In the early 21st century, mankind has colonized the oceans. The United Earth Oceans Organization enlists Captain Nathan Bridger and the submarine seaQuest DSV to keep the peace and explore the last frontier on Earth.
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Neil Patrick Harris,
Jessica Tate's sharp-tongued former butler, Benson DuBois, moves up in the world, becoming first the governor's "director of household affairs," then the state's budget director, then lieutenant governor and candidate for the executive mansion.
By the mid-21st Century, humankind has colonized the oceans and formed the UEO--the United Earth Oceans--as a military organization to police it. Formerly a high-ranking member of the UEO, Nathan Bridger retired after the death of his wife, and retreated to an isolated island to study dolphins. An attempt is made to hijack the Seaquest DSV, the UEO's most powerful undersea vessel, and Nathan--its original designer--is convinced to return to active service, to assume command of it. His second in command is Cmdr. Jonathan Ford. In second season, the DSV added Dagwood, a prototype GELF (Genetically Engineered Life Form), Tony Piccolo, a man with surgically implanted gills, and Dr. Wendy Smith, a telepath/empath, to its crew of specialists. The series has New Age leanings, often presenting stories that deal with environmental issues or mix myth and mysticism--from ghosts to "gods"--into its science fiction. Written by
Marg Baskin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This thing is wrapped tighter than Krieg's wallet.
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Brief profiles of sea-life conservation programs and efforts were shown during the closing credits of the first two seasons. 'Bob Ballard (I)' , the show's scientific advisor, narrated the first season segments; during the second year, cast members did the narration. See more »
Has some charms, but it didn't live up to my fond memories.
I was a bit of a sci-fi nut growing up, so you can imagine the joy I experienced when sci-fi on the small screen made a strong resurgence in the early to mid 90s. Yep, those were the days, back when I found myself glued to the television, eagerly watching and awaiting the newest episodes of shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, The X-Files, Earth 2, Sliders, The Outer Limits, and NBC's Seaquest DSV.
Seaquest caught my attention for three particular reasons: the premise of an undersea world was immensely appealing, the series was being executive produced by none other than Steven Spielberg, and the star of the show was one of my favorite actors, Roy Scheider. With all these ingredients, I just knew this was going to be a sci-fi classic and given how undemanding a sci-fi fan I was back then, this show won me over from the start. Watching season 1 again, it's a bit tougher to imagine why I was so fond of this show in the first place.
Certainly, there's a handful of bright spots to be expected. Scheider, as always, does a great job of playing the fatherly authority figure/everyman role that I'm sure he's grown used to. The f/x and sets, very "90s" in look and style, were quite impressive for its time and are still passable enough today that they don't often distract the viewer. The series even occasionally delivered its share of high adventure and mild suspense. I also liked John Debney's main theme, which is actually kind of catchy.
But the series never came together like it should have. From the start, Seaquest was clearly aping ST: TNG, what with the UEO/Federation parallels, the captain/ship's doctor romance, and the brilliant but annoying teenager who served no other purpose than to draw in a younger demographic (even though Jonathan Brandis, RIP, was a better actor than Wil Wheaton, I still found Lucas far more irritating than Wesley Crusher).
This would all be perfectly forgivable if the show actually delivered on its fantastic premise. Unfortunately, Seaquest is cluttered with too much vanilla-bland writing and cheesy dialogue. Seemingly 3/4's of the episodes attempt to deliver an important "lesson," but this tends to come off as self-consciously heavy-handed and corny. The show was also clearly intended for a family audience, hence the mostly light tone and lack of any material that might come across as potentially offensive; this must almost be entirely attributed to Spielberg's presence, as I cannot imagine Rockne S. O'Bannon pandering to younger audiences.
Looking back at the first season's 23 episodes, I wouldn't say they're awful; in fact, I found most of them just plain and mediocre. The only one that stood out was Episode 4, entitled "Games," which managed to deliver sharp suspense for most of its duration, still unfortunately marred by a cheesy climax, which became a staple of the series. Of all the shows I mentioned above, this rests with Earth 2 as the worst of the bunch (TNG still the best, of course).
Is Seaquest a bad series? For the most part, yes, but I've got too much of a sci-fi slant to hate it. Anyone completely weaned on today's sci-fi shows (Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, Firefly, Stargate, Enterprise) aren't going to find much in Seaquest that would appeal to them. But those who grew up on early 90s sci-fi...well, you've undoubtedly seen this show enough times already to know if it's up your alley or not.
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