seaQuest DSV

Season 1 Episode 1

To Be or Not To Be

Aired Unknown Sep 12, 1993 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
80 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

To Be or Not To Be

The crew of seaQuest are joined by a reluctant Captain Nathan Bridger and set off to investigate a distress call from an underwater colony, only to find it is a trap by a renegade sub under the command of Captain Marilyn Stark, who has a personal vendetta against the seaQuest.


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  • Top notch pilot!

    If you never seen Seaquest before the pilot is a good litmus test if you will like the series or not - it is at least tied for best in the series. The grand intro theme catches your attention right away, and really screams out its a pretty high budget production. The cast is slowly introduced to you one by one, with just enough lines to get to know them, well paced. Soon we get to the series main star, Captain Bridger, played by the late Roy Schnieder. His intro I found a bit lengthy, but perhaps necessary to explain his reluctance of wanting to return to Seaquest. We actually meet his current successor first, Captain Stark, in a climactic scene early on (not to give too much away). Stark, played by Shelley Hack, is quite menacing and believable in her role, and ends up being a worthy challenge for Bridger's wits.

    While some of the storyline has a cliche feel to it, the underwater element adds some new elements. Suffice it to say there was no dolphin in Star Trek or Battlestar that ever played a key part in saving the day. The special effects still hold up good enough that they don't detract. Again, if you are the remotest sci fi fan, you owe it to yourself to check out the pilot of Seaquest DSV.moreless
  • A good, not great, start that leaves plenty of room for improvement.

    For a pilot episode, this was just okay. I would have shortened the lengthy lakeside scene where we met the future Captain Bridger and his dolphin Darwin. That scene dragged the first half of the episode to a very sluggish pace. seaQuest itself is an impressive sub. Despite having a scientific purpose, I think it was the right move for producers to show in this very first episode how much punch the sub can bring into a fight. Their defense of the farming colony was impressive, but I think the enemy characters need a little more development. The head villain that was shown living in a posh mansion was about as compelling as a cinder block. By making the villains a little more threatening and edgy, it makes the crew's victory that much more fulfilling.moreless
  • The first, and the best, episode of "seaQuest."

    "seaQuest's" pilot is also arguably its best episode. Everything about the show - action, sci-fi, characterization and the sense of exploration and wonder - are all captured here brilliantly. If the rest of the series had measured up to the caliber of the pilot, the series may be better regarded today.

    Most of the credit belongs to Roy Scheider. In many ways, he acts as the viewer's eyes into this world. We discover the ship and her crew right alongside Bridger and are plunged into this new adventure with him. Scheider is weather-beaten, world-weary, but still has that spark of adventure in his eyes. He reminds me a lot of Captain Kirk in "Star Trek II," when his youth and spirit return in the midst of a crisis.

    One could argue that it's a very formulaic pilot, wherein we meet our motley crew and set off on the trip, but that's not the point. "To Be Or Not To Be" works because it handles and presents its archetypes so successfully - there's a reason why certain story archetypes and cliches stick around...they're usually good. Here, we have the self-exiled hero returning to duty and the ship itself is staffed with roles we've seen before - class clown, the kid, the crusty veteran, the passionate doctor, the cool-headed #2, etc. But the cast is so good that they rise above these labels and give us characters that feel real moments after meeting them.

    Of course, some aspects of the show did not measure up upon another viewing. Case in point, our villainess, Shelley Hack as Captain Stark. Man, is she AWFUL. Her scenery-chewing, preening speech where she tells Nathan "we're not so different" (honestly, are every villain and hero "not so different?") is laugh-inducing rather than menacing. I used to wonder why the producers never brought her back as a recurring villain, but maybe it's best she stayed on the ocean floor. Faring far better is Michael Parks as Le Chien, the billionaire industrialist. Too bad we never saw him again.moreless
  • meet the new crew of seaquest dsv

    i remember when this aired in austraila there were a lot of fans of the show from here who loved it. i loved the new captain nathan bridger hes charming kind hearted and cares for his crew and his boat and his dolphin whose name is darwin. the boat is amazing and the storys are great and entataing. as the captain take control of his sub they are being followed by a rouge sub whoses x captain was in charge on seaquest. she wants revenge on seaquest. so its up to bridger and the new crew to work together to save the people that are in trouble and to remain peace. im not suprise that this is one great show. seeing steven speilberg was part of the team that produced this great show.moreless
  • This is a fantastic beginning to a wonderful show that lasted three seasons (Although the third is better left not mentioned)

    I first watched this when I was a bit younger, and eventually forgot it, this episode specifically. I had always thought that Bridger wanted to be captain. To see this again when I bought the DVD was surprising, and at the same time, amazing. I popped it into the player, and saw the corridors of the ship and immediately said (Rather loudly I might add) "I'm home!"

    Amazingly enough, the way that this episode was written, along with most of the subsequent ones, made me feel even more at home.

    I wasn't, and still am not fully, sure what nationality Le Chein is. The surname denotes Spanish or French, but to me he sounded like he was perhaps German.

    However, I feel that the rest of the show was fantastic, the bond between Bridger and Darwin, and the immediate yet hesitant bonding with Lucas and Bridger from the beginning. I almost felt as though Bridger saw in Lucas a part of Robert. And that could be the reason why he so readily went back on his promise in the end and continued on as Captain.

    It was a little strange to see how the crew took to him so quickly, though the time lapse between the pilot episode and the one after it may be more than a few days or so (a tour of duty on a sub normally lasts 13 months, like they say in the end) so it may have been even a month later.

    All in all, I think the pilot episode was a great introduction for what was to come, and rather realistic for a science fiction type television series. I know that Roy Scheider wanted to keep as close to reality (Science fact, not science fiction was the quote I believe) and I think that given a decade or so, we might accomplish some, if not a lot of what they have going for them.

    It's great to be able to pop in the dvd and get a glimpse of 'home' when I'm feeling a bit low.moreless
Marco Sanchez

Marco Sanchez

Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz (Season 1-2)

Don Franklin

Don Franklin

Commander Jonathan Ford

Frank Welker

Frank Welker

voice of Darwin

Stephanie Beacham

Stephanie Beacham

Doctor Kristin Westphalen (Season 1)

Stacy Haiduk

Stacy Haiduk

Lieutenant-Commander Katie Hitchcock (Season 1)

John D'Aquino

John D'Aquino

Lieutenant Benjamin Krieg (Season 1)

Michael Parks

Michael Parks

George Le Chein

Guest Star

Shelley Hack

Shelley Hack

Captain Marilyn Stark

Guest Star

Scott Coffey

Scott Coffey


Guest Star

Richard Herd

Richard Herd

Admiral Noyce

Recurring Role

W. Morgan Sheppard

W. Morgan Sheppard


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Lucas Wolenczak wears a Florida Marlins baseball jersey throughout this episode. On the back, it says "World Series Champions - 2010." At the time of the original air date, the Marlins were just finishing their first season as an expansion team in Major League Baseball. In 1993, it was probably be laughable to suggest the Marlins would have won a World Series before the franchise turned 20 years old. However, the Marlins won the World Series in 1997 and 2003.

    • TRIVIA: Brenda King, the woman who portrays Carol Bridger in this episode (and any other referring to her) is actually Roy Scheider's wife.

    • The foreign businessman who is planning on destroying the seaQuest fills a goblet with red wine. Then he throws it to Captain Stark but when she grabs it, it is empty. But in the next cut it is full again.

  • QUOTES (26)

    • Krieg: Robert used to say that a son would be lucky to have a father like you.
      Bridger: Thank you.

    • Bridger: Are you the Ben that painted the Army mule yellow at homecomming?
      Krieg: No, pink.

    • Crocker: Perhaps a few introductions might be in order, Lieutenant, before you swallow your entire leg.

    • Crocker: Does this mean you're captain, now?
      Bridger: No, no, chief, just trying to save our necks.

    • Bridger (Ford trying to talk him into taking command to save the ship): I made a promise to my wife and myself that I'd never have anything to do with the military again.
      Ford: With all due respect, sir, I've got hundreds of people aboard this boat who wouldn't give a damn about your promise! Sir.

    • Westphalen (referring to the virus): Wouldn't diagnostics have found it in a routine check?
      Bridger: No, artificial intelligence just makes a quick pass. Unless you've fixed that, too.
      Lucas: Well, as a matter of fact, I've got some parts on order.

    • Bridger: Too many innocent people have died already.
      Stark: What world are you living in, Nathan? There are no innocent people. Everyone's guilty of something.
      Bridger: Maybe, but don't you think we deserve a second chance? To change, live peacefully?

    • Bridger: Open all outer torpedo tube doors.
      Crocker: Uh, Captain? Only tube one is armed.
      Bridger: I know that. But they don't.

    • Westphalen: Darwin, you don't have to do this.
      Darwin: Swim like Bridger.
      Bridger: Me?
      Darwin: No suit, skin.
      Westphalen (after Darwin swims off): What was that all about?
      Bridger: Inside joke.
      Westphalen (dryly): Ha, ha.

    • Westphalen: I don't like it.
      Bridger: Don't like what?
      Westphalen: You are going to fire him out of a torpedo tube!
      Bridger: No, he is going to swim out of a torpedo tube.
      Westphalen: I still don't like it.

    • Bridger: Status, Commander.
      Ford: Minimal weapons control, tube one, manual firing capability only.
      Bridger: Targeting?
      Ford: Still down.
      Bridger: So, we may be able to fire one torpedo, but we have no way to tell it where to go. Terrific.

    • Bridger: Are you familiar with the boat's mainframe?
      Martinson: Nathan, I am the mainframe.

    • Lucas (seeing Darwin with fish in his mouth): Thank you, Darwin. I've already had lunch.

    • Tim O'Neill (over the ship's intercom): Captain to the bridge. Captain to the bridge.
      Lucas: I think that's you.
      Bridger: Just keep doing what you're doing. Hey, kid, good work.
      Westphalen (after Bridger leaves): Don't get cocky.

    • Lucas (after the computer screen begins to bark and flash): Whoa!
      Westphalen: Whoa what?
      Lucas: It's got dogs.
      Westphalen: Dogs?
      Lucas: Watchdogs.

    • Krieg: I see. Gee, it's kind of funny, isn't it?
      Bridger: What's funny?
      Krieg: Well, we only just met and yet it feels like I already know you, I guess because Bobby... Robert, used to talk about you so much.
      Bridger: Anything good?
      Krieg: Occasionally.

    • Westphalen: This is a research and exploration vessel. Besides, we outnumber you one hundred twenty-four to eighty-eight.
      Ford: That sounds like a threat, Doctor.
      Westphalen: At least you have a grasp for the obvious.

    • Bridger (talking to a holographic computer version of Martinson): What's the current depth of this ship?
      Martinson: One hundred meters.
      Bridger: What's the speed?
      Martinson: Twenty knots.
      Bridger: What's the meaning of life?
      Martinson: Be more specific.

    • Noyce: His father's in charge of our largest corporate endowment. Well he pulled a few strings and got Lucas assigned to the seaQuest. Apparently there was a bit of a disciplinary problem and the father figured what better place to put him than on a submarine.
      Bridger: So you're not only a peacekeeper, now you're a baby-sitter.
      Noyce: Oh, Nathan, the kid's a genius. I mean, this thing with the dolphin is only the tip of the iceberg. He needs discipline, he needs guidance …
      Bridger: He needs a haircut.

    • Bridger: Wait a minute, Darwin, what's the color of my favorite bathing suit?
      Darwin: No suit, skin.
      Bridger: He's right. I don't wear a suit.
      Lucas: Thank you for painting that picture for us.

    • Noyce: You don't think the Navy's gonna let one of its most valuable human resources run off to some desert island and not keep tabs on him.
      Bridger: What happened to privacy? Last time I looked, the Bill of Rights was still intact.

    • Ensign: Nathan Bridger, we come at the request of UEO Command.
      Bridger: Who?
      Ensign: United Earth Oceans Organization.
      Bridger: Doesn't ring a bell, but then I've been out of touch for a while.

    • President John F. Kennedy (a clip of him shown during the opening of the series, narrating from a speech he gave on September 14th, 1962):'s because we all came from the sea. And it's an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our blood, the same exact percentage of salt that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, our sweat, and our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came.

    • Bridger: This is Nathan Bridger, captain of the seaQuest, representing the United, O--, The-- (whispers to Chief Crocker) What the hell is it?
      Crocker: United Earth Oceans Organization.

    • Lucas: Oh, it's no game. Cutting edge technology.

    • Marilyn Stark: I've already beaten seaQuest. What I want is to be there when she drowns.

  • NOTES (0)


    • Title: To Be or Not To Be

      This is a reference to the famous line from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet: "To be, or not to be: that is the question."

    • John F. Kennedy:'s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea -- whether it is to sail or to watch it -- we are going back from whence we came.

      This speech played before the main credit sequence is an excerpt from a speech that John F. Kennedy delivered at the America's Cup race in 1962.

    • "If anyone's interested, that boomer's making a turn."
      Boomer is Navy slang for a ballistic missile submarine. The Delta IV class is a real class of Russian ballistic missile submarines.

    • Noyce: You don't think the Navy's gonna let one of its most valuable human resources run off to some desert island and not keep tabs on him.
      Bridger: What happened to privacy? Last time I looked, the Bill of Rights was still intact.

      In the United States, the Bill of Rights is the term for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These amendments explicitly limit the Federal government's powers, protecting the rights of the people by preventing Congress from abridging freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religious worship, and the right to bear arms, preventing unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment, and self-incrimination, and guaranteeing due process of law and a speedy public trial with an impartial jury. The bill of rights was initially drafted by James Madison in 1789.