In this cult fan favorite, 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 ... more »have been brutally attacked by an advanced alien civilization. Now the new young recruits of the United States Marine Corps Space Aviator Calvary are heading for the front lines of space in the toughest battle the world has even faced.« less
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 09/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Space Above and Beyond" seemed like a good idea the time. Inspired by the TV show "Combat" and the novel "Starship Troopers", "Space" seemed a natural for network TV. Creators Glen Morgan and James Wong (writers and producers on both "The X-Files" and "Millennium")created 23 episodes(including the original two part pilot)of a compelling drama among the stars. Featuring a largely unknown cast, the series is much closer in spirit to the novel by Robert Heinlein that inspired the movie "Starship Troopers" than that film.
Earth suddenly finds itself at war with an alien race called the Chiggs when Earth begins colonizing other planets. When Nathan West (Morgan Weisser)is forced out of his position on one of the colony ships, he joins the Marines in hopes of being near his girlfriend. When his girlfriend is taken as a prisoner by the Chigs, his mission is to find and save her. Others that end up serving with him have their own reasons for joining the Marine Corps Space Aviator Calvary. Shane Vansen's (Kristen Cloke who also made memorable appearences in "The X-Files" and "Millennium" as well as "Final Desintation") family were murdered by rogue "replicants" (shades of "Blade Runner"!)and is inspired to serve by her deceased parents. Cooper (Rodney Rowland) is a Tank i.e., someone born in a lab and wants to escape the prejudice he faces on Earth including an attempt to hang him by bigots.
Well written by Morgan and Wong (they wrote the bulk of the first season) and directed by TV vets (David Nutter-"The X-File", "ER" and Winrich Kolbe-"Star Trek: The Next Generation" among them), it's a gritty TV show that doesn't pull its punches. The show only lasted a season so never moved beyond finding its legs and developing the storyarcs that were planned.
This five disc set isn't without its flaws. Some folks are having some problems with the discs freezing and skipping (mostly on X-Box players and computers)but it seems the discs play fine on progressive scan DVD players. I'm not reallly happy with the packaging. Fox has housed four of the discs in two slimline holders so there is a chance the dual sided, dual layered discs could become damaged. While the image quality is really, really good but could be better. I'm at a loss as to why Fox didn't put this out in other holders. I'm sure fans would have been willing to pay 5 or 6 bucks more for better packaging. That's a minor complaint that viewers can fix themselves by purchasing DVD holders.
For those looking to buy this for the extras there's bad news. There aren't any to speak of. Sure, we get the promos but there's no commentary tracks or making of featurettes like was done for "The Lone Gunmen" set. I could see why a featurette wasn't done but to not have any commentary tracks from the writers, actors or optical effects supervisors is a bit disappointing. Still, it doesn't diminish the overall quality of the series itself.
Until October "Space Above and Beyond" can only be obtained at Best Buy. After that time, you'll be able to get it at amazon.com, other sites and stores."
Another short lived, full of potential show axed by Fox
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 10/11/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Created by X-Files collaborators Glen Morgan and James Wong, Space: Above and Beyond was one of countless sci-fi series' (Strange Luck, Milennium, Harsh Realm, etc.) that were created as a companion to the megahit X-Files, and like those aforementioned shows, it only lasted a season before getting the axe (although Milennium lasted a full 3 before Fox gave up on it). The series begins with Earth colonizing other planets, and soon finding themselves in an interstellar war with a mysterious alien race. The show mainly focuses on a group of soldiers, all of whom have their various back stories (one is searching for his missing lover, another was created in a lab) that make for some interesting arcs. The series has it's share of faults, chief among them are the choppy special effects and some wooden acting, but the realm of potential was unbelievably high for what might have been had Fox put more faith in it. The series reaches it's highpoint in mid-season, and the final episode is amazingly poignant, but who knows what might have been. All in all, Space: Above and Beyond isn't anything too special upon first viewing, but it's hard not to appreciate the imagination and heart that Morgan, Wong, and co. put into it. Fox also dropped the ball with the DVD release as well, there's no extras to be found, and at least a commentary or interviews with Morgan and Wong would have been more than welcome here."
Looks like the problems with disc one have been fixed
shaxper | Lakewood, OH | 11/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those of you that are thinking of buying this set but have heard of the error on disc one, it looks as though Amazon.com is now selling corrected versions. The set went out of stock for half a month, was listed as a pre-order, and is now back. At least one report on the Space: Above and Beyond fan discussion boards attests that the new sets from Amazon work fine. To the best of my knowledge, Best Buy and other stores are still selling the original release with the problems on disc one, or at least have made no effort to get them off the shelves to distinguish them from new corrected sets. That makes Amazon the place that you want to go to for ordering this particular set.
Please note: this is still speculation based upon a small amount of evidence. There may still be a problem with these discs, but it sure looks like they've been corrected."
Going Above and Beyond Again
The Angry Angel | Lincoln, CA | 10/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Space: Above and Beyond" was a show that would probably feel more relevant today than when it debuted in 1995, given the current military actions going on in the world at this time. The show was always a war drama first, and a science-fiction show second, which was the intent of series creators Glen Morgan and James Wong. The ensemble cast or relative unknown actors that made up the 58th Squadron (Morgan Weisser, Kristen Cloke, Rodney Rowland, Joel de la Fuente, and Lanei Chapman) formed a very strong chemistry on-screen, which contributed to their overall performance. Sure some of the episodes are rather cheesy, and the special effects do feel a little dated, but this was overall a character-based show, and Morgan and Wong, as well as the cast, did a wonderful job of bringing those characters to life, giving them a humanity that could be connected to by the viewing audience (which in turn makes the final episode still painful to watch). Morgan and Wong were also not afraid to push the envelope when it came to the show, notably the "Who Monitors the Birds?" episode, which contained very little dialogue ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer" would copy this a couple of years later to rave reviews). The show's cast and creators also had a strong rapport with it's Internet fan base, and many episodes later in the series were filled with little in-jokes and references to the online community. In fact, if the Internet was as strong a presence in 1995-1996 as it is today, the show might not have been cancelled (although it might not have mattered since the show was pretty much buried to make room for "Millennium", but that's another story).
If I was reviewing "Space: Above and Beyond" as just the show itself, it would get a 5-star rating hands down, but I have to bring it down a star for the DVD because it's so skimpy when it could have been so much more (word has it that Morgan and Wong had approached Fox about doing some special features for the DVD, even paying for it themselves, but Fox pretty much blew them off). In that sense, I am grateful to have the show finally released on DVD (and even more grateful that the DVD set I bought was free from the defects that seem to be running rampant. I have not had any noticeable problems with disc 1 freezing during episodes 1 or 2, and I have a fairly old Memorex player. Maybe I just got lucky, and at least it sounds like Fox is willing to swap out the bad discs.).
This was a tremendous show that had real heart and promise. Unfortunately, it was cancelled long before it should have been, and it's been given a rather cheap DVD treatment. While there are no real extras to speak of, just having the show on DVD is satisfying enough."
"In space, noone can hear you scream...
J. Ashton | Whitman, MA | 04/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"unless it is the battlecry of a United States Marine!!!"
If you are a fan, you already bought this and don't need to read the review. If you are not a fan and you want a glimpse at a truly unique show, read on...
The formula for Space: Above and Beyond seemed just that at the time: formulaic. Earth thinks it is alone, they start colonizing nearby stars, and then they are attacked by aliens and the ensuing war is the main plot device for the show. BUT...
Because this show comes form two veterans of "The X-Files," things rapidly become more complex. Glen Morgan and James Wong take us on a season long look at the military industrial complex, conspiracies, political machinations, military intelligence and their attempts to subvert the enemy, racial discrimination, and if that weren't enough, they also attempt to answer two age-old questions: "Why do we fight?" and "What would you die for?"
Slickly produced and expensive for its time because of the effects, "S:AAB" as fans call it was bumped around the schedule mercilessly by Fox and unsurprisingly cancelled when it failed to find an audience. Too bad, because in spite of it's somewhat unrealistic portrayal of the military, the producers were on to a good thing. The storytelling was superb, and the outstanding acting was complimented by the fact that all of the principals were largely unknown.
As far as the DVD release is concerned, it gets an overall C+. The video is adequate and the audio is pristine. However, lack of commentary from Morgan or Wong or any actors as well as the fact that the set was burned onto two-sided discs seriously detract from what could have been a superb set. On the plus side, the menus are elegantly simple with scene selection available, and there is Spanish and French captioning as well as English. All of the network promos are also included.
If you want a good taste of the episodes without getting involved in the story arc, try to check out the episode "R & R" which has appearances by David Duchovny as the sinsister android Alvin; Janet Gunn as a genetically engineered prostitute; and Coolio as the emcee of the pleasure ship "Bacchus." Another highlight was the episode "Stay with the Dead," which explores war from the viewpoint of someone seriously wounded in battle. Perhaps the best episode of the set is the Christmas episode entitled "River of Stars." The contrast in the opening scenes is intense and will grab you full on.
So do what the silicates in the show tell you to do and: