November 25, 2001 - 9:39 PM
After the news of his departure from Andromeda broke on Friday (story), former executive producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe offered to answer questions from fans concerned about the ramifications of his departure from the series.
Posting his answers at the Slipstream BBS, Wolfe was unable to talk about the new direction of the series, but he did provide some insight into his vision of Andromeda.
In light of Kevin Sorbo's (Dylan Hunt) assessment that the series lacked the "turn-up-tune-in" attitude, Wolfe was asked how continuity-driven he had wanted the show to be.
"The first ten episodes [of season two] or so are good examples of how much continuity I wanted to address in each episode," he said. "Well, maybe a little less, I did cut back a bit at Tribune's request, so we didn't hit the Harper infestation thing quite as much as I'd have liked, for example.
"Still, just about what we're doing in the October and November episodes. 'Into The Laybrinth' from this season or 'It Makes A Lovely Light' from last season are good examples of episodes that are about as continuity heavy as I ever would have wanted to get. And always mixed in with fairly stand-alone type episodes like the upcoming 'The Prince'."
Wolfe added that his plan for the series could have been adapted to any changes that needed to be made. "I didn't have a written outline. I pretty much had it all in my head. It was moderately detailed but still flexible enough to take into account things like Brent's [Stait] trouble with the make-up, etc. I definitely knew where we were headed and some of the major landmarks on the way, but I didn't have the kind of meticulous, highly detailed outline they had on 'Babylon 5,' for example."
Many fans wondered why continuity could pose a problem for the series. "Basically, the belief is that if the show is too complex and too continuity driven, it will have a difficult time attracting new viewers and, most especially, it will do poorly in reruns," Wolfe answered. "Pundits usually point to the poor showing of 'Hill Street Blues' and 'St. Elsewhere' in syndication as proof that tight continuity shows are a poor long-term financial investment.
"Now, I would argue that that's true - and it's not. 'X-Files' and 'Buffy' both have lots of continuity and are doing quite well in traditional and cable syndication. I still get residual checks for 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,' so someone must be watching it in synication and it sold for a lot of money to TNN. Maybe genre shows are the exception to the rule. I personally thought the way we were handling 'Andromeda' would've left Tribune with a very nice syndication package in a few years and, hopefully, a franchise they could exploit for decades to come. They didn't agree."
Despite the circumstances surrounding his departure from the series, Wolfe wishes his former colleagues all the best for the future. "I have many, many good friends still working on 'Andromeda,' and I wish them nothing but success," he said. "The writing staff is terrific and Allan Eastman is a very skilled executive producer and has been pulling off miracles on a minimal budget ever since we started. So I'm thinking good thoughts."
The writer is still extremely proud of the series that he and his team put on the screen. "We created a believable, complex, deep, and multi-faceted universe ex tabula rosa, one which, I'd like to think, has all the richness and promise of science fiction universes that have had much more time to build."
For fans eager to see more of Wolfe's work, he has a number of projects in the pipeline. "Right now, I'm in the early stages of auditioning for a couple of cool projects and the SciFi channel is still considering my series proposal 'Stranger Than You Think.' I'll let everyone know if and when things crystalize."
There is also the possibility of a movie sometime in the future. "Hans Beimler [former 'Deep Space Nine' co-executive producer] and I are actually in the middle of writing a feature together," Wolfe said. "We're going to try to get it out on the spec market in January or February, so stay tuned."
To ask Robert Hewitt Wolfe a question, or to read further responses from the writer, visit this thread at the SlipstreamBBS.