, war becomes evident while the mains are in training, and they graduate just in time to defend Earth from a major alien offensive. Their final exam? Deploy to Mars and set up some equipment. While there they encounter and take out an alien advanced scout.

This is the type of television that leaves me staring at the TV set and panting like Pavlov's dog. Shane's story brings to mind questions of justice and vengeance, Cooper's questions of humanity and prejudice. Those are the major goodies. The minor ones are the spaceships fly like spacehips (unlike in Wars, Trek and old Galactica, which made it unique for space TV) and it's Marines versus frakkin' aliens!

What I didn't like was West's story. He got separated from his young blond fiance. Yawn. Didn't care then. Didn't care for most of the series. Still don't care.

Also, though it's distinctive, I think Shirley Walker could have done better with the theme. I suppose it's too late to do anything about that...for a bunch of reasons...

Overall: A
"Understand, Commander: That torpedo did not self-destruct. You heard it hit the hull, and I was never here."

-Admiral James Greer
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