seaQuest DSV

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This article is about an American sci-fi TV series. For the video game based from the TV series, see seaQuest DSV (video game).
"seaQuest" redirects here. For other uses, see seaQuest (disambiguation).
seaQuest DSV
SeaQuestDSVMainTitle.jpg
The seaQuest DSV maintitle
Format Science fiction
Created by Rockne S. O'Bannon
Starring Roy Scheider[1]
Jonathan Brandis
Stephanie Beacham
Don Franklin
Michael Ironside[2]
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 59 (including two two-hour movie episodes) (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 45 minutes per episode
Production company(s) Amblin Television
Universal Television
Broadcast
Original channel NBC[3]
Original run September 12, 1993 (1993-09-12) – June 9, 1996 (1996-06-09)

seaQuest DSV is an American science fiction television series created by Rockne S. O'Bannon. It originally aired on NBC between 1993 and 1996. In its final season, it was renamed seaQuest 2032. Set in "the near future"; the year 2018, seaQuest DSV originally mixed high drama with realistic scientific fiction.[4] It originally starred film star Roy Scheider as Captain Nathan Bridger, designer and commander of the titular naval submarine seaQuest DSV 4600. Jonathan Brandis also starred as Lucas Wolenczak, a teenaged computer genius placed aboard seaQuest by his father and Stephanie Beacham as Kristin Westphalen, the chief medical officer and head of the seaQuest science department. In the third season, Michael Ironside replaced Scheider as lead of the series and starred as Captain Oliver Hudson. Also present was a dolphin character called Darwin who, due to technological advances, was able to communicate with the crew. Steven Spielberg expressed interest in the project and served as one of the show's executive producers during the first two seasons.

Production of the first season was marked by disputes between the producers, NBC and cast members, changes in the production staff, and even an earthquake. The second season contained changes in the cast as well as continued disputes between cast members and producers, while the third season introduced a new lead actor and title. While initially popular, the series began to decline in ratings throughout its run and was abruptly canceled in the middle of its third season.[5]

Season 1[edit]

First-season cast

The series follows the adventures of the high-tech submarine seaQuest DSV (Deep Submergence Vehicle) operated by the United Earth Oceans Organization (UEO), a global coalition of up-world countries and undersea confederations, similar to the United Nations and Star Trek's United Federation of Planets.[6] The UEO was created following a major showdown of nations that occurred circa 2017, and it remains a recurring element for the duration of the series. The seaQuest was designed by Nathan Bridger and built by NORPAC (a military organization mentioned in the pilot) and given to the UEO after its creation. The storyline begins in the year 2018, after mankind has exhausted almost all natural resources, except for the ones on the ocean floor. Many new colonies have been established there and it's the job of the seaQuest and its crew to protect them from hostile nonaligned nations and to aid in mediating disputes as well as engage in undersea research, much of which was still in the preliminary stages when the show began production in 1993. Bridger, though originally reluctant, is convinced to return to the navy and assume command of the seaQuest after its original captain was relieved of duty for disobeying orders.

Part of the original focus of seaQuest DSV also centered around the interpersonal relationships of the crew, such as Captain Bridger's, Lucas Wolenczak's, and Dr. Westphalen's loss of immediate family and their shared interest in science, as well as each other, and the "love-hate relationship" between Lieutenant Benjamin Krieg and Lieutenant Commander Katherine Hitchcock, recently divorced, now forced to serve together on the same boat.

Season 2[edit]

Second-season cast

In the first-season finale, Bridger sacrificed the seaQuest to prevent an ecological disaster and for a short time it was not known if the show would be renewed for another season.[7] When it was decided the show would return, NBC and Universal used this opportunity to change the show's format. Both Royce D. Applegate (Chief Manilow Crocker) and John D'Aquino (Krieg) were released by NBC as the network wanted a younger cast for the second year (D'Aquino subsequently returned for a guest appearance in the third season). Stacy Haiduk (Hitchcock) informed producers that she did not wish to relocate to Florida for the second season, having just returned to Los Angeles after spending four years there during the production of The Adventures of Superboy.[8] Stephanie Beacham, who as Dr. Kristin Westphalen was one of the first season's strongest characters, was also hesitant to relocate to Florida.[9] Beacham also blamed continued disputes between the network and the show's producers as a major reason why she did not return. The series had also suffered in the ratings, as it was pitted against Murder, She Wrote on CBS and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman on ABC.

Joining the series for season two were Edward Kerr as Lieutenant James Brody, seaQuest`s weapons officer; Kathy Evison as Lieutenant Lonnie Henderson, ship's helmsman; Rosalind Allen as Dr. Wendy Smith, the boat's new chief medical officer; Michael DeLuise as Seaman Anthony Piccolo, an ex-convict who has genetically engineered gills and Peter DeLuise as Dagwood, a prototype genetically engineered life form (G.E.L.F. or "dagger" - a racial slur) who serves as seaQuest's custodian. As the seaQuest itself was rebuilt in the storyline, it allowed for the sets to be redesigned for the new Florida location and a shortened version of the Emmy award winning main title theme was instituted as the series returned to the airwaves on September 18, 1994 with the two-hour television movie "Daggers." The move to Florida also changed the seaQuest`s home port from Pearl Harbor to New Cape Quest, a fictional city in Florida. NBC also decided they wanted more traditionally science-fiction oriented episodes this season, a direction that was explored toward the end of the first season when seaQuest discovered a million-year-old alien ship entombed in the ocean floor in the episode "Such Great Patience." Whereas the first season dealt with issues like ecology, exploration of the sea, environmental radicals, advances in technology, and political intrigue, the second season featured episodes involving genetic engineering, aliens, parapsychology, time-travel, and various "monsters of the week" (including killer plants, a dragon worm, a prehistoric crocodile and ancient demons.)

Roy Scheider was vocal in his anger at the show's new direction. In an interview given during the second season, Scheider averred: "It's childish trash... I am very bitter about it. I feel betrayed... It's (the new season) not even good fantasy. I mean Star Trek does this stuff much better than we can do it. To me the show is now 21 Jump Street meets Star Trek."[10] Scheider felt the series had strayed too far away from its premise, and that he "became more of a combat commander than a scientific commander and I hadn't signed up for that."[11] He added that after moving production to Florida, the show was "going to present human beings who had a life on land as well as on the boat... we've had one script that has done that (the episode "Vapors)," Scheider said. "The other shows are Saturday afternoon 4 o'clock junk for children. Just junk - old, tired, time-warp robot crap (making reference to the much maligned episode "Playtime")."[12] As Scheider explained, "I don't do this kind of stuff... I said (to the production executives), 'If I wanted to do the fourth generation of Star Trek, I would have signed up for it. I wouldn't have done seaQuest. You guys have changed it from handball into field hockey and never even bothered to talk to me.'"[13] Scheider's comments left him in trouble with some of the executive producers, including Patrick Hasburgh who, in reply, had strong words for Scheider as well: "I'm sorry he is such a sad and angry man. seaQuest is going to be a terrific show, and he is lucky to be part of it."[14]

By the end of season two, seaQuest DSV was again suffering, partly attributed to a perceived decrease in the quality of the writing as well as preemptions by NBC due to sports coverage.[15] The threat of cancellation loomed large but NBC kept the show in production after plans for a new series titled Rolling Thunder to replace seaQuest DSV were canceled. Producer Lee Goldberg claimed the new series was canceled because the premise was "awful."[16]

Season 3[edit]

The world is not a nice place, it's not comfortable...corporate entities have grown to the point where they rival and sometimes are more powerful than actual national governments. UEO is not the big kid on the block anymore, seaQuest is no longer state of the art; it's a boat and it's a military vehicle and I'm going to take it places it has never been before

Michael Ironside, in an interview promoting season three

Blaming continued disputes with producers and abandonment of the show's original premise, Roy Scheider requested to be released from his contract with NBC. However, the network only partially agreed and demanded that Bridger would make several appearances throughout the third season. Edward Kerr had been very frustrated with the episode entitled "Alone" (reportedly, Kerr hated the script so much that he walked off the set, which is why Brody does not appear in that episode)[17] and also wished to exit the series in the third season, which is why his character was critically injured in the season finale, "Splashdown." However, NBC would only agree to release him from his contract if he continued to play Brody for a few episodes in the third season so his character could be killed off for more dramatic impact in the episode "SpinDrift."[17] (Because of rescheduling, the episode "Brainlock", with Brody still alive, aired after the character's death.) Rosalind Allen was released as her character proved to be unpopular with the audience. Marco Sanchez (Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz), who had requested to remain with the series, was also released after NBC decided it wanted the principal cast number dropped from ten to nine, leaving Jonathan Brandis (Lucas Wolenczak), Don Franklin (Commander Jonathan Ford), and Ted Raimi (Lieutenant Tim O'Neill) as the only three cast members who remained with the show since the first episode. The marine trivia presentations at the end of the show, formerly hosted by oceanographer Dr. Bob Ballard in the first season and the principal cast in the second season, were dropped entirely. The show itself was renamed to seaQuest 2032, with the storyline pushed ahead ten years after the end of season two.

Season three cast

In the season premiere, the seaQuest reappears on Earth, its crew mostly intact, ten years after their abduction at the end of season two. Captain Bridger retires to raise his new grandson and Michael Ironside joins the cast as the more militaristic Captain Oliver Hudson. Originally, Ironside refused to take over for Scheider as star of the series. "I saw so many problems that I couldn't see where I'd be able to do the work I wanted to do." claimed Ironside.[18] After weeks of negotiations where Ironside offered producers a number of changes to the storytelling structure of the series, which were mutually agreed upon, he finally signed on. "You won't see me fighting any man-eating glowworms, rubber plants, 40-foot crocodiles and I don't talk to Darwin." he said. Also joining the cast was Elise Neal as Lieutenant J.J. Fredericks, who serves as seaQuest's ace sub-fighter pilot. Steering back towards more reality based story lines, the third season attempted to blend the sense of the first season with some of the more unique elements of the second season, while at the same time, pushing forward in an entirely new direction altogether as the UEO faces the threat of the Macronesian Alliance and the ever growing corporate conglomerate Deon International. The series is perceived as becoming much darker than it was in the previous two seasons, focusing less on science (season 1) and science fiction (season 2) and more on international politics. While these changes were met with mostly positive reactions, ratings did not increase and NBC cancelled the series after thirteen episodes.[19] The final network airing of seaQuest DSV/2032 took place on June 9, 1996 after 57 episodes.

Cast[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Season 2[edit]

Season 3[edit]

Recurring guest cast[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Season 2[edit]

Season 3[edit]

Additionally, seaQuest DSV featured a significant number of guest stars, both familiar with the science-fiction genre and otherwise, including:

Episodes[edit]

During the first and second seasons, NBC aired the show on Sundays at 8:00 PM. During the second season, NBC would begin preempting the show in favor of NBC Sports coverage. NBC had originally planned to cancel seaQuest DSV partway through the second season in favor of another show about a "high-tech truck" entitled Rolling Thunder. However, NBC executives were unimpressed with the new show's development and kept seaQuest DSV in production. Shortly before the third season was to premiere, the second season episode "Blindsided" was finally aired after being preempted twice. During the third season, NBC moved the show to Wednesdays at 8:00 PM; but, continued to frequently preempt the show in favor of sports coverage and other television specials. Several of the show's producers, including Carleton Eastlake, believe these preemptions led to the show's cancellation.

Currently, seaQuest DSV does not air in syndication or re-runs. After cancellation, the series aired on the Sci-Fi Channel in the United States for a number of years as well as Space: The Imagination Station in Canada, both of which aired marathons of the series on occasion.

DVD release summary[edit]

Title Ep # Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season One 23 December 26, 2005 November 20, 2006 December 5, 2006
Season Two 21 January 1, 2008 March 31, 2008 August 20, 2008
Season Three 13 TBA TBA October 5, 2011

Fans of seaQuest DSV have campaigned for the release of the series on DVD. Universal Home Video, which owns the distribution rights to the series, had at one time stated that it had no plans to release the show on DVD. Over the past few years, illegal bootleg recordings of the series have been sold on eBay and other online auction sites in VCD and DVD format.

In 2005, Universal announced that the first season of seaQuest DSV would be released on DVD on December 26, 2005 along with a week long marathon of the show on the Sci Fi Channel. Universal credited the fans with changing their minds about a DVD release. However, some also credit the successful sales of bootleg copies of the series. The DVD release included numerous deleted scenes as well as alternate versions of broadcast scenes. The first season was released on four double-sided discs. The only extras included were deleted scenes for a handful of episodes.

The second season was released on January 1, 2008. As opposed to the first season, the second season was released on eight single-sided discs. The second season does not contain any extra features such as deleted scenes. The first season DVD release presents the episodes in their original airdate order, which leads to some continuity errors from episode to episode. (see List of seaQuest DSV episodes for more information) The second season DVD release is presented in a similar fashion, however, the episode "Blindsided" is presented in the correct order, despite an incorrect summary of it on the DVD slipcase; the DVD slipcase mixes the summaries for it and "Splashdown" around.

All three seasons are available for streaming by Netflix subscribers, though as of mid-2012, the episode "The Stinger" gives the description for the episode "Whale Songs."

Merchandise[edit]

seaQuest DSV
Soundtrack album by John Debney
Released 1993
Recorded Universal City Studios, Stage 10
Genre Soundtrack
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer John Debney
Philip Neel
Robert Townsend
  • A short series of novels based on the characters and concepts depicted on seaQuest DSV were available during the first season of the show. They were:
  • Nemesis Comics published one issue of a seaQuest DSV comic book. A second issue was planned, but was ultimately not published.
  • A video game was released for the Super Nintendo, Game Boy, and Sega Genesis consoles in 1994.
  • A series of action figures designed by Playmates Toys were released in 1993. Captain Bridger, Commander Ford, Lucas Wolenczak, Lt. Commander Hitchcock, Lieutenant O'Neill, Chief Crocker, Darwin, Dr. Rubin Zellar, and The Regulator were released as part of wave one. Additional characters such as Dr. Westphalen, Chief Ortiz, and Lieutenant Krieg and a Darwin with sound effects were planned as part of wave two, but they were never released. Additionally, prototypes of the seaQuest, the Delta 4 Pirate sub, the Stinger, a seaLaunch, and a Deep Sea Mini Pickup, all with electronic lights and sounds, are known to exist but were also not released either.
  • A series of trading cards produced by SkyBox were released, depicting characters, scenes, and episodes from the first season.
  • Various models were produced by Monogram, including the seaQuest, a Deep Sea Mini Pickup, The Stinger, and Darwin (actually a remolded Flipper) were released.
  • Various pieces of clothing, including T-shirts, baseball caps, and embroidered patches of the seaQuest and UEO logos (replicas of the ones used on the show) were released.
  • A non-fictional large format book was released during the first season and contained comprehensive interviews and production information, – also art work and design histories, as well as a production report of the episode "Hide and Seek."

Other merchandise made available included a shot glass in cobalt blue with gold logo, key chains and pins, a book cover, 'magic rocks' sets, journal, and a set of bookmarks.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Roy Scheider's character was based on John C. Lilly. Lilly was a pioneer researcher into the nature of consciousness using as his principal tools the isolation tank, dolphin communication and psychedelic drugs, sometimes in combination. He was a prominent member of the Californian counterculture of scientists, mystics and thinkers that arose in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Albert Hofmann, Gregory Bateson, Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Werner Erhard, and Richard Feynman were all frequent visitors to his home. The character's name, Nathan Hale Bridger, was in homage to Nathan Hale.

When producers began developing new characters for the second season, they named Lieutenant Brody after Police Chief Martin Brody, Roy Scheider's character in the first two Jaws films.[23] Ralph Willcox and Karen Fraction, who both became recurring guest stars in the third season, had previously appeared as different characters in the second. Despite the numerous cast changes, Jonathan Brandis appeared in every episode of the series, as did Don Franklin (except for "And Everything Nice").

Several of the cast's family members were brought in to play characters, as well. Brenda King, Roy Scheider's wife, portrayed Carol Bridger; Todd Allen, Rosalind Allen's husband, portrayed Clay Marshall in "The Siamese Dream". Several cast members also dabbled on the creative side of the show, as both Ted Raimi and Jonathan Brandis penned episodes during the second season. (Brandis wrote the aforementioned "The Siamese Dream" and Raimi, "Lostland.") Conversely, Robert Engels, one of the show's executive producers (and writer of two episodes, "Greed For a Pirate's Dream" and "Hide and Seek") during the first season, portrayed the recurring character Malcolm Lansdowne.

While in production, seaQuest DSV won and was nominated for a number of awards. John Debney won the 1994 Emmy for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Main Title Theme Music" for his composition of the seaQuest DSV theme song and in 2000, it was named the 48th best theme song of all time by TV Guide. Don Davis also won an Emmy in 1995 for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Series" (Dramatic Underscore) for his score for the second season premiere, "Daggers." Russ Mitchell Landau was also nominated for his work on the third season premiere, "Brave New World", in 1996. Kenneth D. Zunder was nominated for the Emmy award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Cinematography for a Series" for the episode "Such Great Patience". Jonathan Brandis won the 1994 Young Artist Award for "Best Youth Actor Leading Role in a Television Series" for his portrayal of Lucas Wolenczak and the series was nominated for a 1994 ASC Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Movies of the Week/Pilots" as well as the Saturn Award for "Best Genre Television Series" in 1995.

A seaQuest DSV feature film was in pre-production stages, however, it never materialized.[24]

Despite being scripted in at least one episode, Captain Bridger never refers to Dagwood by name. The closest he ever got was calling him "Dag" in the episodes "Special Delivery" and "The Siamese Dream".[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'seaquest' Star Calls Series 'Junk'". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 16, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Down-to-earth 'seaquest'". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 16, 2010. 
  3. ^ Margulies, Lee (September 15, 1993). "Spielberg's 'seaQuest DSV' Sails to Sunday-Night Win". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 16, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Lake Is Site Of Trial Of The Next Century". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 16, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Spielberg Sinks With 'Seaquest". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  6. ^ Starlog Magazine, Issue #204
  7. ^ "Seaquest Mission: Find Safe Harbor". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-16. 
  8. ^ "I didn't decide to leave the show... it was just mutual... I didn't really want to go to Florida... I spent three and a half years doing Superboy." - Stacy Haiduk interview, October 2012
  9. ^ "Welcome Home, Stephanie". simplystephanie.com (originally OK! Magazine). August 1995. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  10. ^ "seaQuest Star Calls Series "Junk"". Orlando Sentinel. September 1994. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  11. ^ "Roy Scheider: A Film Biography", page 162
  12. ^ "'seaQuest' Star Harpoons His Show". Orlando Sentinel. September 1994. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  13. ^ "'seaQuest' Mission: Find Safe Harbor". Orlando Sentinel. September 1994. Retrieved 2013-05-12. 
  14. ^ TOTAL TV, October 1–7, 1994, Vol. 5, No. 36, p. A120.
  15. ^ "Never Forget! The Questor Tapes to Sliders". First TV Drama.com. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  16. ^ Herbie J Pilato (October 13, 2005). "Herbie J's Retro Watercooler TV: Why Seaquest Sunk". Archived from the original on October 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  17. ^ a b [1] Edward Kerr – FAQ
  18. ^ "Michael Ironside takes helm of reborn 'seaQuest 2032'". The Associated Press. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  19. ^ "After Long, Steady Dive In Ratings, 'Seaquest' Is Deep-sixed By Nbc". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 16, 2010. 
  20. ^ Spelling, Ian (June 23, 1995). "Seaquest Sends Sos For Livelier Season". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 16, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Seaquest Is Back With A New Skipper". Chicago Tribune. September 16, 1995. Retrieved October 16, 2010. 
  22. ^ "A More Reality-based 'Seaquest' Begins Filming Tuesday". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 16, 2010. 
  23. ^ Roy Scheider: A Film Biography, p. 154
  24. ^ Transcript of "INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN BRANDIS BY AOL." Originally 1996 Retrieved February 15, 2008
  25. ^ Script changes in "Special Delivery"

External links[edit]