Captain, My Captain…

Today marks the 88th Birthday of Roy Richard Scheider, known to many as the Police Chief from Jaws, to movie buffs as a leading icon of 1970’s cinema, to fans as one of the most underrated actors of all time, and to his grandkids as simply ‘Grandpa Big Fish’.

To describe Scheider as an ‘urban everyman’ would be to grossly understate the range of the twice Oscar-Nominated performer.  Was he a vulnerble, relatable leading man that audiences rooted for?  Undoubtedly.  Was he also a versatile actor just as capable of headlining a musical as he was in the shoes of a thinking man’s action hero?  Definately.  Yet many believe that he failed to live up to his full potential despite leaving behind a vast body of work and countless box-office receipts.

For anybody interested in Scheider’s life & career I can personally recommend Diane C. Kachmar’s definitive volume Roy Scheider, A Film Biography but to chronicle the story of the only TV series he made in his career, the seaQuest VAULT picks up his story around 1992 with the super-rare piece taken from the UK edition of Hello magazine shown above.

By all accounts during the early ’90’s Scheider’s star appeared to have dwindled.  Despite a filmography peppered with commercial and cult hits alike, Scheider entered the new decade tentatively, with suppporting roles in such fare as ‘The Russia House’ and ‘The Naked Lunch’ as his personal life had apparently taken precedent.

To date, Scheider had always maintained a balance between mainstream and modestly budgeted projects based on what had interested him.  In 1992 he had just finished shooting four-part mini-series ‘Wild Justice’ based on the novel by Wilbur Smith, an international production shot on location in the UK and starring Scheider in a role as close to James Bond as he would ever get.  Response to Wild Justice was indifferent and it would eventually be re-cut and released as ‘Covert Assassin’, a straight-to-video quickie that would sadly foreshadow much of Scheider’s later work.

By his own admission more mature, wiser and slower, Scheider was in a better place than he had ever been by the time he was contacted by his old friend Steven Spielberg.   Finally heeding his call for a bigger boat it seemed like he was on course to Captain one all his own in a TV show with the working title Deep Space…

ML


 

All Aboard…

With news surfacing last month that the colonisation of of the ocean is finally becoming a reality as predicted, its only natural that the fictional equivalent should be enjoying somewhat of a resurgence –

Indeed, the return of seaQuest DSV to the airwaves is long overdue and currently winning new fans on both sides of the Atlantic, courtesy of NBC’s new Peacock streaming service and re-runs on the Horror Channel here in the UK.  This has also been compounded by the out-of-the-blue release of the Deluxe Expanded Edition of the Original Soundtrack by John Debney – a collection fans have clamoured for.

Probably the most significant development, however is the recent merging of the SQV with the most popular and active seaQuest Facebook group Beneath The Surface, where yours truly has been added as a moderator (alongside creator CJ Brittingham).  What’s most gratifying about this group (besides the daily increase of members!) is the passion for the show and the well of creative talent its inspired.  So impressive were some of the skills apparent that I reached out for contributors to help make this website the definitive online archive of the show (as it was becoming too big a mission to complete on my own) –

Therefore I’m delighted to announce that the result of the first of these collaborations is now live – starting with the exclusive all-new Season 1 Episode Guide This page features both synopses, review and links to Blu-Ray screen-captures and links to downloadable PDF copies of the original scripts! 

Before I go any further, let me introduce you to some of the newest recruits whose work will be showcased in future pages and posts –


UEO PERSONNEL FILE 
No. 35799-D

Name: Charles Mento
Rank: Lieutenant
Duties: Episode Reviews
Bio: Longtime sci-fi 
fan and prolific
writer with offbeat
style and encyclopedic
knowledge of cult TV
history.

UEO PERSONNEL FILE
No. 22813-A

Name: Cora Ortiz
(A.K.A Lylianne Ware)
Rank: Lieutenant JG
Duties: Episode
Summaries 
Bio: Collector and
fan-fic writer of 
seaQuest-based novels
& short stories.

UEO PERSONNEL FILE
No. 77932-B  

Name: Kim Malinowski
Rank: Chief Warrant 
Officer
Duties: Media Reviews
Bio: Established author, 
poet. Writer of 'Death, 
A Love Story'and Numerous
articles for publications
worldwide.

The SQV also acknowledges invaluable contributions from Julie Esteves (Scripts),  Damian Sobieraski (Imagery) Christopher Spencely (Imagery) Brian Kidd, John A (Props) Ryan Paquet (Articles) John Billings (Props) Gary Kester (Reviews) Justin Boggan (Reviews) and Travis Karlgaard (Scripts).

Finally, a special mention for both Jon Janes of the seaQuest costuming group DET ONE for his dedication and applying his enviable talents in offering an exclusive outlet for ‘Questies (courtesy of his etsy store), and also industry professional Mark Bradley, graphic designer for the second and third seasons of seaQuest – look out for an exclusive interview with many never-before-seen images..!


ML

One Last Salute…

The SQV has just learned of the sad passing beloved actor Richard Herd – our very own Admiral/Secretary General Noyce.

As tributes pour in for one of the best character actors and familiar faces on TV in a career spanning almost 50 years, we present an except from ‘Tales From The Cult Film Trenches’ , featuring a rare interview with Herd where he speaks candidly about his time on SeaQuest, sharing his affection for his co-stars and giving a unique insight into the production…

“I was a recurring character on SeaQuest –  here’s how I got the role – I had done what I consider my very best piece of work on television.  I did a character called Captain Galaxy aka Moe Stein on an episode of Quantum Leap (Future Boy).  I did the last episode of Quantum (Mirror Image) as well, reprising that character.  SeaQuest came up, and Tommy Thompson who wrote Future Boy was one of the producers on that show.

The pilot for SeaQuest was directed by Irvin Kershner, who had directed the Empire Strikes Back.  I had met Steven Spielberg when I was up for a role in the movie 1941, but I lost that part to Robert Stack.  I went in and auditioned for SeaQuest, and then Kershner had me back again, to be approved by Spielberg.  I believe it helped that Tommy Thompson was the fellow who worked on Quantum Leap.

Everybody wanted SeaQuest to be a success, including all of the Star Trek fans.  The Trek Science-Fiction show type of fans were looking for a new show to latch on to.  You do not know the opportunity that was presented to SeaQuest.  There was no show on at that time that was even remotely like it.  Today there a sci-Fi shows all over the place.  At the time, there was nothing besides SeaQuest, except for Star Trek:  The Next Generation really.  They wanted it to be a success, and the people behind the scenes and everybody working on the show wanted it to be a huge success too.

They had a huge response to the first couple of shows, then they had too many producers, too many people became involved, too many suggestions.  I also believe that it wasn’t set that far enough into the future either – it took place sometime around 2024 (2018!)

Still, the show had a fabulous cast.  We had some good directors and and we had some good guest stars – William Shatner, Topol…Some wonderful people came on.  Then they paid for bigger names; we later had Charlton Heston on as a guest.  However the producers started to tinker with the show.  What they did after the first year was a terrible, terrible thing.  They just about fired any actors involved over the age of 45.  They dropped myself, Royce Applegate and a couple of others.  They then replaced us with these nice kids; we used to refer to it as Sea Hunk.  The show was then moved to Florida, supposedly to save money on sets and locations, and they ended up spending more money to to put all these people up in houses and whatever, and give them cars.  However, they did not save any money.

They brought me there to do a couple more episodes for the second season but it was a disappointment.  But I will tell you one thing, if I were called to work with Roy Scheider again, I would be there in a minute.  He is one of the best actors I have ever worked with.  He was the kind of person who tried to make the show better, he was a tough guy – but a tough guy in the right sense that he cares about the work, and he wanted it to be better…” 

In customary fashion, the last word goes to Dr. Kristen Westphalen herself, who posted this message on her facebook page earlier –


ML