The words above were from President John F. Kennedy in a speech he gave in 1962. For fans of the dearly departed T.V. series "seaQuest DSV" they were also the first lines heard in the introduction of the first episode of that series. For me, the opening sequence of that episode, with John F. Kennedy's speech in it, is still one of the most exciting T.V. or movie openings of all time!
This website is dedicated to all things seaQuest. Here you will find information about the seaQuest universe, including info about the submarine seaQuest DSV herself, info about her crew (for the first 2 seasons) and info about the world's military and geographic structure in the time of seaQuest using text, photos, sounds and music.
Here you will also find information on seaQuest Costuming including reference materials for those making their own costumes, one of my personal passions.
Me as my alter ego and costuming personae, Commander Chris Cline at Docking Bay 3 aboard the seaQuest.
A section includes my reviews of the three seaQuest novels which were published in 1993-94.
There is a section with my own personal seaQuest stories.
Finally, there is a section listing the actors who played in seaQuest DSV and their roles and some of the creative people who contributed to bringing the seaQuest DSV series to life.
Captain Nathan Hale Bridger, Captain of seaQuest and yours truly.
My Interest In seaQuest
The "seaQuest DSV" series came on television the same year in which I had finished my time in the United States Navy. I had served in the U.S. Submarine Force and had gained quite a bit of knowledge about submarines and their tactics, as well as their operational use as tools of exploration, during that time. The tactics of submarine warfare hold a deep fascination for me, but undersea exploration holds even more. Earlier in my life, I had developed an intense interest in undersea exploration and the sea was in my blood from a very early age.
I was a big fan of the Disney version of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and especially of the amazing Harper Goff design of the Nautilus submarine, both inside and out, which was used in the film.
One of my first heroes was Jacques Yves Cousteau, the co-inventor of the Aqua-Lung and long-time ocean explorer. I loved to watch his T.V. adventures with his red-capped crew aboard the Calypso.
I also thrilled to the discoveries of oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard, who discovered the sunken ships Titanic, Lusitania and Bismarck, to name a few. It was a special thrill to actually meet Dr. Ballard while I served in the Navy and then when Dr. Ballard himself began closing each episode of seaQuest DSV with interesting facts about ocean science which related to each episode.
Over the years I had studied many books and films relating to the ocean and it's creatures.
All of these interests were addressed by the "seaQuest DSV" series in it's first (and to some extent by it second) season. The science and adventure, mixed with the drama and personal interactions of the crew made for an extremely entertaining and engaging television show.
seaQuest DSV 4600
For me, there is no third season of seaQuest! The first two seasons are all I am interested in. The first season was my personal favorite. In the latter part of the second season the show began to drift away from the original premise of the show, which was the exploration and protection (both environmentally and militarily) of the Earth's oceans by seaQuest and her crew. Eventually, the writers and producers seemed to feel that exploration and science were too boring and so seaQuest became involved in battling aliens and finally the whole submarine was transported to another planet altogether!
By the third season, which was renamed "seaQuest 2032", they had set the time period forward, to 2032 and had largely replaced the original crew, except a few of the ships officers and in particular the ships original First Officer, Commander Jonathan Ford, who for some reason still hadn't been promoted to Captain and given his own ship, thirteen years after the first episode!
For me, there is only one Captain of the seaQuest and that is Nathan Bridger, played with great personality and feeling by veteran actor Roy Schieder. For "seaQuest 2032" the Captaincy was filled by the single expression, ultra-stiff, cardboard-cutout-of-an-actor Michael Ironsides.
In "seaQuest 2032" the writers had removed nearly all the elements of the show that I loved, including nearly all the terrestrial science (even theoretical) and exploration and turned the seaQuest and its crew into a militaristic machine with a humorless, jackbooted, sourpuss in command!
DON"T WORRY, I AM STILL A seaQuest FAN!
Needless to say, I was disappointed in the radical change of course the show had taken and was not sorry to see "seaQuest 2032" cancelled after only one season.
I do, however, miss the original show formula and the original crew very much! That is what I keep alive in my memory and heart about the seaQuest series. I am, of course, thrilled to now own the entire First Season on DVD! I look forward to the release of the Second Season. Hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later. Obviously for me, the Third Season "seaQuest 2032" won't even get a glance when it is released on DVD.
I know there are fans out there who will disagree with me about "seaQuest 2032", and that is fine. It simply wasn't seaQuest to me! If it spins your screws, that's awesome.
The Good Stuff
The Ships Crew
For me, there was so much to like about the first season of seaQuest, it is hard to know where to begin the list!
I guess, first has to be Nathan Bridger! I have always liked Roy Scheider and his films. Obviously, "JAWS" comes first to mind, but also "2010: The Year We Make Contact" and even "JAWS 2" and "Blue Thunder" rate high.
Nathan Hale Bridger, Captain of the seaQuest (Roy Scheider)
Nathan Bridger was a believable Captain for the seaQuest. Being designed by Nathan Bridger himself and intended for the dual role of deep sea exploration and military protection of UEO controlled waters, the seaQuest DSV needed a commanding officer with a strong background in science, as well as a strong morale and ethical core, but also the ability to fight when all other avenues are tried. As I have said, I was in the U.S. Navy myself and Nathan Bridger is just the sort of Captain I would want in command of my ship.
First Season Crew of seaQuest DSV
The rest of the crew were also interesting and endearing. Of these, Commander Jonathan Ford, Chief Manilow Crocker, Lieutenant O'Neill and Chief Petty Officer Ortiz were my favorites.
Commander Jonathan Ford (Right) and Chief Miguel Ortiz (Left)
Commander Jonathan Ford (Don Franklin)
Commander Ford, ably played by actor Don Franklin, was also believable as the seaQuest's Executive Officer. He had the dimensional qualities in his character necessary for a career military man who was having to get used to all the "science-types" who were now aboard his ship and the conflicts of interest that that would create. Don Franklin's performance in the pilot episode "To Be Or Not To Be" as the X.O. required to relieve his unhinged Captain (Marilyn Stark) of command of seaQuest and then his later ordered subterfuge, acting as an incompetent officer in order to lure Nathan Bridger into taking command of the seaQuest, is remarkable.
Chief Manilow Crocker Chief Crocker- Ready For Action!
Chief Manilow Crocker holds a special place in my heart. He reminded me so much of some of the old sea-dog Chief's I knew in the Navy. Actor Royce D. Applegate, who played Chief Crocker (actually, Senior Chief Crocker!), also brought a dimension to the character which really brought him to life. Crocker had a charming personality and his affection for his former Captain, Nathan Bridger, was endearing. He had great moments of "sailors superstition" and even moments of nervous agitation. He was a Navy man, through and through!
Lt. Timothy O'Neill (Right) and Chief Miguel Ortiz (Left)
Lieutenant Timothy O'Neill grew on me after a few episodes and the actor Ted Raimi, who portrayed O'Neill, brought a brainy but vulnerable quality to the role. His sometimes psychic connections with the ships dolphin, Ensign Darwin, gave him a sensitive quality which is not quite so pronounced in some of the other characters. I actually know a guy almost just like Lt. O'Neill!
Chief Petty Officer Miguel Ortiz, played straightforwardly by actor Marco Sanchez, was also a favorite. He was portrayed as the archetypal Navy enlisted man, and I knew many sailors just like him. Always professional and ready with an answer or idea when asked by their superior officers. He was a smart, creative, steady presence on the seaQuest's bridge.
Dr. Kristin Westphalen (Left) and Captain Nathan Bridger (Right)
I have to say that I greatly preferred the portrayal of the ships doctor as played by Stephanie Beacham (Dr. Kristin Westphalen) to that of the actress Rosalind Allen, who portrayed the ships second season doctor, Wendy Smith. First, I think that Stephanie Beacham simply had a presence, sophistication and intelligence which Rosalind Allen couldn't match. I also prefer the much closer age range between Bridger and Westphalen as compared to Bridger and Smith when it came to the romance between those characters.
I have to say that Lieutenant Commander Katherine Hitchcock was quite easy on the eyes! O.k., she was a hottie! I also liked her character and the banter between she and Lieutenant Krieg, the resident ships swindler and Hitchcock's former husband, was fun and Lucas's crush on her was cute, and quite understandable.
Lieutenant Commander Hottie, I mean Hitchcock!
Lt. Krieg was fun for comedy relief and I love it when he tries to cook an illegal cheeseburger in his stateroom, while singing Jimmy Buffet's "Cheeseburger In Paradise"! Great! My favorite "baddy" (well, sort of bad) has to be The Regulator, or as he is known by his friends, Leslie! I thought the character was well played and even his Orangutan, which usually annoy's me in T.V. shows, was a lot of fun! I wish The Regulator had popped up again in the series, but alas.
Chief Crocker, Lt. Commander Hitchcock, Lieutenant Krieg and The Regulator.
I was always pleased with the role which was given to the ships dolphin, Ensign Darwin, which was portrayed in most scenes by an amazing animatronic/robotic puppet, and not a real life dolphin. The shows writers and creators kept Darwin's role pretty believable, while still impressing us with his abilities. One thing that helped was that the characters, especially Nathan Bridger, Darwin's keeper, made light of the fact that they had a talking Dolphin onboard and they limited Darwin's communication abilities to simple phrases and not full blown conversations in English. He was like a really smart dog who could talk and swim.
Ensign Darwin - Wearing his breathing pack
I even liked the token ships kid, Lucas Wolenczak, played by young actor Jonathan Brandis. Well, sometimes I liked him. Mostly, I thought the tender father/son moments between Lucas and Bridger added yet another dimension to Captain Bridger's personality, knowing that he would also make a good father. Lucas also filled the role of liaison between the ships crew and other children who were frequently brought aboard seaQuest. The young, brilliant, but still immature teenage boy worked on some levels, although not on all, in my opinion. He did make a good buddy for Darwin and I also thought the moments when Dr. Westphalen played surrogate mother to Lucas were very nice, too.
Obviously, the seaQuest DSV herself was a big draw of the show. I am still amazed at the quality and visual effectiveness of the seaQuest set. The technology was well worked out and the bridge design, especially, seemed to flow. I also love the uniforms from the first season. They are exactly what I would expect to see the crew of an advanced research/military submarine wearing! I have a special interest in the costumes for the first season of seaQuest, which is covered in another section of this website.
seaQuest DSV 4600
The seaQuest exterior visuals were all done entirely with CGI (Computer Graphics) and no models of the seaQuest herself were used in filming her underwater scenes. The quality of these CGI shots improved substantially as the episodes progressed.
seaQuest Profile View
The seaQuest ship herself was an amazing design. Something between a shark and a giant squid, her streamlined form was graceful and deadly looking.
seaQuest DSV, about to be depth charged.
She had a biological appearance which worked well and also tied in with her ability to seal damage to her hull with a semi-biological, self healing outer skin.
WSKR'S Satellite Probe
The seaQuest's weapons were well thought out, as well, being advanced extrapolations of the real weapons used by real submarines today. I was always enamored of the seaQuest's semi-autonomous satellite probes.
seaQuest DSV and her WSKR's Probes, Mother, Junior and Loner.
Called WSKRS, which stands for Wireless Sea Knowledge Retrieval Satellites, these little probes made it possible to remotely spy on an enemy vessel or to see what lay in the path of the seaQuest. Normally, three of these WSKR's Probes were deployed around the ship at a time. They were named Mother, Junior and Loner. We were also able to see visually underwater, which on most submarines (military anyway!) is impossible. They were a nice addition to the design of the ship.
-My seaQuest Novel Reviews-
Following, I give my reviews of the three seaQuest novels that were published between November 1993 and March 1994. There were only ever three seaQuest novels released. They are all set in the timeframe of the 1st season of the series, although as you will see in my reviews, some artistic liberties were taken in the areas of characters and continuity.
The first novel published was, not surprisingly, an adaptation of the screenplay written for the "Pilot" episode (First episode), titled "To Be or Not to Be" for the series. This novel, titled simply "seaQuest DSV:The Novel", was written by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood and was based on the original screenplay by Rockne S. O'Bannon and Tommy Thompson. It was published in November 1993 by Ace Books.
The second novel, titled "Fire Below", was an original story, not used in the series (Thank GOD!) episodes. It was written by Matthew J. Costello and published by Ace Books in January 1994.
The third and final (hitherto) seaQuest novel published was titled "The Ancient" and was written by David Bischoff. Also published by Ace Books, it was released in March 1994.
All books were in paperback editions and none were released in hardcover.
As with all reviews, they are personal opinions and reflect my feelings upon reading the novels. These reviews are based upon a thorough reading of the novels, not just skimming through them. I have been a huge seaQuest fan from the beginning and have a pretty thorough knowledge of the characters, science and technology of the seaQuest universe, as well as of the seaQuest herself. Having studied oceanography and been personally involved with real submarine technology in the Navy, I have a pretty good knowledge base of those subjects, as well. That being said, I hope you can glean some insight into these novels from my reviews and decide if you want to find and read them yourself. In the end, though, if you want to read these novels anyway, you should. You can never read too much!
-"seaQuest DSV: The Novel"-
This novel was a nearly direct translation of the screenplay (Teleplay) written for the pilot T.V. episode "To Be or Not to Be" and it does a pretty good job of staying with the episode and following the character's as we see them in the T.V. episode. Some minor anomalies are some characters getting incorrect ranks (such as Lieutenant O'Neill being made an enlisted "Chief Petty Officer" and Lieutenant Commander Hitchcock being bumped down to just Lieutenant) and the changing of Captain Bridger's sons' name from Robert in the T.V. episode to Eric in the novel. Really minor stuff though.
Overall, I give this novel an "A" rating and recommend it to any seaQuest DSV fan, if you can locate a copy of the novel, that is. The novel delves deeper into the characters and the seaQuest world than was possible in the T.V. episode. The novel also includes 8 pages of "Blueprints" and Pre-Production art of some of the vehicles planned for the series, although many were never seen. The blueprints and art work include: A version of the "VR-Probe" (Hyper Reality Probe) which wasn't used in the show, a multi-view drawing of the "Stinger" One-man submersible, a version of a seaQuest "Shuttle Craft" with an integral "Cab" which was not used in the show, a version of Darwin's "Aqua-Lung" backpack, something called an "O.A.V-22" not used in the show, a "Speeder" which is pretty close to those used in the show and an "EVA Suit" which was seen being worn by Commander Ford in "Abalon", another version of the "VR Probe" which wasn't used, and finally a basic layout drawing of the seaQuest bridge. I enjoyed this novel quite a bit!
There is so much wrong with this novel it is hard to know where to start the "Complaint Conveyor Belt"! First off, it is pretty clear that the author wasn't a fan, didn't know the characters or the seaQuest world and didn't even understand basic military rank structure (which in seaQuest DSV's 2018 is exactly the same as present day naval rank structure!) .
This novel is a perfect example of the problem with publishers and producers commissioning "previously published" authors willy-nilly, instead of accepting book proposals from writers who were fans of seaQuest before they wrote a seaQuest story! The "previously published" author probably doesn't know the subject or characters in that "universe" very well, if at all!
The only good thing I have to say about this novel is that the basic story is not too bad, the plot is o.k. It might work as a story in its own "universe", without any of the seaQuest characters or the seaQuest herself in it. But the author's apparent total lack of knowledge of seaQuest DSV simply doesn't work, here!
Some blaring examples of how this author couldn't be bothered with doing the research and homework into the established characters and world of seaQuest DSV are:
Changing Nathan Bridger's wife's name from Carol to "Barbara"!; Making Commander Ford a Lieutenant Commander!; Making Lieutenant Commander Hitchcock a mere Lieutenant!; Renaming Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz, Mundo Ortiz!; Replacing the ships doctor Kristin Westphalen with some guy named Akira Shimura, but keeping Kristin Westphalen around for some reason!; Having Chief Crocker referring to Captain Bridger as "Nate", which the Chief would NEVER do! It's "Cap" or "Cap'n!; Having Bridger constantly calling Darwin "Dar", which he never does in the show!; Darwin referring to Bridger as "Captain"! No, it's always "Bridger"!; Having Bridger nickname and refer to Chief Crocker as "Gator", a decidedly annoying practice, which again, he never does in the show!; Having Darwin engage in full-blown conversations in English with people, instead of expressing himself in concepts. "Bridger play?" "Darwin, help", like that!; Having Darwin refer to people as "you" and not by their names and not referring to himself in the third person as "Darwin", as he always did in the show.; Having Bridger engaging in an extramarital affair!; Implying that Captain Bridger would tell Admiral Noyce that he didn't want to use seaQuest to help remove frightened guests from an underwater resort which had just survived a terrorist attack, because "The seaQuest may be many things, but it's not a commercial transport"!; Having Chief Crocker show clear disrespect to Captain Bridger! Yeah right! Not on my seaQuest! The author inventing an elevator from the bridge to the sub-pool! (and no, he didn't mean the Mag-Lev, he simply didn't know the seaQuest!)
Those are just a few examples of what is wrong with this novel! If you are a seaQuest fan and you decide to take the time to read this travesty of a novel, be prepared at the end to be P.O.'d at wasting your time!
I give "Fire Below" a decided "F"!
-"seaQuest DSV: The Ancient"-
Unfortunately, the author here seems to have accepted some information written in the previous abysmal novel "Fire Below", which is either incorrect or invented without corollary to the T.V. series, as gospel.
Like the author of "Fire Below", this author seems to be under the impression that Commander Ford is of a lower rank than he actually is, referring to him as "Lieutenant Commander Ford". Ford is a full Commander, a long established Naval rank! Hitchcock is a Lieutenant Commander.
Also, as in the awful "Fire Below" novel, we see another appearance of one of it's authors totally invented characters, a Doctor Akira Shimura, a crippled and confined "Chief Medical Officer" on seaQuest, supposedly replacing the well established and officially titled character fulfilling that position in the T.V series' 1st season, Dr. Kristin Westphalen!
Apparently, the author seems to think that Great White sharks reach 35 feet in length! The fact is, that it is widely known that the largest Great White shark ever recorded was a mere 21 feet in length. The author decided that wasn't colossal enough, so he added another 14 feet! That's like tacking on another entire Great White! Jeez!
He has Dr. Westphalen, a confirmed anti-weapon type, personally manning a torpedo firing control panel to kill a Great White shark, while acting like a gun-slinging cowboy! Not bloody likely! He clearly doesn't understand Westphalen's personality!
The good news about this novel is that, as far as the story goes, it is infinitely better than the previous novel "Fire Below". The bad news is that it isn't a very good novel when compared to almost anything else. The author does a much better job than his predecessor at keeping the characters close to their established personalities in the T.V. series, but unfortunately, he still wavers quite a bit.
The story never really draws the reader in and it simply doesn't feel like seaQuest. And why does a story universe such as seaQuest, which is supposed to be about adventures under the sea, always seem to end up with the story being about aliens from outer space? This is what killed the T.V. series, too! What, the wonders of the oceans aren't exciting and interesting enough? No wonder Dr. Robert Ballard quit doing the "Science Facts" bit during the closing credits at the end of each show, after the 1st season! That should have been their first hint the show was headed in the wrong direction!
While less annoying a novel than the previous "Fire Below", I can't recommend "The Ancient" very highly. Probably, if you know the series well, you will, at the very least, be disappointed with "The Ancient".
I therefore give "The Ancient" a "C-".
-seaQuest Crew Who Have Left Us-
Today, February 10, 2008, the sad news was released that the wonderful actor Roy Scheider has passed away in an Little Rock, Arkansas Hospital. Although he was best known for playing the Chief of Police, Martin Brody in the blockbuster film "JAWS", to some of us he will always be Captain Nathan Hale Bridger, Commander of the seaQuest DSV.
To many other actors, Roy Scheider was considered an actors actor. He was a working actor who was more interested in perfecting his craft than in indulging in the more self aggrandizing and pretentious side of Hollywood. He was also an active political activist and spoke out for causes he believed in, including taking part in political protests including his opposition to the second war in Iraq.
On a personal note, Roy is one of my all time favorite actors but was a good man who was also for me one of those rare people, especially when it comes to celebrities, whom I looked up to and respected as a person. He was always on my list of people whom I thought it would be fascinating to know in person. The kind of person you could learn something from.
Besides seaQuest (obviously!), another piece of Roy Scheider's work that I have always loved, but which received poor reviews from critics and is a lesser known work of Roy's was the film "2010: The Year We Make Contact", the sequel to "2001: A Space Odyssey". This film is less action oriented and more cerebral than most people prefer but it always spoke to me. One thing I always loved was that at the end of the film Roy did a voice over in a message to his son Christopher in the film, explaining what had happened with his character's mission. My name is Christopher and I always imagined he was talking to me when I was younger. Roy was also a very good narrator and often did narration for historical and nature documentaries. It was like hearing the voice of an old friend each time.
Roy Scheider will be sorely missed, as a man, an actor and as our Captain.
Smooth sailing Captain, and Thanks Roy!
Links of Interest
This website is one of the largest and best seaQuest sites on the web. It has one of the largest memberships of seaQuest fans around and even has a newsletter. There is much of interest to see at New Cape Quest.
seaQuest DSV Costuming
Click on the photo to go to my seaQuest DSV Costuming section.
My seaQuest DSV Costuming Personae, Commander Christopher Cline, and the crew of seaQuest DSV 4600
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