Andromeda (formally titled Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda) is a Canadian/American science fiction television series, based on unused material by Gene Roddenberry, developed by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, and produced by Roddenberry's widow, Majel Barrett. It starred Kevin Sorbo as High Guard Captain Dylan Hunt. The series premiered on October 2, 2000, and ended on May 13, 2005.
Andromeda was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and produced by Tribune Entertainment and Fireworks Entertainment. It was distributed by Global TV (Fireworks' parent company) in Canada and syndicated in the United States on WGN and other channels. It was picked up by the Sci-Fi Channel in the U.S. halfway through season four. Andromeda is one of two TV series (to date) based on concepts Roddenberry had created as early as the 1960s and 1970s. The name Dylan Hunt had previously been used for the hero of three TV pilots Roddenberry had produced in the mid-1970s, Genesis II, Strange New World, and Planet Earth, all sharing a similar dystopian, post-apocalyptic premise.
The series is set thousands of years in the future, and revolves around the Systems Commonwealth, a constitutional monarchy based in a distant star system called Tarn-Vedra. Humankind is a part of The Commonwealth, having been discovered by its members thousands of years before. The Commonwealth spreads across three galaxies: the The Milky Way, Triangulum, and Andromeda, with Tarn-Vedra near its core. Ships travel from one end of the Commonwealth to the other through slipstreams, following roller coaster-like pathways through the cosmos to and from their destination.
The Commonwealth claims to be a utopian society, but it is actually in a state of war with the Magog, a predatory humanoid species with bat-like faces that is dedicated to war. A few years earlier, to show good faith as a result of peace talks, the Commonwealth ceded a key home world to the Magog. This home world was a central planet of one of the Commonwealth's member species, the genetically engineered Nietzscheans. The Nietzscheans were displeased with the peace agreement and secretly attempted to usurp control of the Commonwealth. This action is the embodiment of their basic beliefs, as they see themselves as the race described as the "Übermensch" by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
The Commonwealth is defended by the High Guard, a large armada composed of numerous ships. The protagonist of the series, Dylan Hunt, is the captain of a Commonwealth ship, the Andromeda Ascendant. The ship's computer, a powerful artificial intelligence, is a key character in the series, often referred to as simply "Andromeda" or affectionately as "Rommie". The entire High Guard, including Captain Hunt, is caught by surprise in the first engagement of the Nietzschean uprising. He is forced to evacuate his crew, but Andromeda gets caught on the edge of the event horizon of a black hole, freezing him in time.
303 years later, in CY 10087 (approx 5167 AD), the crew of the salvage ship Eureka Maru locates Hunt's ship. The Systems Commonwealth and the High Guard have fallen in the centuries since he was frozen in time, beginning an era known as The Long Night. Hunt recruits the salvage crew to join him in an attempt to restore the Systems Commonwealth and "rekindle the light of civilization."
The salvage crew comprises its leader, Beka Valentine, a con-artist and expert pilot; a super-genius engineer named Seamus Harper (rescued from Nietzschean-enslaved Earth by Beka) who can plug his mind directly into computer systems; Trance Gemini, a mysterious alien of unknown origin whose innocent demeanor hides a surprisingly old soul; and Rev Bem, a Magog who has adopted a non-violent, Taoist-like religion called The Way ("Rev" being short for "Reverend"). The salvage crew's beneficiary also brought along an insurance policy in the form of a Nietzschean mercenary named Tyr Anasazi. Tyr is the leader of a group of mercenaries, of which he is the only one remaining on board after the opening episodes. Tyr's propensity for self-preservation leads him to join Dylan's crew until better opportunities arise. As for Dylan, he is determined with his new crew to bring unity to the galaxies by restoring the Systems Commonwealth. The programs' tagline summizes the series as: "On the starship Andromeda, hope lives again."Dylan Hunt, played by Kevin Sorbo. Captain of the Andromeda Ascendant.
Beka Valentine, played by Lisa Ryder. Captain of the Eureka Maru and First Officer on Andromeda.
Tyr Anasazi (seasons 1–4), played by Keith Hamilton Cobb. Weapons Officer (seasons 1-3).
Seamus Zelazny Harper, played by Gordon Michael Woolvett. Chief Engineer.
Trance Gemini, played by Laura Bertram. Doctor, Life Support Officer.
Rev Bem (Reverend "Red Plague" Behemiel Far Traveler) (seasons 1–2), played by Brent Stait. Science Officer.
Andromeda (Rommie), played by Lexa Doig. Ship AI.
Telemachus Rhade (seasons 4-5), played by Steve Bacic. Weapons Officer.
Doyle (season 5), played by Brandy Ledford. AI's second avatar.
Slipstream is the primary mode of travel for ships in the Andromeda universe, and the only known method of traveling faster than the speed of light. The Vedran discovery of the Slipstream was instrumental in the formation of their intergalactic empire, which became the precursor of the Systems Commonwealth.
Curiously, slipstream cannot be navigated by AIs (they have a 50% chance of choosing the correct path). Only organic pilots can "sense" a way to their destination (they have a 99% chance of choosing the correct path), and although AIs are fitted on all large ships, they always require an organic pilot for interstellar travel. It is thought to be the process of choosing a path that makes the chosen path the correct one.
A function of slipstream is that apparent objective velocities are extremely variable, as it enables travel across millions of lightyears seemingly as swiftly as traveling between neighboring stars only tens of lightyears apart. Further, slipstream is a non-linear method of travel; the best and swiftest way to get from Point A to Point B (though they might be in the same galaxy) may very well involve hopping to another galaxy entirely. Also, the more frequently used routes are often easier, faster and more predictable.
The Systems Commonwealth was a huge utopian civilization, spanning three major galaxies of the Local Group. It was founded by the Vedrans, the first race to discover slipstream, who initially used it to conquer the Andromeda Galaxy. After a long and bitter war of attrition with the major powers of the Triangulum Galaxy, the Vedran Empire was reorganized as the democratic Systems Commonwealth. The Commonwealth served as a peaceful intergalactic government for almost 10,000 years until the Nietzschean revolt.
Dylan eventually managed to restore the Commonwealth (though not to its former glory; initially it had only 50 members while the Old Commonwealth had included more than a million worlds). However, the New Commonwealth soon fell victim to internal corruption masterminded by the group known as the Collectors, who were allied with the Abyss.Arkology, a huge space station with a pacifist population and the site of the Andromeda's final confrontation with the Magog Worldship. The Andromeda lost and the Arkology was destroyed, but Trance still managed to cripple the Worldship with her powers.
Earth was ravaged by the Nietzschean occupation and Magog assaults during the Long Night. Harper was born and acquired his notable survival skills there.
Hephaestus, a system with a significant Nietzschean population that was devastated by a rogue black hole in the pilot episode and the place of Dylan's frozen imprisonment in time for 300 years. It turned out in season five that the Andromeda somehow still retained a connection to this black hole.
Mobius, a barren world with underground cities. Mobius was ruled by ruthless dictators for many centuries but joined the New Commonwealth when its leader, the "Great Compass" Venetri resigned.
San-Ska-Re, a Than homeworld and a major power in post-Fall Known Worlds. Did not actually appear on screen.
Seefra, a mysterious artificial system of nine planets and two suns where Dylan and his crew were transported after the Battle of Arkology. Seefra-One is revealed to actually be Tarn-Vedra.
Tarazed, a world with significant human and loyalist Nietzschean populations; it survived the Long Night largely unscathed. It became the first capital of the New Commonwealth. Birthplace of Telemachus Rhade. Tarazed was described in the series as being located in another galaxy and therefore is not intended to be equivalent to Tarazed, a non-fictional star of the same name.
Tarn-Vedra, the capital of the Old Systems Commonwealth and Vedran homeworld. All slipstream routes to Tarn-Vedra vanished soon after the Nietzschean rebellion, contributing to the ensuing chaos. Dylan was born on Tarn-Vedra. One of his motivations for restoring the Commonwealth is the search for his own lost home.
Avatars of the Suns, humanoid forms of stars with great powers. They are immortal and can travel through time and space, affecting events and people as they wish.
Humans make up about 70% of the Known Worlds population. Subspecies with minor genetic enhancements (like the Inari) are common.
Kalderans, a xenophobic reptilian race that once rivaled the Vedrans. They managed to reverse engineer their own Slipstream drive.
Magog, a race of savage semi-intelligent alien killers, feared throughout the Known Worlds. The Magog have to kill and eat fresh meat to sustain themselves and to lay eggs in sentient beings to procreate. The Magog Worldship is a structure of 20 planets and an artificial sun, home to trillions of Magog and a grave threat to the Known Worlds.
Nietzscheans, a group of superior humans who believed in self-improvement via genetic engineering and intense competition. They left the planet Earth thousands of years ago and evolved into a separate subspecies (Homo sapiens invictus) that colonized many worlds throughout the galaxies. Nietzscheans are responsible for the Fall of the Systems Commonwealth; however, they failed to replace it with the Nietzschean Empire (as they had originally planned) because of constant betrayals and conflicts between different Nietzschean Prides.
Nightsiders, rat-like humanoids with poor vision, but highly developed hearing. Their reproductive cycle is very damaging to the environment, as their early larval stage is an aquatic creature that eats anything it comes across.
Paradine, a highly evolved form of the Vedrans, which looks like ordinary humans. The Paradine apparently had a special role in dealing with the Avatars of the Suns and the Route of Ages, but they are all but extinct now. Dylan Hunt is the last.
Perseids, a highly intelligent race of alien scientists and bureaucrats.
Pyrian, a grotesque, tentacled orb like species who are one of the most powerful enemies of the Commonwealth.
Than-Thre-Kull (Than), a tough and highly intelligent and civilized insectoid race divided into various function-specific castes.
Vedrans, the first intelligent race to discover the slipstream that connects the entire universe. The Vedrans went on to conquer the Known Worlds, building the Vedran Empire. The Empire was plagued by internal conflicts and eventually was peacefully transformed into the Systems Commonwealth.
Bokor, dangerous parasites that possess other species in order to survive, spreading through physical contact. Inside their shells, the Bokor are practically invulnerable to any type of weapon, ranging to energy, melee or bullets. However, they are vulnerable to electricity. Their existence in the Known Worlds is abhorred by the Than, who attack any vessel carrying them. For normal humanoids, it takes a while for the Bokor to destroy their neural functions and take over. But for Trance Gemini, it just took a few seconds.
Ogami, a race of brutish pirates and mercenaries.
Collectors, The Commonwealth's keepers of secret history. The collectors who took over power of the new Commonwealth are agents of the Abyss, but the true collectors remain hidden and are on the side of the light.
Genites, a high-tech, numerous and well-organized intergalactic group whose aim is to rid the Universe of genetically engineered beings, especially the Nietzschean Prides, who brought about the downfall of humanity.
High Guard, the main military force of the Systems Commonwealth.
Tech Police, the brutish anti-tech enforcement on Seefra-1.
Templar, a group of men and women who sought to restore order after the Fall. They were founded by High Guard Admiral Constanza Stark.
ADV Films released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 between 2003-2006. On October 3, 2006, they released a complete series DVD box set known as Andromeda: The Slipstream Collection.
Alliance Home Entertainment has released all five seasons on DVD in Canada only.
In Region 2, Revelation Films has released the first four seasons on DVD in the UK. The fifth and final season released on November 24, 2014.
On January 26, 2015, Revelation Films released a complete series set on DVD in the UK.
In Region 4, Beyond Home Entertainment has released all five seasons on DVD in Australia. In 2007/2008, they re-released all five seasons in new collector's editions that featured new packaging and all episodes were digitally re-mastered in wide screen format.
A region B blu-ray release of season one released on June 24, 2013 in the UK, with the next two seasons following by the end of that year.
The region B blu-ray release of the complete box set of all five seasons released on September 19, 2016.
Andromeda was nominated for 39 awards at organizational events spanning the years 2001 to 2006. These nominations comprised six Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA awards, five Chicago International Film Festival awards, eight Gemini Awards, fifteen Leo Awards, and five WorldFest Houston awards. The show won 18 of these awards.