Picks and Pans Review: Seaquest Dsv

updated 10/04/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/04/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Sundays, 8 p.m. ET)

B-

It's 2018 and a group of multinational confederations has divvied up the final frontier: the vast area under the earth's oceans. Patrolling the deep waters, keeping the peace and conducting research is a huge, gizmonic submarine, the seaQuest. Onboard is an uneasy mix of sailors and scientists, skippered by the man who designed this ship, lantern-jawed Capt. Nathan Bridger (Roy Scheider).

What we have here, from Steven Spielberg's production company, is the most expensive series ever produced—in excess of $1.7 million per episode. They should have spent less of that budget on computer graphics, scale models and sets—and more on the writing. This is drab melodrama.

Like the recent TV project of Spielberg's friend George Lucas, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, this series is admirably high-minded, moral and didactic. But neither Spielberg nor Lucas would have signed off on a feature film with a plot as bland, a narrative as dilatory, or acting as inept as what is contained in this TV show. SeaQuest DSV (the initials stand for Don't Set the VCR—all right, actually it's Deep Submergence Vehicle) is smashing to behold. Then again, so is the Rose Bowl Parade. And that's not particularly enjoyable TV either. As for my mark, well, the special effects are the only thing keeping this scow from being C-worthy.

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