Space Above and Beyond – A TV retrospective

Space, Above and Beyond was a short lived sci-fi series from the 1990’s running from 1995 for 23 episodes and one season alone.

The series revolved around a team of US Marines aboard the USS Saratoga in Earths first interstellar war with the enigmatic Chigs. The pilot introduced the war which involved an unexpected attack on a colony ship by alien invaders.

What could have been a by the numbers alien invasion story developed into something far deeper and meaningful. The aliens were alien and because they weren’t revealed until the last minute had a real air of alienness and difference. The series had a feel of Battlestar Galactica with its focus on small fighter craft based on a carrier vessel. The fighters themselves were well thought out designs with endo and exo atmospheric flight capabilities and the Saratoga itself was functional. The Saratoga lacks the sweeping lines of a Star Wars or Trek ship but still has a certain aesthetic that works.

The story lines were engaging revealing an Earth in which genetically altered humans, in vitros are second class citizens and AI development had led to a fractured spin-off society openly hostile to Earth itself. Mix into this dark affairs of corporate interests as well as the problems of fighting an alien race and you are left with a promising series with fertile ground to explore.

The acting wasn’t always stellar and the effects are a bit dated by today’s standards but like Firefly this was a series that ended before its time. It tried to tell a story of conflict and morals, what is humanity in space when faced by annihilation. Sadly unlike Firefly it didn’t have a chance to round up with a film, instead it ended on a cliffhanger with lead characters possibly dead, a fldegling peace deal in tatters and the possibility that Earth may have been more responsible for the war than had previously been believed.

With the current trend for rebooting series this is one I think would offer much for a modern audience exploring themes touched on by the excellent Expanse but moving in a different extent.

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