History Files



Such is the pulling power of Steven Spielberg that when his '22-hour spectacular' new underwater adventure series was first shown in America just one month before its first UK appearance, it reportedly drew an audience of 67 million. "When I was a kid, one of the movies and books that inspired me was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," said Spielberg, whose company Amblin produced the show with Universal TV. "I'd always wanted to explore the possibility of the depths of our oceans as a theatre for all sorts of drama. SeaQuest is part fiction and it's part complete and pure fantasy. The world underwater is going to provide farming for future generations, and the year 2018 isn't that far away. Neither is the possibility of the 'new frontier', which perhaps isn't outer space just yet; the new frontier is perhaps underwater."

SeaQuest DSV (Deep Submergence Vehicle) was set at a time when the lack of terrestrial resources has sent explorers to raid the oceans of their resources. Roy Scheider, star of such movies as Jaws, Jaws II, and 2010: Odyssey Two, the first two again with Spielberg, played Captain Nathan Bridger, crew commander in what amounts to a new world, while British star Stephanie Beacham, once seen in the rag trade drama Connie here and in America's Dynasty, played the leader of the scientific arm of the expedition.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly given the track record of the producer, the series lacked any real depth, being no more than a rehash of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. The sets were superb, the camera work flawless, and what seemed to be a fortune had been spent on the effects, so creating a totally believable underwater world, where new communities had sprung up to harvest the life of the sea and experiment in improving conditions for Man there. But the scripts were of poor quality, containing the same old plot devices seen in so much American output over the years. The characters were corny and hackneyed; the new captain initially reluctant after a personal loss some years before to become re-involved in the Navy and its new project, despite knowing more than he should after so many years of semi-retirement and living on a deserted stretch of picturesque beach land. Of course he is persuaded, cajoled and tricked into accepting the post, and, grudgingly, he gets down to the job at hand. The same basic idea had been seen in many series, Airwolf and Scheider's own Blue Thunder being examples. There was also the obligatory presence of a smart kid and a friendly and helpful animal, in this case a dolphin, to add to the smugness factor that exuded from every pore of this programme. It carried nothing new and an initially interested British public soon gave the programme the thumbs down and avoided it in droves. Its 6.30pm slot on Sunday evenings probably didn't help either, and SeaQuest DSV soon disappeared from the screens, unfortunately only to reappear in January 1995, with the ITV introduction, "And now a brand new series," for those viewers who'd already forgotten it.

Three seasons were made, but due to the dropping ratings' figures only the first ten episodes of Season One were originally shown in this country, the Sunday evening slot being taken by ITV's Family Movie idea. The episodes did not carry titles, either on screen, or, as is the case with many US shows, ones to be used with the programme listings (ITV cut these from the programme without explanation or reason). Luckily, the information was readily available in contemporary genre-related magazines, and is reproduced here, along with the remaining episodes that make up the first season. In the sporadically-shown re-run, episode titles were still missing from the transmitted prints. In the US, a second, re-vamped season was made, followed by another massive re-vamp for an even less interesting third season, now entitled SeaQuest 2032. This was cancelled halfway through its run.

Official studio counts list the pilot as being episodes one and two, but for the purpose of this guide, the pilot is listed as one episode. (Actor Jonathan Brandis, who played Lucas Wolenczak throughout the series, died at the age of twenty-seven in 2003.)



Captain Nathan Bridger Roy Scheider (Seasons 1-2)
Cmdr Jonathan Ford Don Franklin
Lucas Wolenczak Jonathan Brandis   Lt J G Tim O'Neill Ted Raimi
Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz Marco Sanchez (Seasons 1-2)
Dagwood Peter DeLuise (Season 2 Only)
Doctor Kristin Westfalen
Stephanie Beacham  (Season 1 Only)
Lt-Cmdr Katy Hitchcock Stacy Haiduk (Season 1 Only)
Lt Ben Krieg
John d'Aquino
Chief Engineer Royce D Applegate (Both Season 1 Only)
Dr Wendy Smith
Rosalind Allen (Season 2 Only)
Lt James Brody
Edward Kerr (Seasons 2-3)
Seaman Tony Piccolo
Michael DeLuise (Seasons 2-3)
Ensign (Later Lt) Lenore Ellen Henderson
Kathy Evison (Seasons 2-3)
Captain Oliver Hudson
Michael Ironside (Season 3 Only)
JJ Fredricks
Elise Neal (Season 3 Only)


Created by: Rockne S O'Bannon
Executive Producers: Steven Spielberg
  with Rockne S O'Bannon, Tommy
and Philip David Segal
  (All Pilot Only), David J Burke
  (Series Only), Patrick Hasburgh, Clifton
(Season 3)
Co-Exec Producer: Carleton Eastlake
  (Season 3)
Producer: Gregg D Fienberg (Pilot to
  Season 2), Steve Beers (Season 3)
Co-Producer: David Kemper (Pilot to
  Season 2), Philip Carr Neel, Harker
(Season 3)
Associate Producer: Philip Carr Neel
  (Pilot-Season 2), Peter Mavromates
  (Season 3)
Supervising Producers: Kerry Lenhart,
  John J Sakmar
and Hand Tobeason (All
  Pilot-Season 2), Lee Goldberg, William
(Season 3)
Music: John Debney (Pilot-Season 2), Russ
  Mitchell Landau
(Season 3)


All details are trademarked and copyrighted by their respective producers. All character and location names are also copyright. No infringement of any copyright is intended.