Last week I finished watching the TV show Space: Above and Beyond (1995–96) for the first time. I cannot understand how, as big a sci-fi fan as I am, this show had gone under the radar from me.
At the time it first aired in Finland, Babylon 5 was The Real Thing for us Finnish geeks. And now, as I’ve gone through both of them, I can see that B5 which started a bit earlier than SAaB, made us – or atleast me – quite blind for other shows of same themes.
It’s a bit like what happened with The X Files and Dark Skies. While the former was a really, really huge TV sensation and very good TV drama, the latter had, maybe, a little darker style of approach to the subject, and was also absolutely essential for the genre.
Therefore, many sci-fi fan may have just overlooked SAaB. At the time (about 1997–98 in Finland), sci-fi shows on all channels were being postponed from Prime Time to late night, so it’s not very hard to imagine this having an effect of its own to the ratings.
Space: Above and Beyond, in the year 2014, became almost instantly one of my TOP sci-fi shows. The first five episodes are kind of hit and miss, and it’s easy to see the show’s just setting its course and experimenting with things and… well, trying a little hard to be like Babylon 5.
Somewhere in the middle of the season the intro to the show was also changed into 30+ seconds of total Babylon 5 mimicry. It has been said the show’s creators were against this change.
In mid-season the episodes are beginning to show some more unique screenwriting, more daring storytelling, and with the episode “Pearly” the show just stole my heart. Still, the rest of the show’s only season is kind of up-and-down.
In fact, I was very surprised how closely I identified with the main cast in the end. The last two episodes, “And if they lay us down to rest” and “Tell our moms we done our best” were totally heart-breaking, full of superb drama writing and acting, and catharsis.
Days after I watched the last episode, I’d return to the last 30 minutes and relive the tragic moments in my mind.
Created by: Glen Morgan and James Wong (of The X Files)
Starring: Morgan Weisser, Kristen Cloke, Rodney Rowland, Joel de la Fuente, Lanei Chapman & James Morrison, with Tucker Smallwood in the recurring role of Commodore Ross.