ADV Films // 2003 // 200 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Treadway (Retired) // June 23rd, 2004
Heroic stories, thundering action, and breathtaking special effects.
Four more episodes from the program's third season appear in this new two-disc set. On a scale of zero to five stars:
* "The Unconquerable Man"
An alternate reality reveals that traitor Galeris Rhade is the captain of the Andromeda.
* "Delenda Est"
An invisible entity attacks the Andromeda. It's up to Dylan to find out who is responsible.
* "The Dark Backward"
Trance knows a killer is coming to get Dylan and the Andromeda crew. Can she find him before it is too late?
* "The Risk-All Point"
The Crimson Sunrise has been destroyed, and pods filled with survivors have spilled out into space. Can Dylan Hunt save them all?
I was pleasantly surprised with the high quality of the episodes featured in collection two of ADV Films' release of the third season of Andromeda. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I liked collection three even more. While the four episodes featured in the previous collection showed a steady progress toward excellence, it is in collection three that they finally get it all together, with two episodes that are absolute masterpieces. You would be hard pressed to find another program that has striven to make such great improvements after a stiff and uneven debut season.
What makes "The Unconquerable Man" and "Delenda Est" such standouts is the fine balance between action and drama. Gene Roddenberry would have wholeheartedly approved of these particular episodes, as they contain the ideals and sophistication he valued in his classic creation Star Trek. The acting is superb: Both Kevin Sorbo and Lisa Ryder are in top form here. "The Dark Backward" comes close to matching the quality of the first two episodes; only a flawed ending prevents me from giving it a five-star rating. "The Risk-All Point" could have been better than it is, however. The premise is an easy way to garner suspense and tension. While both are present in spades here, a slow pace and ridiculous ending tarnish an otherwise top-notch episode.
ADV presents all four episodes in their original widescreen format. The 1.85:1 image is anamorphically enhanced, and the image is beautiful to look at. ADV has made great strides with their visual transfer work since the first Andromeda collection. Grain is kept to a bare minimum on screen, and no edge enhancement is present. The sole flaw is a few specks in one episode.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. It sounds terrific. Despite the heavy use of sound effects, they never overwhelm the dialogue essential to understanding the intricate plots of the program.
As is traditional with the Andromeda series, some extra content is included. Aside from the usual "Meet the Cast" featurette, photo and art galleries, and traditionally boring blooper reel and promo spots, there is at least one unique feature per collection. The shining star this time around is found on the second disc. It's a behind-the-scenes, in-depth look at the production design. It is so rare to see the production designers get their due in the making of a film or television program, and I'm glad that the producers of this collection decided to make a small step toward correcting this oversight.
My biggest issue with ADV Films' otherwise fine release is the price tag. Forty dollars is far too much to pay for a two-disc set. I do urge casual renters to rent this set, however, and die-hard fans need no encouragement from me to buy this. I'm glad you have almost two hundred dollars to purchase an entire season of Andromeda. Now get the hell out of my courtroom!
Review content copyright © 2004 Bill Treadway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 200 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Behind the Scenes: Production Design" Featurette
* "Meet the Cast" Featurette
* Blooper Reel
* Promo Spots
* Art Gallery
* Official Site