If it’s Thursday, you know it’s time for a throwback. Today’s look at the great science fiction of the past is ‘Space Above and Beyond’.
For those of you who remember this show, who the heck are you? Supposedly the viewership was so low, it was cancelled…
It’s almost a common thing for science fiction shows, really. So many great shows cancelled before their time because of lower viewership. Or, let’s be frank, FOX, it’s because you either counter schedule against football, rearrange the episode airing order, or just simply keep changing the air date without telling anyone.
‘Space Above and Beyond’ is just one of many shows in sci-fi that had so much potential but was wasted due to poor marketing choices.
The premise is fairly simple for the show. After an attack on Earth’s first exo-system colony, it follows a group of marine cadets that become try to save our way of life as we know it from an unknown alien force. If it sounds a little ‘Starship Trooper‘, you’re not wrong… it’s similar, but without extreme military facism, and has far more likeable characters, though the cast is just as diverse.
But the strength really isn’t in the premise. It uses that backdrop instead to explore intense, and complex relationships of its characters in an Earth with a complicated history of new forms of racism against In Vitroes (people created in tanks who have no parents) and Silicates (artificial intelligence), which only feeds into the tensions of each character. We watch shows like ‘Leverage’ and movies like ‘Now You See Me’ for the team dynamic, and the setting is just a plus. That is what ‘Space: Above and Beyond’ is like.
Sadly, for every time the show feels more relevant today than when it was made (it deals with affirmative action almost right off the bat), you get dated special effects and the kind of sometimes questionable acting you expect from 90s television (and don’t forget 90s hair). While the characters are interesting, and the world they live is filled with so many details, the stories’ pacing and cheesiness can sometimes be turn offs.
Still, it is a truly great show. One I was happy to have been introduced to, even though it was twenty-one years later. I just wish that Fox would stop cancelling sci-fi shows after one season because scuttlebutt is that there were five seasons planned, I would love to know where this show was going.