Plot: What’s it about?
Dylan Hunt (Kevin Sorbo) commands the Andromeda Ascendant, a powerful craft that belongs to the Systems Commonwealth. The Systems Commonwealth is a political ruling faction that oversees the activities in several galaxies, quite a large scale monarchy, to be sure. When a violent species called the Nietzcheans rebel against the Commonwealth and stage an uprising, things turn into chaos and Hunt is ordered to take some drastic measures. He is told to have his crew abandon the Andromeda and then he is to pilot the vessel into a black hole, which spells certain doom for Hunt and the glorious ship he captains. But he follows orders and pilots the Andromeda into a black hole, where it remains frozen for over three centuries. When a salvage vessel pulls the Andromeda back out after three hundred years or so however, Hunt is brought back and the ship is in fine condition, though a lot has changed. Over the years, the Commonwealth has been disbanded and the galaxies exist in an anarchic state, where chaos instead of truth, justice, and order dominates. Hunt isn’t willing to give up on his ideals though, so with a single ship and a crew of assorted drifters, he tries to restore order to the trio of galaxies…
As based on various notes left behind by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, Andromeda had a lot of pressure to be a success. Of course, whenever you have Roddenberry’s name attached to a sci/fi project, the newer effort will be compared to the classic Star Trek, but as shown here, a series can establish its own presence. I didn’t expect much from Andromeda, but it has turned out to be an enjoyable and well crafted series, one which has some good stories and of course, some cool visuals to enhance the experience. I admit the storylines and characters seem rather simple at times, but it all comes together well and more than holds its own. Kevin Sorbo (Tv’s Hercules) leads a solid cast that also includes Lisa Ryder (Jason X), Keith Hamilton Cobb (Tv’s All My Children), Laura Bertram (Night of the Twisters), and Lexa Doig (Tv’s TekWar). The performances aren’t award level, but are acceptable and have some moments, so no complaints there. As usual, ADV Films has done a terrific job with the episodes, but I was let down to find only four episodes included here, instead of the usual five. Even so, the series continues to be fun and well worth picking up, so don’t miss out on Andromeda V.3 or the previous two installments.
Episode 111: The Pearls That Were His Eyes
Episode 112: The Mathematics of Tears
Episode 113: Music of a Distant Drum
Episode 114: Harper 2.0
Video: How does it look?
Andromeda is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I was very pleased with the visual effort here, as the image is smooth and very sharp, plus the anamorphic widescreen presentation is excellent. It seems as though some studios will issue television releases in full frame no matter what the intended aspect ratio, so I applaud ADV Films for giving Andromeda the proper treatment. The result is superb, with a bold and impressive image, one that looks much better than normal broadcast editions. The colors stream across the screen, with vivid hues, rich black levels, and natural flesh tones. I also saw minimal marks, digital artifacts, and debris also, leaving me to score this one well, as ADV Films has more than delivered the goods.
Audio: How does it sound?
While the included 2.0 surround option isn’t too dynamic, it is solid, though I wish we could have gotten a full 5.1 soundtrack here. As this is an action driven sci/fi project, there’s much potential involved in terms of audio, with all the spaceships, battles, and high-tech computer gadgets, but this track doesn’t make good use of those elements. The lack of surround presence is troubling, but for what it is, this track stands up well and is acceptable. The dialogue is clean at all times and the music sounds good, but as I mentioned, the sound effects don’t have the kind of depth and punch they could in a more expansive surround option. So I would have liked a full 5.1 treatment here, but even as it is, the audio is solid and effective.
Supplements: What are the extras?
ADV has included some cool supplements here, including yet another excellent character profile, with Tyr Anasazi covered this time around. These profiles are looks inside the characters, but aren’t simple text based profiles and even include interviews with the actors about the roles involved. A nice feature and one that helps shed light on the characters, as well as the actors’ perspective on the role they play, very cool indeed. A selection of still photos of the cast members and a look at the lifeforms from the can be seen on Disc 1, while Disc 2 holds a quick look behind the scenes, some prop & concept drawings, a timeline of The Commonwealth, a blooper reel, and a production biography. Each disc also houses a unique assortment of alternate takes, television spots, and teaser trailers.