If there’s one thing about Star Trek that sometimes grates, it’s that everyone’s too damn perfect.
So it must have been somewhat cathartic for Gene Roddenberry to conceive something of a Federation-smasher in Andromeda – a show which sets up its own perfect civilisation, the Commonwealth, only to destroy it in the first act.
The self-appointed last hope of this utopia is Captain Dylan Hunt (Kevin Sorbo), who emerges from a convenient plot point 300 years after its fall. Through charisma and well-conditioned hair alone, he wins over the rag-tag group of misfits and mercenaries who found him frozen in time and together they form the new crew of the good ship Andromeda Ascendant, who will restore light and order to the galaxy.
It’s a cliché but decent enough frame-work to build a story on but the problem is that Andromeda falls into Star Trek: Voyager territory by playing it safe and not doing enough to develop its characters.
The name above the door carries a lot of weight but it’s obvious that Andromeda is made from a hodge-podge of ideas which weren’t quite there in terms of polish. It comes across as a kind of soap opera sci-fi with a bright colour palette and rather sketchily-drawn characters. Throw in some heroic music cues, a smattering of dodgy alien make up and a sexualised computer AI (Lexa Doig) and you’ve pretty much got the idea.
Laudably the writers did at least try to build a mythology to this world and a long-term plot thread.
Bringing back the Commonwealth and uniting the mismatched crew is a central theme to the first season, but with mixed results. For example first officer Beka Valentine (Lisa Ryder) starts out rather badass as a captain in her own right, but a few episodes in and the make up softens and she seems rather content playing second fiddle. It’s all very well-meaning but naive, rather like its lead character.
The effects have not dated well, making the show seem an awful lot older than it is. That said if you can get past the cliché dialogue, constant heroic posing from Mr Sorbo and inconsistencies in character you can sometimes laugh with Andromeda, not at it.