Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Set in "The Near Future", seaQuest mixed high drama with realistic scientific fact. It starred Roy Scheider (best known for his role as Police Chief Brody in Jaws) as Nathan Bridger, captain of the eponymous high-tech submarine seaQuest DSV 4600.
The series had a troubled beginning. Without the interest of Steven Spielberg, who acted as an executive producer, it might never have made it to the screen at all. Filming of the first season was marked by producer disputes, changes at the helm (on- and off-screen), and even an earthquake.
On its debut, it was slated by the critics, who dubbed it "Voyage to the Bottom of the Ratings", and criticised everything from the characterisation of the show's female characters to Darwin, the show's dolphin. Fans, however, loved it, and "Questies" tuned in to NBC every week to watch the show develop.
In the first season finale, the seaQuest was sacrificed by Bridger to prevent an ecological disaster, and for a short time it was not known if the show would be renewed for another season. When it was decided the show would return, NBC and Universal used this opportunity to tinker with the show's format. Both Royce D. Applegate and John D'Aquino were fired by NBC as the network wanted a younger cast for the show's second year. Stacy Haiduk, who was not happy with her character's development, informed producers she did not wish to return if the show went on to a second season. Stephanie Beacham , who as Dr. Kristin Westphalen was one of the first season's strongest characters, had been asked back for the second year, contrary to popular rumour; however, she quit when it was decided the show would move production from Los Angeles to Florida. Beacham also credits poor writing and continued fighting between the network and the show's producers as major reasons why she did not return. The series had suffered in the ratings, pitted as it was against Lois and Clark, which, in its first season at least, was a program of extremely high quality.
The studio also wanted more sci-fi oriented episodes, which first emerged towards the end of season one, when seaQuest encountered a million-year-old alien ship buried in the ocean floor. If they wanted more fans, they almost got their wish. Newer fans emerged, but many of the fans of the first season were unhappy at the show's change from "sci-fact" to "sci-fi" and abandoned the show.
By the end of season two, seaQuest DSV was again suffering, partly due to a decrease in the quality of the writing. The season's heavily sci-fi climax, "Splashdown", saw the crew inexplicably transported to another planet, where they all died. Or so it seemed. The threat of cancellation loomed large. Universal took one last gamble with the series, and gave it one more chance.
Another revamp resulted in the third season, the series now called seaQuest 2032. Once again, several cast changes took place. Roy Scheider had been vocal in his anger of the show's new direction and wanted out. However, Scheider had a contract with the network so it was decided that Bridger would make several appearances throughout the season. Rosalind Allen was fired as her character, Dr. Wendy Smith, proved to be very unpopular amongst fans. Marco Sanchez was also fired after NBC decided it wanted the principal cast number dropped from 10 to 8. Edward Kerr was fired for the same reason as Sanchez, however, he was asked to play his character for the first 5 episodes so they could kill him off for dramatic effect. The seaQuest reappeared, its crew intact, ten years after their abduction at the end of season two. Captain Bridger stepped down to raise his grandson (although Scheider appeared in two further episodes of the season), and Michael Ironside entered the fray as the more militaristic Oliver Hudson, as the UEO faced the threat of the Macronesian Alliance. Much darker than the previous series, many felt that seaQuest had finally found its feet, successfully blending science, drama, and fantasy. However, Universal and NBC didn't see it that way, and after only 13 episodes, the series was cancelled.
- Roy Scheider as Captain Nathan Hale Bridger (seasons 1-2, 3x01, 3x07, 3x09)
- Michael Ironside as Captain Oliver Hudson (season 3)
- Don Franklin as Commander Jonathan Ford
- Stacy Haiduk as Lt. Commander Katherine Hitchcock (season 1)
- Jonathan Brandis as Lucas Wolenczak
- Stephanie Beacham as Dr. Kristin Westphalen (season 1)
- Rosalind Allen as Dr. Wendy Smith (season 2)
- Marco Sanchez as Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz (seasons 1-2)
- Ted Raimi as Lt. Tim O'Neil
- Kathy Evison as Lt. Lenore Ellen "Lonnie" Henderson (seasons 2-3)
- John D'Aquino as Lt. Benjamin Krieg (season 1, 3x02)
- Edward Kerr as Lt. James Brody (seasons 2-3)
- Royce D. Applegate as Chief Manilow Crocker (season 1)
- Elise Neal as Lt. J.J. Fredericks (season 3)
- Peter DeLuise as Dagwood (seasons 2-3)
- Michael DeLuise as Seaman Anthony Piccolo (seasons 2-3)
- Dustin Nguyen as Chief William Shan (season 1)
- Frank Welker as voice of Darwin
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