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Space: Above And Beyond (1995)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Space: Above And Beyond (1995) It's about fifty years in the future and mankind has established a colony on an Earth-like world, Vesta. Humanity believes they are the only intelligent life in the universe until the colony is obliterated by mysterious aliens. We don't see don't see what they look like beneath their spacesuits other than that they are humanoid in shape.

In the two-hour pilot the main characters of the show are introduced. The first is Nathan West (Morgan Weisser), who was supposed to be aboard the colony spaceship heading for planet Tellus with his girlfriend. But there are some last minute changes and only one of them can go--and it ends up being the girl. West desperately wants to be with her and figures the only other way of getting into space is by joining the Marines. But then there's word that the Vesta colony was destroyed as was the Tellus spaceship.

At boot camp West meets Shane Vansen (Kristen Cloke of MILLENNIUM), a woman trying to escape from her past Her parents were killed in the Artificial Intelligence War. Afterwards, she was responsible for raising her two sisters. The AI War was when the human like robots revolted. In order to help combat them thousands of InVitros were created. They are humans grown in artificial gestation tanks and are born at 18 years old. The name for them is "Tanks" and the derogatory name is "Nipple Neck" since their navel is on the back of their necks. One of the more interesting characters is Cooper Hawkes, a Tank who is more or less coerced into joining the Marines. He's both the most dangerous and child-like member of West and Vansen's squadron, the Wild Cards. The other members are Wang and Vanessa Damphousse. She exhibits psychic ability in one of the episodes.

Their first fight with the aliens is on Mars and they capture one of them. But when they try to remove it's helmet it dissolves into green goo. The body is then sent to the military experts. They are given the name "Chigs" because supposedly they look like chigger bugs.

While there are a lot of firefights and action the majority of the episodes focus on the problems of the characters. In "Never No More" Shane is reunited with her high school sweetheart who had proposed to her five years before. Now she has to work with him on a dangerous mission and doesn't want to let him down. In another, West encounters his younger brother who joined the Marines. And Cooper Hawkes slowly but surely becomes the most human one among them. In one episode, in which he is recruited for a special assignment on a planet, his origin is explained via flashbacks. "Angriest Angel" has their boss, Lt. Col. T.C. McQueen (James Morrison) up against an alien "Red Baron" who is destroying ships with a new spacecraft. It's at the point that he becomes one of the main characters of the series. His voice-over even introduces the show.

It's not until the last two episodes that we see what the Chigs look like and they resemble some alien from the original OUTER LIMITS. The series ends on a down note. Although we find out why the aliens attacked the human colonies (it was because of the humans ignoring their warnings) and that there's a close connection between the two species, the misunderstanding--and the war--continues to go on.Also, three of the Wild Cards are killed and their Colonel is injured and sent back to Earth.

This is an interesting show, much more of a war drama than a sci-fi series. Think of CHINA BEACH crossed with STARSHIP TROOPERS.

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