Andromeda
Also known asGene Roddenberry's Andromeda
GenreScience fiction
Action
Created byGene Roddenberry
Developed byRobert Hewitt Wolfe
Written byRobert Hewitt Wolfe
Starring
ComposerMatthew McCauley[1]
Country of origin
  • Canada
  • United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes110 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Allan Eastman
  • Majel Barrett
  • Jay Firestone
  • Adam Haight
  • Eric Gold
  • Kevin Sorbo
  • Robert Engels
Running time60 minutes
Production companies
Original release
Network
ReleaseOctober 2, 2000 (2000-10-02) –
May 13, 2005 (2005-05-13)

Andromeda (formally titled Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda) is a space opera television series, based on unused material by Gene Roddenberry, developed by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, and produced by Roddenberry's widow, Majel Barrett.[2] The series follows Kevin Sorbo as Captain Dylan Hunt of the Systems Commonwealth, an intergalactic government that presided over an extended period of peace and prosperity until its destruction from a rebellion led by the warmongering Nietzcheans and parasitic Magog. The series premiered on October 2, 2000, and ended on May 13, 2005.

Andromeda was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and produced by Andromeda Productions, Tribune Entertainment, Fireworks Entertainment[1] and MBR Productions.[3] In Canada, the show aired on Global Television Network (Fireworks' parent company) and ran in first-run broadcast syndication in the United States.

Andromeda is one of two television series (alongside Earth: Final Conflict) produced after Roddenberry's death based on concepts he had created as early as the 1960s and 1970s; Roddenberry died in 1991, nine years prior to the series premiere. The name Dylan Hunt had previously been used for the hero of two television pilots Roddenberry had produced in the mid-1970s – Genesis II and Planet Earth – all of which shared a similar dystopian post-apocalyptic premise.

Premise

Main article: List of Andromeda episodes

Thousands of years in the future, the Systems Commonwealth is a constitutional monarchy spanning the Milky Way, Triangulum, and Andromeda galaxies, with the capital of Tarn-Vedra near its core. The Commonwealth is at war with the Magog, a parasitic humanoid species spreading across the galaxies. Peace talks led the Commonwealth to cede a key world to the Magog, that of the Nietzscheans; in response, the Nietzscheans secretly attempted to usurp control of the Commonwealth.

Dylan Hunt is the captain of the Commonwealth starship Andromeda Ascendant. Its computer is a powerful artificial intelligence which Dylan has nicknamed "Andromeda" or "Rommie". Caught in a surprise attack in the first engagement of the Nietzschean uprising, the Andromeda is crippled, prompting Dylan to order the crew to evacuate. During the attack, Dylan's Nietzschean first officer, Gaheris Rhade, betrays Dylan and attempts to kill him. Dylan kills Gaheris as Andromeda is caught at the edge of the event horizon of a black hole, freezing both in time.

303 years later, in CY 10087 (approx 5167 AD), the Andromeda is pulled from the event horizon by the crew of the salvage ship Eureka Maru, captained by con-artist and expert pilot Beka Valentine, super-genius engineer Seamus Zelazny Harper, doctor and alien of unknown origin Trance Gemini, and pacifist Magog Rev Bem (the salvage crew's beneficiary also secretly brings Nietzschean mercenary Tyr Anasazi). The Systems Commonwealth has fallen, and the era known as The Long Night has begun. Hunt recruits the crew to join him in restoring the Systems Commonwealth and to "rekindle the light of civilization".

Characters

Season one cast

Main article: List of Andromeda characters

Andromeda universe

Slipstream

Slipstream is the primary mode of travel for ships in the Andromeda universe, and the only known method of traveling faster than the speed of light. The Vedran discovery of the slipstream was instrumental in the formation of their interstellar empire, which became the precursor of the Systems Commonwealth.

Slipstream cannot be navigated by AIs (they only have a 50% chance of choosing the correct path). Only organic pilots can "sense" a way to their destination (they have a 99% chance of choosing the correct path), and although AIs are fitted on all large ships, they always require an organic pilot for interstellar travel. It is implied that the process of choosing a path is what makes it the correct one.

A function of slipstream is that apparent objective velocities are extremely variable, as it enables travel across millions of light years seemingly as swiftly as traveling between neighboring stars only tens of light years apart. Further, slipstream is a non-linear method of travel; the fastest or safest way to slipstream between two points, though they might be in the same galaxy, may involve slipstreaming to another galaxy entirely. The more frequently used routes are often easier, faster and more predictable. Locations relatively nearby in ordinary space may be difficult or impossible to access via slipstream.

Systems Commonwealth

The Systems Commonwealth was a huge utopian civilization, spanning three major galaxies of the Local Group. It was founded by the Vedrans, the first race to discover slipstream, who initially used it to conquer the Andromeda Galaxy. After a long and bitter war of attrition with the major powers of the Triangulum Galaxy, the Vedran Empire was reorganized as the democratic Systems Commonwealth. The Commonwealth served as a peaceful intergalactic government for almost 10,000 years until the Nietzschean revolt.

Major star systems

Major races

Other races

Organizations

Production

Majel Barrett and Tribune Entertainment began developing series from Gene Roddenberry's archive in 1997. Robert Hewitt Wolfe was brought in to develop the series. Fireworks Entertainment was brought in to co-finance and for international distribution. In early 1999, actor Kevin Sorbo was recruited to star in the series while he starred in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Eric Gold, and Barrett were also to be executive producers and Wolfe as co-executive producer.[5] Bette Chadwick was in charge of casting, while visual effects were initially handled by Lost Boys Studios and Northwest Imaging & FX.[1] By September 9, 1999, Tribune had stations committed for two years in 24 of the top 30 markets with 22 Tribune and 38 Sinclair stations for a 60% national clearance giving the series a green light. The show was offered barter terms with an eight national/six local advertising split.[5]

The Andromeda theme music used in season one was composed by Alex Lifeson, guitarist for the Canadian progressive rock band Rush.

Andromeda's first episode was aired on syndication in the United States on October 2, 2000[1] while being carried on Global Television Network in Canada.[6] Tribune Broadcasting station signed on to carry the show in its first season. On January 20, 2002, Andromeda was renewed for two seasons, its third and fourth, having gotten two year deals with stations in 39 out the top 40 markets.[7] By January 31, 2003, the show was renewed for its fourth season, 2003–2004, in 148 markets representing 88% of the United States.[3] The show was averaging 2.2 rating for the 2002–2003 season, third behind Stargate SG-1.[8] For the 2003–2004 season, the show is one of only four first-run scripted series in syndication along with its Tribune stable mate, Mutant X.[9]

On January 14, 2004, the Sci-Fi Channel made a deal for the show and all its episodes plus fellow Tribune syndicated but discontinued show Beastmaster. In March, the cable channel would start showing season four episodes which would then be seen in syndication seven to ten days later. With the deal, the series was renewed for its fifth and final season.[10] The show began its run on Sci-Fi with a re-airing of the two-hour pilot episode.[11]

On April 23, 2004, CanWest Global Communications announced the closure of Fireworks Entertainment and placing Fireworks' library up for sale. With Fireworks being the primary production company, this was effectively the show's cancellation notice.[12] However, two of Fireworks' shows were shifted to fellow CanWest subsidiary Global Television. Tribune had ordered the show and Mutant X into production for the 2004–2005 season under the show's contract options. Fireworks Entertainment took Tribune to court to get an order releasing them from production and financing the two series.[13]

Robert Hewitt Wolfe's departure

During filming of season two, series developer and executive producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe announced he had been released from the show's production and was replaced by Bob Engels. The change was purportedly to make the show more episodic and open to casual viewing since Wolfe's version—although episodic—had many plotlines and story arcs.[14][15][16][17] After the show's final episode aired, Wolfe wrote and published a one-act play entitled "Coda" that explained his intended plans for the show without contradicting the aired episodes.[17] This play is now hosted on Drive Back the Night – An Andromeda Podcast.[18]

In discussion on his website's forums and various interviews, Wolfe has elaborated that he was released from the production staff after he refused to shift the show's focus more onto Kevin Sorbo's character, Dylan Hunt, by essentially making all of the show's episodes Hunt-centric.[19][20] The events of the episode "Ouroboros", the final episode written by Wolfe, introduced the last major changes that Wolfe was willing to make to the series.

Home media

By 2003, ADV Films had home video/DVD rights for the show in the USA.[21] The company released the entire series on DVD in region 1 between 2003 and 2006. In December 2003, ADV released Season 3, Collection 2.[22] On October 3, 2006, they released a complete series DVD box set known as Andromeda: The Slipstream Collection.

Alliance Home Entertainment (under license from CanWest Global Communications) has released all five seasons on DVD in Canada only.

In Region 2, Revelation Films has released the first four seasons on DVD in the United Kingdom.[23][24][25][26] The fifth and final season was released on November 24, 2014.[27]

On January 26, 2015, Revelation Films released a complete series set on DVD in the United Kingdom.[28]

In Region 4, Beyond Home Entertainment has released all five seasons on DVD in Australia. In 2007/2008, they re-released all five seasons in new collector's editions that featured new packaging and all episodes were digitally re-mastered in widescreen format.[29]

A region B Blu-ray release of the first season was released on June 24, 2013, in the United Kingdom, with the next two seasons following by the end of that year.[30]

The all-region Blu-ray release of the complete box set of all five seasons was released on September 19, 2016.[31]

Reception

The first season received mixed to negative reviews. Starburst described Andromeda as a "delightfully motley cast of characters, and the scripts by Wolfe and his writing team are brimming with witty interplay."[32] A mixed review from Variety says Andromeda "could offer a few campy laughs on a weekend afternoon".[33] In a retrospective, Digital Spy remarks "this show hasn't exactly aged that well... but if you remotely like sci-fi, we also bet you'll find yourself sucked into this nostalgia-fest in no time".[34]

Andromeda received negative reviews from the Los Angeles Times ("Don't expect much excitement... 'Andromeda' isn't intended to be taken too seriously, but that doesn't excuse its penchant for dopey dialogue"),[35] Entertainment Weekly ("After surviving a hilariously bad slow motion fight sequence.. Sorbo meets up with a band of misfit scavengers who may not be as bad as they seem, but make up for it by being twice as annoying"),[36] Common Sense Media ("this series lacks the spark that made Star Trek so much fun. The politics sometimes seem overly confusing, and some of the characters are thinly developed"),[37] SciFiNow ("It's a cliche but decent enough... but the problem is that Andromeda falls into Star Trek: Voyager territory by playing it safe and not doing enough to develop its characters")[38] and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ("it's kiddie-minded science-fiction with average special effects... and a set that was clearly built on a lower budget than the 'Star Trek' shows.").[39]

Awards

Andromeda was nominated for 39 awards at organizational events spanning the years 2001 to 2006. The nominations comprised six Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA awards, five Chicago International Film Festival awards, eight Gemini Awards, fifteen Leo Awards, and five WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival awards. The show won 18 of those awards.

Awards
Year Awards Category Nominee Episode Result
2001 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series Andromeda [40] Nominated
2001 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA Best Actor on Television Kevin Sorbo Nominated
2001 Gemini Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series Lisa Ryder Nominated
2001 Gemini Awards Best Visual Effects Bruce MacDougall, James Kawano, Geoff Anderson, Tom Tennisco, Joe Farrell, Jim Finn, Darren Marcoux, Roberto Biagi Nominated
2001 Leo Awards Best Musical Score of a Dramatic Series Matthew McCauley Music of a Distant Drum Won
2001 Leo Awards Best Visual Effects in a Dramatic Series Todd Liddiard Won
2001 Leo Awards Best Visual Effects of Dramatic Series Jim Finn, Roberto Biagi, Tom Tennisco, Geoff Anderson, Jamie Kawano, Paul Cox, Joe Farrell, Peter Mastalyr, Bruce MacDougall, Mladen Miholjcic, Noel Wright, Jean-Paul Ledoux The Mathematics of Tears Won
2001 Leo Awards Best Picture Editing of Dramatic Series Gordon Rempel Angel Dark, Demon Bright Nominated
2001 Leo Awards Editing, Dramatic Series Eric Hill Music of a Distant Drum Won
2001 WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival awards Television and Cable Production – Directing – Television David Winning The Banks of the Lethe[41] Won
2002 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series Andromeda Nominated
2002 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA Best Actress on Television Lexa Doig Nominated
2002 Gemini Awards Best Achievement in Make-Up Ryan Nicholson, Francesca von Zimmermann Won
2002 Gemini Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a Guest Role in a Dramatic Series Kristin Lehman Nominated
2002 Gemini Awards Best Photography in a Dramatic Program or Series Gordon Verheul Nominated
2002 Gemini Awards Best Visual Effects Geoff Anderson, Jim Finn, Roberto Biagi, Tom Tennisco Nominated
2002 Leo Awards Dramatic Series: Best Visual Effects Jim Finn Its Hour Come 'Round at Last Nominated
2002 WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival awards Television and Cable Production – Directing – Television David Winning Double or Nothingness Won
2002 WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival awards Television and Cable Production – Directing – Television David Winning Machinery of the Mind Won
2003 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series Andromeda Nominated
2003 Chicago International Film Festival awards Special Achievement in Direction David Winning A Heart for Falsehood Framed Won
2003 Gemini Awards Best Achievement in Make-Up Ryan Nicholson, Francesca von Zimmermann Nominated
2003 Leo Awards Dramatic Series: Best Visual Effects Jim Finn, Paul Cox, Todd Liddiard, Peter Mastalyr, Robert Appleby The Tunnel at the End of the Light Won
2003 Leo Awards Dramatic Series: Best Supporting Performance – Female Laura Bertram The Dark Backward Nominated
2004 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series Andromeda Nominated
2004 Chicago International Film Festival awards Best Dramatic Series David Winning Double or Nothingness Won
2004 Chicago International Film Festival awards Best Dramatic Series David Winning Machinery of the Mind Won
2004 Chicago International Film Festival awards Special Achievement in Direction David Winning Double or Nothingness Won
2004 Gemini Awards Best Visual Effects Bruce Turner, Peter Hunt, Simon Lacey, Grant Lindsay A Symmetry of Imperfection Won
2004 WorldFest Houston Television and Cable Production – TV Series – Dramatic David Winning A Heart For Falsehood Frame Won
2005 Chicago International Film Festival awards Special Achievement in Direction David Winning Double or Nothingness Won
2005 Leo Awards Dramatic Series: Best Make-Up Francesca von Zimmermann Moonlight Becomes You Nominated
2005 Leo Awards Dramatic Series: Best Overall Sound Jeff Jackman, Michael Thomas, Roger Morris, Gordon Anderson The Dissonant Interval Nominated
2005 Leo Awards Dramatic Series: Best Sound Editing Jeff Jackman, Chester Biolowas, Roger Morris The Dissonant Interval Nominated
2005 Leo Awards Dramatic Series: Best Visual Effects Bruce Turner, Simon Lacey, Lindsay Grant, Ben Funk, Nick Michaeleski The Dissonant Interval Nominated
2005 Leo Awards Dramatic Series: Best Visual Effects Bruce Turner, Simon Lacey, Lindsay Grant, Ben Funk, Nick Michaeleski Through a Glass Darkly Nominated
2005 WorldFest Houston Television and Cable Production – TV Series – Dramatic David Winning The Banks of the Lethe Won
2006 Leo Awards Best Sound Editing in a Dramatic Series Jeff Jackman, Chester Biolowas, Rick Senechal, Ian Mackie, Don Harrison Won
2006 Leo Awards Best Overall Sound in a Dramatic Series Paul Michael Thomas, Ken Biehl, Jeff Jackman, Gordon Anderson Nominated

References

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  2. ^ Lipper, Don (2000-11-01). "The Great Hen of the Galaxy Speaks". Space.com. Archived from the original on 2005-05-24. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
  3. ^ a b Oei, Lily (January 31, 2003). "'Andromeda,' 'X' renewed". Variety. Archived from the original on May 11, 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  4. ^ "Development Update: July 29". TheFutonCritic.com. July 29, 2004. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Pursell, Chris (September 9, 1999). "'Andromeda' clear for takeoff in 2000". Variety. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  6. ^ MacDonald, Gayle (June 6, 2001). "Global's lineup still Canada Lite". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
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  8. ^ Sullivan, Brian Ford (April 8, 2003). "Adventure Ends for Tribune's 'InC.'". TheFutonCritic.com. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  9. ^ Sullivan, Brian Ford (May 29, 2003). "Western International Renews Syndie Drama 'Starhunter'". TheFutonCritic.com. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
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  15. ^ Hewitt Wolfe Answers Fan Questions, SlipstreamNews, 2001-11-25, archived from the original on 2001-12-05
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  17. ^ a b Wolfe, Robert Hewitt, Insider Info, archived from the original on May 29, 2005
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  22. ^ Sullivan, Brian Ford (October 16, 2003). "'Roswell' to Reach DVD in February". TheFutonCritic.com. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
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  39. ^ "TV Reviews: Bad dialogue impairs two new WCWB Saturday series". old.post-gazette.com. Archived from the original on 2022-11-20. Retrieved 2022-11-20.
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  41. ^ "WorldFest Houston – Awards for 2001". WorldFest Houston. Archived from the original (XLS) on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.