Space: Above and Beyond

Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot (1)

Aired Sunday 7:00 PM Sep 24, 1995 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
81 votes

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Episode Summary

Pilot (1)
The year is 2063, the final frontier is about to become a battlefield. Earth, united in peace, takes its first steps toward interplanetary colonization, only to be attacked by an enigmatic alien race. Enter the 58th Squadron, a group of wet-behind-the-ears pilots with the Marine Corps Air and Space Cavalry. Under the rigorous tutelage of Sgt. Maj. Frank Bougus, reluctant leader Shane Vansen and fellow cadets Nathan West, Cooper Hawkes, Vanessa Damphousse and Paul Wang embark on a dangerous mission to save the Earth.moreless

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  • Decent Sci-Fi attempt by Fox Television

    The pilot seems like the normal two hour episode for any new series. Set in the years 2063–2064, focuses on a group of United States Marines, members of the United States Marine Corps Space Aviator Cavalry, 58th Squadron. In this episode we get to know the beginning and some background to a few of the members. It starts with a colony getting attacked with an unknown invader. And only when a second attack then humans only realizes that we are not alone in the galaxy. Nathan West portrayed by Morgan Weisser originally slated to be on the second colony ship joins the Marines to be with his girlfriend who happened to also be on that ship. During his training he learns of his girlfriend's fate.

    Kristen Cloke stars as Shane Vansen. She joins the Marines for personal reasons that haunt her. During one of their training missions, with a level head she is the one that assumes charge of the squad.

    Rodney Rowland is Cooper Hawkes. While seemingly the same as the rest of the characters, it is shown early in this episode that Hawkes is different. He is an invitro or nicknamed by others as a tank. Invtros are shown to be less than human in terms of rights in this society.

    In the pilot episode we are shown the nameless enemy and their ships. There is one brief ground battle and one somewhat longer space battle in the end between the Marine Space craft and the aliens. The stage is set that humans are at a disadvantage early on but have an equal footing in terms of equipment. With a small battle won the war continues ....

    I have to rate this as a decent sci-fi episode. It introduces the characters, the settings etc. The special effects are decent for a television production. There are plenty of little logical mistakes noticeable by me. One example is the Marine base where they are training depicts F-18 along the flight line. F-18's would have long been retired by 2063, as are the MP5 the NASA security is totting around.

    One thing I did like was using Lee Ermey as the Drill Sergeant. He is one of the best on screen Drill Sergeants I have ever watched. His scenes in Full Metal Jacket are one of the best. While his lines are tones down for Network TV you still get the sense of what he is trying to do.moreless
  • Cool effects and a compelling story.

    Space Above and Beyond starts with setting up the story for the whole series. This show really delivers, the cool effects and the world war 2 crisis in space makes this show an exciting experience. There are tons of stories that could be told with this show. It's got a very exciting premise, and this first episode delivers with action. The characters are an interesting collection, the aliens nicknamed the CHIGs are an menacing beings with technology that can threaten humanity.

    This doomsday like scenario is a compelling plot that plays out the very real but often overlook frailties of human societies as a whole.moreless
  • Off to an exellent start

    This is a fine start to a prematurely killed off show. In this part of the pilot we meet the characters that we will come to know and love over the coming episodes. My first impression re-watching this episode after so many years was how fantastic Rodney Rowland is as the bitter and resentful Invetro Cooper Hawkes, he really seems to steal most of the scenes he appears in. His gritty character is even more interesting because we begin to see what will become very obvious later - his character is the angriest, but also the most touchingly naive of all the pilots due to his persecuted upbringing.

    We have clashes early on between Hawkes and West (Morgan Weisser), vying for the position of alpha male in the unit. Hawks views West as 'the establishment' and West regards Hawkes as a dangerous liability. Ironically it is Vansen (Kristen Cloke) who takes the 'alpha male' position - and will later become their captain - by frequently breaking them up and taking charge of the situations they find themselves in.

    The acting is excellent all around, the actors themselves generate some fantastic interplay between the characters by verbally or physically striking sparks off each other. The script is well thought out, balanced and witty, and really helps build the atmosphere of a world under threat. Although some stereotype characters are used (R. Lee Ermey is their drill instructor, you might remember him as the drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket) they are so enjoyable to watch and fit in so well with the story that you almost dont notice them. This is an excellent foundation episode for the series to build on.moreless
  • Groundbreaking

    I just bought this on DVD and it really took me back when I saw this show first aired on Fox! First few things you notice is that the CG is sub-par but as the show 'marches' on the cg gets exceptionally better.

    It's interesting too to compare this to the new Battlestar Galactica series that's out now. This was shot very similar to the way B.G. is now. I feel that it was grounbreaking in it's film making, gritty and hand held camera action really made for a realistic propoganda for the US Marine Corp. I wanted to sign up!

    The characters are colorful and have distinct backgrounds. more to the point Shane Vansen, Nathan West, and Cooper Hawks. were probably the most dramatic characters while you had Paul Wang, Vanessa Damphousse and Colonel McQueen to round out the cast.

    This being the pilot episode it was also nice to see R. Lee Emery as the "Drill Sargeant"!! 1,2,3,4 I Love The Marine Corps! Classic stuff totally reprising his role from Full Metal Jacket, but with a slight softer edge to his character.

    This episode starts a little slow but it's all charcter and plot introduction. once you get to the second half you'll find the storyline unfolding and becoming more intersting and exciting.

    I'm very partial to this show becuase it wasn't Star Trek, Star Wars, or any other sci-fi show (that was on around that time). It was unique and different and one could relate to a number of characters.

    If you decide to rent or borrow your buddies copy of the show please do, you're in for a treat with the pilot.

    -nuff saidmoreless
  • The pilot episode brings together people from different cultures into a Marine basic training camp, where they are trained to fight the new enemy from the stars.

    From the first scene where the interplanetary colonists on Vesta are attacked by an unknown foe, the episode slows down, as we meet the people who are to become the Marines of Space Avation Squadron .

    From Nathan West, the space colonist who is removed from his mission to Tellus and his girlfirend by an in-vitro replacement, to Cooper Hawkes, the "tank" or in-vitro born human, arrested because he was protecting himself, to Shane Vansen, the "Marine brat" orphaned during the "AI wars", we have a good cross section of humanity, thrown together in Marine Boot Camp.

    Boot Camp lasts about 3 minutes, then they are off to training in flight simulators, having bar fights with the real pilots, and suddenly the world finds out that it is at war as the Tellus colony is reported destroyed! (Poor Nathan or is it Lucky Nathan?)

    The Marine cadets are sent on special assignment as ground troops to Mars to repair a malfunctioning communication drone.

    During the mission the meet up with an enemy spacecraft, and fight the against a mysterious enemy in hand to hand combat.moreless
James Morrison

James Morrison

Lt. Col. Tyrus Cassius McQueen

Kristen Cloke

Kristen Cloke

1st Lt. Shane Vansen

Morgan Weisser

Morgan Weisser

1st Lt. Nathan West

Rodney Rowland

Rodney Rowland

1st Lt. Cooper Hawkes

Lanai Chapman

Lanai Chapman

1st Lt. Vanessa Damphousse

Joel de la Fuente

Joel de la Fuente

1st Lt. Paul Wang

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Nitpick: Just minutes before the Tellus colony ship is meant to take off, they're still loading supplies. There's no way that there should be anything coming onto that vessel that late, since inventory would necessarily be checked and double checked long before lift-off to keep from missing critical items. Even if the supplies were of relatively low importance, they'd still have to make sure everything was properly stowed before take-off to prevent anything from coming loose under stress and possibly damaging the ship and her crew.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Drill Sgt: From here out you will not speak, eat, sleep or take a dump until you are told to do so, and the first and last words out of your slimy holes will be sir, do you maggots understand me?
      All: Sir yes sir!
      Drill Sgt: LOUDER!
      All: SIR YES SIR!
      Drill Sgt: Upon the command you are given approximately thirty seconds to fall out of this bus, ANY QUESTIONS?
      Pags: Sir, when do we get our planes sir?
      Drill Sgt: MOVE, MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!

    • Kylen: You believed in equal rights for the InVitro's.
      West: Not at the expense of our rights! We've trained, we've sacrificed, we've dreamed! Together!
      Kylen: Well, maybe we have to find another dream.

    • Hawkes: I never asked to be born.
      Lynch Mob Leader: Great. Then you can ask to die.

    • West: (Looking at the launch countdown clock) Most people don't know if their dreams will ever come true... ours is definitely nine hours and two minutes away.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Sgt Major Bougus: In space, nobody can hear you scream, unless it is the battle cry of the United States Marines!
      This is a reference to the 1979 science fiction thriller Alien, which stars Sigourney Weaver, the tagline of which is "In space, nobody can hear you scream".