The ocean has always fascinated me. Why I have no idea. I didn’t grow up near it. I have rarely visited it. I can attribute my love of the ocean to two things. One, The Living Seas at Epcot. Once they took Horizons and the Dreamfinder from me, The Living Seas became my favorite pavilion at the park. These days I tend to drift towards The Land and my new found love of the greenhouses. My thwarted green thumb tendencies are apparently kicking in. But the Living Seas has always drawn me. I could watch the manatees and dolphins for hours. My second reason? SeaQuest DSV. It was a television show that ran for three seasons from 1993 to 1996 on NBC. Apparently these were formidable years for me because I’ve often thought of the show over the years. I remember episodes better from this show than ones I’ve watched in the past few years. The show inspired my first research paper in 6th grade (I argued why we needed to address ocean pollution on a national and international level. Don’t laugh; I got an A ;-). The show inspired my computer’s current name, Darwin. I named my computer after a dolphin. You have my permission to worry about me.
SeaQuest DSV is a show about the adventures of an advanced submarine at the beginning of the 21st century. What has struck me the most in re-watching this show is how they didn’t put it off in the distant future. They talk about 2011 or 2015 in passing as years not so far removed from where they are. The potential of the ocean was introduced to me through the first season on the show. So far it’s still my favorite. They were more interested in showing the science of the ocean that season. Once we got past that, the show got a little ridiculous; I’d be the first to admit. I mean, as I type I’m watching an episode in the middle of the second season about a giant plant eating everyone at a horticultural colony. I know what you’re thinking, hello Little Shop of Horrors and you’d right. I’m sad the further I get into watching the series, everything I loved about the first season seems to be in short supply. I liked the educational element of the first season, which makes me a nerd I know. And also an atypical viewer I imagine so I can see why they went for a more sensational, action-adventure format after the first season.
What has impressed me so far in my re-watching is how well the show has held up in terms of its special effects over the years. True, one of its producers was Spielberg so it had the money and support to look good at the time. When I mentioned to my dad how impressed I was, he told me it was because there hasn’t been science fiction shows on TV like this since then. And I have to admit he’s right. And the few that have been on TV haven’t lasted long. Take my beloved Firefly, canceled before its first season was even complete. It’s since been given cult status, which is how I found it. I didn’t even watch it when it was first on. How I missed it continues to puzzle me.
So why has there been a dearth of science fiction shows on mainstream TV? There have been shows that technically fit the mold. Lost would fit, so would V. But I am a kid who grew up on the many incarnations of Star Trek after all. And it would have been Dad that started me watching SeaQuest too. I miss those shows. They were full of impossible situations but the crazy situations and imaginative new worlds kept me coming back for more. I guess budgets don’t spring for that kind of series these days. I’ll write more once I finish the entire series but I wanted to write about why I was re-watching, reliving a little of my childhood, one episode at a time.