The Cynics Corner

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

The End of the Spool:
The Cynic Bids Farewell to Andromeda

by David E. Sluss

31 August 2002

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"If the Powers That Be want to wipe their asses on
Andromeda, that's their prerogative.
And when the time comes, it'll be my prerogative to flush..."

                     - Changing Rolls: The Cynic on Andromeda, Descendant, 26 November 2001.

THE BOTTOM LINE: I don't enjoying watching or reviewing Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda; ergo, I'm no longer going to watch or review it. Pretty simple, really.

Even before Robert Wolfe's departure/firing/whatever last fall, the series rarely provided a compelling reason to watch. With a few exceptions, such as "Double Helix," "Angel Dark, Demon Bright," and "The Honey Offering," Andromeda's first season was squarely in the mediocre-to-bad range. And this season, just when it started to seem like there really was a coherent master plan to the series, when flawed but meaty episodes such as "Una Salus Victus," "Home Fires," and "Into the Labyrinth" used the strengths of this series' universe to good advantage, the rug was pulled out from under. There's no sense at this point in rehashing the issues surrounding Wolfe's departure; I've made my feelings known in the "Changing Rolls" parable, as well as its sequel, the review of "Ouroboros." In the end, we may never be sure what really happened behind the scenes, or know how pervasive the interference of the "Powers That Be" was even before Wolfe's departure.

But a show that before was watchable up to a point is now unwatchable. While there used to be a story behind the series, the show now seems to be about little more than gunfire, wire-fu, Dylan Hunt getting laid, nonverbal cannon fodder alien species, and breasts jiggling delightfully and spilling out of Trance Warrior Princess' Wonder Bra. The series' main premise, restoring the Commonwealth, has apparently been rushed to completion, with something like forty-five new signatories magically appearing in the second season finale. Reportedly, this has been done so that Hunt can claim victory and start running around from planet to planet helping people heroically (and presumably bedding their women). (If you read the linked article, this brand of heroism seems to boil down to: It's too hard to create and maintain the Commonwealth, so let's find easier and more fun ways to help. Some hero.) It also sounds as if Beka and Tyr will return from their near-death experience as born-again Kool-Aid drinkers in the Cult of Dylan. In pretty much every way that matters, this is not the show I signed up for.

Why not give Robert Engels and the new staff a chance? I thought about it, especially since I've enjoyed Engels' work in the past, but in the end decided there was no point. It seems pretty clear that regardless of who is named as the "show runner," other people with other agendas are the ones actually running this show. Their goal seems to be to retarget the series to a different demographic, one in which I don't seem to reside. And more to the point, I don't want to reside there. In addition, I've had difficulty getting reviews written and posted in anything resembling a timely manner. Reducing my "workload" down to one series (plus special projects when possible) will help tremendously.

In short, this article represents the end of Andromeda coverage at The Cynics Corner. And yes, this means I'm not going to bother with reviews of the last four episodes of Andromeda's second season or of that season as a whole. Those reviews are all in various stages of completion, but I see little point in expending any time completing them under the circumstances. Don't worry, you aren't missing much: Mocking "Belly of the Beast" as a poor man's Waiting for Godot; questioning Hunt's wisdom in making an AI a ship's captain, given the high incidence of mental instability in AIs; speculating that the Genites are in fact the logical successors of the High Guard, considering the corruption, sloth, and incompetence we've seen in the old Commonwealth; griping about the off-screen rush to get fifty member worlds in the New Commonwealth and the unnecessary escalation of villainy in "The Tunnel at the End of the Light." Oh, yeah, and a Cy Awards musical number, sung to the tune of "Five O'Clock World." Oh, well.

To those who feel that I'm somehow obligated to continue the fight: Sorry, I'm not, and I won't. To those of you from the "If you don't like it, don't watch it" school of commentary: Enjoy the show.




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This article is copyright 2002 David E. Sluss
Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda is a trademark of Tribune Entertainment