Space: Above and Beyond is an American science fiction television show on the FOX Network, created and written by Glen Morgan and James Wong. Originally planned for five seasons, it ran only for the single 1995–1996 season, due to low ratings. It was nominated for two Emmy Awards and one Saturn Award.
Set in the years 2063–2064, the show focuses on the "Wildcards", members of the United States Marine Corps Space Aviator Cavalry, 58th Squadron. They are stationed on the space carrier USS Saratoga, and act as infantry and pilots of SA-43 Endo/Exo-Atmospheric Attack Jet ("Hammerhead") fighters.
Kristen Cloke — Capt. Shane Vansen (USMC), callsign first episodes "Ace of Diamonds", later changed to "Queen of Diamonds". The eldest of three daughters, Vansen was born to two career marines. Her parents were executed at the hands of a patrol of Silicates during the A.I. war (she would later discover on interrogating a Silicate that her home was invaded and her parents killed as she and her sisters watched due to a coin toss (the Silicates adhering to their doctrine of "Take a chance" (Ep1.04) She joined the Marine Corps to honor their memories, and with ambitions to be one of the elite of the 127th Squadron, the "Angry Angels". A natural leader, solid tactician and outstanding pilot, she was quickly chosen by her peers to be in command of her squadron in the early days of the Chig war, (ep1.02)and this choice was reflected in her being selected as 'honcho' by her superiors in missions thereafter. (ep1.04) During the war, she would repeatedly encounter the Silicates, and would demonstrate a cool head under pressure even when facing these nightmares of her childhood.(ep1.04, 1.06, 1.08,1.09) Reflecting her war record, having been wounded several times in combat, received repeated citations for achievement in battle as well as the continued respect of her peers and superiors, 1st Lt. Vansen was promoted to Captain in late 2063. (ep 1.17) She was close friends with all of her squadron, subconsciously slipping into the 'big sister' role that she had been denied as she and her sisters had drifted apart in the aftermath of their parents' deaths.
Morgan Weisser — 1st Lt. Nathan West (USMC), callsign "King of Hearts", Hammerhead dubbed "Above and Beyond" (ep. 1.01)Arguably the heart of the 58th Squadron, Nathan West had never intended to become a Marine. His choice or career and by definition, lifestyle had been in the Tellus Colony program. He and his girlfriend, Kylen Celina had worked long and hard to be selected for the program,with the kind of strong moral conviction of the truly adventurous. They had also been long-standing advocates of InVitro rights. On the eve of their mission to colonise Tellus?, they were advised that one of them was being summarily replaced by an InVitro, a political decision that had ironically robbed them of their dream. Although Nathan tried to stow away, he was unsuccessful, and was removed from the transport. Kylen stayed on, handing a photo of them together, with a recorded message of "I believe in you" to Nathan. He watched as Kylen and his life flew away.Having been advised that a USMC sentry might be stationed at Tellus, he joined the Marine Corps, and was halfway through training when the news arrived that the Vesta? & Tellus colonies had been preemptively attacked by the extraterrestrial species that came to be known as the "Chigs". After undergoing Accelerated Training, he and the rest of the nascent 58th Squadron participated in the "Battle of the Belt"; the Earth forces' first victory against the enemy. 1st Lt. West was credited with six confirmed kills in this space battle. Along with the other members of his Squadron, he was awarded a prestigious medal for this decisive victory. (ep.1.01/1.02)
Rodney Rowland — 1st Lt. Cooper Hawkes (USMC, In Vitro), callsign "Jack of Spades", Hammerhead dubbed "Pag's Payback". (ep. 1.01) After being scheduled to be "erased" for asking a single question about freedom, Hawkes subdued one of his monitors and killed him in retaliation. Escaping the InVitro training facility in Philadelphia, Hawkes lived on the streets until being arrested while chasing an InVitro racist who had tried to hang him. The judge ordered him to the Marines, where he found the only people he ever cared about: The Wild Cards. He bonded especially with his fellow soldier Mike "Pags" Pagodin, who was K.I.A in the early stages of the conflict with the Chigs; and Lt. Col. "T.C." McQueen, who became a father figure to him.
Joel de la Fuente — 1st Lt. Paul Wang (USMC), callsign "Joker". After growing up in poverty in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois, Wang enlists and is assigned to the Wildcards. He was especially known for his sense of humor, attachment to the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley field, and his budding romance with Lt. Stroud (played by Melissa Bowen, who later married Joel de la Fuente) and squadmate Vanessa Damphousse.
Lanei Chapman — 1st Lt. Vanessa Damphousse (USMC), callsign "Ace of Hearts". Originally from Upstate New York, Damphousse graduated from Caltech with a degree in nuclear physics. She functions as the squad's technical expert. She is in a relationship with a previously married man, who is later revealed to have left her for her best friend. She is close to Paul Wang, with whom she becomes romantically involved over the course of the series.
James Morrison — Lt. Col. Tyrus Cassius "T. C." McQueen (USMC, In Vitro) callsign "Queen 6". McQueen is the commander who leads the 58th. Prior to assuming this position, McQueen has commanded the 127th squadron, the Angry Angels; the unit was decimated during the first contact with the Chigs, leaving McQueen as the sole survivor. He is a veteran of the AI wars, during which he was captured and tortured. McQueen is divorced from his wife due to his inability to procreate naturally. McQueen has a strong bond with Hawkes, for whom he functions as a father figure.
Episodes, Number, Name, Director, Creator
A human colony 16 light-years away is attacked and destroyed by an unknown alien force (the Chigs) while a group of youngsters enlist in the United States Marine Corps. While they train to become aviators, war is declared and human military forces suffer several costly defeats. The recruits are sent on a routine training mission.
Captured enemy information reveals the battle plans of the alien attackers. The half-trained 58th the Wild Cards squadron, based upon the space carrier USS Saratoga is deployed to the far rear. However not everything is as it seems and the inexperienced 58th are suddenly thrown into a desperate battle.
2, The Farthest Man from Home, David Nutter, Glen Morgan & James Wong
The Space carrier USS Saratoga passes close to the planet Tellus? where human colonists were ambushed. Hoping that his missing girlfriend Kylen somehow survived, West goes AWOL with a hammerhead and flies down to the planet.
3, The Dark Side of the Sun, Charles Martin Smith?, Glen Morgan & James Wong
The Wild Cards are sent to secure a major fuel ore mining facility, only to find it in the hands of enemy A.I. Silicates.
The 58th travel upon a civilian cargo hauler. The ship is attacked and the captain decides to sacrifice part of his InVitro cargo in order to save his ship. A mutiny forces Hawkes and McQueen, both In Vitros, to make a difficult decision.
5, Ray Butts, Charles Martin Smith, Glen Morgan & James Wong
A mysterious colonel arrives unexpectedly on the USS Saratoga. Recruiting the Wild Cards for a classified mission, he changes the mission's objective as soon as they're behind enemy lines.
6, Eyes, Felix Alcala?, Glen Morgan & James Wong
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is assassinated by an InVitro. The UN assembly decides to gather upon the USS Saratoga to choose a replacement, while a mandatory loyalty test is imposed upon all InVitros in the military, including Colonel McQueen and Cooper Hawkes. Meanwhile West is informed that high-ranking UN officials knew about the alien threat before the colonists were sent to the Vesta colony.
The members of the 58th are victims of a Chig mind-altering weapon on the contested planet Tartarus?. Unable to control their innermost fears they begin to turn on each other.
The USS Saratoga captures a Chig bomber and McQueen suggests that they use the vessel as a Trojan Horse. The plan is to attack the aliens' homeworld in order to raise troop morale - a plan that goes horribly wrong.
The 58th crash-land on a moon deep inside enemy territory and Wang, West, Vansen and Damphousse are captured by Silicates while Cooper and McQueen manage to flee and evade capture. Wang is tortured and broken by a ruthless Silicate while West discovers that Kylen is among other prisoners. A Silicate decides that either Vansen or Damphouse will die and leaves the choice up to them. The Wild Cards attempt to escape.
Suffering a brain concussion, West is rescued among the corpses of several US marines. His incoherent ravings that the 58th are still alive are dismissed due to an earlier transmission in which West stated that all his comrades are dead.
When the 58th are trapped inside a damaged space APC stranded deep inside enemy territory on Christmas day, they receive a cryptic transmission which tells them how to "hitch a ride" back to safety upon an incoming comet's orbit.
12, Who Monitors the Birds?, Winrich Kolbe?, Glen Morgan & James Wong
Undertaking a covert assassination operation in exchange for an honorable discharge, Cooper Hawkes is wounded while his team member is killed. All alone inside enemy territory he struggles to stay alive and is haunted by visions of death trying to seduce him in the incarnation of Shane Vansen. He remembers his past InVitro? education and how he was scheduled to be terminated because he asked too many questions.
13, Level of Necessity, Thomas J. Wright, Matt Kiene & Joe Reinkenmeyer
After experiencing an anomalous precognition which saved the lives of the 58th, Damphousse is investigated by a colonel in charge of the Psi Corps. The colonel is convinced that she possesses psychic powers and deduces that only true mortal danger activates Damphousse's precognition. Therefore he joins the 58th in a very dangerous mission.
14, Never No More, James Charleston?, Glen Morgan & James Wong
Several fighter squadrons gather upon the USS Saratoga in preparation for a rumoured future offensive. Vansen meets a former boyfriend, who is now the captain of the 35th the Faithful squadron. A single enemy fighter ace, nicknamed Chiggy von Richthofen, is rumoured to be hunting and destroying entire squadrons. The brass decides that all knowledge about Chiggy von Richthofen has to be suppressed and officially denied by all high-ranking officers for the sake of morale. A spy satellite has to be deployed for the planned invasion; the 35th gets the assignment and Vansen decides to transfer towards it. McQueen, risking a court-martial, gives her a warning to be extremely cautious.
15, The Angriest Angel, Henri Safran?, Glen Morgan & James Wong
A plan to trap and destroy Chiggy von Richthofen, who pilots a prototype stealth space fighter, fails. Colonel T. C. McQueen, a survivor of the destroyed elite 127th the Angry Angels squadron, prepares himself to search, find and engage the enemy ace.
West is upset when his younger brother, who has joined the Marines, arrives upon the USS Saratoga under the command of an inexperienced and foolish gung-ho lieutenant.
17, Dear Earth, Winrich Kolbe, Richard Whitley?
The members of the 58th receive letters from home, some with good news, some with bad, while McQueen and Cooper are ordered to cooperate in a TV documentary about InVitros serving in the United States Marine Corps.
18, Pearly, Charles Martin Smith?, Richard Whitley
On a planet overrun with Chigs, the 58th retreat with a tank driver of the US 7th Cavalry upon a tank named "Pearly". They encounter the eccentric Major Cyril MacKendrick, sole survivor of a battalion of the British Coldstream Guards. Wang encounters a Silicate of the same model that previously tortured him.
19, R&R, Thomas J. Wright, Jule Selbo?
The exhausted Wild Cards are granted R&R aboard the Bacchus, a pleasure ship where it's said anything can, and does, happen.
A mysterious group of extremely high-ranking officers disembark on the Saratoga and the 58th are ordered to escort an unresponsive space APC. The mysterious APC suddenly locks on their Hammerheads and opens fire.
A planetary invasion by Earth military forces is ambushed and turns into a military disaster. There is no air support and no ground reinforcement as the supporting fleet, among it the USS Saratoga, is forced to abandon 25,000 stranded marines in order to launch another assault, which could ultimately save millions of lives, upon a more strategic planet. Before departing, Commodore Ross issues instructions: "You're strongly encouraged, but not ordered to do so, to keep engaging the enemy. If however the situation becomes untenable you're authorized to surrender. Semper fidelis.". Among the scattered, abandoned and demoralized marines are the 58th, struggling to survive.
The Wild Cards land on the moon of the Chig's home planet and encounter an extraterrestrial creature which may be an entirely different life form or an unarmoured Chig?. Soon afterwards the enemy proposes a truce.
23, ...Tell Our Moms We Done Our Best", Thomas J. Wright, Glen Morgan & James Wong
While peace talks on the USS Saratoga go awry, the disgraced 58th are sent to retrieve POWs trapped in a crippled Space APC. Several enemy space fighters attack and the 58th take heavy losses. It is discovered the Chigs are only offering peace because they know Earth's military will defeat them.