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Space: Above and Beyond – The River of Stars (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.

And so this is Christmas.

On the face of it, doing a Christmas episode of Space: Above and Beyond seems absurd. Space: Above and Beyond is a show about a grim and relentless future war, where human lives are sacrificed in a long and brutal slog. It is very hard to reconcile that with the traditional structure of a Christmas story, which typically draws together a family so that they might celebrate the possibility of “peace on Earth” and “goodwill to all men.”

Homecoming...

Homecoming…

And yet, the episode works in spite of this contrast – or, perhaps, because of it. The River of Stars opens with a monologue narrated by Wang that helps to set the mood for the next forty-five minutes, documenting the well-known Christmas truces that took place during the First World War. Although these spontaneous demonstrations of good will and trust were by no means unique, those temporary reprieves served as a reminder of the humanity that often seemed lost amid the pain and the bloodshed.

If any show could use a charming feel-good story about the possibility of peace on Earth and goodwill towards other people, Space: Above and Beyond might be it.

Staring at the stars...

Staring at the stars…

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