Andromeda, a Show That Almost Made It
I viewed a few of the early episodes of Andromeda recently, and was rather
confused as to why it had not been a huge success.
Created by Gene Roddenberry, in a Star Trek Universe, with interesting characters and plots; why wasn't it a hit?
Performing the usual searches to find out why this show flopped I bounced
into a number of different purported reasons.
Some blame Kevin Sorbo, the ostensible star, others the writers, but the fact is, Andromeda is a show that really ought have been as big as Star Trek. (Thinking the Next Generation or DS-9)
What it Was About
Andromeda Ascendant is set in a 'dark' universe; not the happy 'we all get
along' Star Trek future.
We begin with a Rip Van Winkle; Captain Hunt, [played by Sorbo] who had
been held in stasis by a Black Hole for three hundred years. During this time
a 'dark ages' descended on the galaxy.
The ship, Andromeda Ascendant, is being captured for salvage by Becca and
her crew, paid for by a freaky alien, who travels with his mercenaries.
Becca's crew is made up of the Geek, Shamus, a purple skinned female of unknown nature, called Trance, and a really awful looking Magog who is a
Among the mercenaries is Tyr Anasazi, a genetically enhanced human, a Nietzschean
The personalities of the named characters are complex, more interesting than
those on board the Enterprise.
During the first episode of confrontation between Captain Hunt, who is used to the old time Star Trek Federation, and Becca and her crew who don't know that kind of life, there is a combining of the two; that is Becca and her crew, plus Tyr, Captain Hunt, his ship and computer.
The mission is to attempt to recreate the Federation, hence, the Andromeda is not just flying around for exploration.
The fact the crew doesn't trust him or each other adds to the interest.
The tension between Hunt and Becca, leads to many possible incidents, but the personality of Tyr was probably the most enticing.
Many people who watched the show remember the Tyr character, and were intrigued by him. He was the main lure of the show.
Most expected him to be moved to co-star.
Unfortunately, this did not happen. After the second year he was more off camera than on.
Suppositions and References
If what is believed, that is, Sorbo or the other Producers, or Powers that be who resisted making the Tyr character the Co-Star, that would have been quite stupid and fly in the face of history.
For in many shows, a character grabs the interest and the producers quickly move him to that point.
Man From UNCLE
Man from U.N.C.L.E was a hit show in the 1960s. It was supposed to star Robert Vaughn.
A Scottish chap, David McCallum, playing a Russian was only to appear in a few episodes.
At this height of the Cold War, this Russian, Illya, worked with UNCLE and Vaughn's character, Napoleon Solo, for the good of all.
David McCallum was so popular he was called the 'blonde Beatle' . He received more fan mail than any other actor had ever done.
He was moved to co-star and the show stayed on the air.
In the same era, and closer to home, the original Star Trek found itself in
a similar situation.
Mr. Spock was to be a side character, but public excitement moved him to co-star.
William Shatner was wise enough to appreciate that although his character was to be the Star, to be the archetype Captain, whom everyone might want to fly with, the public had a fascination with Lenard Nimoy's Spock.
The Kirk character become a legend in his own right, by extending a seat on
the dais to Spock.
To have pulled ego or rank would have killed the show and ended both their careers.
The Next Generation
In Star Trek, the Next Generation,which aired in the 80s, the public became fascinated by the Klingon, Worf.
Originally he was a 'side' character, but was soon moved to the fore.
The interest in Worf provoked more Klingon-centric scripts and more epis in which he was featured.
Denise Crosby, who objected was dispensed with, and Michael Dorn, who played Worf continued into the Movies and then, later in the decade, to Deep Space 9 for the producers appreciated realised without Worf the audience wasn't there.
Back to Andromeda
The character of Tyr was the show. Viewers were not all that interested
in the others, they've seen them before in various incarnations.
Tyr Anasazi was new, different and filled the screen, when he was on.
Yet, camera time remained limited, and epis about the other characters reduced him to third man on the left.
It could have been 'all that'. Capturing Star Trek viewers was a given, if what had been done with Worf had been done with Tyr, the show would have held interest.
Unfortunately, the Producers didn't seem to get it.
How Stupid Became More Stupid
In ancient days, i.e. Man From Uncle or Star Trek , producers had to depend on the hard copy letter which had to be written and mailed to the studio.
They had to depend on 'Nielson' ratings or the chat of talk shows to know how the majority of people were viewing their programs.
Because many were stupid, they let Star Trek (TOS) go off the air, Only reconstructed in movies and then in The Next Generation
In the year 1999, when the Internet was available World Wide, when all one had to do was a search to see how many hits something had, it was clear that if the Producers had the brains of an average stegosaurus, they'd have shoved the character of Tyr to the fore, and promoted him.
But they didn't.
So Andromeda went off the air.
Those who view the first 2 seasons today will probably be amazed by it.
A Star Trek Universe where everyone doesn't get along. Where one needs an I.Q. beyond Forrest Gumps to follow the plot and get the inferences. Where rivalries and intrigue doesn't end with the credits, but goes on, unresolved.
The First two seasons are quite exceptional, and one assumes that somewhere, someday, someone will 'get' it, and it will return to a vast audience.
Of course, with different stars and diverse ideas.