Picks and Pans Review: Space: Above and Beyond

updated 11/06/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/06/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

Fox (Sundays, 7 p.m. ET)

B

It's war! In the year 2063, Earth's space colonists are suddenly under attack from a brutal race of extraterrestrial marauders who, in their armored panoplies, look like first cousins to the fiends in the Predator movies. As if they weren't trouble enough for our sidereal settlers, there are also packs of robots knocking around the planets who are identical to humans except for their spooky X-pupil eyes. We created these intelligent machines to act as our servants, but they escaped into space nursing a murderous grudge against humankind.

Enter a young cadre of U.S. Marine recruits—the focus of this sci-fi series—who rocket back and forth between their space station and wherever hell happens to break loose in the heavens. Their weekly missions are complicated by a futuristic form of affirmative action: included in their ranks are a government-mandated quota of In Vitros, a minority of humans disparagingly referred to as "tanks" and discriminated against because they are hatched as adults from artificial-insemination cylinders. This disaffected underclass provides the show with its brooding antihero (former Calvin Klein model Rodney Rowland). The Marines' greatest warrior is a woman (Kristen Cloke) who is driven to avenge the slaughter of her parents by the disgruntled robots.

The visual components of the show—particularly the armament and the battle scenes—are sleek enough to excite younger viewers. But the plots and characters in Space are as thin as the air up there, and might leave adults floating out in the cold.

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