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Feature: Andromeda

Love it or hate it…

Hands up all those who like Andromeda. Yes, Sorbo, we knew you would… ‘For drama, tension, intriguing characters and comic interludes inbetween, vote Andromeda or…
‘If I was one of a rag-tag crew of misfits with their own divergent personalities and agendas, I think I'd tell Hunt to go stuff himself’

For a Gene Roddenberry series, Andromeda is surprisingly low on feel-good elements. While an optimistic view of the future is fine, there's something that much more enjoyable and interesting about seeing things in ruins and one man fighting against the odds to reconstruct them. Thus we have the series' basic premise, and while the idea of someone imposing their worldview on an entire galaxy is faintly ludicrous, one of the best aspects of Andromeda is that Dylan's successes give hope that if we put our minds to it, we could create a better civilization.

One of the big Roddenberry tenets shown here is the old ‘infinite diversity in infinite combinations'. Through some effective scripting, each member of the crew has a good reason to be on board and their differences keep things fresh as they butt heads on how to best do something. Every now and again we are reminded of why certain characters stay around. While some are simply loyal to Dylan, others have their own agendas and believe these are best served by sticking by Captain Hunt.

Tyr, the obvious example, constantly questions orders and follows his own path, but with his Nietzschean Pride all but destroyed, he has come to the conclusion that he can regain power by using the Andromeda as a shield from his enemies. The other reason the characters work so well is their similarity to us in many cases: Harper frequently reacts the way we would...

Sometimes there are very good reasons why a person doesn't get to see their every idea come to fruition, even in the case of the great Gene Roddenberry. Would the idea for Andromeda even have been given a second glance without the name of the father of Star Trek attached to it? That said, there's clearly a common thread running between this series and Roddenberry's greatest franchise: his utopian ideal of a United States of Space, a galaxy-wide coalition bound together by tolerance, diversity, and superior guns. Here, it's called the Systems Commonwealth, but the real twist is that it collapsed a long time ago. This time, the dream starts out as just that, with Captain Hunt having to fight for the chance to reintroduce the concept to a disbelieving galaxy.

‘What?’ you might ask ‘On his own? The bloke from Hercules? But that's rubbish!’ Surely any fool would tell Captain Hunt like a shot that he ought to find something less dangerous and idealistic to do. Quite apart from the practicalites of setting up a galactic coalition on one's own (it's hard enough, generally, to start up a neighbourhood watch scheme), there's the vexed question of whether his ideas are right. Personally, if I'd been ruling a small planet for years and was suddenly faced with a proposal to join some pacifist coalition on the basis that they'd defend my interests if we all decided it was right to do so, I'd be sceptical at best...

What is actually to be welcomed about Andromeda is that it's bravely pursued an ambitious, interesting Space Opera format for the last few years: hardly a common occurrence. Tragically though, it's been outclassed on every front by Farscape.

by Paul Spragg (pro) / John Binns (anti)

Read the full range of Love It/Hate it features (on LEXX, E:FC, Voyager, The Prisoner...) in:
Cult Times Special #22

Tribune Entertaiment / Fireworks
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Cult Times Special #22, see below for ordering options
Cult Times Special #22
Love It/Hate It 2002
ships from Jun 6 2002
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