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Project Space: Above and Beyond

project_saabIn 2015 the TV series Space: Above and Beyond will celebrate its 20th anniversary. While that date’s still a long way off in the future, I’ve decided to start work on a project celebrating SAaB now so that I can have everything done before the anniversary.

SAaB and me

I was into SAaB in a big way, even before the series debuted. Back in the summer of ’95 I tried to tape TV spots for the show on VHS and even went as far as to buy comic books and magazines because they ads for the series inside. I was a huge fan of the show when it was on and needless to say I was mad when the series wasn’t picked up for a second season and have spent the intervening years upset over the loss of SAaB.

Years before series were available on VHS or DVD I bought the entire run of SAaB on bootleg VHS off of eBay. When SCI-FI Channel reran the series in the late 1990s I sometimes used to drive an hour round trip to watch the show at school since our local cable company didn’t carry the channel at the time. I’m sure I was first in line to buy the series on DVD when it finally became available a few years back.

But rather than lamenting what would have been with SAaB, I’ve decided to spend the next few years celebrating the show.

Currently, I’m working on rewatching and reviewing all of the old episodes of SAaB. There are a few other things I might do too to celebrate the SAaB in the coming years, but since 2015 is still so far in the future I haven’t totally decided on what I’m all going to do.


Space: Above and Beyond Review #1: Pilot episode

Originally aired September 24, 1995

The year 2063 is a time of peace, until a mysterious advanced alien army known as the “Chigs” strike from the depths of space and declare war on the human race by destroying several of our colonies on far-off planets. It’s up to the military, more specifically “58th” squadron of Marine Corps Space Aviators, to fight back as the Chigs approach Earth set for invasion.

Shane Vansen (Kristen Cloke) and Nathan West (Morgan Weisser) consider their futures

Shane Vansen (Kristen Cloke) and Nathan West (Morgan Weisser) consider their futures

The future of 2063 isn’t a perfect place, it’s full of all sorts of horrible things from racism to murder. But it’s not all bad either. It’s also a time where mankind is exploring the stars and, for the most part, has abolished war. But there’s still a need for the military, even if all they really do is maintain order.

To all this enters a group of Marine Corps recruits, all have joined the Corps for different reasons, only one who’s joined in order to fight for her country. There’s:

  • Nathan West (Morgan Weisser): Separated from the love of his life by bureaucracy, West only joined the military on the chance that he might one day be stationed on the planet his girlfriend is off colonizing.
  • Shane Vansen (Kristen Cloke): Vansen is actually the only member of the 58th to have joined up to serve in the military, but she also joined up since she really has no other place to go.
  • Cooper Hawkes (Rodney Rowland): Hawkes is a “Tank,” a person grown in a literal tank who was attacked, nearly hung and fought back but ended up in jail none-the-less. He only joined up in order to avoid jail time.
  • Paul Wang (Joel de la Fuente) not much is revealed about Wang or Vanessa Damphousse (Lanei Chapman) in the first episode, but we’ll learn more about them later.

And while they all joined up for various reasons, no one could have known that the time of peace was nearly at an end and that all these new soldiers would soon be fighting on the frontlines of an intergalactic with this alien enemy.

Lt. Col. 'T.C.' McQueen (James Morrison) delivers orders

Lt. Col. ‘T.C.’ McQueen (James Morrison) delivers orders

The fictional SAaB world of 2063 closely resembled the world of the mid-1990s more than I realized the first time I watched the show. We assumed back then that just because the Cold War was over and there really was no major enemy to worry about that wars would be a thing of the past too. And the people of 2063 thought that just because humanity had declared peace with each other they wouldn’t have to worry about wars either. And in both cases lots of young adults joined the armed services looking to see the world, to help pay for an education, for a long-term career… and not many of the recruits thought they’d be fighting anytime soon.

But in the real world we were only a few years away from the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the two wars that would follow and in the world of SAaB they were only weeks away from a total was with the Chigs.

Grade: A-

Goofs: Humanity is just now exploring the stars, and we’ve already decided that “…we are alone (in the universe).” How could you EVER know we’re alone in our galaxy, let alone in the vast universe?

Favorite quote: “What would you die for?” – Lt. Col. “TC” McQueen

Stray Observations: Back in the 1990s I used to have to to work every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night meaning that I’d regularly miss new episodes of SAaB. I desperately wanted to see the first episode so I set our VCR to record it. Unfortunately, for whatever reason the recording cut-off five minutes before the episode ended meaning that the first time I ever got to see the episode complete was years later after I’d bought the series on bootlegged VHS off of eBay. (This was long before TV series would be released on home video.) In fact, up until then, I had to rely on my brother’s description of the end to fill in what I’d missed!

Thor: The Dark World Hot Toys figure

More photos here.

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Battlefield 4 in stores this Tuesday, October 29th.

RIVER-DEFENSE_webThat’s right gang:  Battlefield 4 will be out in stores this Tuesday for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the PC.  Next Generation systems have to wait just a bit longer, till the launch dates hit in November.

It’s gonna be EPIC.

Check out the latest videos from

Titan Fall – Angel City Demo

Titanfall_wallpaper2560x1440Ok, I have to admit:  I am a sucker for Mech-based games.  And when Respawn took the stage back in E3 this year with their announcement that “TitanFall” was coming out in the near future.. I was excited.   From EA and Respawn Entertainment are bring the thunder, with Mechs’ stomping around, blowing things up; “Call of Duty” Style game mechanics and next generation graphics.. This seemed to be the next best game coming out.

Then I found out the sad news:  TitanFall will be a exclusive title for the Xbone, and may (or may not) make it over to the PlayStation 4.   And since I really like what Sony has come out with as far as the PlayStation 4, that’s the platform I am leaning towards.  The good news is that it will also be available for the PC (whether or not the rig can actually play it is another matter entirely!)

*A little history side note: Respawn Entertainment is the company built from the ashes of the nasty split from Activision and the developer “Infinity Ward”. I guess this is an excellent score for Micro$oft, giving them a shooter that will stack up against “Call of Duty” and the “Battlefield” series.
But, it truly shows what you can do to sway a developer when you throw money at them. 🙂

Check out the Angel City video, courtesy of