A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's not too much to raise eyebrows in Andromeda except for the requisite sci-fi action (space battles, some fistfights, etc.). Since one of the show's major themes is the long-running conflict with a genetically engineered branch of humans who strongly believe that they're superior to other races (and therefore destined to rule the galaxy), topics like racial purity and social Darwinism are often discussed, and chances are you won't agree with everything the characters have to say.
What's the story?
ANDROMEDA follows the crew of the Andromeda Ascendant on their adventures throughout the galaxy as they encounter various villains, alien races, and other plot complications all designed to create conflicts that can be wrapped up in less than 60 minutes. Despite its familiar sci-fi structure, Andromeda has a very complicated backstory: Dylan Hunt (Kevin Sorbo) is captain of the Andromeda, which is part of the Commonwealth. One disillusioned Commonwealth species, the Nietzscheans (they take both their name and their sense of genetic superiority from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche), starts a rebellion. At the start of the conflict, the Andromeda is attacked and slips into a black hole. It sits there, frozen in time, for 300 years -- until it's eventually rescued by a salvage vessel captained by Beka Valentine (Lisa Ryder), who informs Hunt that the Commonwealth and the Nietzscheans fought until both sides were nearly eliminated. In the centuries since, the galaxy has slipped into chaos and anarchy, prompting Hunt to decide to restore the Commonwealth.
Is it any good?
This series was based on material developed by the late Gene Roddenberry -- who created the original Star Trek series -- and was produced by his widow, Majel Roddenberry (who played Nurse Christine Chapel on that series and has had roles on every other Star Trek series). Andromeda hews closely to the conventions of other space opera shows and will be comforting and familiar to anyone who's ever seen one of the many similar TV series, from Farscape to any of the Star Trek shows.
But this series lacks the spark that made Star Trek so much fun. The politics sometimes seem overly confusing, and some of the characters are thinly developed, with personalities based almost entirely on their affiliations with the Commonwealth, the Nietzscheans, or one of the show's many other political factions. Andromeda also has trouble deciding whether it wants to take itself seriously. In some scenes, the characters earnestly discuss the social and political implications of their actions, struggling to make the right choice, but they also engage in lighthearted banter, often at odd moments -- such as in the middle of a swordfight to the death or when discussing a deadly disease.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about exploring the final frontier. Even though it's been decades since Star Trek made its debut, it seems like that series has become the standard model for many other space dramas, including this one.How is this show like others in the genre? How is it different? Do you think there are any unique ways left to tell space stories?
Parents can also talk about democracy. Captain Hunt is trying to restore order to the galaxy, but many of the characters he meets have little interest in establishing a new social order. Why would some people prefer anarchy?
For kids who love sci-fi
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