What do SciFi.com think?


System Lord of ASciFi.com
Jul 21, 2000


Captain Dylan Hunt (Sorbo) of the Commonwealth starship Andromeda Ascendant is running training drills with his crew when the ship receives a distress call. Leaping into action, they transit the slipstream across galaxies to save the day. On arrival, they discover that they have been lured into a trap.

The Commonwealth, a government that spans three galaxies, has been targeted by its allies--make that former allies--the Nietzscheans. In the battle, it looks as though the Andromeda might be lost. They head for a black hole, and Dylan orders the crew to abandon ship. As they try to escape, Dylan and the Andromeda are trapped in the black hole's event horizon, in a temporal distortion that freezes them in time.

Three hundred years later, the salvage ship Eureka Maru and her crew tow the Andromeda away from the black hole, only to find the ship's captain is on board alive, and he's not about to let anyone sell his ship as space junk. For Dylan Hunt, only seconds have passed since his battle with the Nietzscheans. He is devastated to discover that everyone he loved is gone and the Commonwealth has fallen.

The loss of the Commonwealth sent the galaxies into chaos. Much advanced technology has been lost. However, the Andromeda is an artificially intelligent starship with advanced weaponry. Dylan Hunt believes that as long as she exists, there is hope. Determined to restore the Commonwealth, he recruits the crew of the Eureka Maru and they set out to unite the known worlds once again.

Star Trek lite

The idea for Andromeda was developed by Robert Hewitt Wolfe (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), based on notes by Gene Roddenberry, and the series has a two-year commitment. The show itself is a throwback to the days of good old space opera. Although it's more lightweight, Andromeda's similarities to Star Trek in philosophy, tone and style are unmistakable.

Andromeda features plenty of science fiction toys, along with a healthy dose of Matrix-style action. Andromeda's universe seems to borrow from every other science fiction show. It has robots, cyborgs, holograms, genetically engineered humans, an artificially intelligent ship's computer and bombs that can destroy a star. There's also a nifty weapon called a force lance that can shoot laser bullets or expand into a staff for hand-to-hand combat. And that's just in the two-part series opener.

The cast is led by Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), a gifted performer when it comes to an action role like this one. Although it would be nice to see Sorbo stretch a bit dramatically, the first two episodes don't offer him that opportunity. The rest of the cast looks promising, especially Lisa Ryder (Forever Knight), who will be the ship's first officer, and Keith Hamilton Cobb, who plays Tyr Anasazi, a descendant of the genetically engineered Nietzscheans.

The script does a good job of establishing the characters, although they seem initially to be a little too human and very '90s. Dialogue like "We rule" and "Give us some space" doesn't help transport the viewer into the Andromeda universe. Additionally, the story uses science that doesn't make a lot of sense and isn't explained very well.

No, it's not very original, and yes, it's really old-fashioned. But mostly Andromeda is an entertaining space opera that doesn't take itself too seriously, and there's nothing wrong with that. -- Kathie

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