1 9 9 5 – 1 9 9 6 (USA)
23 x 60 minute episodes
In the year 2063, settlers from Earth were establishing colonies on planets when two of their settlements were destroyed by hostile aliens, called Chigs (pictured below right), precipitating an interstellar war.
The focus of this series was a group of hotshot young recruits in the war against the aliens. Their unit was the 58th Squadron (nicknamed the ‘Wild Cards’) of the US Marine Corps Space Aviator Cavalry.
The recruits were Lt. Nathan West (Morgan Weisser), whose fiancée Kylen (Amanda Douge) had been in one of the destroyed settlements; Lt. Shane Vansen (Kristen Cloke), a natural leader who had been orphaned when her parents were killed by rebellious human-looking robots (called IA’s or Silicates); Lt. Cooper Hawkes (Rodney Rowland), a belligerent InVitro (the product of in vitro fertilization) with no real family; Lt. Vanessa Damphousse (Lanei Chapman), their Chief Engineer; and Lt. Paul Wang (Joel de la Fuente), friendly, funny, and very insecure.
Their leader aboard the intergalactic aircraft carrier Saratoga was Lt. Col. Tyrus Cassius ‘T.C.’ McQueen (James Morrison), a tough battle-scarred veteran who was himself an InVitro. Commodore Ross (Tucker Smallwood) was the commanding officer on the Saratoga.
“Operation Round Hammer” – the first counter-offensive by the Earth forces – began in an April 1996 episode. In a two-part story the 58th found an alien on a planet threatened by Chigs.
They later found out it was, in fact, a Chig, when an envoy from the same race arrived on the Saratoga with a proposal for a ceasefire, eighteen months after the war had begun.
Negotiations broke down, and during the subsequent action West found his missing fiancée, Kylen, with other P.O.W. colonists on an alien ship.
Vansen (pictured at left) and Damphousse were hit and forced to land their fighter on an alien planet, and Wang sacrificed himself so they could save the colonists.
Space: Above and Beyond was a mish-mash of sci-fi conceits from movies that had gone before – including the space marines from Aliens (1986) and the orphaned soldier whose parents were killed by Blade Runner style androids.
With a budget of $2 million per episode, the show was big on looks – the aliens looked grimy and the sets looked gritty and dark – and the cast of pretty young space marines would not have looked out of place on Central Park West.
But it was all to no avail and the show got the axe.
Lt. Nathan West
Lt. Shane Vansen
Lt. Cooper Hawkes
Lt. Paul Wang
Joel de la Fuente
Lt. Vanessa Damphousse
Lt. Col. Tyrus Cassius ‘T.C.’ McQueen
Commodore Glen Ross
Lt. Kelly Anne Winslow