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Andromeda 2012: The Reboot


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#1 MuseZack

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 10:41 PM

Okay, kicking off the topic.  A hypothetical situation.  The SyFy Channel buys the rights to Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda and decides to reboot the series, working from Robert's basic premise, universe, and list of characters, but updating it for 2012.  Who do you cast in the major roles?  What changes to you make to the universe?  Imagine you're a TV producer.  Knock yourselves out.  I'll hold my tongue until some other people get the ball rolling-- I don't want to prejudice things.

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#2 RommieSG

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 10:52 PM

Lexa Doig as Rommie. That's all that needs to be said.
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#3 Natasha Bennett

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 11:06 PM

Okay, I will refrain from pointing fingers (because you know I can!  :whistle:)

This is how I think Andromeda needs to be improved if there is a reboot:

1) Having one key objective and keeping it consistant throughout the series. Andromeda's initial mission was to restore the Commonwealth, but somehow that got muddled and lost. It is somewhat akin to Star Trek Voyager deciding to go home at the start of the series, then halfway into the series they decide to turn around and start wandering aimlessly-it makes no sense and the viewer is going to lose interest fast in the series.

2) I don't particularily care if there are different characters in a reboot, but I would like them to have character development-and character developement that only lasts for one episode and is then forgotten doesn't count. With the possible exception of Trance, it didn't really feel like the characters were any different from the start of the series to the finish.

3) A new Andromeda would need to have episodes with way less confusing exposition in them. That really annoyed me with Andromeda-there were often five minute scenes of people talking really fast and explaining the political situation with a world, etc. Yeah, I know it's a new universe and some things have to be explained, but show, don't tell. Every single Star Trek series had no problem doing this. Why couldn't Andromeda?

Anyway, just my opinion :)

Edited by Topaz, 22 August 2010 - 11:08 PM.


#4 Cheile

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 11:20 PM

it wouldn't be Drom without the original cast in their right roles.

other than that, i agree with Topaz's first objective.  they never really finished the whole "Restoring the Commonwealth" major plot. in fact it got 99.9% abandoned in the last season with that Seefra crap.  and don't get me started on "Beka the Nietzschean matriarch" either.  no. no no no.

personally i think it's too soon, hypothetical or not.

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#5 QuiGon John

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 01:56 AM

Well, just off the top of my head:

First of all, I'd keep the characters pretty darn close to what they were.  I've been known to have some fun at Trance's or Dylan's expense, but honestly, that was about as well-balanced a group as I've seen outside of the Whedonverse.  I don't know that any major changes would need to be made to the central characters.  I'll have to come back to this when I've thought a bit about who to cast, though.

I think one thing that would need to be done would be either to simplify the Universe or at least trim down some of the more ambitious concepts, unless you could get a sizable budget increase from the original.  I think most of the problems with the first two years of Andromeda (a.k.a. the REAL Andromeda) came down to: Didn't have the means to show the Universe as envisioned.  It's not that the Magog, the Than, and various others weren't great concepts, but if you can't put them on the screen convincingly, they become more of a hindrance than a help.

Nobody, nobody, NOBODY is allowed to compare anything to Captain Kirk or discuss whether the show is clever and complicated.  That way lies madness.

I keep wondering whether there's a way to... streamline things a bit.  The combination of deep philosophical quotes from alien poets, stuff exploding at random, butt-kicking banter, and a rather dark overall story was sometimes a volatile mixture.  For good more than bad, I hasten to add.  It produced some great stuff, but it also made the show a bit schizophrenic.  It seems to me that shows these days usually have some kind of gimmick to allow a better balance between the standalones and the arc, the serious and the absurd.  This, too, might be accomplished by simplifying the 'verse a bit, but I'm not saying it should lose complexity.  I'd just like to see a tighter focus, somehow.

Rrg.  I really do need to come back to this.  I'm struggling to sum this up.  Let me see if I can think of any specific solutions to the things I've noted, and I'll return.

#6 Kosmokrat

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 06:21 AM

OMG, the thought alone...

Ok, let's keep calm. :-)

1. The cast/characters
They should stay mostly the same. The mix of characters was one of the best I have ever fell in love with on any show ever watched.
And that is - of course - in no small part to the way they have been portrayed by their actors.
Especially in the case of Trance and Harper I have great difficulties imagining different actors.
Just one thing: No purple and no tail please. THAT did not work at all for me.
I additionally think that both Laura and Gordon are still not too old or expensive to recast.
And I would also love to see Lisa again in her unique portrayal of Beka.

2. The universe
as envisioned by RHW was absolutely terrific and rich in detail and complexity. Imo even a lot more interesting than the complex Star Trek universe is.
To reduce/simplify this would greatly hurt the fascination of Andromeda as a show.

But then again, the serious budget constraints made many of the ambitious ideas fail in realisation.
I could live with that, being still fascinated by the sheer creativeness of the concepts if not execution, but I can see that a mass audience might be put off by cheesy visuals and the same sets over and over again.

I guess this part would heavily depend on the budget Syfy would be willing to invest.
If it would be anywhere close to the one for their late Flash Gordon series, I can only recommend one thing: DON'T DO IT AT ALL. Better look/wait for other investors.
It would be impossible to realise something decent that is not bound to fail with so little money.

Personal thoughts...
If this hypothetical reboot would indeed come to fruition, this would be the single best thing in regard to SF I could imagine.
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#7 enTranced

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 08:25 AM

Dusting off my Andromeda rants one at a time! :devil:

1) The new show is a ensemble. Who plays who can be discussed later but nobody is more important then everybody else. This is not a military show like Star Trek or Stargate. Andromeda, given the original show is more like Farscape. Today : I rule!

Or: Thou shalt not have Giant Floating Sorbo heads!!!!

2) Trance was a amazing creature that the whole major story arc hinged on. To bad we lost her in the early days of Season Two.

Or : Thou shalt NOT F**k up your hook.

3) The Commonwealth. Remember that?

Or : Thou shalt not change what your show is about. John Burke said it best, down that path lies madness.

4) Darkness is not a bad thing, give us characters that show us their value by being heroes and fighting darkness and anarchy. I am not talking about nuBG of angst for angst sake, I want my heroes but I want my heroes to have value. Tell me WHY Dylan is a good person. Tell my WHY I should care about Beka and her band.

Or : Clever and complicated are not 4 letter words.

5) The first person who tells me how easy it is to translate a person flying through a window gets punched in the face.  :whatsthat:

More to follow....

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Edited by enTranced, 23 August 2010 - 08:26 AM.

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#8 enTranced

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 08:30 AM

View PostKosmokrat, on 23 August 2010 - 06:21 AM, said:



I guess this part would heavily depend on the budget Syfy would be willing to invest.
If it would be anywhere close to the one for their late Flash Gordon series, I can only recommend one thing: DON'T DO IT AT ALL. Better look/wait for other investors.
It would be impossible to realise something decent that is not bound to fail with so little money.


THIS.

We had Andromeda on a tight budget. I have no interest in seeing that again.

That said, we don't need *much* more. Plan it smart, shoot in in Australia like Farscape, be creative in your backers so nobody has to go it alone.

Check the listings for the new TV season. Space Opera is coming back. ER guy is fighting aliens on TV. BBC America looks like it is bringing back Earth 2. It is no wonder SyFy is talking about this. But I want it to be done RIGHT.

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#9 Hambil

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 09:34 AM

The cast has to change. Even if the original actors hadn't visibly aged in some cases, they are just too tainted by Andromeda post RHW/Zack/Ash for me. The characters are fine, but the cast should be all new. And some character changes might be needed to fit the new cast, I'd be open to that as long as it's good.

As for the show, I'd use the first year as a template and not change a thing (style wise) from that. It was perfect.

I definitely agree that the goal of rebuilding the common wealth has to be the consistent goal through-out the entire series - like finding earth was for BSG.

#10 Cybersnark

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 09:40 AM

Behind-the-scenes thing: don't let any of the actors be Exec. Producers (part of an EP's job is to say "no" to the actors looking for more screentime; if one of them becomes EP, he automatically becomes The Star). The only time I've seen this work well was with RDA on Stargate (because he was willing to step back and let his co-stars shine).

And yes, a bigger budget, though I'd keep the beyond-visual-range realistic space battles (with interceptor missiles, combat/sensor drones, ECM, and point-defense guns) --they're something no one else has really done, so they can become Andromeda's unique "thing."

Characters. . . I'd keep everyone pretty much as they were. Maybe make Rev a bit older (to merge the "alien" and "wise older figure" archetypes). Rev is also the only role I'd recast too; no knock at Brent, but I'd want an actor who could handle the makeup. Also, keep Trance's tail (and when it gets in the way, she can wear it "Saiyan-style," wrapped around her waist like a belt).

I think the schizoid nature of the show worked with the cast; we had philosophers (Dylan, Tyr, Rev, Rommie), adventurer/fighters (Beka, Tyr, Dylan), comics (Harper, Trance), mystics (Trance, Rev), scientists (Rommie, Harper), historians (Dylan, Rommie), dreamers (Dylan, Rev, Tyr [though he'd deny it]), and chessmasters (Trance, Tyr, Dylan [though he'd deny it]). Definitely keep the "future-history" taglines and the worldbuilding --in fact, take advantage of that worldbuilding for the show's "360." Bring back the old AllSystems site as an official Wiki, and use web-exclusive content to introduce background data and hint at plot threads (maybe do a "news network" feed, as Dylan's efforts occasionally pop into the headlines). And I still think "Harper's Help Files" needs to be a website, or a Youtube series, or something.

Given some of KHC's character-building/philosophy blog posts back in the day, I can imagine Tyr running an in-universe "underground blog," defending the ideal of the Nietzschean Warrior-Poet in the face of the undereducated thugs he sees his people degenerating into.

Harper, of course, would be on Twitter. :hehe:

Also: marketing. I'd love an AllSystems University sweatshirt, maybe a Wayist medallion, some of Harper's silkscreened T-shirts --and that's not even mentioning the toys, models, and games that Andromeda could spawn.

One thing I'd change (and I assume this was an effect of Sorbo grabbing screentime) is to have more one-on-one scenes between the other characters. Tyr especially, could play off Rev (the materialist/the spiritualist), Trance (Nietzchean/Goddess), Rommie (humanist/machine) and Harper (Ubermensch/mongrel), rather than just being Dylan's "lancer" and Beka's potential love-interest.

Trance and Rev also could've had a great relationship, both as the two "token aliens" and because Trance would likely be the only person Rev had ever met who truly considered him beautiful (which, for someone who even sees himself as a monster, would be incredibly powerful).
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#11 writergroupie

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 09:43 AM

#1: Show needs a BUDGET.
#2: Thou shalt respect the showrunner/creator/writers

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#12 Hambil

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 09:48 AM

I'm sorry but it's fanboy/girl silliness to think the cast would stay the same.

#13 enTranced

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 10:38 AM

View PostHambil, on 23 August 2010 - 09:48 AM, said:

I'm sorry but it's fanboy/girl silliness to think the cast would stay the same.

In a reboot some of the cast should change. But do we need a new Rev Bem? Why? The guy was under his makeup the whole time. Likewise with Trance. I mean she could change, sure but do we really need a new actress? This is a theoretical anyway since we don't know if anyone wants to come back. Also, I understand that KHC has gone on to other things anyway...

I know he has fans and all but the only cast member I really want gone is Sorbo. He was horribly miscast and he has spoken out against the one damn season where he came close something close to the heroic Captain he was supposed to be.

But if I could get the same cast that made Trance, Harper and Beka so fascinating? Yes please!

I am more concerned with changing Andromeda under the hood because *that* is what poisoned the well for me.

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Edited by enTranced, 23 August 2010 - 10:38 AM.

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#14 Christopher

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 10:49 AM

View PostCybersnark, on 23 August 2010 - 09:40 AM, said:

Behind-the-scenes thing: don't let any of the actors be Exec. Producers (part of an EP's job is to say "no" to the actors looking for more screentime; if one of them becomes EP, he automatically becomes The Star). The only time I've seen this work well was with RDA on Stargate (because he was willing to step back and let his co-stars shine).

Also Eliza Duhku on Dollhouse, which was developed as a starring and producing vehicle for her, but in which she was quite content to step back and allow it to become an ensemble show.


A significant budget is a must to make it work in terms of scope, visuals, and effective aliens, which is why doing it on Syfy is probably not a good option -- unless you did it as a fully animated series.

Recasting is fine with me.  It's been a decade, people have gotten older and moved on.  To be honest, I was never exactly enthralled with the show's cast overall.  Cobb was the only one I really thought was perfect for his role and impossible to improve on.  Sorbo made a great Dylan when he had the right material and the right directors to keep him focused, but his self-indulgence was his downfall.  I was always kind of lukewarm on the rest.  Besides, if we're going all-out on the aliens, the Magog should be far less humanoid, and frankly it would make more sense to me for the Andromeda Ascendant to have a Vedran avatar than a human one.

Spend the first hour in the Commonwealth at its peak.  Show us why we should care about it and regret its loss.  Blow half the season's budget, if necessary, on making it as glorious as possible.  Show all the exotic aliens, go all-out creating animatronics and digital models that can be repurposed in later episodes.  Make it a 2-hour premiere, not a 2-parter, and devote the second hour to Dylan and Andromeda's retrieval and partnering with Beka's crew.

Don't spend two and a half years with just six people on the ship.  Show Dylan accumulating a crew as he builds alliances.  Develop and use supporting crew characters of multiple species, perhaps forming factions behind Dylan, Tyr, Beka, etc. and allowing the crewmembers to serve as a microcosm for the larger mythology arc.

Oh, and most importantly: hire me to do the tie-in novels. ;)  I'm also available for a science consultant gig like John Scalzi has on Stargate Universe.
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#15 enTranced

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 11:00 AM

Lets talk about the *look* of the show. How should that change?

Well one thing that should stay the same is the look of the Commonwealth ships. That is where the show should stay true to it's space opera roots. Commonwealth ships should stay gorgeous, they should be sexy in their deadliness. I hate new ship design that emphasizes big and block like.

I think the High Guard Uniforms should be rethought. We are now well past the Matrix look, but I still want something futuristic. I don't want a shoulder shrug look like nuBG. The High Guard was founded by aliens, so I don't want something that looks like 21st century USA.

Beka's look should be more Rocker-Girl in space. Her clothes should have more edge to them.

Niet's should be all about sex appeal no matter the gender. These guys and gals have it so they should flaunt it. The original show never had the budget for it but they heal faster then us, move faster, etc. so why would they be worried to much about armor? Lets make them more enhanced then just bone blades. I want them to look more like Max on Dark Angel with animal eyes and reflexes. Lets make them regenerate from wounds, all on screen. These guys should be dangerous as hell not marching two by two into a hail of bullets.

Magog should be the stuff of nightmare. More like the Wraith of SGA and less like like Teddie Bears with Teeth. :)

Trance was probably the most successful alien on the original show. And yes, I mean season one Trance thank you. The only thing I would want to change is more use of her tail, I want Nightcrawler's tail in X2. I want it to be used for balance, for fighting and for loving. She is a alien, scratch that she is a ALIEN. Super freaky weird. Use it! The very best HOLY CRAP Trance is a FREAKING ALIEN™ moment on the original show was when this cute silly pixie casually reached out with her tail and broke a guy's neck with it. And speaking of that, Laura Bertam so easily passed from cute to mysterious to deadly with ease. If we can't have her them please find somebody who is that good.

Harper season one was perfect. Change nothing.

Oh and more use of the JMT please :angel:

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Edited by enTranced, 23 August 2010 - 12:23 PM.

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#16 enTranced

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 11:04 AM

View PostChristopher, on 23 August 2010 - 10:49 AM, said:

...and frankly it would make more sense to me for the Andromeda Ascendant to have a Vedran avatar than a human one.


Hmmm.....very interesting. I kind of sold myself on the human avatar since the ship was captained by a human. But if we are indeed going all out pedal to the metal selling the Commonwealth then a Vedran Avatar would be interesting.

And lets make the Vedran awesome please.

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#17 Christopher

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 11:22 AM

The more I think about it, the more it occurs to me that a Vedran Andromeda avatar would be a good, continuing link to the society that Dylan has lost, a character who embodies that civilization and its perspective.

And Harper could still make a human android avatar to be "Rommie," since that would fit his proclivities.  No reason the ship's avatars all have to look the same.  The human and Vedran versions could share the same voice as an identifying throughline.

And for Bog's sake, don't make the holograms look like cheesy 2-D images with low-res scan lines across them.  In fact, ditch the whole silly idea of free-floating midair holograms, or if you do use them, make them look the way they'd actually have to look -- like light projected onto a cloud of tiny midair particles, something that would be disturbed by air currents as people moved around it.
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#18 Cardie

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 11:39 AM

I'll add that the show needs a budget--and I'm not sure even a BSG-level one would be enough.  But if this is theoretical, let's go for the best and pretend money is no object.

I agree with Christopher that we should spend some time seeing what made the Commonwealth worth preserving--and also the kernels of corruption that brought it down. I'd even be so bold as to spend four or five hours before the fall, cutting back and forth between the formation of the Maru crew and the events that send the AA hurtling toward the Black Hole.  Perhaps we could begin with the retrieval and then flashback to see how we got there. Rebuilding the Commonwealth should be the throughline but we do need the urgency provided by the machinations of the Abyss. Retain the mystery of why and how it caused the fall but emphasize early on that something worse is coming if the Known Worlds don't unite to fight it.

I love the original cast but if you want it recast, let me try to think of some folks and check back with you later. I'd keep the characters as they are.

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#19 GoldenCoal

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 11:46 AM

I'm in the camp that says change the characters some. I love Andromeda, but I think it would be a waste for it to be rebooted only to be mostly the same. I can see what people have said about the seemingly schizophrenic characters, but I think that's a good thing overall. Not only does it give a wide varieties of characters for people to pick their favorite from, but it also shows the wide appeal of a reformed Systems Commonwealth. I don't know who I'd cast, though. I feel like a bunch of somewhat well known actors would be better for an ensemble than one very-well known actor and some lesser known actors. I've never had to cast a show, though.
  
  I've always thought there was some potential in a sort of darker Andromeda, where things are much more screwed up. Even though things were bad in Andromeda, there seemed to be a lot of mostly stable and functioning planetary governments. I think it would be nice if things seemed a bit worse off.

  I also feel like the Eureka Maru crew, like the Marquis in Voyager, became a little too assimilated a little too soon. This may be because of foggy memory, but I feel like there was an episode or two where they didn't really follow Dylan's orders, and then the rest of the time they did besides the occasional surfing vacation or whatever.

  I really, really like Chris's idea of gradually forming a crew, and having some of the crew be supporting characters. I find there is a direct correlation with the quality of the recurring characters and how much I enjoy a show. Plus it just seemed stupid how long Andromeda didn't have a crew, it was noticeable. I think in parallel to that, it would be interesting if Andromeda gradually gains more power as she gains crew. She has Harper, and nanobots, but it seems unlikely that she could keep all of her systems running with just that, or maybe more importantly repair herself quickly during a battle.

  I also want to echo that I feel that Andromeda could be streamlined some, but that I also have no idea how it would be done. Maybe the galaxies only have a small number of well-defined alien races? I'm not sure. One very tiny thing that confused me back when I was a casual viewer, is that I got confused about what "psl" and "pdls" were, and sometimes got the two mixed up.

  This is actually a really, really hard question. It's really hard for me to determine what things are necessary for it to be some form of "Andromeda" and what isn't. The World Ship was awesome and magnificent and terrifying the first time I saw it, would it have the same effect the second time around? Should there be some sort of powerful, malevolent spirit in charge of the Magog, or should they just be aliens who only attack places because of their physiology? In line with that, should the Andromeda crew be universe saviors or "merely" saviors of the tri-galaxies? Then what the hell should Trance be up to? Should Vedrans really be centaurs? Should we have a Rev-Bem as part of the crew (I vote yes)? Does Earth have to be a craptastic wasteland (I vote yes)? Should we allow ftl communication latency just because that's what people are used to? There are just a few of the questions that move through my mind as I think about this, and I'm not sure what the good answers are.

Edited by GoldenCoal, 23 August 2010 - 11:46 AM.


#20 QuiGon John

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 12:09 PM

OK, a few things:

I actually really like enTranced's vision of the show's "look," especially the Nietzscheans.  I'd also go so far as to say NO ALIEN CANNON FODDER should be a hard and fast rule, posted on a big sign somewhere in large font.  Swarming tactics are one thing; entirely too many Drom adversaries seemed to exist purely so our crew would have something to shoot.  A few really dangerous adversaries are preferable to a lot of disposable ones.

Christopher tossed out the idea of doing the show entirely as animation; I think that's a thought worth pursuing.  I've always wanted to see a serious North American science fiction show done in pure animation, because it would allow writers like RHW (and Zack and Ash, natch ;)) to pursue the limits of their imagination and have things always looking as Freaking Cool as I'm sure they did on the page.

Either way, the Magog need a major league redesign.  If not animation, then maybe something more werewolf-like than Ewok-like?  The Than, perhaps, could be all-CGI if the budget allowed.  I'm not sure there's any way to make a giant insect suit convincing.

What I said about streamlining... I'm thinking of how Fringe had a relatively straightforward monster of the week setup that gradually revealed more of the arc behind the scenes, or perhaps Firefly's simple "just keep flying" premise, which ultimately led to the Blue Hands and the Operative.  (Dollhouse, too, had a setup that provided a mission-of-the-week but eventually revealed a complex arc, though I have mixed feelings about that show.)

I think the way to do that with Andromeda would be to present more of a consistent, week-to-week threat.  We had the Magog worldship in season two, but since that threat was COMING and not actually HERE, it wasn't always the motivating factor.  Maybe the Drago-Kazov or NuMagog could be presented as a clear and present danger to a number of planets, which Andromeda has to help liberate every week.  Thus you get the feeling of moving around in space, a consistent and deadly adversary, and you address the problem which one heard often during the show's run that many of these planets didn't have a compelling reason for joining Dylan.  If it's him or violent death at the hands of the ubers/Zombie Wolves, that's a little more explicable.  (I actually think this was at least a part of the original show's setup, but think it could stand to be brought to the fore.)  Or, going more the Firefly/Farscape route, maybe they're even on the run and a little desperate at first, marshaling allies only later on.

I dunno.  Just tossing things out; if that's a horrible idea, fair enough.  But I do think some more urgent/less idealistic setup to drive the show from week to week might help.

Another thing that might be a horrible idea: Tone done the banter from the Commonwealth types.  Let Harper and Beka make the smart remarks (the Walter and Peter Bishop of the show, if you will) while playing Dylan and Rommie more or less straight.  (No "Let's bring it!", in other words).  Again, just looking for a more consistent tone.  But on second thought, as I said earlier, I probably wouldn't touch the characters.  And I loved the show's steady stream of banter, so I guess I wouldn't change that, either.  Certainly a less flip attitude from Dylan would help, but I think that only got annoying once the show became a Sorbo-fest, anyway.

I think I'll give up on casting; most of the new actors would probably be people I've never heard of anyway.  Although now I'm picturing Beth Riesgraf from Leverage as Beka and Summer Glau as Trance.  Dylan needs a presence, a butt-kicking badass military type (which Kevin Sorbo COULD embody when he wished but rarely seemed to do so).  The proper actor for the role escapes me.  Likewise Tyr; there's really only one Keith Hamilton Cobb type I can think of, and that's the man himself.  Like I said, I'll punt.

Oh, and once the Than are redesigned, can we have one for a series regular?  I have a soft spot for the personalities of Dawn and Twilight, even as I'm laughing at their costumes.

And a pony.  Not a Vedran, an actual pony.  As long as I'm wishing for impossible things...

Edited by John Burke, 23 August 2010 - 12:12 PM.





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