Things were different back in the 90s…
Sunday night television was actually appropriate for families. Shows didn’t aim to outdo each other by hitting extremes of violence, sex, language or gore. It was a different time.
Kids, in the fall of 1993, NBC premiered a sci-fi series from Steven Spielberg set in the near-ish future where the world was mostly at peace, and man had set out to explore a new frontier… the oceans.
The series starred Roy Scheider (yes, the cop from Jaws) and teen heartthrob Jonathan Brandis. Not gonna lie- I tuned in initially for Brandis. Swoon. But with a cast of fun characters and science fact, the show caught an audience and took off. Seriously- who didn’t enjoy the post-show science info from Dr. Bob Ballard?
Of course, the science fact didn’t last. In the second season, the Dr. Bob was replaced by cast in the post-show remarks and the episodes themselves added more fiction to the stories. The third season was practically fantasy! But that doesn’t mean I don’t own the DVDs…
DSV stood for Deep Submergence Vehicle, the ship the main cast/crew used to explore the oceans and provide semi-military control. Honestly, it was a pretty sweet design. Scheider played Captain Bridger, a former Navy man who left the service following the death of his son and disappeared completely from society with the death of his wife. Brandis was Lucas, a smart-alek rich kid whose parents would rather dump him under the sea than actually parent. He was also a bit of a genius- even invented a way for Darwin to be understood and talk to the crew. Oh, did I not mention Darwin yet? Well… every good series needs a dolphin, right? Yes. Add in the rest of the cast- including Don Franklin, geek fav Ted Raimi, the DeLuise brothers Michael and Peter, William M. Sheppard, and the ever awesome Michael Ironside- not to mention the awesome guest stars (from Mark Hamill to Seth Green) and you have a series that I will rewatch ever year or so.
Where did the show go wrong? They lost the science and embraced the strictly fiction aspect. It made for some silly storylines- aliens, anyone?- but I still watched all 57 episodes. Even got some girlfriends together to share the love.
If you’ve never seen this series, it is available streaming on a couple of sources, and I recommend giving it a try. Silly, but fun.