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seaQuest DSV is an American science fiction television series created by Rockne S. O'Bannon. It originally aired on NBC between 1993 and 1996. In its final season, it was renamed seaQuest 2032.

Set in "the near future", seaQuest mixes high drama with realistic scientific fiction. It stars Roy Scheider as Nathan Bridger, captain of the eponymous high-tech submarine seaQuest DSV 4600, Jonathan Brandis as Lucas Wolenczak, a teenaged computer genius, and Stephanie Beacham as Kristin Westphalen, the chief medical officer and head of the seaQuest science department. Steven Spielberg expressed interest in the project and served as one of the show's executive producers during the first two seasons.

Filming of the first season was marked by producer disputes, changes at the helm (off-screen, as well as on-screen), and even an earthquake. The second season contained changes in the cast, as well as disputes between cast members and producers, while the third season introduced a new lead actor and title. While initially popular, the series began to decline in ratings throughout its run; however, it remained sufficiently popular to last two and a half seasons—being abruptly canceled in the middle of the third—and, despite its cancellation, has achieved something of a cult following in the years since its demise.

Roy Scheider narrated the voiceover during the opening credits of each first-season episode:

The 21st century: mankind has colonized the last unexplored region on Earth; the ocean.
As captain of the seaQuest and its crew, we are its guardians.
For beneath the surface lies the future.


Season 1



The series follows the adventures of the high-tech submarine seaQuest operated by the United Earth Oceans Organization (UEO), a global federation of nations, similar to the United Nations, which was created following a major showdown of nations that occurred circa 2017. The seaQuest was built by NORPAC (a military organization mentioned in the pilot) and given to the UEO after its creation. The storyline begins in the year 2018, after mankind has exhausted almost all natural resources, except for the ones on the ocean floor. Many new colonies have been established there and it's the job of the seaQuest and its crew to protect them from hostile nonaligned nations and to aid in mediating disputes. Part of the original focus of seaQuest DSV also centered around the interpersonal relationships of the crew, such as Captain Bridger's, Lucas Wolenczak's, and Dr. Westphalen's loss of immediate family and their shared interest in science, as well as each other, and the "love-hate relationship" between Lieutenant Benjamin Krieg and Lieutenant Commander Katherine Hitchcock, recently divorced, now forced to serve together on the same ship.

Season 2

In the first-season finale, Bridger sacrifices the seaQuest to prevent an ecological disaster, and for a short time it was not known if the show would be renewed for another season. When it was decided the show would return, NBC and Universal used this opportunity to tinker with the show's format. Both Royce D. Applegate (Chief Manilow Crocker) and John D'Aquino (Krieg) were released by NBC as the network wanted a younger cast for the second year (D'Aquino subsequently returned for a guest appearance in the third season). Stacy Haiduk (Hitchcock), who was not happy with her character's development, informed producers she did not wish to return if the show went on to a second season. Stephanie Beacham, who as Dr. Kristin Westphalen was one of the first season's strongest characters, had been asked back for the second year; however, she quit when it was decided the show would move production from Los Angeles to Florida. (The move also changed the show's location from Pearl Harbor to New Cape Quest; a fictional city in Florida). Beacham also blamed continued fighting between the network and the show's producers as a major reason why she did not return. The series had also suffered in the ratings, as it was pitted against Lois and Clark.

Joining the series were Edward Kerr, who replaced Applegate's character as Lieutenant James Brody; Kathy Evison, who replaced Haiduk's character as Lieutenant Lonnie Henderson; Rosalind Allen, who replaced Beacham's character as Dr. Wendy Smith; and Michael and Peter DeLuise who both replaced D'Aquino's character in varying degrees as Seaman Anthony Piccolo and Dagwood, respectively. A new seaQuest was constructed; the sets redesigned, and a shortened version of the Emmy winning main title theme was instituted as the series returned to the airwaves on September 18 1994 with the two-hour television movie titled "Daggers."

NBC also decided they wanted more stereotypically "sci-fi" oriented episodes this season, a direction that was explored toward the end of the first season when seaQuest discovers a million-year-old alien ship buried in the ocean floor. The marine trivia presentations during the credits previously hosted by oceanographer Robert Ballard were instead presented by the show's cast (sans Roy Scheider). While these changes did attract a new audience, many of the original fans of the first season were unhappy at the show's change in tone and abandoned it.

By the end of season two, seaQuest DSV was again suffering, partly attributed to a perceived decrease in the quality of the writing as well as preemptions by NBC due to sports coverage. The threat of cancellation loomed large but NBC gave it one more chance after plans for a new series titled Rolling Thunder to replace seaQuest DSV were canceled. Producer Lee Goldberg claimed the new series was canceled because the premise was "awful."

Season 3

Another revamp resulted in the production of a third season, now called seaQuest 2032. Roy Scheider had been vocal in his anger of the show's new direction. "It's childish trash," Scheider claimed in an interview while filming the second season. "I am very bitter about it. I feel betrayed." Scheider also described the second season as being "21 Jump Street meets Star Trek." Executive Producer Patrick Hasburgh had strong words for Scheider as well, replying "I'm sorry he is such a sad and angry man. seaQuest is going to be a terrific show, and he is luckyto be part of it." Scheider requested to be released from his contract with NBC. However, the network only partially agreed and demanded that Bridger would make several appearances throughout the season. Edward Kerr had been very frustrated with the episode titled "Alone" (reportedly, Kerr hated the script so much that he walked off the set, which is why Brody does not appear in that episode) and also wished to exit the series in the third season, which is why his character was critically injured in the second season finale, "Splashdown". However, NBC would only agree to release him from his contract if he continued to play Brody for a few episodes in the third season so his character could be killed off for more dramatic impact. Rosalind Allen was released as her character proved to be unpopular with the fans. Marco Sanchez (Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz), who had requested to remain with the series, was also released after NBC decided it wanted the principal cast number dropped from ten to nine, leaving Jonathan Brandis, Don Franklin (Commander Jonathan Ford), and Ted Raimi (Lieutenant Tim O'Neill) as the only three cast members who remained with the show since the first episode. The marine trivia presentations at the end of the show were dropped entirely.
"The world is not a nice place, it's not comfortable...corporate entities have grown to the point where they rival and sometimes are more powerful than actual national governments. UEO is not the big kid on the block anymore, seaQuest is no longer state of the art; it's a boat and it's a military vehicle and I'm going to take it places it has never been before." -- Michael Ironside, in an interview promoting season three
In the season premiere, the seaQuest reappears, its crew mostly intact, ten years after their abduction at the end of season two. Captain Bridger retires to raise his grandson and Michael Ironside joins the cast as the more militaristic Captain Oliver Hudson and brings along his "best student", Lieutenant J.J. Fredericks, who serves as seaQuest's ace sub-fighter pilot as the UEO faces the threat of the Macronesian Alliance. Other recurring characters were also added. While the series is perceived as becoming much darker than it was in the previous seasons, some fans felt that seaQuest had finally found its feet. However, Universal and NBC disagreed, and canceled the series after thirteen episodes.

Cast



Recurring guest cast





Additionally, seaQuest DSV employed a significant number of guest stars familiar with the sci-fi genre, many of whom would go on to star in other shows. In addition to a large contingent of Star Trek players (including William Shatner (Captain Kirk) and Tim Russ (Lt. Commander Tuvok)), notable guest stars included Yaphet Kotto (Parker in Alien), Charlton Heston (star of The Ten Commandments, Planet of the Apes and other classic 1960s and 1970s science-fiction films), David McCallum (The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the British series Sapphire and Steel), Seth Green (later Scott Evil in the Austin Powers films, Oz on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Chris Griffin on Family Guy), Kent McCord (Officer Jim Reed of Adam-12, Captain Troy of Galactica 1980, Jack Crichton of Farscape and Dave Unger in Airplane II: The Sequel), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker and the voice of The Joker in various Batman animated series), and Michael York (Logan in Logan's Run, and Basil Exposition in the Austin Powers films) among others.

Airings

The show's time slot was shuffled around during its original run. During the first and second seasons, NBC aired the show on Sundays at 8:00 p.m. NBC had originally planned to cancel seaQuest DSV partway through the second season in favor of another show about a "high-tech truck". However, NBC executives were unimpressed with the new show's development and kept seaQuest DSV in production. During the third season, NBC moved the show to Wednesdays at the same time; however, NBC would frequently preempt the show in favor of sports coverage and other television specials. Several of the show's producers, including Carleton Eastlake believe these preemptions led to the show's cancellation.

Currently, seaQuest DSV does not air in syndication or re-runs. Spacemarker in Canada had most recently aired the series on weekends in 2004, followed by an extended run on weekdays until being pulled from the schedule in early 2007. The Sci-Fi Channel in the United States had also previously aired the episodes for a number of years.

DVD release summary

Title Ep # Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season One 23 December 26, 2005 November 20, 2006 December 5, 2006
Season Two 21 January 1, 2008 March 31, 2008 August 20, 2008
Season Three 13 TBA TBA TBA


Fans of seaQuest DSV have campaigned for the release of the series on DVD. Universal Home Video, which owns the distribution rights to the series, had at one time stated that it had no plans to release the show on DVD. Over the past few years, illegal bootleg recordings of the series have been sold on eBay and other online auction sites in VCD and DVD format.

In 2005, Universal announced that the first season of seaQuest DSV would be released on DVD on December 26, 2005 along with a week long marathon of the show on the Sci Fi Channel. Universal credited the fans with changing their minds about a DVD release. However, some also credit the successful sales of bootleg copies of the series. The DVD release included numerous deleted scenes as well as alternate versions of broadcast scenes. The first season was released on four double-sided discs. The only extras included were deleted scenes for a handful of episodes.

The second season was released on January 1, 2008. As opposed to the first season, the second season was released on eight single-sided discs. The second season does not contain any extra features such as deleted scenes. The first season DVD release presents the episodes in their original airdate order, which leads to some continuity errors from episode to episode. (see List of seaQuest DSV episodes for more information) The second season DVD release is presented in a similar fashion, however, the episode "Blindsided" is presented in the correct order, despite an incorrect summary of it on the DVD slipcase; the DVD slipcase mixes the summaries for it and "Splashdown" around.

While the third season has not yet been released on DVD, all three seasons are available for streaming by Netflix subscribers.

Merchandise

  • A short series of novels based on the characters and concepts depicted on seaQuest DSV were available during the first season of the show. They were:
    • "seaQuest DSV: The Novel (Book 1)" (a novelization of the pilot episode) by Diane Duane and Peter Norwood. Published October 1993. ISBN 978-0441000371
    • "Fire Below" by Matthew J. Costello. Published January 1994. ISBN 0-441-00039-8
    • "The Ancient" by David Bischoff. Published March 1994. ISBN 0-441-00042-8
  • Nemesis Comics published one issue of a seaQuest DSV comic book. A second issue was planned, but was ultimately not published.
  • A video game was released for the Super Nintendo, Game Boy, and Sega Genesis consoles in 1994.
  • A series of action figures designed by Playmates Toys were released in 1993. Captain Bridger, Commander Ford, Lucas Wolenczak, Lt. Commander Hitchcock, Lieutenant O'Neill, Chief Crocker, Darwin, Dr. Rubin Zellar, and The Regulator were released as part of wave one. Additional characters such as Dr. Westphalen, Chief Ortiz, and Lieutenant Krieg and a Darwin with sound effects were planned as part of wave two, but they were never released. Additionally, prototypes of the seaQuest, the Delta 4 Pirate sub, the Stinger, a seaLaunch, and a Deep Sea Mini Pickup, all with electronic lights and sounds, are known to exist but were also not released either.
  • A series of trading cards produced by SkyBox were released, depicting characters, scenes, and episodes from the first season.
  • Various models were produced by Monogram, including the seaQuest, a Deep Sea Mini Pickup, The Stinger, and Darwin (actually a remolded Flipper) were released.
  • Various pieces of clothing, including T-shirts, baseball caps, and embroidered patches of the seaQuest and UEO logos (replicas of the ones used on the show) were released.
  • A non-fictional large format book was released during the first season and contained comprehensive interviews and production information, - also art work and design histories, as well as a production report of the episode "Hide and Seek."
Other merchandise made available included a shot glass in cobalt blue with gold logo, key chains and pins, a book cover, 'magic rocks' sets, journal, and a set of bookmarks.

Behind the scenes

Roy Scheider's character was based on John C. Lilly. Lilly was a pioneer researcher into the nature of consciousness using as his principal tools the isolation tank, dolphin communication and psychedelic drugs, sometimes in combination. He was a prominent member of the Californian counterculture of scientists, mystics and thinkers that arose in the late 1960s and early 70s. Albert Hofmann, Gregory Bateson, Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Werner Erhard, and Richard Feynman were all frequent visitors to his home. The character's name, Nathan Hale Bridger, was an homage to Nathan Hale.

Jonathan Brandis wore baseball jerseys during the first season, including one for the Florida Marlins that noted they had won the World Series in 2010. The Marlins were an expansion team that played for the first time in 1993, the same year that seaQuest DSV began production. They did go on to win the 1997 and 2003 World Series.

When producers began developing new characters for the second season, they named Lieutenant Brody after Police Chief Martin Brody, Roy Scheider's character in the first two Jaws films. Ralph Willcox and Karen Fraction, who both became recurring guest stars in the third season, had previously appeared as different characters in the second. Despite the numerous cast changes after the first season, John D'Aquino did make a guest appearance in the third season episode "In the Company of Ice and Profit". Despite the numerous cast changes, Jonathan Brandis appeared in every episode of the series, while Don Franklin appeared in every episode except for "And Everything Nice."

Several of the cast's family members were brought in to play characters, as well. Brenda King, Roy Scheider's wife, portrayed Carol Bridger; Todd Allen, Rosalind Allen's husband, portrayed Clay Marshall in "The Siamese Dream." Several cast members also dabbled on the creative side of the show, as both Ted Raimi and Jonathan Brandis penned episodes during the second season. (Brandis wrote the aforementioned "The Siamese Dream" and Raimi, "Lostland.") Conversely, Robert Engels, one of the show's executive producers (and writer of two episodes, "Greed For a Pirate's Dream" and "Hide and Seek") during the first season, portrayed the recurring character Malcolm Lansdowne.

After the series had moved production from Los Angeles to Florida in the second season, the filming crew was able to take advantage of some nearby landmarks. The exterior scenes in the episode "Playtime" were filmed in Lakeland, Floridamarker, (specifically, the campus at Florida Southern Collegemarker) to take advantage of the buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

In several instances in the series, outside footage was employed. In the pilot episode, the scene from The Hunt for Red October where the Dallas and Red October are rising to periscope depth alongside each other was used. Images of the Airwolf helicopter from the television series of the same name was also used in "Hide and Seek."

While in production, seaQuest DSV won and was nominated for a number of awards. John Debney won the 1994 Emmy for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Main Title Theme Music" for his composition of the seaQuest DSV theme song and in 2000, it was named the 48th best theme song of all time by TV Guide. Don Davis also won an Emmy in 1995 for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Series" (Dramatic Underscore) for his score for the second season premiere, "Daggers." Russ Mitchell Landau was also nominated for his work on the third season premiere, "Brave New World", in 1996. Kenneth D. Zunder was nominated for the Emmy award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Cinematography for a Series" for the episode "Such Great Patience". Jonathan Brandis won the 1994 Young Artist Award for "Best Youth Actor Leading Role in a Television Series" for his portrayal of Lucas Wolenczak and the series was nominated for a 1994 ASC Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Movies of the Week/Pilots" as well as the Saturn Award for "Best Genre Television Series" in 1995.

A seaQuest DSV feature film was in pre-production stages, however, it never materialized.

Despite being scripted in at least one episode, Captain Bridger never refers to Dagwood by name. The closest he ever got was calling him "Dag" in the episodes "Special Delivery" and "The Siamese Dream."
Michael Ironside, Jonathan Brandis, and Ted Raimi on the set of the final episode.
After the change in title from seaQuest DSV to seaQuest 2032, a new opening credits montage was assembled, which included stock footage of The Regulator and his orangutan Verne from the first season episode “The Regulator.”

When the series was ultimately canceled in Spring 1996, no one working on the show knew that the final episode would prove to be "Weapons of War." Several episodes had reached script stages to follow it, but, ultimately never went into production. During the filming of the final scene in the final episode, Michael Ironside gave a small speech thanking the cast and crew for the time they spent working on the show. Following his words, Ironside tossed Jonathan Brandis into the moon pool on the sea deck set.

Two years after the end of the series, Jonathan Brandis, Don Franklin, Marco Sanchez, Ted Raimi, and Michael and Peter DeLuise reunited to film the motion picture Between the Sheets, which was written and directed by Peter and Michael, respectively.

In the years following the shows cancellation, several cast members have died. Jonathan Brandis committed suicide in November 2003; Royce Applegate died in a fire on New Year's in 2003; Karen Fraction died in 2007 from breast cancer, and Roy Scheider died in 2008 from complications of a staph infection.

Episodes

References

  1. TOTAL TV, October 1-7, 1994, Vol. 5, No. 36, page A120
  2. [1] Edward Kerr - FAQ
  3. Roy Scheider: A Film Biography, page 154
  4. Transcript of "INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN BRANDIS BY AOL." Originally 1996 Retrieved 02/15/08
  5. Script changes in "Special Deliver"


External links




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