Here’s a show that’s going to remind “Star Trek: Next Generation” fans why they miss Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard and his pals so much. Yes, the new syndie series “Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda” may have the “Star Trek” creator’s name on it, but the series has a certain musty air of deja vu blowing through the heart of its metallic futuristic spaceships.
All the same, the well-choreographed action sequences (and there are plenty of them in the first two episodes), the young demo-friendly intergalactic cast and some mind-blowing special effects fireworks should get a few points from the sci-fi hungry masses.
In the confusing pilot, which takes forever to set up the show’s premise, Kevin Sorbo portrays Dylan Hunt, the last starship captain of a lost peaceful civilization known as the Commonwealth. A black hole and a conspiracy plot from the subspecies Nietzscheans sends Hunt 300 years into the future, where he then has to save his ship from an oddball team of space travelers. What would science-fiction scribes do without time warps, black holes, and ill-tempered villains who look like they’ve just escaped a road production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats?”
You’ll have to wait until the second episode to find out which characters get to fly around the galaxy with Dylan in this derivative series, but here’s a shortcut: Cast regulars include Lisa Ryder, who plays the blond commander of the salvage ship Eureka Maru (possible romantic friction with Dylan?); Keith Hamilton Cobb, who stars as a good Nietzschean with a lot of muscle definition; and Bent Stait, who portrays alien geezer Rev Bem, a cross between a water buffalo and a giant hairball. And let’s not forget space cadette Trance Gemini (Laura Bertam), who has pink skin, a mouse tail and a strange resemblance to Brittany, the annoying green-haired house guest on “Big Brother.”
Sorbo’s Dylan isn’t that different from Sorbo’s last syndication hero, Hercules. He has a shorter haircut, but he attacks his intergalactic enemies in the same breezy way he used to stab the satyrs on “Hercules.” Sorbo has picked his post-“Herc” project wisely, because compared to the rest of the show’s hairy Muppet types or bug-faced denizens, he comes across as Sir Larry Olivier.
It’s doubtful that the show will be able to tackle the complex moral and philosophical dilemmas that were often explored on “Star Trek: Next Generation,” but it could offer a few campy laughs on a weekend afternoon. Let’s just hope that somehow, in the weeks ahead, Dylan’s spaceship falls into another black hole, and the whole crew gets a new wardrobe as the result of a shift in the space-time continuum. Right now, they all look like their outfits were designed by Michael Jackson, circa 1987.