What forces are controlling the Antares as it heads on mankind’s next interplanetary mission?
The key force that controlled Defying Gravity, the series, was audience apathy: although there were various hooks to bring people on board the Antares – including flashbacks to the astronauts’ training, revealing the links between them, and a mystery on the ship itself – it just didn’t grab audiences either side of the Atlantic. BBC 2 stuck with it throughout; ABC and CTV in North America dropped it after the first few episodes – the final five never receiving a US broadcast.
There’s a lot to like about the show, particularly that it’s an attempt at a more realistic portrayal of space travel, in the mode of 2001: A Space Odyssey, rather than the shoot-em-up style of the revamp of Star Trek that was in cinemas the summer that Defying Gravity aired. It might have helped if more was set on board, rather than cutting back both to mission control on Earth and the flashbacks.
The trouble is the soap opera element – the “Grey’s Anatomy in space” part of the pitch which apparently helped sell a variant of a BBC 2 fictional documentary series to the networks.
Watched as a 13-episode whole – with a lot, but not all, of the answers to the mysteries provided – it works better than it did episodically, and if you want to know what happens next, Google James Parriott’s interviews when the DVDs came out in the States (he went on to Covert Affairs, where a mix of sex and espionage fit together much better than sex and space!)
Verdict: An interesting attempt at something different. 6/10