Follow the adventures of Captain Dylan Hunt and the crew of the intergalactic starship Andromeda as they search the cosmos for aid in rebuilding their way of life. Get ready for the entire fourth season of the popular synd... more »icated television in a new box set.« less
Enrique Fernandez Roberts | Washington, DC | 07/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although this particular run of Andromeda does not feature as much of the struggle as was felt in seasons 1, 2 and 3, it does feature all of the elements which made the series enjoyable. There is lots of campy dialogue, lots of space battles, and lots of sci fi fun. However, by this point the series assumes that viewers are knowledgable about the show. From the beginning, the season begins to tackle long unanswered questions about the series, revealing such secrets as the true origins of Bekka, Trance and Tyr. For thos who have never seen the show, I recommend that you purchase seasons 1 or 2. For fans of the series, I highly recommend this addition to your collection.
The season starts with the exit of Tyr, and the first four episodes without him are a little shaky. Fans of Harper will enjoy watching Harper trudge his way through away missions with Romy and Bekka. This is fun because Harper had previously been left behind on the ship in most episodes before this season.
Fans of the series will remember that Rev Bem left the series midway through season 3, so the show lost two of its male characters. The early episodes of the show then allow Harper to step up and take a more commanding role in the series. Evidently, this didn't sit so well with producers, who then added Telemachus Rhade to the cast.
Telemachus Rhade is a direct descendant of Gaheris Rhade, the dude who betrayed Captain Hunt in Episode 1. Thanks to Season 3's "the Unconquerable Man", we have been led to understand that Gaheris is in fact, an honorable man, and therefore, we can trust his descendant. IHMO, the addition of this new character helps this series immensly.
Played by Steve Bacic, Rhade's tortured sense of need to evolve as a Nietzchien instantly gives us a peek into an impressive but troubled character.
Tyr makes a comeback in two of the Rhade episodes as a dreadlock-less slave to the Abyss. Tyr and Rhade make for some tremendous fight scenes, and we say goodbye to Tyr in a way that kept me waiting for his return.
Trance really comes into her own this season, and the revelations made about Bekka's past help to fill out her character.
As for the special features, you probably saw all this stuff when it came out on individual dvd sets. Still, some interviews, behind the scenes, bloopers and deleted scenes will keep most fans happy. Also, there is an alternative ending to the season, to my understanding something they wrote with the thought that the show may be cancelled at the end of the fourth season (I have no way of confirming this right now, sorry) .
My only complaint with this and all the other Andromeda DVD sets is that the sound is never in Dolby 5.1. It is in Dolby surround sound, but you'd think they'd be able to add that feature without difficulty.
However, these are small complaints about a great overall set.
4 out of 5 stars."
Entertaining adventure, but with some flaws
spejic | San Francisco, CA | 08/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Like season 3, season 4 also had a few bad episodes that were very confusing. There was an overuse of clips of previous episodes as a storytelling device, and some shows, like the first episode, had deus-ex-machina endings that came out of nowhere. The season gets better as it goes, with many of the finest episodes ("Trusting the Gordian Maze", "Time out of Mind") on the last disk. The final episode is very touching, and would have been a fine ending to the series if there was no season 5.
In the first two years Tyr served as the realist/anarchist foil to Dylan's idealism/community building. In season 4 Dylan was more the Hercules-style adventurer and moralist. To serve as a partner, Telemachus Rhade was added as a regular. While a Nietzschean, he was multi-faceted and interesting, and had an earnestness that complimented Dylan and the rest of the Andromeda crew. The Andromeda gained a new bad guy in the form of an internal power struggle in the Commonwealth by a group called the Collectors. Some of the Collector episodes are good, some are poor re-hashes of ideas from old Stargate SG-1 episodes.
Speaking of Stargate, like every show filmed in Canada you can bet on a number of familiar guest stars. Some recurring characters from Stargate and a few regulars from Battlestar Galactica are prominent.
You again get double sided disks in 5 regular sized cases. The user interface is clear and easy to use, but again the episodes are just listed by their number instead of title. The cases do not have any episode synopses, and the titles are all famously grand and cryptic so it is hard to remember what happens in each. Front loaded ads and warnings are all skippable.
If you liked the previous seasons of Andromeda, go ahead and get this one too."
A downward spiral
J. McCormick | 08/10/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Some shows start out bland and get better as they mature. Others start out at their peak and get progressively worse as time goes on. Andromeda is one of the latter kinds.
Season 4 saw Andromeda degenerate into an incoherent mess. The show's earlier seasons had their fair share of bad episodes, but they were often bad because of poor execution or oversimplification in favor of action. Season 4's episodes often just don't make any sense or don't have any relevance - they are very much mindless action hour fare.
When I first saw season 4, I had not yet seen season 3, so I assumed there would be things that I would have missed and that wouldn't make quite as much sense to me as they would have if I had seen the 3rd season first. But now that I've seen season 3, I have to say that season 4 *still* doesn't make any sense. Too many things were invented on the fly and then placed into the story as if they had always been there without any further explanation. Ironically, these self-contained action hours rely on the ability of the audience to pick up in the middle of an existing story every bit as much as arc-based storytelling would have. The only difference is that arc-based storytelling is interesting to long-term viewers and spontaneously invented backstory isn't.
One of the most severe blows to the show came in the loss of Keith Hamilton Cobb. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that the loss of Tyr Anasazi was a big reason for the loss of quality. Season 1 had an excellent combination with Dylan Hunt as the idealist who was occasionally willing to compromise his ideals to get the job done, Rev Bem as the center of highest ideals, and Tyr Anasazi as a primarily self-interested, realistic balance. The show was able to stay afloat despite the departure of the Rev Bem character, because it still had Dylan's idealism against Tyr's realism. Season 4 changes all that. With Tyr gone, completely gone is much of what gave the series its initial potential.
Even in some of the first 3 seasons' worst episodes, you would have great lines like, "[when the universe ends] there will be 3 survivors: Tyr Anasazi, the cockroaches, and Dylan Hunt, trying to save the cockroaches." But season 4 has lost that in favor of Telemachus Rhade, who simply doesn't have the same Nietzschean flair that Tyr had. In fact, Telemachus is rarely ever interesting. His banter with Harper borders on laughably pathetic, with such lines as "Insulting a Nietzschean is not healthy for a human's health."
But even without that foil, all would not have been lost except for the pseudo-continuity and constant introduction of characters that we've never heard of as if we should know who they are. The first episode of the season introduces a number of new characters but acts as if they've been there all along, and it was frankly just weird. When I first saw it, I assumed that characters such as Tri-Jema and others had been introduced in season 3, but in fact they weren't and they all made their first appearances in season 4.
Tarazed, a planet last mentioned in season 2's "Home Fires" - and a planet that chose *NOT* to join the re-established Commonwealth in that episode - is all of a sudden the seat of Commonwealth government.
Tri-Camille "displaces" her "sister" Tri-Ortiz, presumably a reference to the Isabella Ortiz in season 2, but there are problems with this that should be obvious to anyone who's actually watched that season 2 episode.
We also now have melting Abyss people, and the first time this happens no one acts as if it's out of the ordinary despite the fact that it had never happened before in any season of the show. Then there's the dozens of people that Dylan "knows" but we've never seen before. Exactly when did he meet them? Don't forget, this guy doesn't have 40-odd years of time behind him, since he was frozen in time for 300 years.
There's the sudden introduction of a bad guy group called "Collectors" who have never before been a remotely bad presence, and we've now got "radical isotopes" and 3-d cubes as instant bad guy detectors.
The season's biggest failure is that, despite some major events like the Commonwealth descending into civil war, none of this is really leading anywhere. Sure, the new Commonwealth is practically in chaos (or is it? this season makes it hard to tell), but I'd be hard-pressed to tell you why that matters. Along the same lines: Rev Bem makes an appearance this season, and at the end of his episode, he says he wants to stay on the Andromeda, but he never appears again for the rest of the season.
I suppose I could be asking too much. How much story can you really expect from a show whose title says, "The universe is a dangerous place. We fight to make it safe"?
With those criticisms voiced, I will say that there are still some good moments in this season. The last few episodes of the season are pretty good, even if the last two kind of start acting like the whole "restoring the Commonwealth" thing was not what Dylan was *really* supposed to be doing all this time (what?!). One of them even has a pretty good scene that makes fun of technobabble and the absurdly precise time estimates until disaster that are common in Star Trek.
And one thing that all Andromeda episodes have going for them is that even the worst episodes tend to be far more entertaining than your average Star Trek fare.
Still, this one is hard to recommend as a purchase, even for fans of the series (though I guess it depends on why you like the show).
On the DVD side of things, the discs are double-sided, which cuts down on the amount of packaging but makes the discs far more prone to damage. There are annoying ads at the beginning of the discs that will be completely irrelevant in a few years, but they are fortunately easily skipped with the chapter skip. Although I haven't watched very many of them, there also seems to be a lot of special feature content like interviews and stuff."
Another dull season from a series that never seems to go any
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 06/14/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Season Four has a great ending, but that is one of the few great things about it. There were some subtle improvements, such as the CGI, which got better in each season of the series. While the CGI was crude and unimpressive in the first couple of seasons, by Season four it rivaled that of far better shows like FARSCAPE, FIREFLY, and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. But the narrative remained flat and generally uninteresting.
Yes, the narrative. Ultimately how a show tells a story is what makes or dooms it. In an article in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY during the first season of LOST. Show runner Damon Lindelhof was talking about what makes good TV narrative and what does not. He argued, and I think correctly, that shows that focus on plot rather than character development ultimately will be lessened for it. His goal was to keep LOST focused on character development like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER rather than those that focus on plot. He didn't mention ANDROMEDA, but it is a classic example of a series that is seriously hampered by an almost complete lack of concern with character development. Most of the characters on ANDROMEDA never change, never alter, never develop or mature. Dylan Hunt is still precisely the same character he was in Season One. The same is true of Beka, Harper, and Romy. That this is true is especially tragic with Romy, since the possible growth as a person of someone who is an android would have made for a fascinating story. As it were, the only character who evolves at all is Trance.
After three seasons of clothing Trance in mystery, we finally discover what her major secrets were in Season Four. And it was hardly disappointing. One can wonder why she was the only character on the show allowed to grow at all in the first four seasons.
What should have been a great improvement in the show was the departure of Tyr. Unfortunately, Steve Bacic's Rhade, a direct descendent of the Rhade who tried to kill Dylan in the series pilot (and who made several appearances on the show in the first three seasons), ended up a profoundly uninteresting character, far less interesting than he had been when he was only guest starring.
Most of the show continued to perpetuate the problems that crippled the show in the first three seasons: an unrelenting reliance on the worst stereotypes of TV Sci-fi, superficial storylines, facile dire circumstances each week and their equally facile solutions, and a long string of one-dimensional characters. Plus, the show simply revels in the unreality of things. For instance, people fly al the spaceships. The idea that people would pilot spaceships is an absurd one. Even today U. S. military pilots do not do the majority of the piloting of their aircraft.
One interesting scene in Season Four takes place in the abandoned potash silo that has been repeatedly in Vancouver-based Sci-fi series. It was used in THE X-FILES in their Vancouver years. It was used in the short-lived BIONIC WOMAN remake. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA used it twice. The first time it was used as Ragnar Station in the miniseries. Then in Season Three it was used for the Temple of Five. The only time that the exterior has been used that I know of was in the series DARK ANGEL, when Max and Zack attacked it to rescue their "sister" from Manticore. There are shots inside, but shots outside as well. I don't remember it having been in SMALLVILLE, but I'm sure it has been. I'd also be willing to bet that it was used in one of more of the STARGATEs. The structure is notable for its enormous height and the huge rod that runs from the middle of the area to the top. I'm certain that when they built the silo that they had no idea that it would become one of Vancouver's most heavily used locations.
Fans of BSG will enjoy guest appearances by two actresses who were probably filming their roles in the same year that they were filming the miniseries for BSG. The two are Grace Park aka Sharon Valerii/Agathon and Kandyse McClure aka Dualla. There is also an appearance by Aaron Douglas aka Chief Galen Tyrol (in the same episode that Erica Durance, later Lois Lane of SMALLVILLE, and Missy Peregrym from REAPER - unfortunately, the episode is an absolutely awful one).
All in all, the series continues to disappoint. I suppose that the one group of people who would enjoy this are those who just enjoy superficial action series with traditional heroes and villains. But if you want good story telling and less than superficial characters, you need to look elsewhere."
Andromeda Season 4 great! - ADV Film DVD quality - not!
Doctor P | 07/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Great series. First couple of episodes struggle a bit with the departure of Tier. I didn't care for the way they brought him back into the series for a couple episodes - I think they could have done more with his character. Still a great series which ended far too soon.
But I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the product side of the DVD set. ADV films seems to have a real quality control problem. If one pays almost $60 for a DVD set, one should expect pretty flawless performance when playing. But I found defective disks. Amazon is greatly to be commended as their customer service did all they could to make it right. Amazon has excellant customer service and I applaud them. But ADV Films, since they went to the silly double-sided DVDs, seems to have quality control problems and ship sets with defective disks. Anyone purchasing the set - I would recommend that you spend the first hour starting each episode to see that it plays so that if you have to return the set, you can do so quickly. I found on disk 1 side A two episodes would play flawlessly while the middle episode would skip/freeze and generally create errors which kept me from actually watching the episode. Its sad that the DVD product of such a great series should suffer so."