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When Dianne Duane was a Guest at a recent UK SF Convention, she was asked about her work on the novelisation of SeaQuest DSV. She and her husband (author Peter Morwood ) informed the audience that while they worked on that particular adaptation they flinched every time the fax machine beeped - because they knew it would be yet MORE rewrites for them to do! Believe it or not, that happened to them eight times a day for over two weeks!
When the show and the novelisation were eventually released, Dianne and Peter were often told how disjointed the script was, and how superior their version was - and little wonder, with so many rewrites and revisions to the original!
This pretty much sums up DSV - a show with no clear-cut concept behind it, no real idea of what it was or where it was going (until the 3rd Season, when it was cancelled half-way through).
The cast changed regularly - Stephanie Beecham dropped out after Season 1, and Roy Scheider only popped up a couple of times in Season 3. However, the actors who stayed around helped make the show worth watching. Pretty-boy Jonathan Brandis and the nerdish Ted Raimi had a certain charm - a pity the former has disappeared from our screens, while the latter is now known to fans of Xena: Warrior Princess as Joxer the Mighty.
Michael Ironside's role in Season 3 was typical of the typecasting he suffered - one only has to look at Starship Troopers to see how he made a career out of it.
The guest-stars became even more impressive in the final Season. In Season 2 we saw Mark Hamill, last seen in Wing Commander games - but Season 3 actually had Michael York as a recurring villain!
However, even with all the changes made in the 3rd Season, the series was still cancelled. That is a shame, especially when one considers the success of the vastly inferior Star Trek: Voyager series - but the legacy of SeaQuest's bumpy take-off was enough to drag it under, even at the end.
For a Rockne S. O'Bannon show, this is surprisingly good. Of course, anyone who has seen Farscape lately will not be surprised at all.
The episode starts when the crew discover one of the thermal regulator chips has blown out. This is a good excuse to show Stacey Haiduk in a skimpy, sweaty vest - even though the Captain is apparently unaffected by the heat. He orders that the crew evacuate the deck and double-bunk. Even the Captain has to let Lucas (Johnathan Brandis) bunk up with him.
The officers are desperate to get a replacement component. There is a nice piece of satire when they vid-phone the supply depot's Customer Service department. Instead they have to resort to a black-market salvage dealer called The Regulator. When he was a teenage genius, like Lucas, he developed a liquid-based aqualung - like the one used in The Abyss. In fact, at the end of the episode the technical advisor (Dr Bob Ballard) tells us that in RL experiments, one man breathed liquid for 45 minutes!
Stephanie Beecham pops up briefly.
SeaQuest is called to an underwater mining colony run by an unruly Aussie played by David McCallum (Man From UNCLE). McCallum is a bully who pushes around poor unfortunate miner David Morse ( Green Mile ), who must be ten inches taller and ten years younger!
Stacey Haiduk goes undercover as a sexy lounge singer, and we get a happy ending. SeaQuest removes Democracy and restores Capitalist Oppression.
Tim Russ ( Star Trek: VGR ) is a retro 1970s hacker dude with a dodgy pencil moustache. He recruits teenage hackers to help work on his Internex - they can chat with avatars, using voice-activated computers. Seth Green ( Buffy ) is another hacker, whom Lucas befriends. Of course, he is never seen again.
Lucas impresses everyone by playing 3-D Tetris. Of course, voting and banking are all done online. The plan is to use insanely powerful computers (user-interfaces!) to Make the world better. The morals are silly - SeaQuest is military, and its crew are killers.
The world is overjoyed with the success of the first manned mission to Mars. Meanwhile, Bridger (Roy Scheider - Jaws (1975) ) and Stephanie Beecham go SCUBA diving with Darwin the Dolphin. Bridger hates futurists, as he calls them - those who want to explore space instead of the oceans.
However, something goes wrong during the astronauts' re-entry into Earth's atmosphere. Bridger's boss (Richard Herd - V ) is ordered by the US President (an African-American) to recover the pod. Meanwhile the local ruler, the Montanyard President, orders his General (Aki Aleong - V ) to rescue the astronauts before Seaquest does.
SeaQuest has a skeleton crew. There is tension between D'Aquino and Franklin.
SWAT thugs hijack it - very stupid! The Government refuses to enforce its own laws against pollution. The Leader is an ex-UEO environmental officer, and Tim Kelleher ( Dark Skies ) is the nerd.
David Marciano and a crew get Magma Run. They dig for buried treasure, Bonet's treasure - the crown jewels of France, and Francis Bacon's plates. A buoy survives the Magma and they take it home.
Richard Herd ( V ) calls Bridger (Roy Scheider - Jaws (1975) ) to the Pentagon. Several UEO-allied ships (albeit illegal whalers) were blown out of the water by a submarine somewhere called the Irish Ocean, and Bridger is ordered to hunt down and destroy the vigilante. Further hypocrisy is blatant: beef is banned on the Seaquest, although the Generals at the Pentagon eat it all the time.
Seaquest is a search & rescue sub, but the Pentagon insists it is used as a hunter-killer in this mission. Yes, the US Navy has no killer subs of its own!!!
The vigilante is played by veteran bad-guy actor Johnathan Banks, though here he is given a quite sympathetic character. Of note, there is a cameo by Peter Deluise - who became a series regular in Season 2. Also, to put things in time perspective there is a reference to Bill Clinton's 72nd birthday.
The UEO top bureaucrats attend a top-level conference at a newly-opened underwater hotel resort. SeaQuest is on-site for security, and Lucas is guest-speaker at the conference. However, the bureaucrats mysteriously vanish - the only one who does not suspects it is the work of terrorists, and tries to put the UEO under martial law.
Bridger (Roy Scheider - Jaws (1975) ) and his boss (Richard Herd) organise a cover-up that would make the Russian Navy green with envy. Ted Raimi's character is good at CGI, which comes in very useful.
Was the idea of a change in UEO management a bad thing? The UEO is a pretty corrupt organisation - look at the Pentagon's treatment of its own rules about Beef and whale-hunting in a previous episode. Also, bear in mind that the third Season (set 25 years in the future) is set after the UEO collapsed and the world fell into anarchy ...
Bridger (Roy Scheider - Jaws (1975) ) sends token black guy Commander Ford to the bottom of the sea, testing a pressurized suit for work at extreme depths. The TBG thinks he sees a woman who can swim without a pressure suit or oxygen supply. Bridger assumes the TBG is suffering from pressure-induced psychosis, and gives him some shore leave. TBG heads to the nearest bar, and hopes the mermaid will walk in.
By incredible coincidence, the Little Mermaid swims ashore nearby to explore the world above. She goes into exactly the same bar as the TBG.
Rob Youngblood ( Space Precinct ) and another Merman pop up to retrieve the Little Mermaid. They have an anachronistic victorian-looking submarine, but instead of working for Captain Nemo they serve Abalon (Charlton Heston - ) - a scientist who has abandoned the ways of the surface world, but made incredible scientific advances of his own.
The episode's B-story is about Lucas ( ). Like Commander Ford he gets some shore leave and goes after a girl. In this case, he attends a conference on the phenomena of post-adolescence. In fact, the conference is more of a biology practical - a party for tweenage nerds. This is Lucas's big chance to lose his virginity. A girl he likes apparently likes him too, and she will be there. The question is is Lucas ready? Like in As Good As It Gets, when Jack Nicholson's character (a middle-aged man) is told by his love interest you're not ready. Whatever that means.
At the request of the Amazonia Confederation, a South American ally of the UEO, SeaQuest intercepts a hostile submarine. It turns out that the sub is filled with refugee street children who have been rescued by Dr Westphalen's daughter.
El Generalissimo (Luis Guzman - Bone Collector) demands that the kids be returned to his country. When Bridger (Roy Scheider - Jaws (1975) ) refuses, Guzman has his ships attack the minisub with the kids aboard, along with Stephanie Beacham, the token black guy and the token Oriental. The survivors sneak ashore and hide in the shanty town, but the police find their SCUBA gear and Guzman thinks Bridger sent a hit team.
The Oriental has a Chinese name, but states that his Grandfather was one of the Vietnamese boat people. Luckily for the others he is a martial arts expert and was raised in the country they are trapped in.
This episode simplifies an issue like the street children of Brazil. The children are the result of overpopulation, and they are the main cause of most street or petty crime in the country.
The SeaQuest is in Australia, and the day has been declared a national holiday to celebrate the opening of an underwater power plant run by Lucas' father. The SeaQuest crew get some much-deserved shore leave. Bridger (Roy Scheider - Jaws (1975) ) gambles with a pal of his, the Captain of an aircraft carrier, on the outcome of a game of beach volleyball between the two crews. Unfortunately we do not get to see Stacy Haiduk in a skimpy bikini, but you can't have anything - err, everything. Whatever.
As you can guess, something goes wrong at the power plant and the SeaQuest has to go in and save the day.
Bridger (Roy Scheider - Jaws (1975) ) is back on the Seaquest, with orders to take the sub out on a shakedown cruise. Lucas and the token black guy are still aboard, as is Ted Raimi. However, Stephanie Beecham has been replaced by a telekinetic doc chick. Stacy Haiduk 's replacement is Kathy Evison , a young woman who has brought Addison - her teddy-bear mascot whom she puts on top of her console for luck!
There are a couple of new crewmen, too. Michael DeLuise plays Piccolo, a physically modified convict who has been assigned to the Sub as an Ensign. Peter DeLuise plays Dagwood, a Genetically Engineered Life Form (GELF) who also becomes part of the crew.
While the main plot introduces the main cast, the B-story is about Dagwood's people. A colony of GELFs (actually a prison camp run by the UEO) revolts and holds the guards hostage. This sets things up for the second episode, which is SeaQuest's intervention.
This episode rips off the movie Sphere.
25. 2- 2 69704B 18 Sep 94 Daggers (2) 26. 2- 3 69702 25 Sep 94 The Fear That Follows 27. 2- 4 69701 2 Oct 94 Sympathy for the Deep 28. 2- 5 69710 9 Oct 94 Vapors 29. 2- 6 69703 23 Oct 94 Playtime 30. 2- 7 69708 13 Nov 94 The Sincerest Form of Flattery 31. 2- 8 69707 20 Nov 94 By Any Other Name 32. 2- 9 69706 27 Nov 94 When We Dead Awaken 33. 2-10 69711 11 Dec 94 Special Delivery 34. 2-11 69712 18 Dec 94 Dead End 35. 2-12 69705 8 Jan 95 Meltdown 36. 2-13 69714 15 Jan 95 Lostland 37. 2-14 69715 22 Jan 95 And Everthing Nice 38. 2-15 69713 19 Feb 95 Dream Weaver 39. 2-16 69717 26 Feb 95 Alone 40. 2-17 69716 5 Mar 95 Watergate 41. 2-18 69718 19 Mar 95 Something in the Air
Terminators with anti-tank handguns rescue the Dagger babe (who in RL married Kevin Sorbo - Hercules: The Legendary Journeys ). She teams up with a former child-prodigy who wants to eliminate SeaQuest so he can mine a mineral named trilium.
In the prologue we see Mark Hamill as a shape-changing alien. Then the sub gets abducted by aliens, to fight on a waterworld ...
Season 2 came to a fiery double-episode conclusion. Notable were the presence of Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and the ending of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The other guest star is Kent McCord, who reprises his role from Season 1.
Season 3 arrived - the submarine is now captained by Oliver Hudson (Michael Ironside - V: The Series, ). There is actually an attempt at a story arc this time; Hudson's mission is to generally make life difficult for Michael York's evil empire.
Ironside put on weight before he made this series - he certainly seems to be bulkier than when he went one on one with Schwartzenegger in Total Recall.
He lost weight in Starship Troopers - well, he lost limbs, anyway. :)
47. 3- 2 K0404 27 Sep 95 In the Company of Ice and Profit 48. 3- 3 K0406 11 Oct 95 Smoke on the Water 49. 3- 4 K0407 18 Oct 95 Destination Terminal
The UEO nukes Macronesia (the Philippines) from a secret base in the Marianas trench. This was the First-Strike option, which makes the UEO untrustworthy. A Brock Peters type plays the Colonel Kurtz character. His second-in-command is a Latino babe, like someone in a James Cameron Film.
The babe is arrested and sentenced by Macronesia. Michael York is evil for no reason. A token good Macronesian sacrifices himself for her. He does not even get to have sex with her.
Seaquest discovers an area that has been infected with a biological organism that kills all marine life. It turns out that the organism was created by Seaquest twelve years previously. A fleet of Environmentalist submarines prevents SeaQuest from interfering further - and the Environmentalists are led by Nathan Bridger (Roy Scheider - Jaws (1975) )! The real conflict is not between the Captains, Bridger and Hudson, but between the scientists - Bridger and Lucas.
It turns out that having a submarine with bio-skin was not a good idea. We finally get to meet SeaQuest's medical officer, an African-American woman.
Jonathan Banks turns up to reprise his role from Season 1.
A scientist confesses that one of his secret labs was not destroyed. Now the island it is on has been handed over to Macronesia, and the UEO must destroy the proof before the Macronesians can locate and weaponise it. Nathan Bridger (Roy Scheider - Jaws (1975) ) is put in charge of the mission.
Once the SeaQuest has gotten him to the island, Bridger takes a mini-sub to the secret underwater entrance. His Away team is Lucas (Jonathan Brandis), Ford and Dagwood the big Gelf. It turns out that Ford used to be a guard there, while the big Gelf was one of the inmates. Yes, the lab was used for medical research on genetically modified subjects.
This is a nice allegory for historical atrocities, as Ford has to come to terms with the inhumanity that he was formerly a part of. Racism is also touched upon, as Dagwood turns against his pale-skinned friends. The Gelfs are visibly distinct from regular humans, because of their camouflage-impregnated skin, and now that difference in skin colour is all Dagwood can see. He associates all humans with the mis-deeds of a few. The moral being that identity politics is a bad thing.
Michael Ironside ( V: The Series ) is left in charge of the SeaQuest itself. Unfortunately the massive submarine is hard to conceal against Macronesian probes, so he must use whatever he can to prevent discover. After all, by illegally crossing an international border they have committed an act of war.
This is the obligatory Time Travel episode - last season the DSV was travelling to the stars with Mark Skywalker Hamill, and this time it's going back to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The only thing about this episode that really stands out (apart from the main storyline, which is the kind of thing this Season was meant to be AVOIDING) is the final scene - where Pretty-Boy Brandis meets up with his 1960s GF (now an OAP at a retirement home). Something about this scene, the romance with overtones of lost youth, made this reviewer think of the Gloria Stuart scenes in Titanic - themselves based on Somewhere in Time .
The UEO charter is up for renewal. Michael York wants to remove the UEO. Hudson and the MegaCorp CEO are now on the same side.
The babe Evison teaches Piccolo to read - he is dyslexic.
This story is set after the trans-pacific railway episode. There are recurring villains, plot arcs and even some character development!
This week's episode is centred around Ted Raimi - it has to be said, he deserved a better fate than becoming Joxer the Mighty.
Our Joxer, like poor Willow in Buffy [Season 1] , is foolish enough to indulge in an on-line relationship. Shock, horror!