If you ever wondered about what things hardcore nerds treasure is cult classic shows. Although Netflix and other sources aren’t blasting that they have the episodes of this undersea drama, my hope is that they bring them back soon. It has the best of both worlds, the real science of deep water exploration with the fantasy of monsters, civilizations and talking dolphin crew members. Never did I imagine a fictitious submarine and its crew would teach me so much about compassion, adventure and friendship. Having hot teen idol Jonathan Brandis was a plus that enhanced the experience and drew an audience to the content that wouldn’t have made much waves otherwise.
Roy Scheider (Jaws) plays Captain Bridger, a character that mirrored the best of all the Star Trek men at the helm. In similar fashion, his group of rag-tag voyagers sets to fulfill missions for the United Earth Oceans Organization (UEO), accompanied by Darwin the talking dolphin. Set in the distant future of 2018, 25 years from the first air date in 1993, the intention of the show was to entertain using drama and veritable scientific advances to exalt the importance of conserving our planet and discovering the treasures of the depths of our own planet. At some point they pick up Dagwood (Peter DeLouise), who is of an alien looking genetically engineered lifeform.
Even though the episodes eventually devolved into SyFy channel worthy material, cheese and out there, I recall it was a worthy endeavor. Spielberg was attached to it during the first two seasons and the main crew changes kept it interesting. Many of the episodes had meaning and social criticism morsels that garnered the series some awards and consideration among scientists and sci-fi organizations. As the series ventured into the realm of the ridiculous, Michael Ironside replaced a disappointed and mad as hell Roy Scheider as the captain during the last season. Set in 2032, after the deep submergence vehicle, DSV 4600, was feared missing for 10 years, the crew returns after being abducted by aliens, X-Files style.
If this synopsis doesn’t convince you. Check out Playtime, one of the episodes I do remember fondly. Its story touched on the perils of virtual reality, taking the ship on a land mission into a society in which only two people remained. The kicker? The two people didn’t realize they weren’t the last citizens because they were strapped to their virtual reality machines. It resonates to this day: put down your phone and recording devices and start living life people!
P.S. I just recalled I had a 1:24 scale DIY model of the DSV. Man, you could tell I was well on my way to become and engineer and this show exponentially accelerate that drive and passion.