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seaQuest DSV - Season One


TITLE: SEAQUEST DSV - SEASON ONE


Info:

DVD Release Date: December 26, 2005 (Universal Home Video)
Color
MSRP: $59.98
Number of Discs: 4 (Double-Sided)
Number of Episodes: 23
Running time: Approx. 18 Hours, 16 Minutes
Audio Tracks: English Dolby Digial 2.0
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English Subtitles for the deaf & hard-of-hearing, Spanish Subtitles
Special Features:
Over 30 Minutes of Deleted Scenes


Introduction:

Mankind has colonized the last uncharted reigon on earth...its oceans. As captain of the seaQuest and its crew, we are its guardians...for beneath the surface, lies the future.

Travel to the spectacular undersea world of seaQuest DSV as all 23 groundbreaking episodes from the epic first season surface on DVD. The amazing adventure begins in the mid-21st century, as humankind expands its undersea colonization efforts and a tenuous world peace is enforced by the United Earth Oceans (UEO). In order to protect the fledgling underwater colonies from unknown dangers and hostile invaders lurking in the depths of Earth's last frontier, the UEO recruits Captain Nathan Bridger (Roy Scheider) to command the high-tech battle submarine seaQuest and its diverse and eclectic crew. Along for the ride are a roster of stellar guest stars, including Charlton Heston, William Shatner, Seth Green, Kellie Martin and Kent McCord. Now on DVD for the first time ever, with exclusive never-before-seen footage, the Emmy Award-winning seaQuest DSV is sure to make waves with thrill-seekers everywhere!


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

seaQuest DSV premiered on NBC on September 12, 1993 on NBC. A total of 58 episodes were produced from 1993-1995. The show was canceled in December 1995, although a few leftover episodes were aired in the summer of 1996. It aired on Sunday nights at 8PM from September 1993 unti August 1995. Then it moved to Wednesdays at 8PM for the final season when it was renamed seaQuest 2032. The first season cast included Roy Scheider as Capt. Nathan Hale Bridger, Don Franklin as Commander Jonathan Ford, Stephanie Beacham as Dr. Kristin Westphalen, Stady Haiduk as Lieutenant Commander Katherine Hitchcock, Jonathan Brandis as Lucas Wolenczak, Ted Raimi as Liutenant Tim O'Neill, Marco Sanchez as Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz, Royce D. Applegate as Chief Manilow Crocker, and John D'Aquino as Liutenant Benjamin King. A lot of changes were made to the cast in the second and third seasons. Only Franklin, Brandis, and Raimi were regulars for all three seasons. Steven Spielberg was one of the Executive Producers. Composer John Debney won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Main Title Theme Music in 1994. Composer Don Davis won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Series for the episode "Daggers" in 1995.

Memorable episodes included the two-hour pilot episode "To Be or Not To Be," in which The United Earth/Oceans Organization (UEO) asks Nathan Bridger - the force behind The seaQuest's creation - to return as her captain. When Bridger and his crew are summoned to a sunken luxury liner, they are confronted with unusual and supernatural occurrences during their exploration in "Knight of Shadows." The seaQuest is called to Node Three, an underwater communications installation run by Martin Clemens, otherwise known as a famous hacker named Mycroft in "Photon Bullet." Several companies are in competition to develop a single-seat submersible, and The seaQuest is testing theirs, called The Stinger, with Lucas behind the wheel in "The Stinger." When The seaQuest escorts Secretary General Andrea Dre to the UEO Summit, she is impressed by the communication work between Lucas and Darwin and invites Lucas to accompany her in "The Last Lap at Luxury." Dr. Lawrence Wolenczak is about to realize his life's dream of providing free electricity to everyone on earth with his underwate hydro-electric plant in "Higher Power."

There were many notable guest stars in the first season. Richard Herd appeared in multiple episodes as Admiral Noyce. Shelley Hack played Captain Marilyn Stark in the pilot episode, "To Be or Not To Be." Roscoe Lee Browne guest starred as Dr. Raleigh Young in "The Devil's Window" and "Greed for a Pirate's Dream." Chaim Topol appeared as Dr. Rafik Hassan in "Treasure of the Mind." Lindsay Frost played Savannah Rossovich in "Treasure of the Mind." Yaphet Kotto guest starred as Jack Clayton in "Treasures of the Tonga Trench." Kellie Martin played Cleo Walker in "Brothers and Sisters." John Bedford Lloyd was The Regulator in "The Regulator." David McCallum appeared as Frank Cobb, and David Morse was Lenny Sutter in "seaWest." Seth Green played Nick ("Wolfman") in "Photon Bullet." Kent McCord guest starred as Keller and James Shigeta was Vietnamese President Chi in "Better Than Martians." William Shatner appeared as Miles Tezlof in "Hide and Seek." "The Last Lap at Luxury" featured Bonnie Bartlett as Secretary General Dre, James Shigeta as Hoi Chi, Hank Stratton as Maxwell, and Carl Lumbly as Lamm. Charlton Heston played the scientist, Abalon, in "Abalon." Kent McCord returned as Keller in "Such Great Patience." Kristoffer Tabori appeared as Dr. Wolenczak in "Higher Power."


Packaging:

The packaging is very stylish and has some hologram-like effects. The whole look really fits in well with the show. The outer box features photos of Jonathan Brandis, Roy Scheider, and Stephanie Beacham. The seaQuest logo is also on the cover with a partial view of the seaQuest vessel, but I don't believe this was the original logo the show used. I'm sure the "Questies" out there would be disappointed with that. The back of the box has a nice cast photo from the first season. There are several smaller photos on the bottom. A summary of the set and the DVD specs are listed as well. There are three slimcases that slide out from the right of the box. Each slimcase features a drawing of a cast member or of the seaQuest. There are some pretty detailed episode summaries on the back of the cases. They are listed by disc, and the episodes with deleted scenes are noted. Roy Scheider is on the disc one case. Jonathan Brandis and Stephanie Beacham are on the disc two case. A drawing of the seaQuest vessel is on the third case. There is a small photo of Scheider, Beacham, and Brandis in the lower left corner on the fourth disc, with a larger view of the seaQuest in the center. Inside the case, there is just empty white space. It would have been nice to see some more photos here or some bits of trivia. There is a single double-sided disc in each case. I've never been a fan of these double-sided discs. They scratch too easily. It would have been nice to see single-sided discs used with some colorful artwork.


seaQuest DSV - Season One DVD Menu

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are pretty nice looking, but the navigation could be a bit easier. The main menus feature the same photo of the seaQuest vessel that is on slimcase #3, but the photo is a bit cropped. The seaQuest logo is in the lower right corner of the screen. John Debney's majestic and patriotic theme can be heard in the background, and it loops after a bit. All of the menus have a water-type background. There are three options for each disc: Play All, Episode Index, and Languages. There is a yellow line under your the option you highlight that turns green upon your selection. When you select Episode Index, it takes you to a sub-menu where the episode titles are listed with a still image. After you select an episode, it takes you to another menu where it gives you the original airdate and a pretty detailed summary of the episode and lists the major guest stars for some episodes. This is also where you can access the deleted scenes for select episodes. There is also a scene selection menu that lets you choose from four different scenes per episode. The chapter stops are well-placed within the episodes. Each episode starts with the Universal logo, but you can just press the skip button on your remote to start the episode.


Video and Audio Quality:

I was impressed with the quality of the episodes. The picture quality and detail is quite good. The episodes are presented in their original full frame 1.33:1. These episodes look much better than what I've seen on the Sci-Fi Channel recently, or on the VHS tapes I have with episodes I taped off NBC during the original run. The colors look quite nice with a lot of blues, and the overall picture is sharp. All episodes are presented in their original broadcast order. There is a small note on the bottom of the packaging that says: "Includes all original music except for one song." I'm not sure what song was changed, but the episodes otherwise look to be complete running around 44-45 minutes. The two-hour pilot episode runs 1 hour and 31 minutes. These episodes also have the original ending credits, which featured Dr. Robert (Bob) Ballard giving marine trivia, included. These were always fun and educational to watch.

The audio is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track. The audio is crisp, and the dialogue is at a good level and easy to understand. John Debney's theme and music really sound great on the DVDs. I've recently become a big fan of Debney from his film music scoring, but I really didn't remember all of his music on seaQuest. There are options to use English subtitles for the deaf & hard-of-hearing and Spanish subtitles.

Here is the breakdown by disc with running times (note: these times include the Universal Logo opening - so subtract :23 from them):

Disc 1 - Side A
--------------------
1. To Be or Not To Be (1:31:32)
2. The Devil's Window (45:56)

Disc 1 - Side B
--------------------
3. Treasure of the Mind (45:48)
4. Games (45:17)
5. Treasures of the Tonga Trench (45:45)

Disc 2 - Side A
--------------------
6. Brothers and Sisters (45:49)
7. Give Me Liberte (45:46)
8. Knight of Shadows (45:41)

Disc 2 - Side B
--------------------
9. Bad Water (45:25)
10. The Regulator (45:22)
11. seaWest (44:23)

Disc 3 - Side A
--------------------
12. Photon Bullet (45:49)
13. Better Than Martians (45:39)
14. Nothing But the Truth (45:02)

Disc 3 - Side B
--------------------
15. Greed for a Pirate's Dream (45:48)
16. Whale Song (45:49)
17. The Stinger (45:34)

Disc 4 - Side A
--------------------
18. Hide and Seek (46:03)
19. The Last Lap at Luxury (45:26)
20. Abalon (45:52)

Disc 4 - Side B
--------------------
21. Such Great Patience (45:54)
22. The Good Death (45:22)
23. Higher Power (45:42)


Special Features:

I was a bit disappointed with the extras. The episodes were the most important, but the extras would have added to my enjoyment of the set. All we get here are 30+ minutes of deleted scenes. They should really call them deleted/extended scenes, as some of the scenes did actually make it into the final broadcast. 9 of the 23 episodes have the deleted scenes. There are 22 total deleted scenes. They generally are pretty good quality, and some of them have a timestamp on them. Some of the scenes did not have the special effects finished. You could also hear Darwin's off-camera voice in a few of them. I found that kind of funny Of course, the great Frank Welker did the voice of Darwin on the show.

Here is a breakdown of the deleted scenes:

To Be Or Not To Be - 5 Scenes - 8:18 total running time
The Devil's Window - 1 Scene - 1:00
Treasure of the Mind - 3 Scenes - 3:04
Nothing But the Truth - 3 Scenes - 3:26
Greed for a Pirate's Dream - 1 Scene - 1:29
Hide and Seek - 2 Scenes - 2:14
The Last Lap at Luxury - 1 Scene - 1:10
Abalon - 4 Scenes - 5:42
Such Great Patience - 2 Scenes - 1:33

Universal could have done so much more with the extras. It seems like this set may have been rushed a bit to get it out around the holidays. I would have liked to see some cast interviews and a few audio commentaries. It would have been fun to see some bloopers/outtakes or behind-the-scenes footage. There definitely should have been some sort of tribute to Jonathan Brandis and Royce D. Applegate. Jonathan Brandis tragically took his own life in November 2003. Royce D. Applegate died in a house fire in January 2003. Perhaps, with these two tragedies and the fact that other first season cast members were fired or left the show voluntarily, the cast didn't feel like participating in any special features. Universal might not have asked anybody either.


Final Comments:

The first season of seaQuest DSV was definitely my favorite. I really liked the cast the best, and the stories focusing on science and the environment really appealed to me. The special effects look a little bit dated now, but they were state of the art in 1993. John Debney's theme and music in the episodes were also highlights for me. NBC made a lot of changes in the second season, and they made it more sci-fi and fantasy related to get better ratings and a younger audience. The show just lost a lot of magic for me after that first year. I still watched it, but the first season was the most memorable.

This has been a long-awaited DVD set for many fans of the series. While I'm glad to have the episodes in such great quality and in nice packaging, there were a couple of things I was disappointed with in this set. I've regularly had problems with double-sided discs from other releases. It just doubles your chance of getting a disc that won't play. I'm not sure how much additional costs there would be to include four more discs. This set leaves a lot of the show left unexplored with the lack of special features. It's like the ocean. We may never know what is really out there. I would have thought some kind of tribute to Jonathan Brandis and Royce D. Applegate would have been automatic.

I do hope that we see the other two seasons released by Universal in the future. I can't remember a lot about the second season episodes, and there are some third season episodes which I still have never seen. You can sign up for an e-mail alert of upcoming releases at seaQuestDSVDVD.com .


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

--Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 01/14/06

To order the DVD click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BR9SA0/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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