REVIEW: THE LOST WORLD (1998)

CAST

Patrick Bergin (Lawnmower Man 2)
Jayne Heitmeyer (Earth: Final Conflict)
Julian Casey (X-Men: Days of Future Past)
David Newman (Witchboard III)
Michael Sinelnikoff (300)
Russell Yuen (The Day After Tomorrow)

bhrNPMMb851EJd7R3eKs8iaZBcsMongolia, 1934. The researcher Maple White (Jack Langedijk), together with his assistant Azbek (Russell Yuen), discovers an unknown world populated by dinosaurs, situated on a plateau in Mongolia. After having found a Quetzalcoatlus’s egg in a cave, White celebrates the discovery, with Azbek, uncorking a bottle of champagne and listening to classical music. Azbek is attacked and killed by Eudimorphodons, which also attack White who falls from the plateau holding onto a rope; he survives but is seriously wounded, White is found again and taken care of by Myar and Djena (Gregorian Minot Payeur), respectively Azbek’s brother and sister; White asks the two to bring him his friend George Challenger (Patrick Bergin) to whom White gives an account of his adventures, proposing to Challenger that he should try to fully explore the plateau in his place.64Challenger returns to London, and organizes a lecture to try to convince some people to finance an expedition to prove that dinosaurs still exist despite scientific belief to the contrary. During the lecture, Challenger is derided and humiliated, not only from the students but also from his colleagues Leo Summerlee (Michael Sinelnikoff) and Lord Thomas (James Bradford). However, Lord Thomas ultimately grants permission for the expedition, on the condition that Summerlee accompany Challenger to act as “a critical eye”. Subsequently, a spectator at the lecture, Oscar Perreault (Jacques Lessard), proposes to pay the expedition’s expenses to Mongolia, on the condition that the scientists capture a living dinosaur and to exhibit it to the public wherever he wishes; and that his associate John Roxton (David Nerman) goes along to represent his interests. Challenger unwillingly accepts the proposal. After concluding the lecture, Challenger bumps into the young journalist Arthur Malone, who he suggests joins the expedition as a documentor. After granting permission to Malone, Challenger is confronted by the same woman who had interrupted his lecture earlier- who reveals herself to be none other than the late Dr. White’s daughter, Amanda, who also insists on joining the team in order to represent her father’s interests. In the following days, the team heads to Mongolia, stopping on the journey to pick up their guides, including the young siblings Myar and Djena; as the journey goes on, Djena becomes very attached to Malone and strong connection is built between the two. Their transportation suffers a breakdown and the team is forced to continue the trip on foot. One of the guides is killed by what is presumably a prehistoric insect, however, despite misgivings on the part of the guides, the team continues on after conducting a funeral, according to the local rites. The team finally reaches the foot of the plateau where Amanda White is abducted by two neanderthals. Upon noticing Amanda’s disappearance the team immediately goes in search of her. Challenger and Roxton quickly find her suspended from a ritual framework by her abductors. In rescuing her, they are also forced to face the neanderthal tribe – who are only defeated by use of modern weaponry. The team escapes the charging natives by use of a hot air balloon, in which they fly up the plateau. Using binoculars Summerlee observes three Quetzalcoatlus nearby; the animals prove to be hostile and immediately attack the balloon, knocking the young Myar from it and then causing an irreparable tear to the balloon itself, causing the whole team to plummet to the plateau below. Upon arriving the team is amazed to see a Brontosaurus. Djena is bitten by an unknown creature in a water court but is saved by Challenger. After a search the team find shelter in a cave, where they discover a series of intricate symbols on the walls. Roxton decides to return to the wreckage of the balloon to recover his supplies. Upon his return he presents the team with a young Centrosaurus which he wants to sell for $100,000. Roxton the reveals to the team that he intends to make the plateau an area exclusively for high-risk game hunting, and has planned to do so all along. Roxton then orders Malone to tie Djena and Challenger to tie Malone. Taking advantage of Roxton’s temporary distraction, Challenger succeeds in disarming Roxton instead and recovers the rifle. However, Roxton aims a knife Djena’s neck, forcing Challenger to return the rifle to him. Djena once again distracts Roxton by biting Roxton’s hand and Challenger attacks him; ultimately Challenger is able to render Roxton unconscious. Meanwhile, Amanda White and Professor Summerlee are busy trying to decipher the symbols on the cave walls. They are attacked by a dinosaur but are able to fight it off. At the same time, Challenger, Malone and Djena are returning with the tied-up Roxton, and are attacked by a giant crocodile. The crock manages to snap only Roxton, leaving the other three unscathed.imagesWMJ4VFV1Returning to the cave, Amanda White tells the Mongolia’s lost world history through the symbols; these tell of a tribe, the kerraks, that have adapted to the place, some dinosaurs were chased by the kerraks, some of which were extinguished and, for this, the native precedents, the neanderthals, chased the kerraks to avoid the total destruction of the lost world, becoming the plateau’s custodians. After the story, Professor Summerlee reveals to the team that he doesn’t want to return to London, deciding to pass the rest of his life in studying the plateau’s environment. Shortly after this a neanderthal appears in the cave, and shoots Summerlee with a poison dart. The dart causes Summerlee to become very disoriented and experience hallucinations. Under its influence he goes out from the cave and is killed by a Tyrannosaurus. The rest of the team finds the dead body of Summerlee, which they cover with a British flag; subsequently. Returning to the cave, Amanda White and Challenger discover that there is, in fact, a larger cave behind the first, the same one discovered by Maple White in the film’s first scenes. Exploring the cave the two come across the skeleton of the unlucky Azbek and White’s vinyal record. In the same instant, a battered John Roxton, reveals to Amanda White and to Challenger that the cave is full of explosive and that the two cannot be not be saved once he lights the fuse. the lost world 98_2Roxton is also in possession of a Eudimorphodon, which frees itself and attacks him, causing him to fall from the plateau, killing it. Before falling however, Roxton manages to light the fuse and Amanda and Challenger barely succeed in escaping. While trying to prepare a parachute, Djena finds a dead Velociraptor and is attacked by Eoraptors, which then attack the other team members. Later that night, a Tyrannosaurus attacks the camp; the team tries to escape, but Djena is once again attacked by the Eoraptors, when they disperse Djena is attacked and killed by the T-Rex. Wanting to avenge Djena, Malone distracts the T-Rex by throwing rocks at it . He is ultimately able to kill the T-Rex with a large blast of fire by igniting flammable gas caused by a nearby volcano. Amanda White and Challenger are saved from the hot flash by throwing themselves down from the plateau’s frame with the parachute that Deja had been preparing earlier. Returning to London, Challenger communicates the death of his companions to the students. On account of the dangerousness of the place, he chooses to state that the expedition found nothing, thus making sure that no one else goes looking for the plateau. In the last scenes of the film, we see that Malone – the film’s narrator – has remained on the plateau and adapted to life there.500px-The_Lost_World_revolver_1_1Patrick Bergin plays an effective, though whisker-less, Professor Challenger, Julien Casey is believable as the reporter, Ned Blaine, and Michael Sinelnikoff is well cast as Dr. Summerlee. David Nerman makes a surprisingly dastardly John Roxton, Jayne Heitmeyer is fine as a somewhat anachronistic Amanda White, and Gregoriane Minot Payeur is sympathetic as one of the local guides whose family has an unfortunately high mortality rate. The dinosaur scenes, while not quite up to the standards established by Jurassic Park, and not quite as prevalent as one might wish, are generally convincing, exciting, and gruesomely violent. It’s well worth a look for fans of the genre.

 

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REVIEW: ANDROMEDA – SEASON 1-5

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MAIN CAST

Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Lisa Ryder (Jason X)
Keith Hamilton Cobb (Noah’s Arc)
Laura Bertram (50/50)
Brent Stait (Blade: The Series)
Gordon MIchael Woolvett (Bride of Chucky)
Lexa Doig (Continuum)
Steve Bacic (Flash Gordon 2007)
Brandy Ledford (Baywatch)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John Tench (Shooter)
Emy Aneke (Star Trek Beyond)
Elizabeth THai (Saved)
Amber Rothwell (Battlestar Galactica)
Paul Johansson (Highlander:The Raven)
Dylan Bierk (Beastmaster)
Marion Eisman (Hit ‘n Strum)
Cameron Daddo (Packed To The Rafters)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Sam Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Claudette Mink (Children of The Corn 7)
Kimberley Warnat (Freddy vs Jason)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
John de Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Monika Schnarre (Dead Fire)
Douglas O’Keeffe (Sanctuary)
Nathaniel DeVeaux (Antitrust)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Ralf Moeller (Conan The Adventurer)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Chapelle Jaffe (The Dead Zone)
Rachel Hayward (Jingle All The Way 2)
David Palffy (Stargate SG.1)
Kimberly Huie (G-Spot)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Gerard Plunkett (Sucker Punch)
Anthony Lemke (Robocop: Primce Directives)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Anna Marie Deluise (Smallville)
Enuka Okuma (House of The Dead)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Kendall Cross (Caprica)
Francois Yip (Smallville)
James Marsters (Buffy)
Jud Tyler (That 70s Show)
Steven Grayhm (White Chicks)
Timothy Webber (Cypher)
Kevin McNulty (Elektra)
Mark Hildreth (V)
Kristin Lehman (Hemoglobin)
Costas Mandylor (Saw V)
Heather Hanson (The Hosue Next Door)
Dean Wray (Horns)
Ingrid Torrance (Flight 93)
Brendan Beiser (The X-FIles)
Cynthia Preston (Carrie 2013)
Meredith McGeachie (Punch)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Michael Hurst (Hercules: TLJ)
Andee Frizzell (Stargate Atlantis)
Christopher Judge (Stargate SG.1)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Winston Rekert (The Blue Man)
Lawrence Bayne (Dog Pound)
Krista Rae (Dawn Anna)
Kristen Robek (Cats & Dogs)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Venus Terzo (Arrow)
Sara Deakins (Tru Calling)
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica)
William Katt (Carrie)
Geordie Johnson (Reign)
leila Johnson (School of Life)
Jayne Heitmeyer (Earth: Final Conflict)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil)
Adam Harrington (The Secret Circle)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Chris Potter (Heartland)
Jody Thompson (Flash Gordon 2007)
Helene Joy (Desolation Sound)
Aleks Paunovic (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Krista Allen (Mutant X)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
JR Bourne (Stargate SG.1)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (V)
Nigel Bennett (Cypher)
John Reardon (Tru Calling)
Maury Chaykin (Entrapment)
Chelah Horsdal (Hell on Wheels)
Carmen Moore (Artic Air)
Michelle Harrison (The Flash)
Nicholas Lea (Arrow)
Colin cunningham (Elektra)
Andrew Jackson (Earth: FInal Conflict)
Ona Grauer (V)
Ivar Brogger (Bones)
Sebastian Spence (First Wave)
Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica)
Martin Cummins (Bates Motel)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Christina Cox (Arrow)
Apollonia Vanova (Watchmen)
Nia Peeples (Half Past Dead)
Peter Wingfield (Caprica)
Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica)
Gary Jones (Stargate SG.1)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
Peter Delusie (21 Jump Street)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Missy Peregrym (Heroes)
Marjorie Monaghan (Babylon 5)
Blu Mankuma (Tin Man)
Alan Scarfe (Seven Days)
Kyle Cassie (Deadpool)
Ken Tremblett (Caitlin’s Way)
Don S. Davis (Stargate SG.1)
Natassia Malthe (DOA)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
Lochlyn Munro (Scary Movie)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Francoise Yip (Smallville)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)

The first season begins with a two-part story “Under the Night” and “An Affirming Flame” about the formation of Dylan and his new crew. Gerentex, a nightsider, hires the crew of the Eureka Maru: Beka, Harper, Trance, and Rev. Gerentex wants them to do a salvage operation and find the fabled Andromeda Ascendant. The ship is worth a lot of money. After a long effort by the crew, they find the Andromeda and tow it from the black hole singularity.When Beka, Harper, Trace, and Rev board the ship, they find Dylan on board. Gerentex sends a secret assault team, led by Tyr, to kill Dylan. Suddenly, the mission changes and Beka’s crew have a change of heart. They want to leave the ship to Dylan, because it is his ship after all. Gerentex does not react happy to the news and he only leaves the ship when it is sucked back into the singularity. Of course, he leaves Beka’s crew and the assault team to perish. Dylan inspires the crew to work together to get out of the situation. He saves them, and later reveals to them his desire to rebuild the Commonwealth. Reluctantly, everyone joins him. Not because they believe in his cause, but because it is better than smuggling.The two-part story is a pretty exciting introduction to the series. Some of the characters’ performances are a bit over-the-top and their ability to instantaneously adapt to using the Andromeda’s advanced computer systems and having security codes to launch the massive nova bombs (think nukes in space) is little on the unreasonable side. But, if you do not take the show too seriously, the introductory two-part story is quite fun. Another part I enjoyed about it was the mysterious hints about Trance. She was shot and killed, but miraculously recovered without any medical attention. While she seems like an innocent character with a small part, the writers have some big plans for her as the series progresses.

The  grander plot happening with the Andromeda crew tends to be a lot better than the standalone episodes. There are episodes that tie in a super duper bad guy called the Abyss. In “Harper 2.0”, the Abyss sends an assassin into the known world to erase its existence. In the season finale “It’s Hour Come ‘Round at Last”, the crew run into a huge ship filled with millions of Magogs. It becomes a very interesting story.

There are also some interesting stories with detailed background into the characters like “Angel Dark, Demon Bright”, where the Andromeda accidentally travels back in time to a major turning point in the battle against the Commonwealth and Nietzscheans. Dylan is in a position to change the future forever, but decides against toying with fate. Then there is “The Banks of the Lethe”, which puts Dylan back his fiance Sara (Sam Jenkins). Episodes like theses offer insight to the characters, their backgrounds and personalities, and the relationships they have with each other. These developments become a fairly intriguing part of season one . For instance, Tyr is a Nietzschean and cares more about his wellbeing than those he serves with. In several instances, his loyalty and duty to the crew is questionable. Like in the episode “Double Helix”.

Overall, the first season of Andromeda offers viewers a decent science-fiction series filled with action, some corny dialogue, over-the-top performances, decent stories, and a cast of likeable characters.

In season two, Dylan’s quest becomes more of a reality. The Renewed Systems Commonwealth represents more than just the unity and peace Dylan envisions; it is, as Dylan hunt says, a necessity. In the season one finale “It’s Hour Come ‘Round at Last”, Harper took a look around inside Andromeda’s code and found a backup copy of Andromeda’s core. He accidentally restored the backup. Andromeda went out of control and took the crew on a top secret mission. To make matters worse, the mission takes the crew deep into Magog territory, where the Andromeda runs into a Magog Worldship. The Worldship is a transportable solar system, with multiple planets and an artificial sun. The Worldship houses trillions of Magog and gives them the power to destroy stars. The Magog are traveling towards the known worlds with plans of conquest and destruction. In the close of the episode, the Magog have overrun the Andromeda and the crew’s fate is desperate: Trance, Beka, and Dylan are unconscious and near death, Tyr and Harper are being held by the Magog, Rommie had a pike shoved in her stomach, Rev Bem is being converted to the Magog cause, and the Andromeda Ascendant is in critical condition.

The second season premiere episode “The Widening Gyre” continues where season one left off. Despite the direness of the situation, they overcome their individual situations and manage to free themselves of capture. The real excitement introduced in this story is the notion of the Magog and the Worldship. The Spirit of the Abyss, a being that acts as the Magog’s God, is leading the Magog on a quest of utter destruction. This threat becomes a staple for the Andromeda crew to fight off. A Renewed Systems Commonwealth is a necessity. Fortunately for the crew, they have some time until the Worldship reaches space of the known world–two or three years. In the fourth and fifth seasons, the Spirit of the Abyss and the Magog are a major port of the season story arcs. The Magog still are at the front of the stories and a key reason for the new Commonwealth. And Dylan works feverishly to recruit planets to his cause. In the episode “Home Fires”, Dylan receives a message from his long dead fiance. After the initial fall of the Commonwealth, a group sought refuge on a planet called Tarazed and for three hundred years, they have survived as the last remnants of the old way of life. Dylan learns that the people of Tarazed and goes to the planet to get them to join the new Commonwealth. They, however, do not. When he arrives at the planet, he finds a familiar face, that of his former first officer Gaheris. But it is a genetic clone named Telemachus Rhade. Dylan and Rhade are hesitant to trust each other. The story takes an interesting turn in the development of the relationship Dylan had with Gaheris, as well as introduces Rhade, who joins the cast in season four.

The episodes “Into the Labyrinth”, “Bunker Hill”, and “The Prince” are more episodes focused on the restoration of the Commonwealth with the cast in diplomatic missions, facing with spies, political corruption, and other such things. “Into the Labyrinth” sees a Nietzschean clan Saber-Jaguar joining the Commonwealth. In “Bunker Hill” the Saber-Jaguar clan invokes the Mutual Defense Pact, which requires the Andromeda join their side in combat against the Dragan clan. At the same time, Dylan sends Harper and Rommie to Earth to join the resistance movement to free human slaves under Dragan control. In “The Prince”, the crew travel to Ne’Holland to save what is left the royal family from being slaughtered. Dylan wants the planet to join the Commonwealth because it is in a key position to defend against the upcoming Magog onslaught. However, in order to get them to join, he has to save its leaders from its own people. But what Dylan did not know was that the royal family’s actions have not always been just.“Ouroboros” is a major episode in the series. It is the first major cast and crew changes. Rev Bem leaves the series as a regular cast member. He apparently went away to find himself. Stait, who plays Rev Bem, talks about the reason he left in his interview featurette. Another change deals with Trance. Harper builds a machine he hopes will help rid him of the Magog larvae that was implanted in him in the season premiere. The machine works, but it also does a little more and bends space and time. The crew is able to glimpse into future versions of themselves. Trance, in particular, meets her future self, who proclaims the future unfolded very badly. The present and future Trance’s switch places in hope future Trance can set the timeline in the right direction. The new Trance is physically different, without a tail and has golden skin. The other major change is in the crew. Robert Hewitt Wolfe was released because the direction he envisioned for the series was much different than wanted. In “Knight, Death, and the Devil”, the crew are on the verge of completing the first stage in restoring the Commonwealth. Beka and Harper negotiate with the fiftieth planetary world to join the cause. Dylan, Tyr, and Rommie also find a decommissioned high guard ship. When they interact with the ship’s AI Ryan (Michael Hurst), they find out there is a solar system with over fifty other relic ships in hiding. Dylan goes to the solar to convince the ships to rejoin the Commonwealth (remember some AI’s have emotions and they were abandoned long ago). Christopher Judge guest stars as one of the AI’s.

 

The season finale “Tunnel at the End of the Light” is a literally explosive episode. Representatives from fifty worlds come to the Andromeda to sign the Commonwealth charter. It is an exciting time to see the Commonwealth officially come back into power. Unfortunately, there are forces that would rather not see the chartered signed. Sabotage hits the Andromeda and the charter signing goes up in flames. It is up to the crew to make necessary sacrifices to see it through.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the second season of Andromeda. Like the first season.  In addition, the story arcs that span the episodes offer intriguing aspects with the formation of the Commonwealth, the Magog, and the Spirit of the Abyss. In the end, I think season two makes for a good watch if you enjoy science-fiction/fantasy oriented shows.

In the close of season two, the signing of the Commonwealth charter was under attack by mysterious alien forces. The disruption caused chaos and the crew had to make sacrifices to deal with the matter. In the third season premiere episode “If the Wheel is Fixed”, the story is concluded. Tyr and Beka were left trapped in another dimension. Dylan frets and considers a way to get them back. He takes the Eureka Maru to reconstruct the events that led to the crew members being sucked into the alternate dimension. He is successful and Tyr and Beka return. Unfortunately, the two are not who they seem to be. Many problems happen on the Andromeda and it eventually turns into a mysterious plot to kill them all–Tyr and Beka are being controlled by a force in the other dimension.

The unfortunate thing about this episode is the direction the story takes. In the end of season two, the story had a lot of promise with aliens from another dimension attacking. However, in the concluding half of the episode, the story gets pretty hokey. I suppose the aliens from another dimension were not the strongest approach itself, but I liked it in the first part. The subsequent episodes also fail to be as strong as they could. This is not to say they are terrible or anything, but rather that they could have been better. The story arcs that ran through the first two seasons start become less significant. The content is more episodic with the Andromeda crew out on missions that are wrapped up in an episode.

“The Unconquerable Man” is a pretty solid episode, but one you do not want to think too much about. The storyline is based on time travel and alternate realities. The episode begins with Harper moving Gaheris Rhade’s body and Dylan notices a mark on his hand he had never seen. Then the episode jumps into a point in time when a future Rhade had the opportunity to destroy the time machine Harper built in the season two episode “Ouroboros”. Trance is with Rhade and tries to convince him not to do so. Rhade reflects on his life (an alternate reality of the events thus far). In this reality, Rhade killed Dylan and survived for three hundred years in the black hole. He teamed up with Beka, Rev Bem, Trance, Harper, and Tyr to rebuild the Commonwealth. As the episode unfolds, Rhade comes to realize it is Dylan’s fate and not his. He sacrifices himself so that the original timeline is restored and Dylan is once again put in charge of the Andromeda.

“The Dark Backward” is an exciting episode because it explores Trance’s reality. There is a deadly intruder aboard the ship trying to kill the crew. The episode focuses on Trance and one her of mysterious talents. In past episodes, she has offered advice that could only be explained by foresight of some kind. She has the ability to play out situations in many different scenarios in mere seconds. Trance explores different ways to maximize the crew’s life and stopping the intruder. It is an interesting episode because it details more about how mysterious and special Trance is as a character.

Another strong episode this season is “What Happens to a Rev Deferred?”, where Rev Bem returns. While monitoring the evacuation of Empyrium, a world that is on the brink of destruction, the crew receives a communication from Rev Bem asking to be rescued. To complicate matters, a group of renegades are after Rev. Dylan and crew go to the planet’s surface to rescue Rev and witness a miracle. Rev under goes some spiritual phenomena when an unknown entity confronts Rev and he professes his sorrow for all his ill-natured acts as a savage Magog. He is given redemption and physical changed into a new being. Rev Bem has been an interesting character, with his struggles to be “civilized” over “savage”, and his ties into the Spirit of the Abyss make him an even more interesting character. It is too bad he is not investigated further. In the season finale “Shadows Cast by a Final Salute”, things take a turn for the worst for the Andromeda crew and the Commonwealth. The assistant minister of war informs Dylan that there is something afoot with the Nietzschean clans in the Commonwealth. There have been rumors going around that they are considering leaving the allied forces and forming their own united front. They are rumors no longer, but fact. Afterwards, Andromeda is put on high alert when an elite strike force of Dragans takes hostages and demands their lives for the bones of Drago Musevini. As the situation unfolds, it becomes evident Tyr’s hand had play in the situation. With his son, the genetic clone of Drago Musevini, he plans to unite his people and save the universe. At the end, Dylan and Tyr bid a final farewell to each other with no promise their next meeting will be peaceful. But the situation was more than just Dylan and Tyr, as a plot to stand against the Commonwealth became an important issue. The Nietzscheans and several other forces joined in a battle against the Commonwealth fleet, which ended with the fall of the Restored Systems Commonwealth.

Overall, I was not nearly as impressed with this season as I was with seasons one or two. The episodes were more episodic with Dylan and his crew going on this or that adventure. The overall story arc with the Commonwealth, the Spirit of the Abyss, the Magog, Trance’s past, and others were not addressed as they were in the past seasons. The focus was a lot different. While this is not an awful move, it just was not as good. The fortunate news is that the pace picks up again with the season three finale and it puts the entire universe of Andromeda in upheaval.

Life is not looking pretty for the Andromeda. In the season three finale, the Andromeda and the Commonwealth fleet were manipulated into a situation that resulted in the apparent downfall of the newly formed federation of planets. Dylan was betrayed by his friend Tyr for a cause that Tyr believes to be more righteous and important than anything else. In the season four premiere episode “Answers Given To Questions”, the story is revisited. With the destruction of the fleet, the Andromeda crew decides what to do next. While trying to figure out their situation, they take on an injured pilot who brings Dylan a communication. The message is from a man named Paroo. He tells Dylan that the Commonwealth is no more and that he is holding one of its leaders and will kill her in due time. Dylan responds by chasing after Paroo, who he finds out is the head of Commonwealth security and the real cause behind the massive battle. But Paroo has manipulated the situation so that everyone thinks Dylan is the bad guy. Dylan kills Paroo and shows he was an agent of the Abyss. He then becomes a hero. More good news follows as enough leaders survived that the Commonwealth continues on.

In the remainder of the season, the series story arc dealing with the Magog threat is revisited in full. The majority of the episodes deal with the Andromeda crew caught up in one situation or another that ties into the Magog, the Abyss, and the Nietzscheans. A new addition to the Abyss story arc in this season begins to define Dylan’s role in the overall scheme of things. Yes, he is the captain of the Andromeda and leading the cause, but there is more to it than just that. The truth about who and what Dylan is revealed and his role in stopping the Abyss is more important than any of the lives of his crew.

“Waking the Tyrant’s Device” is an episode that takes a look at the creator of the Magog Worldship. Nicholas Lea (The X-Files) guest stars as Tri-Lorn, who gives the Andromeda orders to visit a planet. When they arrive, they are attacked. Dylan questions Tri-Lorn why they were sent to such a dangerous place without being told. Tri-Lorn reveals the importance of the mission. They are to stop Kroton, a half man, half robot. Kroton is building a massive army of androids and it is up to Dylan and crew to stop him. The episode itself is not the strongest, but it is still interesting to focus on the creator of the Worldship.

“Soon the Nearing Vortex” and “The World Turns All Around Her” is the two part episode where Telemachus Rhade joins the Andromeda crew on a permanent basis. In the first part, the Andromeda comes to the aid of a Commonwealth transport ship that is under attack from Nietzchean. On the transport is Rhade, who is holding Tyr as a prisoner. The Andromeda fends off the attacking ships and save Rhade’s life, but not before Tyr escapes. When Dylan reports back to the Commonwealth headquarters, Tri-lorn demands Rhade be returned to Tarazed so he can be dealt with. Dylan decides not to take him back because he fears Tri-lorn is corrupt. The story continues with the crew facing corrupt politicians, a scheming Tyr, and the Route of Ages, a mystical slipstream that goes to the original Vedran home world.

In the second part of the story, Dylan is ready to take on the Route of Ages. Tyr appears in a ship, with Beka in custody, demanding that Dylan give up the map for Beka’s life. Dylan comprises and allows Tyr to follow him on the journey. The Route of Ages is important because it is the key to stopping the Abyss. As the story unfolds, more intricate aspects of the plotline are uncovered, which include Trance revealing who and what she really is to Dylan, an avatar of the Vedran sun. The Abyss also makes a frightful appearance that puts the crew in a race for survival. This episode marks Tyr’s final appearance.

Other strong episodes in the season include “The Torment, the Release”, where the corrupt Tri-lorn demands Dylan hand over Rhade for prosecution, “The Warmth of an Invisible Light”, where Harper’s latest invention sends Dylan into an alternate reality, “Fear Burns Down to Ashes”, Rev Bem returns with a weapon to stop the Magog, “Lost in a Space that Isn’t There”, where Beka becomes an agent of the Abyss, and other episodes. For the most part, they all tie into the larger plot and tend to add to the excitement. The two-part season finale “The Dissonant Interval” is also an episode worthy of noting. The Andromeda goes to a space station called the Arkology when they learn the Magog Worldship is headed right for them. When the crew arrives at the station, they inform its leaders about the upcoming threat. The unfortunate part is that they are unwilling to listen. The people in the Arkology are of a peaceful nature and they believe they will be able to make peace with the Magog. But the Magog are not a peaceful people and they intend to kill everyone. The two-part story puts the crew in a battle with death-defying odds. And despite the odds, they put 110% into stopping the Magog. Unfortunately, as the episode ends, the situation is hopeless with death not far off from the horizon. Dylan is forced to abandon everyone and escape through the Route of Ages.

 

Overall, I enjoyed season four. The plotlines in the episodes tended to tie the material into a larger plot and it made for a much more intriguing watch. There were also several reoccurring characters like the devilish Nicholas Lea, the guy you love to hate, playing a questionable Commonwealth politician. The storylines touched upon the Abyss and the Magog, the Collectors, turncoat Tyr, and other exciting bad guys. Like seasons one and two, season four produces some exciting stories that are engaging and easy to get lost in.

In season five, the series takes a much different turn in events. At the end of the season four, there was some skepticism as to whether or not the show would continue into a fifth season. Well, the series was picked up for a fifth season, but with a smaller budget.The storylines lose the grandeur it once had with the epic space battles and massive story arcs. The series, stories, and character becomes more confined and lose a lot of the appeal found in previous seasons. In a nutshell, watching season five was more of a chore than fun. While there was some decent content, it does not compare to the quality of the past seasons.

In the close of season four, the Andromeda came to the space station Arkology to warn the inhabitants about their impending doom. The Magog Worldship was headed right for them and they need to get out of there. The inhabitants were a peaceful people and believed that they could make peace with the Magog. Dylan and the rest tried to tell them peace is not an option. Of course, they did not listen. When the Magog came, the Andromeda and its crew tried its best to stop the onslaught, but they failed miserably. In the close of the two-part season four finale, Dylan took the Route of Ages in a slipstream fighter and found himself transported into an alternative universe.

The two-part episode “The Weight” kicks off season five. In it, Dylan gets accustomed to his new life in the alternate universe on a planet called Seefra-1, which is one of nine barren wastelands. When Dylan tries to learn more about where he is, he finds little help. But when he meets a mysterious man named Flavin, he begins to get more clues about his situation. He is trapped in an isolated cluster of planets in another universe. Dylan explores Seefra-1 and later runs into a very disgruntled Rhade. Rhade and the others crew members (who Dylan runs into in later episodes) are unhappy with him for leaving them to die. It was through the efforts of Trance that the Andromeda (badly damaged) and her crew were brought into this alternate reality and not left to die at the hands of the Magog. They also blame him for being stuck on Seefra-1. Dylan returns to Flavin to get more information from him. Dylan learns his place is on Seefra-1; he must help the people in the coming days. Flavin also reveals the true nature of the Route of Ages.

After the not-so-exciting season premiere, “Phear Phactor Phenom” has the majority of the season four cast back together in some form or another, Dylan, Harper, Beka, Trance, and Rhade. We learn that Rommie was destroyed and Harper had been on Seefra-1 for over three years while the rest of the crew had only just recently arrived. During Harper’s time on the Seefra-1, he was able to rebuild a new android with portions of Rommie’s damaged core. The new character is Doyle, a blonde robot who was initially made to think she is human. The season five episodes proceed with the cast getting reacquainted with each other and Dylan trying to get the Andromeda up and running again. Some have changed with their new situation, most notably Trance who lost portions of her memory.

In the episode “Moonlight Becomes You”, Trance starts to remember who she is and the season starts to focus on the storyline hinted at in “The Weight”. The Seefra system is in jeopardy and the crew must work together to save the inhabitants of the nine wastelands over the next several episodes. But the story really ties into the power that is Trance. Trance is an avatar of the Vedran sun and the actual sun is approaching Seefra-1. When it arrives, the planets in the system (except for Seefra-1) will explode. The episodes “Past is Prolix”, “The Opposites of Attraction”, “Saving Light from a Black Sun”, “Quantum Tractate Delirium”, “One More Day’s Light”, and “Chaos and the Stillness of It” continue to focus on this storyline (uncovering more about Trance, the council of avatars she is a senior member of, and the crew trying to save the inhabitants), which is much more entertaining than the first portion of the season, but it still lacks the same punch the early seasons had.

In the two-part series finale “The Heart of the Journey”, the series come to a close by wrapping up the series story arc with the Abyss. While on Seefra-1, Harper receives a message transmission for Dylan. It is from Flavin, who had been killed by the Abyss, telling Dylan he is the last hope for the survival of the known worlds. The Council intends to destroy the galaxies of the known world in order to snuff out the Abyss. They, however, give Dylan and his crew the opportunity to return before their utter demise. Once back in their universe, they find only four days have passed since the Magog Worldship attacked. The Andromeda has to face the Nietzchseans and the Abyss. The situation that appeared dire ends with a happy ending and the destruction of the Abyss in a battle that is far from epic.

Overall, I really did not care for this season. The level of grandeur in the storylines was significantly diminished. The big flashy effects were part of what made the sci-fi series so much fun were gone. The show tended to have very isolated stories with limited character development. In the end, I did not see much in this season that made it worthwhile. Sure, there are some decent episodes, but they fail to compare to the past seasons. Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I give it a rent it recommendation on the pure basis that it concludes the series and there are a few decent episodes to follow.

REVIEW: EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT – SEASON 1-5

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MAIN CAST

Kevin Kilner (Dollhouse)
Lisa Howard (Robocop: THe Series)
Von Flores (Never Cry Werewolf)
David Hemblen (La Femme Nikita)
Richard Chevolleau (Rookie Blue)
Leni Parker (Screamers)
Anita La Selva (Rogue)
Robert Leeshock (Dead End Road)
Jayne Heitmeyer (Snake Eyes)
Melinda Deines (Mutant X)
Alan van Sprang (Reign)
Guylaine St-Onge (Mutant X)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michael Flipowich (Charlie Jade)
Lisa Ryder (Andromeda)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek)
Miranda Kwok (Ride or Die)
Sharu Guthrie (Pitch Black)
Malin Ackerman (Watchmen)
Emily Hampshire (Cosmopolis)
Peter Krantz (Exotica)
John Evans (Dirty Pictures)
Colette Stevenson (This is Wonderland)
Kristin Lehman (The Killing)
Nigel Bennett (Cypher)
Maurice Dean Wint (Cube)
Damon D’Oliveira (Short Circuit 2)
Kari Matchett (Wonderfalls)
Shauna MacDonald (Reign)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
William De Vry (Beauty and The Beast)
Paul Johansson (Highlander: The Raven)
Barry Flatman (Odyssey 5)
Montse Viader (Whipped)
Shawn Doyle (Reign)
Polly Shannon (Lie With Me)
Andrew Jackson (Andromeda)
Monika Schnarre (The New Addams Family)
Christina Cox (Stargate SG.1)
Janet Kidder (Arrow)
Fiona Highet (Bitten)
Francoise Yip (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Dean McDermott (Open Range)
Carlo Rota (Stargate Universe)
Frank Moore (Rabid)
Richard Zeppieri (Driven)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Andrew Airlie (Final Destination 2)
Reagan Pasternak (Being Erica)
Mark Lutz (Angel)
J.C. MacKenzie (Dark Angel)
Marina Sirtis (STar Trek: TNG)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Lindy Booth (Odyssey 5)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Sarah LaFleur (Ugly Betty)
Garwin Sanford (Stargate: Atlantis)
Stacy Grant (Shanghai Noon)
Larissa Laskin (John Q)
Victor A. Young (Highlander: the Series)
Ramona Milano (Pushing Tin)
Lexa Doig (Andromeda)
Andrew Gillies (Mutant X)
Noam Jenkins (Saw II)
Helen Taylor (Thoughtcrimes)
Peter Outerbridge (Beauty and The Beast)
Margot Kidder (Superman)
Anthony Lemke (Mutant X)
Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls)
James Gallanders (Bride of Chucky)
Andrea Roth (Ringer)

I started watching this with rather low expectations — everything with Roddenberry’s name on it, other than Star Trek , has been a bit of a flop. So I was pleasantly surprised that this story of alien contact with a hidden ulterior motive is done quite well.

The Taelons arrived on Earth three years ago, and have helped eliminate much poverty and hunger. Selected members of their race — Companions — live on earth, and are aided by human agents implanted with a CVI, an alien virus that increases intelligence and has a motivational imperative to be loyal to the Taelons. But the Taelons are secretive, and not all humans are convinced of their good intentions. A Resistance sets up, and they place an agent, William Boone, with a modified CVI that has no such motivational imperative. The series follows Boone’s adventures as he tries to find out what the Taelons are up to, without blowing his cover.

That the Talons do have a secret purpose becomes clearer as the season progresses, but what it is precisely remains a mystery. The uncovering of the secrets, and the story arcs, are well handled. The Taelons come across as an interestingly conflicted race, some more pro-human, and less happy with whatever it is they are up to, than others. And the Resistance is nicely complex, too — sometimes seeming to be irrationally fanatic, sometimes seeming to be Earth’s last best hope for freedom. Boone does the agonised man trapped between two worlds bit quite well.

There is thankfully very little techno-babble, although some implausible technology rears its head (yet another case of whipping up an antidote to a disease in less than an episode — and a DNA sequence alone is not sufficient to recreate an adult person — and if the Taelons simply monitored Boone’s video phone, they’d get a nasty shock!) Yet, minor quibbles aside, this has been a fun journey.

Don’t be fooled by the box cover. I don’t know why they chose to have Kevin Kilner (William Boone) on the cover. I guess maybe because Boone’s fate was the cliffhanger of Season 1. But rest assured, this is not some sort of “alternate version” of Season 1 that’s repackaged as a misleading “Season 2,” as some fans had speculated, including myself. Trust me, this is Season 2 for real, just as advertised. The back of the box mentions Liam Kincaid, but shows pictures of Kilner (Boone). Ironic, considering Boone is already “dead” by Season 2 and makes no appearances until Season 5. So yes, the first episode of Season 2 is “First Of Its Kind,” Liam Kincaid being born. The rest of the episodes of Season 2 follow.

A lot of E:FC fans were turned off when the series changed direction, when they killed off Kevin Kilner (Boone’s) character, and brought Robert Leeshock (Liam) to replace him. I for one fell in love with it, then watched it to the end during its normal run on television, including the  Season 5. I can see how a lot of people would be pissed off that they axed Kevin Kilner (Boone) from the series. However, I must say that Liam Kincaid’s story arc, of him being a “man who’s more than human,” having Shaqarava in his palms (for Season 2 at least), having supposedly 75% Jaridian DNA, having precognitive powers, and his relationship with Augur, Lili, Doors, (as well as others introduced in Seasons 3 and 4) made for a good show.

I must say that E:FC would be nothing without the Liam Kincaid story arc. He carried the series from Season 2 to Season 4. Liam Kincaid, Ronald Sandoval, Da’an, and Zo’or. These are the players to watch out for, the major movers and shakers whose interplays determine the future of Earth. Liam’s relationship with Da’an was the strongest in Season 2, and it was very entertaining to see him use powers such as the Shaqarava, which can, among other things, fire lethal blasts, revive recently slain allies, deflect Jaridian Replicant energy beams, expel Dark Matter.

By the beginning of Earth: Final Conflict: Season Three, it is learned that the Taelons are ruthless and cunning; willing to manipulate anything and anyone to benefit their agenda. Their agenda is primarily fueled by their inter-galactic war with a race of aliens that share a common ancestor with them, the Jaridians. While the Taelons are long-lived and based on an energy physiology, the Jaridians are flesh & bone, with very short life expectancies. The Taelons main advantage has been their lifespan and technological edge, as well as their ability to travel faster than light. The Jaridians, on the other hand, have the advantage of sheer numbers with a scorch & burn policy towards their enemy and any who assist them.

 

Season three introduced Renee Palmer (Jayne Heitmeyer) as the main female lead, to assist Liam in his fight against the Taelon agenda but it also showed her as having her own agenda, based on acquiring wealth. It also phased Lili out as a regular and solidified the relationship between Liam and Auger, a computer genius with a leaning towards capitalism (much like Renee). The show evolved with each season and the plot threads of these 22 episodes focused more on unveiling the secrets (and weaknesses) of the aliens than any other season. The show was very much a social commentary and on its good days, showed the mindset of the radical Roddenberry whose idealism was obvious in all of his television shows .

Da’an helps to make sure that the Human/Jaridian hybrid lives. The Jaridians are dying, and Vorjack had hoped that the child would hold the key to their salvation, but this does not happen as expected. Before Vorjack dies from being on Earth for too long for his body to handle, Liam thinks quickly and saves his life. Lili, the Jaridian, and their hybrid child, manage to escape as Liam wishes them well.

Augur runs into trouble with the law and is forced into hiding. He offers his friend Juliet Street, a.k.a. J.Street, the opportunity to take over his role in the Resistance, and she accepts. She proves savvy and intelligent, eventually revealing that she has rare ability to think and calculate in multiple dimensions, which makes her a target for the increasingly desperate Taelons.The Resistance goes above ground once again when Renee and Liam team up with an international group, the Atlantic National Alliance, dedicated to defending human interests against the Taelons.Toward the end of the season, it is discovered that the Taelons are a dying race as well; their core energy is almost spent. More and more Taelons are entering stasis, and Zo’or becomes increasingly desperate to save his species. It is also revealed that Zo’or is Da’an’s child.

Liam and Renee discover a regeneration chamber hidden deep in a volcano, set in place long ago by Ma’el. Liam realizes that all species are interconnected and he must play a role in saving the Taelons, despite all the trouble they have caused. He brings them out of stasis. To conserve energy, they combine their essence into just six Taelons who go down to the regeneration chamber. At the same time, the remainder of Vorjack’s Jaridian fleet arrives on the scene. Zo’or, greedy to ensure his own survival, touches an energy pool in the chamber and is absorbed into it. Liam convinces the Jaridians to attempt a “joining” with the Taelons, which, it is believed, will return them to an earlier evolutionary form that is better suited to survival. As the volcano erupts, the joining procedure begins with Liam’s help, but it is unclear who or what will survive.

Liam, the Taelons, and the Jaridians have disappeared but their efforts, far from saving everyone, have doomed the galaxy: they have awakened the Atavus, a race of energy vampires that preceded the Taelons and Jaridians. Renee and Street are the only ones who know the truth of what’s happening: the Resistance is disbanded and the human governments are in no rush to accept the beginning of another war with an alien race. Their only ally is Raj’el, the first and now the last of the Taelons, who is forced to provide covert support from the heart of the Taelon mothership.

To make matters worse, Sandoval, left in control of the Taelon mothership, allies with the Atavus leaders Howlyn and Juda. Together, they are able to keep their presence hidden for much of the season. Their plan is to create an army of Atavus-Human hybrids by means of a joining process, then use the hybrids to awaken other Atavus hives hidden around the world. As the season progresses, a few familiar faces re-enter the fight: William Boone is brought back as a trap for Renee, but he quickly joins her side. In response, Sandoval and Howlyn revive Zo’or, giving him a new body as a female Atavus, but Renee and Boone are able to defeat their nemesis once and for all.

Final Conflict comes to a head when Liam returns to help Renee stop Howlyn from unleashing his elite warriors from the long-buried Atavus mothership. At the end of the series, Liam, Renee and Raj’el depart in the Taelon mothership, resolving to bring the few trustworthy Atavus home and indulge in a little adventure along the way.

Season 5 was universally despised by most fans, this was because of the lost of da’an and Liam, bringing in  new aliens in the final season was a bold move.  Alan Van Sprang joining the cast as Howlyn was brilliant and it allowed Renee to take centre stage. the final episode was a satisfying conclusion, leaving just enough rope to dangle just in case they continued.