reviewthat: (TV: Junkie)
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TV Show: "Space: Above and Beyond"
Starring: Morgan Weisser, Kristen Cloke, Rodney Rowland, Joel de la Fuente, Lanei Chapman, James Morrison and Tucker Smallwood
Aired: On the FOX network, 1995-1996
DVD Release Date: November 8, 2005 [Amazon.com]
Stars: 3 3/4

Set in the tail end of 2064, and the beginning of 2065, the series is the story of five Marines during a war with an alien race. It starts with the five of them first entering the Corps and their training, sees the beginning of the war when an Earth colony is attacked, goes through the first eighteen months of the war, and was cancelled after the shows one season, creating a cliff-hanger of sorts (without us ever finding out what was supposed to happen with over half of the regular cast).



I loved this show when it first aired, and found myself fighting with FOX to make sure that I caught every episode (like other shows that I have loved, and which have aired on the FOX network, the dates and times when the episodes aired never seemed to be the same each week. It was as if, somehow knowing that I loved certain shows, the FOX execs seemed determined to make it impossible for the show to survive). And going through a rewatch of the series, I remember just how much I loved it ... and I loved it even more with the rewatch.

No, the writing wasn't always the best, nor was always the acting ... and there was an overall darkness that is reminiscent of "The X-Files", but don't let that make you wary about the show. The first third (or so) of the show was filled with episodes where it seemed as though the writers were trying to figure things out a bit concerning where they were going with the show as a whole, and with the characters themselves. But there is a marked difference once the writers seemed to figure out where they wanted to go, and immediately, everything seemed to get much better. I'll admit that even while loving the episodes that occurred after the direction seemed to have been found, I still also really enjoy the episodes from the beginning of the series.

The most intriguing character (Lt. Col. McQueen) in the series was not used nearly as much as he could have been, but he did get an entire episode devoted to him ("The Angriest Angel"), and that episode did a lot to further his character in the series. McQueen's presence (as well as that of Cooper Hawkes) also serves as an example of prejudice, and his dignity through it all makes him seem that much better of a man (even if the anger that Hawkes often portrays is completely understandable). McQueen and Hawkes are In Vitros (sometimes called "tanks" by those "natural borns"), people who are created and grown in labs, born at 18, getting a crash-course in life through the In Vitro schools, and are usually sent off to do the jobs that "natural borns" don't want to do (including going to war, which is what they were originally created to do).

It's sad that the series was cancelled just as it was starting to get its feet under it, since it would have been very interesting to see where the writers would have gone with it. Wang died in the finale, McQueen was sent back to Earth (having lost the lower half of his right leg in an explosion), and Vansen and Damphousse are last seen crashing onto a nearby planet. Only two of the main cast was left physically unscathed by the fight that happened in the final episode. From hints that may be found on the internet, there would have been a new commanding officer for the squad, with McQueen trying to come to terms with his injuries; and Vansen and Damphousse would most likely have been found and brought back. But if the series had been allowed to continue, who knows if any of these things would have actually happened, and what new directions the show may have taken. It would have been very nice to have seen what might have been.
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Kris

December 2011

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