Space: Above and Beyond Review
”In space, no one can hear you scream.....unless it's the battle cry of the United States Marines”
This phrase is proudly placed on the back of the box and is also said by R. Lee Ermey, who plays the drill sergeant in the pilot episode which gives you kind of an idea of what to expect. I'll give you the box synopsis, which gives an idea but not really the essence of what the show is like.
It's 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 Cavalry are heading for the front lines of space in the toughest battle the world has ever faced. Thrust into an intergalactic war beyond imagination, these untested fighter pilots suddenly find themselves waging a life-and-death struggle to protect Earth and to save mankind from total annihilation.
As I said, this give you an idea, but it really sums up the pilot episode only. What then follows is a series focussing on these fighter pilots, The 58th Squadron aka The Wild Cards. They are an interesting group of individuals whom initially have issues with each other, but soon they band together although never quite dropping these struggles, from Hawks, the only In Vitroe (artificially grown human) to West, the one who was supposed to be a colonist, we have an interesting team dynamic, with plenty of tension between them. The war they are fighting is with the Chigs, a very powerful mysterious enemy, but as the show progresses, we soon find out more about the secrets of the war and meet the Sillicates aka AI's, whom are also a very real threat.
Acting wise, there's nothing to complain about, although we are talking complete unknowns here (well, for the time). Some of the actors, like Cloke, can be recognised from Millennium or Final Destination, but these happened after this show, but we also have some nice cameos, such as Ermey, David Duchovny and Doug Hutchison (Tooms from the X-Files), Martin Jarvis and the strangest one, Kimberly Patton aka Ashlyn Gere. There's nothing bad to say here, but for me, James Morrison as Lt. Col. McQueen is superb here and it's a shame I've not seen him in anything much since, although he's recently appeared in season 4 of “24” (although I've still yet to watch this!) He clearly outshines the other actors when on screen, but I guess that's because of their relative newness compared to him being quite a veteran. Because of the age of the show, the special effects look a little hokey, but as is the norm for the time, the studios never really invested too heavily, as is evident that they changed the title sequence 3 times during the whole run. It's a shame it only lasted one season, it really had some scope to progress and it's nothing like Star Trek, which is all nice and fluffy - this is much darker, grittier and is still good fun.