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  • Articles on Space: Above and Beyond

    Space: 2063 · Space:AaB · Space · S:AaB · Saab

    "Space:Above and Beyond"

    Cinescape's 1995 Science Fiction Television Yearbook. © 1995 Cinescape Group, Inc.

    Our heroes!

    Whereas the thematic focus of Star Trek, TV's outer space standard bearer, has always been the exploration of new worlds and its main characters' attempts to make the universe a warm and happy place, Fox Broadcasting's Space:Above and Beyond tells stores of violence, emotional terror and desperate attempts to stay alive.

    "This show is really the exploration of our characters in the crucible of war," says co-creator and executive producer James Wong. "We put them into these incredible situation and see what comes out of it, how they react to each other and how they react to fear. How will they have changed when it's over? We want to deal with the characters more than we want to deal with going through a wormhole. We want to see how these guys react when they're faced with death, as well as the difficult personal decisions they have to make."

    Space:Above and Beyond is set in the year 2063, a future in which humankind has begun to colonize other worlds. A group of colonists plant themselves on an uninhabited planet many light years away, but shortly after their arrival they're annihilated by a previously unknown alien race. Before news of this attack can reach Earth, though, a second ship to is scheduled to depart. Among the colonists-to-be are Nathan West and his girlfriend, Kylen. But in a future in which affirmative action still has a foothold, West loses his spot to an "In Vitro," a race of test tube-created humanoids who were originally bred to serve in menial positions but are now fighting for their rights as equals. So West remains behind--temporarily, he believes--while Kylen sets off with the rest of the colony. Inevitably, they meet the same fate as their predecessors.

    When word arrives of the tag-team slaughters, Earth mobilizes for war. West believes his only hope of being reunited with Kylen--whom he vainly convinces himself is still alive out there--is to join the marines. Among those in West's unit aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga (essentially a space faring aircraft carrier) are Shane Vansen, a woman with a painful past, and Cooper Hawkes, an In Vitro who has been unjustly sentenced to serve in the military. The exploits of this trio and their unit dominate the series. At the same time, the war gradually reveals clues about the merciless aliens and their aims.

    We intentionally decided not to show too much of the aliens early on," says Wong. "We thought it would be better to keep the audience wanting more rather than shooting our whole wad at the beginning of the season."

    Co-creator Glen Morgan explains that he and Wong have taken a lesson from the UFO-themed episodes in the first season of The X-Files, on which they both served as producers. The first such show had Agent Fox Mulder struck by the traditional blinding beam of light from an overhead spacecraft. From that point on, each subsequent episode in the arc brought Mulder--and the audience--a little closer to actual contact.

    "I think as we go to 22 shows we'll show more and more about the aliens," says Morgan. "Although the toy [merchandisers] want us to do a whole thing about the aliens, I think we're going to handle it a little more slowly. Our heroes come across strange things the aliens leave behind after a battle, which provides a mystery element to it."

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    Copyright and TM, 1996, FOX Broadcasting Company.