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Space: Above and Beyond - The Complete Series
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In this cult fan favorite, its the year 2063. After 150 years of deep space exploration, the people of Earth feel certain they are alone in the universe. Then word comes that two Earth outposts light-years away from home have been brutally attacked by an advanced alien civilization. Now the new young recruits of the United States Marine Corps Space Aviator Calvary are heading for the front lines of space in the toughest battle the world has even faced.
The science fiction series Space Above and Beyond, which enjoyed a brief run in the 1995-96 season, was created by X-Files producers Glen Morgan and James Wong as a revision of the classic war series Combat!. Set in the not-too-distant future, Space Above and Beyond follows the adventures of five inexperienced Marines of the 58th Squadron, who are involved in a war against the Chigs, a race of aliens bent on conquering the Earth. Morgan and Wong gave their main characters intriguing personalities--Nathan West (Morgan Weisser) has joined the Marines to save a girlfriend captured by the aliens, while Rodney Rowland's Cooper is an artificially created human whose service is inspired by a desire to escape the violent prejudice he faces on Earth. The action and stories are gritty and dramatic, and put a fresh spin on traditional wartime stories--highlights include "The Enemy," in which the 58th is stranded behind enemy lines; "Toy Soldiers," in which West's younger brother is serving under a dangerously reckless lieutenant; and the two-part "If They Lay Us Down to Rest " and "Tell Our Moms We Done Our Best," which brought the series to a close with the Earth on the verge of peace talks with the aliens as the military launches a perilous operation. Commentary by Morgan and Wong and the cast would have been welcome, especially if the plans for the unseen second season could've been revealed, but unfortunately, no supplemental features are included in this slickly produced, no-frills set. --Paul Gaita
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A lot of the special effects seem poor by today's standards, but please remember that this show came out a decade ago. What matters are the performances, which are very strong by everyone, and the scripts, which are intelligent and well-written. The creators/writers play around with the format of the show in ways that were years ahead of their time. Best episodes include "Choice or Chance," "Stay with the Dead," "Who Monitors the Birds?" "Toy Soldiers," "Sugar Dirt," and the finale "...Tell our Moms we Done our Best."
It's too bad Fox cancelled the show after one season, especially since the finale leaves a few major question marks, but there are 23 full episodes here, and the pilot is double-length. No commentaries or interviews, but there are some amusing TV spots, and the dearth of extras is most likely due to the series's age.
If you like the new Battlestar Galactica, give this a try. I still love this show.
There are comments and comparisons made in some of the other reviews about "Starship Troopers" being a better movie experience. However, it's important to point out that SAAB pre-dates that movie by two years. SAAB's acting is far superior and many of it's effects are on a par (excluding the 'bugs'), which is quite an acomplishment considering it happened on a TV budget.
I agree that there are definite similarities to WW2 programming (Hey! ... It was pitched to the network as a 'futuristic' version of the 1962 TV-Series 'Combat') and the apparent lack of other military forces in the episodes can make it seem like Marines have to do it all (...of course in Starship Troopers, I always found use of ground troops with machine guns against 1000's of bugs a stupidly futile tactic).
However, most of what this series is about is the people and how they deal with challenges, their belief in themselves and one another.
We've become spoiled in recent years with the huge increase in the quality of TV programs and the actors who work on them. Keep in mind that in 1995, the top programs were mostly comedies, and the few "fantasy" fare shows were somewhat 'campy'.
From an acting perspective... Looking at SAAB and today's crop of material in this genre I'd say SAAB is a step up on Stargate: Atlantis, but is a step behind the acting quality of the new Battlestar series. (I won't compare with SG-1 simply because there is a light-heartedness to that series that adds a whole extra dimension)
SAAB isn't really about aliens, or about action in space, or anything that is so easily related to "TV Sci-fi". It is about the drama of war; its effect on people, on both personal and larger levels. It's about reality, really. And, given that the series comes from the mid-90's, this is truly quite a remarkable feat. The special effects still live up to our expectations (especially after the first 5 or 6 episodes), and the characters truly, and I mean that, truly grown on you.
It's really interesting to see this show now, in a post 9/11 world. Again, way ahead of its time. You will know what I mean when you see it. ;)
A rare treat from a long, long time ago...
For those persons, such as myself that live for science fiction, this series may be of interest because I found the music fit the various scenes so axactly tears were almost a present factor for the music and scene.
Not worth the trouble to return. .
Most recent customer reviews
This series exceeded my expectations. It was to bad it only lasted a season.Published 5 months ago by RobertE. Graham
I remembered this series from the TV broadcasts. It is a bit hokey, but it hasn't aged too badly. Most of the stories are decent, and the characters are not totally 2-dimensional. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Carol
Who writes these product descriptions? 2 year-olds?
It's cavalry, not calvary for goodness' sake.
Small wonder it was cancelled so soon!
The Good: It's a Sci-Fi story.
The Bad: It gives a bad name to Sci-Fi stories. Read more