I watched the pilot episode in disbelief that anything could be so horrifically bad, by episode 4 though I was hooked and converted. The opening of the series is so amazingly poor it has to be seen to be believed – the acting, scripting, plot, science, fx, art design, costumes, hell even the stunts were terrible. However after a while they realise that the Grand Plan is so self-righteous and over the top that it’s best approached with a certain amount of sarcasm by the characters and that there’s scope for a rip-roaring adventure.
This is really taking sf back to the values of the original Star Trek, larger than life villains, noble hero, firefights and a small band of dedicated side-kicks dutifully following along while rolling their eyes. Many of the concepts have been done before and since, but they’re well handled here, particularly the sentient ship (very Banks) and the Nieztscheans (kinda anti-Klingons).
The crew itself is fun, if occasionally suffering from eratic appearances and character traits. The characters seem a little familiar now – Harper is a cross between Firefly’s Wash and Atlantis’ McKay, Tyr is Atlantis’ Ronan Dex and many of the other characters have startling aspects of Firefly about them (one even says “shiny!” early on). The effects and stunts remain pretty flaky throughout the season, as do the plots, but the episodes usually manage to be entertaining adventures.
DVD Special Features
The dvd collection I had included a marvellous 10 minutes of out-takes (it’s amazing they ever got anything done) and interesting collection of interviews from cast and crew. Kevin Sorbo’s interview clocked in at about episode length and talked about the characters and cast, and their interactions, nicely focusing on what makes the show fun.
There’s a lot of deleted scenes included and these were all deleted for good reason. Sorbo’s introductory comments to the episodes are funny solely because he’s hopeless at remembering what’s going on!