Space: Above and Beyond
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The Earth is embroiled in a desperate war against alien invaders, and this series focuses on one squadron of Marine pilots involved in it.
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|Space: Above and Beyond|
|Theme music composer||Shirley Walker|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||23 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Audio format||Dolby Surround|
|Original release||September 24, 1995 (1995-09-24) – June 2, 1996 (1996-06-02)|
Space: Above and Beyond is an American science fiction television show on the FOX Network, created and written by Glen Morgan and James Wong. Originally planned for five seasons, it ran only for the single 1995–1996 season, due to low ratings. It was nominated for two Emmy Awards and one Saturn Award. It was ranked "50" in IGN's top 50 Sci-Fi TV Shows, described as "yet another sci-fi show that went before its time".
Set in the years 2063–2064, the show focuses on the "Wildcards", members of the United States Marine Corps Space Aviator Cavalry, 58th Squadron. They are stationed on the space carrier USS Saratoga, and act as infantry and pilots of SA-43 Endo/Exo-Atmospheric Attack Jet ("Hammerhead") fighters.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Episodes
- 3 Cast and characters
- 4 Production
- 5 International broadcasts
- 6 Other media
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In the years leading up to 2063, humanity has begun to colonize other planets. Lacking FTL technology, this is accomplished by taking advantage of transient but predictable, naturally occurring wormholes. Without warning, a previously unknown alien species, the "Chigs", attack and destroy Earth's first extra-solar colony and then destroy a second colony ship. The bulk of the Earth military forces sent to confront the Chigs are destroyed or outflanked, in part because the Chigs have some form of FTL, affording them greater freedom of movement (although this technology appears limited, and the Chigs also primarily utilize natural wormholes).
At the opening of the show, the Chigs have defeated all counterattacks, and have entered the Solar System. In desperation, unproven and under-trained outfits like the 58th "Wildcards" are thrown against the Chigs. The Wildcards are the central focus of the series, which follows them as they grow from untried cadets into veterans. Although the unified Earth forces come under the control of a reformed United Nations, the UN has no formal armed forces of its own and therefore navies such as the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy operate interstellar starships.
Prior to the events of the show, there was a war between humans and android artificial intelligences known as Silicates. These human-looking androids, referred to as "walking personal computers", have rebelled, formed their own societies, and wage a guerrilla war against human society from a number of remote bases. The Silicates are also suspected of having some involvement with the Chigs.
In an attempt to defeat the Silicates, a new underclass of genetically engineered and artificially gestated humans were bred to quickly swell the ranks of the military. These troops, collectively known as In Vitroes or sometimes, derogatorily, "tanks" or "nipple-necks", are born at the physical age of 18, and trained solely for combat. In the post-war period the tanks have attempted (with mixed success) to re-enter human society.
Space: Above and Beyond connects episodes through several prominent story arcs beside that of the main arc, the Chig War. In an approximated descending order of significance, these are:
Chig War (2063–)
The Chig War, taking place six years after the A.I. War (2047–2057), represents a major setback for human space exploration. In the first half of the season, and up to approximately episode 1.16, the Chig War progressed rather grimly for humanity (e.g. episodes 1.09, 1.15), but with superior military strategies, covert operations and disinformation (episodes 1.13, 1.21), the humans are able to gain an upper hand and are able to launch major offensives (episodes 1.22, 1.23), although neither the War nor the story arc concludes at the end of the series.
With the Chig War as the main story arc of the series, Space: Above and Beyond probes human emotion in extreme desperation and conflict. The important motifs presented in this story arc can be found in a variety of war dramas: loyalty, courage, and the significance of individual actions.
As artificially gestated humans, the In Vitroes do not share social equality with the so-called "naturally born". Literally removed ("born") from their individual gestation tanks at physical age of eighteen, they are educated swiftly and harshly to enable them to enter society with at least a nominal idea of how to comport themselves. They are derisively termed "tanks" by regular humans, which seems to be a double entendre, describing not only their method of birth but also their physical toughness, which is always greater than "naturals", and the disposable nature of them, the first to come in battle, the "tanks" that open the way for the infantry.
Unfortunately, due to their limited amount of emotional development, their deployment in the AI War as troops was not as successful as the pioneers of the In Vitro program nor the military would have liked, as the In Vitro battalions had no emotional connection beyond the most basic to their country, planet or even race; this led to their racial reputation as "lazy" and "not caring for anything or anyone" (episode 1.01/1.02), which contributed to the prejudice against them from "naturals". In Vitroes also seem to refer to themselves as "tanks" amongst themselves. Before its abolition, they were subject to indentured servitude (episode 1.05), and there is still considerable racial segregation and resentment by normal humans (e.g. episodes 1.01, 1.06), and governmental abuse for morally dubious purposes (episode 1.13). Two main characters, Cooper Hawkes and T. C. McQueen, have to face all the ramifications of such a society from their perspective as In Vitroes.
This repeating theme explores topics such as racism and prejudice in a society, and also freedom. It differs from other story arcs in its complexity in the form of a division into two substories. One is presented as historical narration by the characters (e.g. episodes 1.05, 1.18) or flashbacks (episode 1.13); the second occurs in the present, with the experiences of Cooper Hawkes and T. C. McQueen, including a subtle substory of the shifting relationship between Nathan West and a maturing Hawkes (e.g. episodes 1.07, 1.11).
The Silicates, or AI rebels, stole military spacecraft at the end of the AI War and went into space (episode 1.04). During the Chig War, Silicates collaborate with the Chigs, acting as mercenaries (episodes 1.04, 1.16, 1.19) and operating Chig mining and prison facilities (episode 1.10). There is a sub-story, Paul Wang and Elroy EL, in which Paul Wang must deal with the fact that under torture, he falsely confessed to having committed war crimes (episodes 1.10, 1.16, 1.19).
The Silicates also provided an important part of the background story for Vansen, having killed her parents in front of her when she was a child. This became a major psychological hurdle for her to overcome and showed her growth over the series as the race which caused her childhood nightmares reemerged from the dark of space.
Aero-Tech and the UN
The dark Aero-Tech and UN story arcs inject elements of conspiracy and high-level cover-up. Aero-Tech, founded in 2015 (episode 1.24), appears to be a monopolistic aerospace and defense supplier. It is connected with the UN by Aero-Tech's clearly evident political power, both with the UN (with a former Aero-Tech director becoming the United Nations Secretary-General in episode 1.06) and with the armed forces, as evidenced by its control over advanced technologies (episodes 1.03, 1.10, 1.16).
It is also suspected that Aero-Tech was aware of the Chigs before the rest of humanity, and deliberately endangered the Vesta and Tellus colonists (episodes 1.06, 1.24). Aero-Tech further gathers, uses or withholds key strategic information in pursuit of its own corporate agenda (e.g. episodes 1.03, 1.09, 1.10, 1.16).
The Aero-Tech and the UN story arc explores topics such as power, intrigue, politics, the military-industrial complex and perhaps to some degree also the ethics of science in the service of military and corporate interests and moral responsibility.
Other topics explored
Beside the story arcs described above, there are 5 "disconnected" episodes not used to carry on any of the story arcs beside the overall Chig War story arc. These are episodes 1.05, 1.07, 1.11, 1.14, and 1.20. Some of the episodes have a less prominent motif, while others explored topics outside any of the main story arcs. Yet other topics also have been explored in episodes related to a story arc. Examples of these additional topics are: fear and revenge (episode 1.04), loss and sacrifice (episodes 1.06, 1.11), subconscious fears (episode 1.07), parapsychological abilities and responsibility (episode 1.14), drug addictions (episode 1.20), desperation and hope (episodes 1.13, 1.22). Beside the story arcs, several episodes also explore other private relationships of the characters in war time (e.g. episodes 1.05, 1.15, 1.18).
The final episode ends in a cliffhanger, with T. C. McQueen badly injured and most of the major cast apparently killed or missing in action, with only Cooper Hawkes and Nathan West remaining. Yet with Earth in a much stronger strategic position, there is hope despite the losses and sacrifices. These closing elements of the plot were written at a point when the producers knew that the show was likely to be cancelled.
|No.||Title||Directed by ||Written by||Original air date||Prod.
|David Nutter||Glen Morgan & James Wong||September 24, 1995 (1995-09-24)||N/A|
A human colony 16 light-years away is attacked and destroyed by an unknown alien force (the Chigs) while a group of youngsters enlist in the United States Marine Corps. While they train to become aviators, war is declared and human military forces suffer several costly defeats. The recruits are sent on a routine training mission.
Captured enemy information reveals the battle plans of the alien attackers. The half-trained 58th the Wild Cards squadron, based upon the space carrier USS Saratoga is deployed to the far rear. However not everything is as it seems and the inexperienced 58th are suddenly thrown into a desperate battle.Note: Aired as 2-hour movie.
|02||"The Farthest Man from Home"||David Nutter||Glen Morgan & James Wong||October 1, 1995 (1995-10-01)||3S01|
|The Space carrier USS Saratoga passes close to the planet Tellus where human colonists were ambushed. Hoping that his missing girlfriend Kylen somehow survived, West goes AWOL with a hammerhead and flies down to the planet.|
|03||"The Dark Side of the Sun"||Charles Martin Smith||Glen Morgan & James Wong||October 8, 1995 (1995-10-08)||3S02|
|The Wild Cards are sent to secure a major fuel ore mining facility, only to find it in the hands of enemy A.I. Silicates.|
|04||"Mutiny"||Stephen Cragg||Stephen Zito||October 15, 1995 (1995-10-15)||3S03|
|The 58th travel upon a civilian cargo hauler. The ship is attacked and the captain decides to sacrifice part of his In Vitro cargo in order to save his ship. A mutiny forces Hawkes and McQueen, both In Vitroes, to make a difficult decision.|
|05||"Ray Butts"||Charles Martin Smith||Glen Morgan & James Wong||October 22, 1995 (1995-10-22)||3S04|
|A mysterious colonel arrives unexpectedly on the USS Saratoga. Recruiting the Wild Cards for a classified mission, he changes the mission's objective as soon as they're behind enemy lines.|
|06||"Eyes"||Felix Alcala||Glen Morgan & James Wong||November 5, 1995 (1995-11-05)||3S06|
|The Secretary-General of the United Nations is assassinated by an In Vitro. The UN assembly decides to gather upon the USS Saratoga to choose a replacement, while a mandatory loyalty test (influenced by the Voight-Kampff test in Blade Runner) is imposed upon all In Vitroes in the military, including Colonel McQueen and Cooper Hawkes. Meanwhile, West is informed that high-ranking UN officials knew about the alien threat before the colonists were sent to the Vesta colony.|
|07||"The Enemy"||Michael Katleman||Marilyn Osborn||November 12, 1995 (1995-11-12)||3S05|
|While escorting military supplies to the contested planet Tartarus, the 58th become victims of a Chig mind-altering weapon. Unable to control their innermost fears, they begin to turn on each other.|
|08||"Hostile Visit"||Thomas J. Wright||Peyton Webb||November 19, 1995 (1995-11-19)||3S07|
The USS Saratoga captures a Chig bomber and McQueen suggests that they use the vessel as a Trojan Horse. The plan is to attack the aliens' homeworld in order to raise troop morale - a plan that goes horribly wrong.Note: Part 1 of 2.
|09||"Choice or Chance"||Felix Alcala||Doc Johnson||November 26, 1995 (1995-11-26)||3S08|
The 58th crash-land on a moon deep inside enemy territory and Wang, West, Vansen and Damphousse are captured by Silicates while Cooper and McQueen manage to flee and evade capture. Wang is tortured and broken by a ruthless Silicate while West discovers that Kylen is among other prisoners. A Silicate decides that either Vansen or Damphouse will die and leaves the choice up to them. The Wild Cards attempt to escape.Note: Part 2 of 2.
|10||"Stay with the Dead"||Thomas J. Wright||Matt Kiene & Joe Reinkenmeyer||December 3, 1995 (1995-12-03)||3S09|
|Suffering a brain concussion, West is rescued among the corpses of several US marines. His incoherent ravings that the 58th are still alive are dismissed due to an earlier transmission in which West stated that all his comrades are dead.|
|11||"The River of Stars"||Tucker Gates||Marilyn Osborn||December 17, 1995 (1995-12-17)||3S10|
|When the 58th are trapped inside a damaged space APC stranded deep inside enemy territory on Christmas day, they receive a cryptic transmission which tells them how to "hitch a ride" back to safety upon an incoming comet's orbit.|
|12||"Who Monitors the Birds?"||Winrich Kolbe||Glen Morgan & James Wong||January 7, 1996 (1996-01-07)||3S11|
|Undertaking a covert assassination operation in exchange for an honorable discharge, Cooper Hawkes is wounded while his team member is killed. All alone inside enemy territory he struggles to stay alive and is haunted by visions of death trying to seduce him in the incarnation of Shane Vansen. He remembers his past In Vitro education and how he was scheduled to be terminated because he asked too many questions.|
|13||"Level of Necessity"||Thomas J. Wright||Matt Kiene & Joe Reinkenmeyer||January 14, 1996 (1996-01-14)||3S12|
|After experiencing an anomalous precognition which saved the lives of the 58th, Damphousse is investigated by a colonel in charge of the Psi Corps. The colonel is convinced that she possesses psychic powers and deduces that only true mortal danger activates Damphousse's precognition. Therefore he joins the 58th in a very dangerous mission.|
|14||"Never No More"||James Charleston||Glen Morgan & James Wong||February 4, 1996 (1996-02-04)||3S13|
Several fighter squadrons gather upon the USS Saratoga in preparation for a rumoured future offensive. Vansen meets a former boyfriend, who is now the captain of the 35th the Faithful squadron. A single enemy fighter ace, nicknamed Chiggy von Richthofen, is rumoured to be hunting and destroying entire squadrons. The brass decides that all knowledge about Chiggy von Richthofen has to be suppressed and officially denied by all high-ranking officers for the sake of morale. A spy satellite has to be deployed for the planned invasion; the 35th gets the assignment and Vansen decides to transfer towards it. McQueen, risking a court-martial, gives her a warning to be extremely cautious.Note: Part 1 of 2.
|15||"The Angriest Angel"||Henri Safran||Glen Morgan & James Wong||February 11, 1996 (1996-02-11)||3S14|
A plan to trap and destroy Chiggy von Richthofen, who pilots a prototype stealth space fighter, fails. Colonel T. C. McQueen, a survivor of the destroyed elite 127th the Angry Angels squadron, prepares himself to search, find and engage the enemy ace.Note: Part 2 of 2.
|16||"Toy Soldiers"||Stephen Posey||Marilyn Osborn||February 18, 1996 (1996-02-18)||3S15|
|West is upset when his younger brother, who has joined the Marines, arrives upon the USS Saratoga under the command of an inexperienced and foolish gung-ho lieutenant.|
|17||"Dear Earth"||Winrich Kolbe||Richard Whitley||March 3, 1996 (1996-03-03)||3S16|
|The members of the 58th receive letters from home, some with good news, some with bad, while McQueen and Cooper are ordered to cooperate in a TV documentary about In Vitroes serving in the United States Marine Corps.|
|18||"Pearly"||Charles Martin Smith||Richard Whitley||March 24, 1996 (1996-03-24)||3S18|
|On a planet overrun with Chigs, the 58th retreat with a tank driver of the US 7th Cavalry upon a tank named "Pearly". They encounter the eccentric Major Cyril MacKendrick, sole survivor of a battalion of the British Coldstream Guards. Wang encounters a Silicate of the same model that previously tortured him.|
|19||"R&R"||Thomas J. Wright||Jule Selbo||April 12, 1996 (1996-04-12)||3S19|
|The exhausted Wild Cards are granted R&R aboard the Bacchus, a pleasure ship where it's said anything can, and does, happen.|
|20||"Stardust"||Jesus Trevino||Howard Grigsby||April 19, 1996 (1996-04-19)||3S20|
|A mysterious group of extremely high-ranking officers disembark on the Saratoga and the 58th are ordered to escort an unresponsive space APC. The mysterious APC suddenly locks on their Hammerheads and opens fire.|
|21||"Sugar Dirt"||Thomas J. Wright||Matt Kiene & Joe Reinkenmeyer||April 20, 1996 (1996-04-20)||3S17|
|A planetary invasion by Earth military forces is ambushed and turns into a military disaster. There is no air support and no ground reinforcement as the supporting fleet, among it the USS Saratoga, is forced to abandon 25,000 stranded marines in order to launch another assault, which could ultimately save millions of lives, upon a more strategic planet. Before departing, Commodore Ross issues instructions: "You're strongly encouraged, but not ordered to do so, to keep engaging the enemy. If however the situation becomes untenable you're authorized to surrender. Semper fidelis.". Among the scattered, abandoned and demoralized marines are the 58th, struggling to survive.|
|22||"And If They Lay Us Down to Rest ..."||Vern Gillum||Glen Morgan & James Wong||May 26, 1996 (1996-05-26)||3S21|
|The Wild Cards land on the moon of the Chig's home planet and encounter an extraterrestrial creature which may be an entirely different life form or an unarmoured Chig. Soon afterwards the enemy proposes a truce.|
|23||"... Tell Our Moms We Done Our Best"||Thomas J. Wright||Glen Morgan & James Wong||June 2, 1996 (1996-06-02)||3S22|
|While peace talks on the USS Saratoga go awry, the disgraced 58th are sent to retrieve POWs trapped in a crippled Space APC. Several enemy space fighters attack and the 58th take heavy losses. It is discovered the Chigs are only offering peace because they know Earth's military will defeat them.|
Cast and characters
Main: 58th Squadron aka Wildcards
- Kristen Cloke — Capt. Shane Vansen (USMC), callsign first episodes "Ace of Diamonds", later changed to "Queen of Diamonds". The eldest of three daughters, Vansen was born to two career Marines. Her parents were executed at the hands of a patrol of Silicates during the A.I. War (she would later discover on interrogating a Silicate that her home was invaded and her parents killed as she and her sisters watched due to a coin toss (the Silicates adhering to their doctrine of "Take a chance"). (Ep1.04) She joined the Marine Corps to honor their memories, and with ambitions to be one of the elite of the 127th Squadron, the "Angry Angels". A natural leader, solid tactician and outstanding pilot, she was quickly chosen by her peers to be in command of her squadron in the early days of the Chig war, (ep1.02) and this choice was reflected in her being selected as 'honcho' by her superiors in missions thereafter. (ep1.04) During the war, she would repeatedly encounter the Silicates, and would demonstrate a cool head under pressure even when facing these nightmares of her childhood. (ep1.04, 1.06, 1.08,1.09) Reflecting her war record (having been wounded several times in combat, receiving repeated citations for achievement in battle as well as the continued respect of her peers and superiors), 1st Lt. Vansen was promoted to Captain in late 2063. (ep 1.17) She was close friends with all of her squadron, subconsciously slipping into the 'big sister' role that she had been denied as she and her sisters had drifted apart in the aftermath of their parents' deaths.
- Morgan Weisser — 1st Lt. Nathan West (USMC), callsign "King of Hearts", Hammerhead dubbed "Above and Beyond" (ep. 1.01). Arguably the heart of the 58th Squadron, Nathan West had never intended to become a Marine. His choice or career and by definition, lifestyle had been in the Tellus Colony program. He and his girlfriend, Kylen Celina had worked long and hard to be selected for the program, with the kind of strong moral conviction of the truly adventurous. They had also been long-standing advocates of In Vitro rights. On the eve of their mission to colonise Tellus, they were advised that one of them was being summarily replaced by an In Vitro, a political decision that had ironically robbed them of their dream. Although Nathan tried to stow away, he was unsuccessful, and was removed from the transport. Kylen stayed on, handing a photo of them together, with a recorded message of "I believe in you" to Nathan. He watched as Kylen and his life flew away. Having been advised that a USMC sentry might be stationed at Tellus, he joined the Marine Corps, and was halfway through training when the news arrived that the Vesta & Tellus colonies had been preemptively attacked by the extraterrestrial species that came to be known as the "Chigs". After undergoing Accelerated Training, he and the rest of the nascent 58th Squadron participated in the "Battle of the Belt"; the Earth forces' first victory against the enemy. 1st Lt. West was credited with six confirmed kills in this space battle. Along with the other members of his Squadron, he was awarded a prestigious medal for this decisive victory. (ep.1.01/1.02)
- Rodney Rowland — 1st Lt. Cooper Hawkes (USMC, In Vitro), callsign "Jack of Spades", Hammerhead dubbed "Pag's Payback". (ep. 1.01) After being scheduled to be "erased" for asking a single question about freedom, Hawkes subdued one of his monitors and killed him in retaliation. Escaping the In Vitro training facility in Philadelphia, Hawkes lived on the streets until being arrested while chasing an In Vitro racist who had tried to hang him. The judge ordered him to the Marines, where he found the only people he ever cared about: The Wild Cards. He bonded especially with his fellow soldier Mike "Pags" Pagodin, who was K.I.A in the early stages of the conflict with the Chigs; and Lt. Col. "T.C." McQueen, who became a father figure to him.
- Joel de la Fuente — 1st Lt. Paul Wang (USMC), callsign "Joker". After growing up in poverty in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois, Wang enlists and is assigned to the Wildcards. He was especially known for his sense of humor, attachment to the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, and his budding romance with Lt. Stroud (played by Melissa Bowen, who later married Joel de la Fuente) and squadmate Vanessa Damphousse.
- Lanei Chapman — 1st Lt. Vanessa Damphousse (USMC), callsign "Ace of Hearts". Originally from Upstate New York, Damphousse graduated from Caltech with a degree in nuclear physics. She functions as the squad's technical expert. She is in a relationship with a previously married man, who is later revealed to have left her for her best friend. She is close to Paul Wang, with whom she becomes romantically involved over the course of the series.
- James Morrison — Lt. Col. Tyrus Cassius "T. C." McQueen (USMC, In Vitro) callsign "Queen 6". McQueen is the commander who leads the 58th. Prior to assuming this position, McQueen has commanded the 127th squadron, the Angry Angels; the unit was decimated during the first contact with the Chigs, leaving McQueen as the sole survivor. He is a veteran of the AI wars, during which he was captured and tortured. McQueen is divorced from his wife due to his inability to procreate naturally. McQueen has a strong bond with Hawkes, for whom he functions as a father figure.
- Tucker Smallwood — Commodore Glen van Ross (USN)
- David Jean Thomas — Gen. Alcott (USMC)
- David St. James — ADM Broden (USN)
- Amanda Douge — Kylen Celina (Aero-Tech, Tellus colonist)
- Tasia Valenza — 1st Lt. Kelly Anne Winslow (USMC) callsign "Queen of Spades"
- Edmund L. Shaff — "Chaplain" (USN)
- Bill Hunter — Secretary General Spencer Chardwell (UN)
- Robert Crow — Officer Crow (Lt. Pruitt in last episode) (USN)
- Doug Hutchison — Elroy EL (AI)
- Kimberly Patton — Feliciti OH (AI)
- John Lendale Bennett — "Master at Arms" (USN)
- Michael Mantell — Howard Sewell (Aero-Tech, member of the Board of Directors)
- James Lesure — Charlie Stone (USMC)
- Melissa Bowen — LTJG Stroud (USN)
- Gennie Nevinson, Loren Chase — Anne West
- Angus Grant, Marc Worden — Neil West (Private, USMC in ep. 1.07)
- Iva Franks-Singer — Sabrine EW (AI)
- Coolio — The Host
- David Duchovny (uncredited) — Alvin El 1543 aka "Handsome Alvin" (Silicate)
- Dale Dye, Capt., USMC (ret.) — Major Jack Colquitt (USMC)
- R. Lee Ermey, GySgt., USMC (ret.) (uncredited) — Sergeant Major Bougus (USMC)
- Adam Goldberg — Sergeant 1st Class Louie Fox, Seventh Cavalry, U.S. Army
- Steve Rankin — Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Thomas Butts, callsign "Kick Butts" and "Deuce" (in ep. 1.05, "Raymond Butts")
- Harriet Sansom Harris — Ambassador Diane Hayden (Secretary General, UN) (in ep. 1.06, "Eyes")
- Richard Kind — Colonel Burke (in ep. 1.14, "Level of Necessity)
- Martin Jarvis — Major Cyril MacKendrick (in ep. 1.18, "Pearly")
- Ronald G. Joseph — General Oliver Ranford (USMC) (in ep. 1.20, "Stardust")
- Gail O'Grady (uncredited) — Colonel Klingman (in ep. 1.20, "Stardust")
- Jennifer Balgobin — Communications Lieutenant Price (USN) (in ep. 1.21, "Sugar Dirt")
While drawing comparisons with Robert Heinlein's novel Starship Troopers, and the movie bearing the same name (though opposite message), according to the producers, the main fictional work that influenced Space: Above and Beyond was one written in response to that story, 1974 science fiction novel The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. In addition, it was inspired by fictional works, such as the 1948 World War II biographic novel The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer, the 1895 American Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, and the Iliad, and the 1962 television series "Combat!." At the same time, Space: Above and Beyond also shares conspiracy elements with other television shows co-produced by the same team, such as The X-Files and Millennium.
Cinematography and visual effects
The series featured a very dark and desaturated color grading, apparently inherited from the cinematography of series such as The X-Files and Millennium, co-produced by the same team, but taken to a greater extreme. The strength of desaturation employed in many scenes reaches the level that makes them almost black and white (quantitatively, the saturation in CIE xy color subspace of a typical scene in Space: Above and Beyond is in the range 0.03–0.15, approximately 1/4 of a typical contemporary film or television program).
With the increasing affordability of computer systems with performance suitable for 3D rendering, Space: Above and Beyond relied heavily on computer generated imagery (CGI) for space scenes. Physical special effects still played a significant role. The computer generated effects of Space: Above and Beyond, were created by the visual effects company Area 51 using NewTek LightWave 3D. Some of the models used, such as the USS Saratoga and the alien carriers, lack detailed textures and bump maps, which gave them a strongly polygonal appearance.
Wong and Morgan were looking for a more traditional musical approach than the synthesiser scoring favored on The X-Files; visual effects supervisor Glenn Campbell introduced the producers to the music of Shirley Walker, who had worked on Batman: The Animated Series. Wong and Morgan were initially unconvinced on hearing Walker's synth demos, until it was explained that her musical ideas would be filled out by the orchestra. Wong went on to describe the scoring session as "(his) favorite part of filmmaking." Walker scored the pilot and the entire series, receiving an Emmy nomination for "The River Of Stars," and reunited with Wong and Morgan on many of their later projects (her final film score was for their remake of Black Christmas).
In 2011 La-La Land Records issued a three-disc limited edition featuring Walker's score for the pilot and music from most of the episodes ("The Enemy," "Choice or Chance," "Level of Necessity," "R&R" and "Stardust" do not have any score cues on the album).
The sound effects used on the show are often reused on the animated series Futurama.
A notable criticism from the actor Joel de la Fuente has been quoted in an article by P. G. Min & R. Kim (under the pseudonym "Michael", on p. 744), in which he describes his perception of a possibly stereotypical nature of his character Lt. Paul Wang, for which (referring to the Silicates story arc) he felt "discomfort" for a role that he describes as "a cowardly soldier who betrayed his comrades":
|“||Whenever I see Asians in military uniform, I cannot help but recall common images of Asians from the Vietnam War and World War II. They were "yellow-bellied cowards" who took the lives of loyal Americans. They were treacherous and crafty, impossible to gauge. Wang could be seen as all of these stereotypes, I thought. Even though this ignores the fact that the Americans they were killing had invaded their country and napalmed their children, but people tend to leave out the important details...||”|
|Brazil||Rede Record||Comando Espacial (Space Commando)|
|Croatia||HRT||Svemirski marinci (Space Marines)|
|Denmark||TV 2||"Rummet år 2063" (Space, Year 2063)|
|Germany & Austria||Pro Sieben||"Space"|
|Hungary||TV3||"Űrháború 2063" (Space War 2063)|
|India||STAR World India|
|Norway||TV 2||"Skvadron 58" (Squadron 58)|
|Panama||RPC Canal 4|
|Poland||Polsat||Gwiezdna eskadra (Star Squadron)|
|Russia||NTV||"Voina v kosmose" (War in Space)|
|Slovakia||Markíza||"Vesmír bez hraníc" (Universe Without Borders)|
|Sweden||TV4||"Slaget om Tellus" (The Battle for Tellus)|
|United Kingdom||Sky One & BBC 2|
|United States||Fox Network & Sci Fi Channel|
Space: Above and Beyond was released on DVD in the United States and Canada by 20th Century Fox as a set of five DVD-10 discs on November 8, 2005. Episodes feature closed captioning, and the set also contains some of the original television promotional advertisements for the series. Certain pressings feature a distorted image of the Babylon 5 space station—which is unrelated to and does not appear in the series—on the discs' title screens.
In April 2012, Space: Above and Beyond was released on Region 2 PAL DVD in the UK by Fremantle Media / Medium Rare Entertainment. It contained a new documentary, cast interviews, some episode commentaries, galleries and deleted scenes. The pilot episode is included in the full season set but has also been released separately with just a commentary.
- "Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Shows". IGN.com. February 21, 2011.
- From the United States Copyright Office catalog: "Public Catalog - Copyright Catalog (1978 to present) - Basic Search [search: "Space: Above and Beyond"]". United States Copyright Office. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
- From the Writers Guild of America, West database: "Signatory Project Confirmation [search: "Space: Above and Beyond"]". Writers Guild of America, West. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
- Your next box set: Space: Above and Beyond
- Haldeman, Joe (1998). "1998 SciFi.com interview". Archived from the original on March 15, 2006. Retrieved March 4, 2006.
- SPACE: ABOVE AND BEYOND'S GLEN MORGAN & JAMES WONG, JANUARY 27, 1998
- "Space Above and Beyond - The Complete Series: Morgan Weisser, Kristen Cloke, Rodney Rowland, Joel de la Fuente, Lanei Chapman, James Morrison, Tucker Smallwood, Robert Crow, Tasia Valenza, Michael Mantell, Ashlyn Gere, Edmund L. Shaff, Glen Morgan, James Wong: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-01-20.
- "Deck Shuffled, Wild Cards Dealt," Jeff Bond, liner notes, Space: Above And Beyond soundtrack album, LLLCD 1192
- P. G. Min, R. Kim (2000). "Formation of ethnic and racial identities: narratives by young Asian-American professionals". Ethnic and Racial Studies. pp. 735–760. Retrieved 2013-10-02. [permanent dead link]
- "Space: Above and Beyond (1995)". TVShowsonDVD.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
- "The Third Edge of the Sword". 3edgesword.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- http://ksmfilm.de/news_e.php?block=2011-09[dead link]
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- Space: Above and Beyond on IMDb
- Space: Above and Beyond at TV Guide
- Space: Above and Beyond at TV.com
- Space: Above and Beyond at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
- space-readyroom.de - web site about S:AAB with multimedia, images, articles and fan fiction since 1997
- spaceaboveandbeyond.tv - an online collection of images, videos, articles and behind the scene information
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