Mission

Mission


 

“I think that this is going to be the hippest show in about 25 years.  Its the kind of show that is, like, timeless; and people in 2018 are gonna go ‘Man, is that what they thought?!’.  I think people are really gonna relate to this show in the future, and hopefully they’ll learn a lesson from it ’cause I think we’re teaching a lot of people now…”

– Jonathan Brandis  1976 – 2003

 


 

The 21st Century…

…And while mankind has yet to colonise the oceans, much of the future as projected in 1993 by creator Rockne S. O’Bannon has come to pass in one form or another.  Leaps in technology forming part of the ambitious pitch for his new series about a futuristic Submarine such as the vPal Communicator, SeaPOC Tablet and Stun Gun Taser all prevail today (albeit under different terms). Artificial gills are merely a 3D print away and even the Stinger one-man Sub now exists as the Seabreacher -a legitimate recreational vehicle.

Its not all about the hardware, however, as ecology and politics remain at the forefront of the human condition, with conflict and war prevalent as ever and an environment challenged by a current US administration that refuses to acknowledge the extent (or even existence) of climate change.

And so we actually, finally, find ourselves in the year 2018, where, in an alternate reality, The United Earth Oceans Organisation has been formed to govern the thriving undersea communities and its flagship, state-of-the-art submarine SeaQuest DSV has been assigned to its original designer – Captain Nathan Hale Bridger – for a tour unlike any other.

I vividly remember first reading the word ‘Seaquest’(working title: Deep Space) in an article stating that Director Steven Spielberg had been reunited with his Jaws star for a show about a hi-tech submarine set in the near future. The idea alone captured my imagination – my all-time favourite actor Roy Scheider in a pilot Directed by Irvin Kershner – (The Empire Strikes Back) with Spielberg as Producer and a first-rate cast featuring state of the art CG Effects? – What could possibly go wrong..?

As it turns out, plenty along the line, but nothing would detract from my undying enthusiasm for the project. Here in the UK, the show was previewed on ITV with commercials opening with a closeup of Scheider with the narration ‘Just when he thought it was safe to go back in the water’ setting completely the wrong tone – and when the series finally premiered a butchered version of the pilot made little sense with 20mins cut. This inconsistency would plague the first season throughout its run on Regional TV, with scheduling making it difficult for even the most fervent viewer to follow.  Indeed,  some would later say poor advance word from the US meant it was treated with indifference here from the outset (despite ITV paying a fortune for it) so it never really stood a chance.

Despite this, there was much to enjoy about the show, from its incredible production design to the great cast and Emmy-award winning score. The trio of Scheider, Beacham and Brandis would rightfully become the focal point of the first season, playing well-defined characters in the midst of some admittedly generic stories. The premise of the first episodes was ‘Science Faction’, a fusion of drama with an educational bent. This was given some legitimacy by the bookending of each episode by real-life scientist and oceanographer Bob Ballard, who would cheerfully debunk everything shown in the preceding 45 minutes. Despite the appearance of numerous genre guest stars (William Shatner, David McCallum, Charlton Heston, Topol et.al) poor scripts and feuds behind the scenes meant much of the creative staff (Including O’Bannon) departed long before the end of the season.

There has been endless debate in the decades since about just why seaQuest became a successful failure, citing everything from comparisons to Star Trek to stiff competition with Lois & Clark in the ratings, but there is no one definitive answer. Nevertheless the show was renewed for a second season, albeit with big changes made both conceptually and amongst the cast. Certainly the remarks made by the show’s star during the filming of the ‘younger, sexier’ Season 2 did nothing to endear it to viewers in advance by branding forthcoming stories ‘childish trash’ and word was Scheider wanted out. Another conceptual shift and rebranding of the show (To seaQuest: 2032) for a foreshortened third season did little more than further alienate fans of the first two and even the addition of new Captain (cult favourite Michael Ironside) couldn’t stop seaQuest’s descent to the bottom of the ratings. The show was finally cancelled in 1995 after 57 episodes of wildly varying quality and, while most thought it forgotten, in reality it was left to age like fine wine.

The show may no longer have been on the airwaves but the legacy would live on through its fans – although seaQuest retained what would now be deemed as ‘cult’ following, there were several websites devoted to it at the time of its broadcast in what would now be considered the early days of internet fandom, bolstered by an abundance of fan-fiction (usually based around the romance between Capt. Bridger and Dr. Westphalen).  As these sites steadily died away in the intervening years as interest in the show diminished, only newcapequest.com would endure and provide survivors with a reliable outlet.

Until now.

The mission of the seaQuest Vault is simple: To be the definitive resource and most complete archive of the show and its ephemera anywhere in the world.  My ultimate aim to to provide an immersive experience, a time-capsule to contain the atmosphere of what it was like to actually work on the show, to literally be onset by way of in-depth interviews with cast & crew.

My passion for the show runs deep – the vision of the future represented in seaQuest was tangible and I longed to reside in New Cape Quest as an officer of the UEO.  This was compounded in reality by the incredible experience of coming across the filming location of SQ’s Port at St. Pete’s Pier during a family holiday in Florida, making it all the more real for me.

My name is Martin Lakin.  I am a UK-Based Science Fiction fan and writer.  My acquisition of seaQuest-related material began in 1993 and I have maintained and added to it ever since to build the largest collection of merchandise and original props/costumes this side of the Atlantic. This has been aided in part by people such as Mark Bradley, Eric Nagy and the late John Kachmar, whose seaQuest Costume Museum was the ultimate archive of the show and will hopefully one day be seen again. These are the first of what will hopefully become a fully-fledged crew of contributors both from fans and people who worked on the show itself, many of whom have fascinating stories to share.

Please embark on this journey with me and feel free to provide any info, recollections or images you may have to make this the best site it can be.  Get in touch at seaquestvault@gmail.com

For beneath the surface lies the future….

 

Martin Lakin, Sitemaster


 

13 Replies to “Mission”

  1. I was in college when SeaQuest aired and I would watch it in my dorm room. I loved that show and thought that it had so much potential but remember it getting canceled after the third season. I wanted to send in a script for a guest writer episode but I chickened out . I would love to start a new sci-fy series where a marine research lab meets an alien species who interfere by accident in an international trade blockage that almost starts a nuclear war.

  2. I came across your site and I wanted to say that I enjoyed everything about it. I’m a huge fan of the first season of seaQuest DSV. And to me and other fans, the first season will always be the best one. The less said about the second and third seasons, the better.

    NBC/Universal, SHOULD have stayed with the first season formula. If the executives had not tampered with the show’s format, it would have lasted longer than three seasons. Roy Scheider would have stayed with the series, as well as most of the first season lead cast.

    Keep up the excellent work on the site. I look forward to viewing more from it.

  3. A non-fictional large format book was released in the UK during the first season, titled “seaQuest DSV: The Official Publication of the Series”. It contained comprehensive interviews and production information, artwork, and design histories, as well as a production report of the episode “Hide and Seek.” (Published October 1994. ISBN 0-752-20978-7 )

  4. I actually ordered a few things from John Kachmar long time ago, around ’98. I ordered a figure of Ted Raimi as Tim O’Neill which I foolishly didn’t leave it inside its original packaging. I ordered a seaQuest hat, the real deal, not the fake one on eBay. Jon had sent me a couple of Polaroids of Ted Raimi and a couple of cards too. He also made me this Tim O’Neill magnet. I am sorry to hear about John’s passing. seaQuest was one of my favorite TV shows other than Early Edition. I was shocked to hear about the untimely passing of Jonathan Brandis. That broke my heart. Anyway, I just wanted to add my two cents in. Good to see that someone is keeping seaQuest alive and well.

  5. Just wanted to take a second and say thank you for making this website. I’ve just finished rewatching all three seasons of the show and was hoping someone would have some kind of archival website. Keep up the good work, I’m loving all the magazine scans.

  6. I’m so happy that someone else has taken up the duty of archiving my favorite TV show.
    I was devastated when New Cape Quest went under, I thought the community had finally faded out, but thanks for social media, I’m finding more and more Questies still hanging on.
    I’ve got a good number of files, cast photos and other stills, if you ever want to compare notes and round out your collection.

  7. I am trying to find a way to contact the page admin, and this is the only thing I can find. I have a question, on the playmates toys page, there is a picture showing prototypes of brdger, and capt picard from Star Trek, can you tell me anything about the 2 other figures in that picture, who they are? where they come from?

  8. I’m so happy finding your page out here and in this very century! SeaQuest was such a great show and I enjoyed every season despite their quite different, sometimes opposite directions.

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