Yet another sci-fi selection I queued and FINALLY finished watching this morning. I say finally boldly but now that it is over and there was never a second season you are left hanging. As has been done on other Netflix selections, like Surface because the show was canceled after a single season. Regardless, I was rather pleased with the show, even though the first third of the season was slow going. It was interesting but for some reason I could just not get too excited about the show. I did give it 4 out of 5 stars, because the later episodes make up for a slow start to the season.
The show seemed to be a mix of Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek with a piece of Stargate SG:1 thrown in. The concepts of a fleet of battling warships (USS Saratoga for example) out in the universe fighting a galactic battle after loosing two colonies that departed Earth by unknown forces. These forces become apparent and are known as the “Chigs” though out the season. Very little information is provided on this race until well into the first season.
The 58th Squadron, known as “Wild Cards” are led by Shane Vansen (Kristen Cloke), Cooper Hawkes (Rodney Rowland) and Nathan West (Morgan Weisser). This squadron comes into their own after a rival and well known squadron is reduced to only their surviving commander, TC McQueen (James Morrison) who then takes over the 58th.
Overall the cast was unimpressive with most coming from a TV background but the lack of big names and an actor to really step forward and play the dominating role, I feel hurt the show. It was interesting to see the early interaction, as to who was going to step up one the squadron was formed. Vansen was a tough and gritty woman, who was out for revenge after the death of her parents at the hands of the A.I’s years before. Hawkes was an Invitro, born out of a tub at age 17 with only a facility and a batch number. Finally West, who originally was a colonist, separated prior to liftoff from his girlfriend, who always “believed in him.” All three were driven, but for different reasons.
In the end it would be Vansen who would step up to play a very dominate role in the show being promoted to Captain and taking control in many of the episodes. West continued to hold out hope his girlfriend was still alive after the colonies were destroyed. Hawkes, he became closer to McQueen, as both were Invitros but never really found what he was after.
After reading some previous reviews I don’t think I could classify S:AAB as a “sci-fi classic” as some have. It has the necessary parts from strong acting to the great use of CGI and plot lines, along with conspiracy. But it’s just too difficult to ascertain what could have been IF there was a follow up season. The later episodes were beginning to set the stage or the season finale and the start of a new season. Unfortunately, we will never know just what could have been.
There were some rather shocking events that culminated in the final two episodes that had me shaking my head and disbelief (which you should leave before watching this). Much of the show was predicable, you knew the 58th would make it through sometimes impossible situations only to return the next week (episode) for another harrowing adventure. But maybe that is what had me coming back each episode.
This sci-fi show could be considered more of a military drama that unfolds in the blackness of space. One interesting comment I read from another review was, “Of course the show was canceled and you can readily see this by the fact that around episodes 14-16 it goes from showing the war as being a long drawn out affair to we need to finish this in the next 10-8 episodes. Story lines are obviously cut out or shortened up. The reason the Aliens are fighting us, for example goes from what I’m sure was going to be a Season 4 or 5 reveal hits us around episode 20, and only gets a 4 line delivery.”
I guess this is the shortcomings of a show knowing it has no follow up season and writers are quickly revising plot lines and scripts trying to figure who will not make it though the next episode. I was sorry to see the finale episode and knew, hopelessly there was going to be no answers to the questions I had formed. Nonetheless, Space: Above and Beyond was a very well done show. I would definitely recommend it!