Flash back, for a moment, to early 2000: Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda had just premiered, to mixed reviews but the high hopes of a thought-provoking and interesting series. Deep Space Nine had recently concluded, following a lackluster but ambitious final season that had no shortage of action but little follow-through in the “Final Chapter” arc episodes. Babylon 5 was in reruns, Crusade had just been murdered by TNT, and I had yet to discover the true excellence of Farscape.
In the past four years, I’ve frequently complained quite bitterly about the irony that many of my favorite shows (Crusade, Farscape, Firefly) get cancelled in their prime, while other shows, bitterly disappointing shows like Andromeda, seem to have nine lives. Fortunately, that seems not to be the case. Today, I can relax, satisfied in some miniscule amount of justice in the entertainment business. Today, Andromeda was cancelled.
I’m not exactly pleased about the cancellation, though. I still remember reading about Andromeda in the summer and fall of 1999, back when the early pre-production of the series was covered by TrekToday, and Robert Hewitt Wolfe’s talent during DS9 offered immense promise of the series’ future. As a student of history, I greatly appreciated the highly detailed background that had been drawn up for the series— and published for the fans on the official Andromeda website. From the Nightsiders and the Nietzscheans to the Pyrians and the Magog, from slipstream and flexies to genetic engineering and nanotechnology, the All Systems University website offered the promise of an incredible new world of science fiction that would be explored.
Alas, it was not to be. Poor writing and behind-the-scenes infighting drove out Mr. Wolfe, the series creator, leaving the show in the hands of less experienced writers who were not interested in the rich and complex background that was developed and more keen on producing mindless action-adventure tales.
I stopped watching Andromeda regularly after the awful “Orobouros”, although I did watch a few more episodes after that before abandoning the show completely after the execrable second season finale. From a thoughtful epic about shining the light of a near-dead civilization, we got a bold and unbloody kung-fu light show about the universe being “a dangerous place.” (Duh... how obvious can you get?)
Farewell, Andromeda. I mourn not for what you are now, but for what you could have been. And I’m glad that what you are now has been finally put out of my misery.