• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

Space: Above and Beyond – Pearly (Review)

This November (and a little of December), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the third season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of Space: Above and Beyond.

Richard Whitley is one of the more promising writers on Space: Above and Beyond.

While Pearly does not benefit (and indeed actively suffers) from the same loose structure that made Dear Earth work so well, it is an episode very much in touch with what the show wants to be about. It is very much a science-fiction version of a classic Second World War story, to the point where Whitley himself has described it as an adaptation of the classic Humphrey Bogart movie Sahara. It is a nice glimpse at several facets of the conflict that we have not seen yet, but which make sense in context.

Canned ham...

Canned ham…

That said, there are serious problems with Pearly. It is very clear that the production managed to get ahold of a tank for filming, and sought to capitalise on that. The episode’s structure feels rather forced and unstructured in places, full of contrived coincidences that seem a little strange when considered as a whole. Not all of the character interactions feel genuine, and not all the episode’s big moments feel entirely earned. These are legitimate problems, and they do hold Pearl back.

At the same time, Pearly is an episode simmering with potential and ambition. It is hard to hate.

Crossed wires...

Crossed wires…

Continue reading

Space: Above and Beyond – Choice or Chance (Review)

This November (and a little of December), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the third season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of Space: Above and Beyond.

Hostile Visit and Choice or Chance follow the two-part template established by The X-Files, keeping things fresh by offering a pretty dramatic shift between the two episodes in question.

Hostile Visit featured a covert trojan house mission to infiltrate enemy space and stage a devastating attack behind enemy lines. The episode ended with the mission a failure and our heroes drifting through space. Choice or Chance features our heroes landing on a prison planet maintained by the Silicates, the evil artificial organisms that have skirted around the edge of the show’s mythology to this point.

Here's Douggie!

Here’s Douggie!

Choice or Chance comes very close to working. It is a lot more dynamic than Hostile Visit was, which is a good thing for the second half of a two-parter airing during November Sweeps. However, while Hostile Visit felt a little padded and extended, never quite building the momentum necessary for the story to work, Choice or Chance feels a little over-stuffed. There’s a lot of nice stuff here, but no room to properly digest it. It’s an episode that comes up with something for every member of the cast to do, but this inevitably means that the character arcs feel abbreviated and shortened.

There is a  pretty solid two-part episode to be constructed out of the ingredients of Hostile Visit and Choice or Chance. Sadly, the resulting two-parter is not it.

Crash and burn...

Crash and burn…

Continue reading