SeaQuest DSV

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seaQuest DSV
SeaQuestDSVMainTitle.jpg
The seaQuest DSV main title
Genre Science fiction
Created by Rockne S. O'Bannon
Starring
Composer(s)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes57 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
Running time45 minutes per episode
Production company(s)
Distributor NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Release
Original network NBC [3]
Picture formatColor
Audio formatDolby
Original releaseSeptember 12, 1993 (1993-09-12) 
June 9, 1996 (1996-06-09)

SeaQuest DSV (stylized as seaQuest DSV and also promoted as simply seaQuest) 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"—originally the year 2018 in the first season—seaQuest DSV originally mixed high drama with realistic scientific fiction. [4] It originally starred Roy Scheider as Captain Nathan Bridger, designer and commander of the eponymous naval submarine seaQuest DSV 4600. Jonathan Brandis 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 was cast 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.

Contents

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]

Overview

Season 1

First-season cast Season1cast.jpg
First-season cast

The series follows the adventures of the high-tech submarine seaQuest DSV 4600, a 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. The UEO was created following a major showdown of nations and confederations at the Livingston Trench in the North Atlantic Ocean that occurred circa 2018 as depicted in the pilot episode, "To Be Or Not to Be", and it remained a recurring element for the duration of the series. The seaQuest was designed by retired naval captain Nathan Bridger and built by NORPAC (a military organization mentioned in the pilot) and given as a loan 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 mission 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 due to a promise he made with his wife after their son, Robert, was killed in a naval military action before her death, is convinced to return to the navy, under the auspices of the UEO, and assume command of the seaQuest. The first season's storylines primarily dealt with plausible oceanographic research, environmental issues, political machinations of the world and the interpersonal relationships of the crew.

Season 2

Second-season cast Season2cropped.jpg
Second-season cast

In the first-season finale, Bridger sacrifices 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. [6] The series had 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. When it was decided the show would return, NBC and Universal used this opportunity to change the show's format, beginning by relocating the show's production from Los Angeles to Orlando. Several cast changes were also made as 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 season (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 Orlando for the second season, having just returned to Los Angeles after spending four years in Florida during the production of The Adventures of Superboy . [7] Stephanie Beacham, who as Dr. Westphalen was one of the first season's strongest characters, was also hesitant to relocate to Florida. [8] Beacham also blamed continued disputes between the network and the show's producers as a major reason why she did not return.

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 season premiere, "Daggers". NBC and the show's producers 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." The second season explored heavy science-fiction concepts such as genetic engineering, aliens, parapsychology, time travel and various "monsters of the week" (including killer plants, a giant fire-breathing worm, a prehistoric crocodile and an ancient demon.)

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 Dreck." [9] 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." [10] 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." [11] 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.'" [12] 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." [13]

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. [14] The possibility of cancellation appeared likely 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." [15] The season finale, written as a possible series finale, involved the seaQuest and her crew being abducted by aliens and forced into a civil war on an alien world where the ship appeared to be destroyed and the crew presumed dead.

Season 3

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 left the set, Brody is absent from that episode) [16] 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." [16] (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 and because producers felt that her character's telepathic abilities wouldn't fit with more serious tone planned for the new season. 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 Season3cropped.jpg
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 from 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. [17] Also considered for the lead of the series was actor Jonathan Banks, who had previously appeared in the first season episode "Whale Songs" as radical environmentalist Maximilian Scully. [18] After weeks of negotiations where Ironside offered producers a number of changes to the storytelling structure of the series, which were 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. Though not cast as the new lead of the series, Jonathan Banks would reprise his character of Scully in the third season. Also joining the cast was Elise Neal as Lieutenant J.J. Fredericks, who serves as seaQuest's sub-fighter pilot. Steering story lines back towards more reality-based themes, the third season attempted to blend the sense of the first season with some of the 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 as it had in the first season and science fiction as it had in the second season and more on international politics. While these changes were met with mostly positive reactions, ratings did not improve and NBC cancelled the series after thirteen episodes. [19] The 57th and final network airing of seaQuest 2032 took place on June 9, 1996.

Cast

Main

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Guest

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1 23September 12, 1993 (1993-09-12)May 22, 1994 (1994-05-22)
2 21September 18, 1994 (1994-09-18)September 13, 1995 (1995-09-13)
3 13September 20, 1995 (1995-09-20)June 9, 1996 (1996-06-09)

During the first and second seasons, NBC aired the show on Sundays at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time; however, the series was frequently preempted in the second season in favor of NBC Sports coverage. During the third season, NBC moved the show to Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET; seaQuest continued to face frequent preemptions 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.

After cancellation, the series aired on the Sci-Fi Channel in the United States, Horror Channel in the UK, Space: The Imagination Station in Canada and Network Ten in Australia.

Production

Roy Scheider's character was based on John C. Lilly and Bob Ballard, who was also the technical advisor for the series in the first season. 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, Don Franklin in all but one episode ("And Everything Nice"), and Ted Raimi in all but two episodes ("Nothing But The Truth" and "The Siamese Dream").

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]

Despite popular belief, Darwin was not a real dolphin but rather an animatronic animal designed and created by Walt Conti, who had created other similar effects for films such as Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home , The Abyss and Free Willy. Alien creature effects were designed and created by Tony Gardner's Alterian, Inc.

Home media

TitleEp # DVD release date
Region 1DiscsRegion 2DiscsRegion 4Discs
Season One23December 26, 20054November 20, 20066December 5, 20066
Season Two21January 1, 20088March 31, 20088August 20, 20088
Season Three13TBATBATBATBAOctober 5, 20114

In 2005, Universal announced that the first season of seaQuest DSV would be released on Region 1 DVD along with a week-long marathon of the show on the Sci Fi Channel. The DVD release included never before seen deleted scenes on selected episodes. The second season was released in 2008 in region 1. As opposed to the first season, the second season was released on eight single-sided discs and does not contain any extra features such as deleted scenes. The third season was not released on DVD in region 1 but was released in Region 4 in 2011.

On December 12, 2015, the Australian DVD label ViaVision, through its distributor Madman Distribution, released season 1 on Blu-ray in full 1080p High definition. [26] Although presented in 1080p, the program is presented Pillarboxed to maintain the original 4:3 aspect ratio. Season 2 was released on Blu-ray on March 2, 2016. [27] On April 15, 2020, selected episodes were made available through on the early preview of Peacock, a streaming service from NBCUniversal, available to Xfinity subscribers with qualifying devices.

On May 6, 2019 Mediumrare Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 2 however two episodes are missing, 'Dagger Redux' and 'The Siamese Dream' instead two episodes from the previous disc are overlapped in their place. Despite this, the correct episode titles are listed in the DVD menu.

Mill Creek Entertainment announced all three seasons of SeaQuest DSV on DVD and Blu-ray.

Merchandise

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.

Soundtrack album

seaQuest DSV
Soundtrack album by
Released1995 (initial release), 2020 (Deluxe Edition)
Recorded Universal City Studios, Stage 10
Genre Soundtrack
Length29:46 (original release); 131:28 (Deluxe Edition)
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer John Debney
Philip Neel

John Debney composed the original theme music and scored the pilot and season one shows, with Don Davis working on season two. When the series was revamped as SeaQuest 2032 in the final season, Russ Landau composed a new theme and scored all the episodes. In 1995, Varèse Sarabande released an album of Debney's music from the show, featuring the series main and end title themes and selections from "To Be or Not to Be" (tracks 2-8), "Knight of Shadows" (tracks 9 and 10) and "Such Great Patience" (tracks 11-13). In 2020 the label released a 2-CD expansion, with music from "To Be or Not to Be" on disc one; the second disc containing music from the season one episodes “Brothers And Sisters” (tracks 1-7), “Knight Of Shadows” (8-11), “The Regulator” (12-14), “The Good Death” (15-23), “Such Great Patience” (24-31) and “The Devil's Window” (track 32).

1995 Album

  1. Main Title (1:03)
  2. Preparing for Battle (2:51)
  3. Bridger's Dream (:52)
  4. Uncharted Waters (2:06)
  5. First Engagement (3:18)
  6. Darwin Speaks (:58)
  7. Dangerous Adversary (1:34)
  8. To Adventures Bold (1:31)
  9. Waltz With the Dead (2:48)
  10. The Forgiving/Resurrection (4:53)
  11. The Discovery (2:15)
  12. Lucas Meets the Alien (2:30)
  13. Solemn Oath (2:26)
  14. End Credits (:37)

2020 Deluxe Edition

CD 1: "To Be or Not to Be"

  1. SeaQuest Opening Credits (3:29)
  2. SeaQuest Arrives (4:01)
  3. Military Welcome (:37)
  4. To The Island (1:30)
  5. Come See Her (1:38)
  6. seaQuest (3:32)
  7. Playon To SeaQuest (:37)
  8. Hitchcock Retreats (1:50)
  9. Darwin Speaks (:59)
  10. Stark Prepares (1:02)
  11. Act In To SeaQuest (:46)
  12. Transition (:34)
  13. Attack Formation (2:48)
  14. At The Precipice / Into The Rift (7:48)
  15. Stark Plots (:42)
  16. Damage Assessment (:52)
  17. Hyper-Probe (2:05)
  18. Impending Battle / Play On (1:51)
  19. Bridger Returns (2:42)
  20. Battle Stations (2:50)
  21. Caught (1:21)
  22. To The Bottom Of The Sea / A Tag To Bonnie The Bad Girl (6:57)
  23. To The Ocean (4:15)
  24. SeaQuest: End Credits (:57)
  25. SeaQuest Opening (alternate version with Choir mixed down) (1:45)
  26. SeaQuest (alternate version) (1:36)

CD 2: Season One Highlights

  1. seaQuest Series Promo (2:33)
  2. Of Treasures In The Deep (1:14)
  3. The Discovery (1:41)
  4. Mind Meld #2 (1:23)
  5. Big Tension (3:38)
  6. Exploring The Depot (1:30)
  7. Saying Goodbye (2:40)
  8. Into The Ghost Ship (1:43)
  9. The Possesion Of Kristini (2:47)
  10. Lukas Confronts Captain (3:14)
  11. The Forgiving (4:51)
  12. Vern Leaves (2:09)
  13. Monkey Fish (1:42)
  14. Inside Us All (:56)
  15. Attacked (1:12)
  16. Cynthia (1:20)
  17. Drug Store (1:38)
  18. Narrow Escape (1:57)
  19. The Plan (1:41)
  20. Close Call (3:31)
  21. The Escape (4:21)
  22. Darwin Save Malik (1:03)
  23. Cheo Checkmate (1:08)
  24. Discovery (2:14)
  25. Of Gods And Astronauts (2:28)
  26. Encounter (1:44)
  27. Wolf In The Fold (1:37)
  28. Intruder (4:28)
  29. Communication (2:29)
  30. Understanding/Possible Pickup (4:31)
  31. Invitation Extended (2:26)
  32. seaQuest: End Credits (:35)

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