Andromeda Sn 1 on Blu-ray

Monday, 24 June 2013 00:00
Posted in Blu-Ray
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Andromeda Season One comes to Blu-rayBased on source material by the father of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, Andromeda is a space-bound sci-fi series about a sentient starship and its crew’s mission to rebuild a galactic alliance. Developed by Robert Hewitt Wolfe (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Alphas), the show stars Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys) as Captain Dylan Hunt, a man frozen in time for 300 years on the edge of black hole.

When Hunt emerges from his temporal slumber, he realises all that he stood for has long since crumbled to dust in a terrible war, and chaos reigns. In an unsteady alliance with a small crew, the captain uses diplomacy and his much-prized warship to try to convince worlds to rejoin The Commonwealth, formerly a coalition of over a million planets. Against them stand countless self-interested, untrusting and often blood-thirsty civilisations.

When it was first broadcast, my impression is that Andromeda struggled to make its mark when judged against the huge fan-base of the more popular Star Trek franchises. Now, however, I feel the time is right for it to be reissued, especially in spruced-up high definition; space opera-style sci-fi series are very thin on the ground these days.

The crew of the Andromeda Ascendant (to use the ship’s full name) are a lively, colourful bunch. Hunt himself is stoic, strong and possesses boundless determination to succeed. His second in command is Beka Valentine (Lisa Ryder – “Jason X”), formerly a captain of her own salvage ship and a very headstrong woman. Seamus Harper (Gordon Michael Woolvett – “The Bride of Chucky”) is the cocky but brilliant engineer.

Trance Gemini (Laura Beltram – Ready or Not) is a bubbly, purple medic with more to her than meets the eye. On the other hand, Tyr Anasazi (Keith Hamilton Cobb – BeastMaster) is a devious, self-serving member of the Nietzchean ‘master race’ that caused the failure of The Commonwealth, and who prefers to shoot first and forget all about asking questions. Rev Bem (Brent Stait – “Final Destination 5”) is a fascinating combination of a priest and a Magog, a furry, bat-faced race that has slaughtered humanity and who somewhat gruesomely eat their prey.

Finally, we have the AI Andromeda herself (Lexa Doig – Continuum, CI5 – The New Professionals), able to appear as both a hologram and embody a robotic humanoid form built by Harper. Imagine a sexy, more caring combination of Zen and Orac from Blake’s 7!

The conflict and interplay between the members of the crew is one of the show’s strengths, especially early on when they are all finding their places onboard the spaceship. It could easily have become an annoying device to cause constant conflict but the writing keeps the drama interesting, and frequently both edgy and comedic. Tyr is an especially divisive and explosive character; like Avon in the previously-mentioned Blake’s 7 or Quark in DS9, he keeps you guessing about his schemes and intentions.

The action sequences are typically exciting and feature a good mixture of hand-to-hand and space combat, the latter rendered using CGI that looks a little primitive by the remake of Battlestar Galactica’s terms but is more refined than that seen in Babylon 5. The design of the Andromeda ship itself is distinctive and memorable.

The episodes include a good variety of plots, including tactical space battles with unknown foes, diplomatic missions that go awry, planet-based imprisonment and character drama with a time-travel twist. The writing is solid and well-paced, keeping the viewer guessing as to how each story will unravel, and making good use of the entire crew rather than overusing the same characters every week.

The new Blu-ray edition features good but not exceptional picture quality. In my view the visuals are closer to up-scaled DVD than true 1080p HD, but the picture is certainly better than standard DVD quality, with no compression, smoother edges and bolder colours.

I would not hesitate to recommend this series to space fans desperate for a fix. Other than the odd Trek movie and an episode of Doctor Who here and there set in space, they do not have much to sate their appetites, and Andromeda is honest, entertaining fodder founded on good story-telling , fun characters and decent special effects.

Special features include:

  • Alternate takes
  • Deleted scenes
  • Bloopers


Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda Season 1 (2000) is out now, courtesy of Revelation Films. The 6 disc (DVD) and 5 disc (Blu-ray) box sets have a running time of 906 minutes approx, carry a ‘15’ certificate and retail for £34.99 on DVD, £59.99 on Blu-ray, or less from

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