The follow-up to veteran Starlog correspondant Bill Warren’s introductory feature on seaQuest (see last post) is this candid interview with teen sensation Jonathan Brandis. While Its impossible not to acknowledge the tragedy that would befall this talented young performer, we can at least enjoy his wit and insights during what was obviously a high point in his life and career.
With over a decade in showbusiness already, Brandis had clearly earned respect and admiration from his peers, and although he had already worked with stars of the calibre of Chuck Norris, was evidently full of admiration for his co-stars in seaQuest. Naturally the conversation would gravitate to star Roy Scheider, and here Brandis does his best to sound like a colleague and professional, when really you can tell he’s just as gushing a fan as anybody else who had seen JAWS.
The same could be said for his role in the show, where Brandis demonstrates true insight into the character of Lucas and his father/son relationship with Captain Bridger. Thankfully this would continue to develop throughout the season just as he hoped, and would ultimately be one of the best and fondly remembered aspects of the whole series.
The most endearing aspect of this interview, however, must be how humble Jon comes across, when arguably, his star was shining brightest. When he laments about having his mind blown by turning up for work on Monday morning surrounded by the people he watched on TV the night before you can’t help but think what a fabulous leading man he would’ve become…
While I’ve tried to chart the course of seaQuest’s history in a loose but nonetheless chronological order as best I can, occasionally material that’s new to me will surface, and some slips by completely. Now that the bottom of the In-tray for Season One is finally in sight (has it really been five years already??) an opportunity was taken to look back over posts, and I discovered this piece from November ’93 was one of the latter!
Indeed, its clearly early days as Starlog correspondent Bill Warren strolls around the set (identifying key pieces from the yet-to-be-aired episodes Games and Give Me Liberté as he goes) conveying the atmosphere and pace of the production well. With cast members affable and excited to be part of the show as ever (including Ted Raimi as – yes! – Mack O’Neill) the trouble behind the scenes is prevalent in this first of the articles from the World’s best sci-fi magazine of the era.
Though Rockne O’Bannon’s vision had been retained (for now) and the direction of the show seems unified at this point, creative casualties (such as Producer Tommy Thompson, see earlier posts) are starting to mount. Of all the comments made by producer Philip Segal about the show, his musings about man not ‘growing gills and walking into the sea’ bizarrely foreshadowing what was to come is probably the most poignant…
UK Starburst reporter Pat Jankiewicz picks up up from where US Starlog (below) left off for the ’94/’95 Yearbook. Though apparently well into season 2 at the time of writing, Ted Raimi’s character Lieutenant Tim O’Neill is still being referred to as Mack in the ‘talking Dolphin show’.
And speaking of Darwin, Raimi expresses his delight at the storyline from season 1’s ‘Hide & Seek’ being reprised for season 2 while revealing the that not only is the Dolphin fake for much of the time but that star Roy Schieder had particular fondness of the real one. While Raimi speaks fondly of his ‘rambunctious’ co-star (and his enduring association with a little movie called JAWS) and his love of jokes on the topic, apparently Raimi’s impressions of his colleagues on the show were the stuff of legend.
Also of interest are Raimi’s observations of Director of the aforementioned Shark tale and Exec. Producer for seaQuest, Steven Spielberg – whom he suggests was much more pro-active behind the scenes than what was generally thought. Recalling their introduction as similar to ‘meeting someone’s dad’ Raimi nonetheless confirms that it was indeed Spielberg’s show…
We’ve covered the stars, Directors, Producers and even the Designers for the first season of seaQuest and now the SQV resumes its mission to bring you the full and complete history of the show as we plunge into the first of the supporting cast interviews. Presented above is the first of two vintage features on Ted Raimi – or Lieutenant Mack O’Neill as we knew him.
What’s that? Mack O’Who?
Bad enough that what would become one of the series stalwart characters (staying aboard for all three seasons) is referred to here as ‘seaQuest’s Uhura’ but at the time of printing, the show was well into its first season where the character of Tim O’Neill was already a fan favourite.
So how did the mistake come about? In fairness to Bill Warren and Starlog Magazine, chances are the name change had yet to happen as ‘Mack’ would be referred to in not only the pilot script but the first few episodes. The reason for the change is still not known to date (a tweet to Mr. Raimi to clarify might work) but in any event, the right moniker won out.
Indeed, Raimi himself already had a colourful history before gaining notoriety in seaQuest and solidifying his cult status later as Joxer in Xena: Warrior Princess. Still very much active today, Theodore Raimi, brother of Director Sam has always spoken very fondly about his time aboard seaQuest. As for what he had to say about season 2 back in the day, however, look out for the next post…