Created by Glen Morgan and James Wong
Number of Episodes: 23 (1 season)
1996 – 1997
Captain Shane Vansen… Kristen Cloke
Lt Nathan West… Morgan Weisser
Lt Cooper Hawkes… Rodney Rowland
Lt Paul Wang… Joel de la Fuente
Lt Vanessa Damphousse… Lanei Chapman
Lt. Col. Tyrus Cassius “T. C.” McQueen… James Morrison
Genre: Science Fiction, Aliens
COMMODORE ROSS: Shuffle up the Wild Cards! And deal ’em!
— “…Tell Our Moms We Done Our Best” (S01E23)
A war rages between humans and a mysterious race of insectoids known as Chigs, and on the spacecraft carrier U.S.S. Saratoga a newly formed squadron of marine fighter pilots kicks the Chigs’ alien asses, and looks damn good doing it. As a show that brought space opera into the popular consciousness, as a daringly original twist on the Starship Troopers idea, and as a simply gripping and convoluted relationship drama played out against the backdrop of futuristic discrimination, aerial combat and awesome world-building, this show should earn itself a place in every true sci-fi fan’s heart.
Why It’s Must-See: While it may annoy you at times with its aggressive jingoism – this show labors under no uncertainty as to which country THE BEST – and Commodore Ross possibly pulls out his guitar just a little too often, the viscerally satisfying battles, the intensity of the overarching war, the excellent direction and almost uniformly wonderful scripts all make for compelling viewing. This truly is a show not to be missed.
UST Factor: Present and accounted for, sir!
Cancellation: This is yet another show cancelled precipitously by FOX executives – although at least it was given an entire season – to the outrage and disgust of an ever-growing, if cult-sized, fanbase.
And Then What? Does it count that many of the future-y, outer-spacey sounds developed for the show are used in Futurama?
Fandom Hall of Fame: Kudos to the impassioned organizers of the Space: Above and Beyond 20th Anniversary Convention in 2016, reuniting most of the cast and senior crew for a day.
Fan Collective Noun: Saabers has been taken by fans of the car make (!), but some sections of the fandom refer to themselves as Angry Angels.
Notable Merchandise: There’s a fair bit, actually, including model kits of ships from the show, and a thorough line of (not easy to find) embroidered patches saying things like “U.S.S. Saratoga” and “58th Squadron.” Fan fashion doesn’t get much more subtle.
On the Page: Two novels, four junior novels – for some reason – and five comic issues were produced for the show.
Did You Know? David Duchovny guest-starred (as a smooth-talking android appropriately named “Handsome” Alvin) as a favor to the show’s X-Files alumni creators.