SeaQuest DSV is an American science fiction television series created by Rockne S. O'Bannon. It originally aired on NBC between 1993 and 1996. In its final season, it was renamed SeaQuest 2032. Set in "the near future", seaQuest mixes high drama with realistic scientific fiction. It stars Roy Scheider [+] as Nathan Bridger, captain of the high-tech submarine seaQuest DSV 4600, Jonathan Brandis [+] as Lucas Wolenczak, a teenaged computer genius, and Stephanie Beacham as Kristin Westphalen, the chief medical officer and head of the seaQuest science department.
Steven Spielberg expressed interest in the project and served as one of the show's executive producers during the first two seasons. Filming of the first season was marked by producer disputes, changes at the helm (off-screen, as well as on-screen), and even an earthquake. The second season contained changes in the cast, as well as disputes between cast members and producers, while the third season introduced a new lead actor and title. While initially popular, the series began to decline in ratings throughout its run, and was abruptly canceled in the middle of its third season.
The show's time slot was shuffled around during its original run. During the first and second seasons, NBC aired the show on Sundays at 8:00 p.m. NBC had originally planned to cancel seaQuest DSV partway through the second season in favor of another show about a "high-tech truck". However, NBC executives were unimpressed with the new show's development and kept seaQuest DSV in production.
Roy Scheider narrated the voiceover during the opening credits of each first-season episode:
The 21st century: mankind has colonized the last unexplored region on Earth; the ocean. As captain of the seaQuest and its crew, we are its guardians, for beneath the surface lies the future.
During the third season, NBC moved the show to Wednesdays at the same time; however, NBC would frequently preempt the show in favor of sports coverage and other television specials. Several of the show's producers, including Carleton Eastlake believe these preemptions led to the show's cancellation. Currently, seaQuest DSV does not air in syndication or re-runs. The Sci-Fi Channel in the United States aired the series for a December Marathon in 2009. The Sci-Fi Channel in the United States had also previously aired the episodes for a number of years.
DVD Release Summary:
Season 1 - Regions 1, 2 & 4
Season 2 - Regions 1, 2 & 4
Season 3 - Region 4
Fans of seaQuest DSV have campaigned for the release of the series on DVD. Universal Home Video, which owns the distribution rights to the series, had at one time stated that it had no plans to release the show on DVD. Over the past few years, illegal bootleg recordings of the series have been sold on eBay and other online auction sites in VCD and DVD format.
In 2005, Universal announced that the first season of seaQuest DSV would be released on DVD on December 26, 2005 along with a week long marathon of the show on the Sci Fi Channel. Universal credited the fans with changing their minds about a DVD release. However, some also credit the successful sales of bootleg copies of the series. The DVD release included numerous deleted scenes as well as alternate versions of broadcast scenes. The first season was released on four double-sided discs. The only extras included were deleted scenes for a handful of episodes.
The second season was released on January 1, 2008. As opposed to the first season, the second season was released on eight single-sided discs. The second season does not contain any extra features such as deleted scenes. The first season DVD release presents the episodes in their original airdate order, which leads to some continuity errors from episode to episode. (see List of seaQuest DSV episodes for more information) The second season DVD release is presented in a similar fashion, however, the episode "Blindsided" is presented in the correct order, despite an incorrect summary of it on the DVD slipcase; the DVD slipcase mixes the summaries for it and "Splashdown" around.
All three seasons are available for streaming by Netflix subscribers, though as of mid-2012, the episode "The Stinger" gives the description for the episode "Whale Songs."
Behind the Scenes:
Roy Scheider's character was based on John C. Lilly. Lilly was a pioneer researcher into the nature of consciousness using as his principal tools the isolation tank, dolphin communication and psychedelic drugs, sometimes in combination. He was a prominent member of the Californian counterculture of scientists, mystics and thinkers that arose in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Albert Hofmann, Gregory Bateson, Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Werner Erhard, and Richard Feynman were all frequent visitors to his home. The character's name, Nathan Hale Bridger, was in homage to Nathan Hale.
When producers began developing new characters for the second season, they named Lieutenant Brody after Police Chief Martin Brody, Roy Scheider's character in the first two Jaws films. Ralph Willcox and Karen Fraction, who both became recurring guest stars in the third season, had previously appeared as different characters in the second. Despite the numerous cast changes, Jonathan Brandis appeared in every episode of the series, as did Don Franklin (except for "And Everything Nice").
Several of the cast's family members were brought in to play characters, as well. Brenda King, Roy Scheider's wife, portrayed Carol Bridger; Todd Allen, Rosalind Allen's husband, portrayed Clay Marshall in "The Siamese Dream". Several cast members also dabbled on the creative side of the show, as both Ted Raimi and Jonathan Brandis penned episodes during the second season. (Brandis wrote the aforementioned "The Siamese Dream" and Raimi, "Lostland.") Conversely, Robert Engels, one of the show's executive producers (and writer of two episodes, "Greed For a Pirate's Dream" and "Hide and Seek") during the first season, portrayed the recurring character Malcolm Lansdowne.
While in production, seaQuest DSV won and was nominated for a number of awards. John Debney won the 1994 Emmy for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Main Title Theme Music" for his composition of the seaQuest DSV theme song and in 2000, it was named the 48th best theme song of all time by TV Guide. Don Davis also won an Emmy in 1995 for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Series" (Dramatic Underscore) for his score for the second season premiere, "Daggers." Russ Mitchell Landau was also nominated for his work on the third season premiere, "Brave New World", in 1996.
Kenneth D. Zunder was nominated for the Emmy award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Cinematography for a Series" for the episode "Such Great Patience". Jonathan Brandis won the 1994 Young Artist Award for "Best Youth Actor Leading Role in a Television Series" for his portrayal of Lucas Wolenczak and the series was nominated for a 1994 ASC Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Movies of the Week/Pilots" as well as the Saturn Award for "Best Genre Television Series" in 1995.
A seaQuest DSV feature film was in pre-production stages, however, it never materialized.
Despite being scripted in at least one episode, Captain Bridger never refers to Dagwood by name. The closest he ever got was calling him "Dag" in the episodes "Special Delivery" and "The Siamese Dream".