Aquarius DSV

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screencap from the opening titles of Season Three

Aquarius DSV is the name of two different science fiction television series broadcast in the NAL by the American Broadcasting Corporation (in the 1960s and 70s) and then by CBS (Cambro-American Broadcasting System) in a re-imagined version starting in the 2007 season.

Premise

In both shows, the Aquarius is a Deep Sea Vehicle (DSV), an advanced class of submarine set sometime in an indeterminate future. The ship and her crew explore the seven seas and must (among other things) survive encounters with titanic creatures native to the oceans’ depths as well as political enemies determined to claim territories for underwater colonies. Other DSVs in the series were mentioned or seen, most notably the Kraken and the Leviathan.

Central characters include Commodore Noah Grant, his first officer Captain David Harriman, brash young Lieutenant Ion Ishmael, ship’s physician Dr. Rebecca Grant (the Commodore’s estranged step-daughter), and the brilliant science officer Lieutenant Esther Seymour.

Original Series

various monsters encountered during each of the series' four seasons

In its original incarnation, Aquarius DSV ran from 1967 to 1971, the second two seasons in color. Most media historians agree it was groundbreaking for its time in terms of special effects.

The full story behind development of the DSVs is only hinted at in the original show. Certainly some kind of atomic war or wars have taken place, leaving large sections of the surface world contaminated. A new Council of Nations has organized and is supervising the colonization of underwater habitats. Several such already exist, most obviously Pacifica City (Aquarius’ home base) but more need to be built. However, further exploration of the seas has turned up monstrous life forms (giant crabs, squids, octopi, jellyfish, etc. were all encountered at one time or another) that threaten the new colonies. Making matters worse are secret factions pursuing their own agendas. Such were never positively identified but were clearly modeled on both the SNOR and the Holy Roman Empire as well as Louisianne.

Secret agents, monsters, bizarre events were the staple of the show, which by its final season had episodes involve wendigos and even vompires as well as an island where dinosaurs still roamed and a haunted U-Boat from the Second Great War.

Re-Imagined Series

screencap from the re-imagined opening credits
The re-imagined Aquarius DSV was a far grittier and dramatic rendition of the same basic idea.

Apart from tone, one of the major differences between the two versions is that the re-imagining is much more specific. The pilot takes place in the year 2094, with the advanced submarine Aquarius escorting a convoy of ships carrying several thousand colonists to Pacifica City, including a delegation of government officials. En route, a storm of comets strikes the earth, melting the icecaps and raising the water levels higher than they have ever been. Within days, survivors aboard Aquarius and its convoy learn that civilization on the surface has ceased to exist. The death toll is in the billions. The DSV is one of only a few military vessels left, needed as deep sea creatures are rising in the wake of the disaster. More, efforts are needed to coordinate between Pacifica City and other surviving undersea habitats, not all of whom are self-sufficient.

TO BE CONTINUED

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