Here’s the Twitter proof:
SeaQuest ran for three seasons, from 1993-1996…that short cushion of time where we’d finally gotten over the ’80s and weren’t yet panicking about the new millennium. The concept of the show was simple and brilliant: Star Trek…wet. A bunch of scientists and military men in the future truck around the oceans of Earth in a submarine so advanced it puts all of our modern space programs to shame.
|So advanced it could travel through fields, too.|
The series was executive produced by Steven Spielberg and starred Roy Scheider. It had a talking dolphin. And that kid from the Cap’n Crunch commercial. It was the perfect fit for a decade obsessed with science fiction television… X-Files, Babylon 5, three different Star Trek series, Sliders, Earth 2, um, Third Rock from the Sun. Heck, this was decade the Sci-Fi Channel itself launched.
Well, I just spent the last year watching all 57 episodes on Netflix Streaming. Well, 56 episodes. Apparently, Netflix neglected to include the Season 1 episode Whale Song. Here’s the Twitter proof when I discovered that:
As far as I can see, now that I’ve basically seen it all, the only problem with the show was…that it was terrible. Mostly, that was due to the writing, which was some of the worst I’ve ever had to cringe and clench my way through. The CGI was also a problem, since the show relied heavily on it at a time when television-budget CGI was a 90-pound man with no arms trying to bench-press a truck axel still on the truck.
What really got me through the series, though, was all the bat-fish-shit SeaQuest DSV craziness. Here, I made a list:
1. Season Personality Disorder
Each of SeaQuest’s three seasons was a totally different show. Sure, they all involved a submarine and the cast changed a little every season just like most series, but the entire tone changed every season. Heck, reality changed every season. There was apparently a lot of behind-the-scenes turmoil and dysfunction in this show, but I’m going to skip all that because the outcome is more interesting than the cause.
Season 1 stayed pretty grounded for a show that took place in the ocean. It was near-future (2018ish) and the only real change in society was that we were populating the oceans. So it was a lot of scientific exploration, rescue missions, political intrigue. Nothing that couldn’t happen today if we were better at ocean technology. There was one episode with an alien and another with ghosts, but they managed to not make the former too earth-changing and the latter was a Halloween episode. Totally different rules apply at Halloween.
Season 2 was drunk. Suddenly, the series went from a somewhat preachy show about preserving and exploring the oceans to outright off-the-wallness. There were aliens and time travel, giant monsters, homicidal plants, past-life possession, people with psychic abilities, genetically engineered humans, ancient demons, even Greek gods (that one gets its own entry on this list). By the end of the season, they weren’t even on Earth anymore.
|It's hard to tell, but that glowing thing at the bottom|
is SeaQuest getting alien abducted.
2. Titanic Finder
|A company I worked for once gave him a Rolex. True story.|
3. Megatron Underwater
|Mostly, Captain Bridger used Darwin to pick up chicks.|
What was crazy, was that this was Frank “Frickin” Welker, the voice of just about every cartoon character since the 70s. Scooby Doo’s Fred, Dynomutt, Jabberjaw, Foofer, Dr. Claw, Iceman, Megatron, Slimer. He’s also been just about every GoBot, Snork, Joe, Beagle Brother, and Muppet Baby. And he was the voice of the Gremlins. Seriously, just marvel at this guy’s resume and just hope he never turns his powers to evil.
4. Office Phones
|I could have found a better screencap of the phone,|
but not an angrier one.
5. Luke Skywalker and James T. Kirk
|"Now, act like you have the sudden suspicion |
that there is math behind you."
Back when geek culture was still in diaspora and long before it blandified into mainstream culture, access to the icons of the genre was extremely limited. You couldn’t just read their tweets or go to their personal web page, and there weren’t a million shows and movies offering them roles. So when I say that Mark Hamill and William Shatner both guest starred in different episodes (Hamill in two episodes, actually), that was a gigantic deal.
|"Now, act like you have the sudden suspicion|
that there is something growing beneath your nose."
Speaking of genre icons, I should also mention that Charlton Heston starred in an episode…as a mad scientist who gave people gills.
6. Jaws Restraint
|In the SeaQuest universe, Quint didn't get bit in half by a Great White. |
He retired to run a quaint nautical-themed gift shop.
7. SeaQuest vs. God of the Sea
|What it looks like is happening there is exactly what's happening.|
8. Lucas What-the-Heck
|"Time to crunch off. Later."|
9. Stacy Haiduk’s Eyes
10. DeLuises, DeLuises Everywhere
|Almost got that spinoff. Next time, guys.|
In Season 2, the casting director must’ve been offered a family discount because we got brother actors Peter and Michael DeLuise as part of the crew. The former played a genetically engineered, simple-minded super soldier prototype whose role on the SeaQuest was as the ship’s janitor. The latter played a comedic-relief ex-con who could breathe water.
But that still wasn’t enough DeLuises. The Season 2 episode Vapors guest-starred their father, the great Dom DeLuise himself, while a third brother, David, had a brief cameo. Sounds like a crackpot scheme dreamt up over a Thanksgiving dinner. “Hey guys, wouldn’t it be funny if we all got cast on that show SeaQuest…you know, that ‘Stark Trek…wet’ show?”
I could keep going, but this article is way too long already. But, I don’t want you to exit this piece thinking that I hold SeaQuest DSV in disdain. I don’t. I’ll always have a fondness for the show…the cast, the concept, the ship design, that unmistakable 90s vision of the future. I just don’t think I’ll ever watch another episode again.