January 13, 2010
Defying Gravity is a TV series about a space exploration mission, and about the astronauts life to get on that mission. A lot of the talk about the show focussed on how it was cancelled, however the BBC has now shown all thirteen episodes and I think it's worth forgetting about what could of been and thinking about what was.
Each of the episodes has two time-frames: the training of the astronauts and the actual space mission itself. It's easy to compare it to Lost in this respect but in Defying Gravity the "backstory" feels like a more significant portion, on par with the "present story". Also Defying Gravity had less of the shock reveal aspect than Lost, with the training plot being substantial enough to stand alone. The focus of all of the stories is the characters, their actions, their life, their feelings. It's not a thriller, or an action series, or a mystery series. It's about life as an astronaut, albeit an astronaut on the greatest space mission man has ever undertaken.
Only one aspect of the programme felt unnecessary: the voice-over. Each episode the voice-over would spell out the moral of the story, just in case you weren't paying attention. It was pandering to the lowest common denominator, just in case. I don't know whether it was added by the TV companies request, but I wish they had the guts to let the story speak for itself.
Eventually it is revealed that the true mission of the spaceship is not just a grand tour of the Solar System, but to pick up alien artefacts, one of which had been found on Earth. The artefacts cause hallucinations with humans in close contact. The device of the hallucinations to reveal moments about the characters worked well, although the show seemed to function better before the reveal. I liked the aspect of the crew in space alone, dealing with it, going slightly crazy.
It's an enjoyable TV show, one which kept me watching and made me care about the characters. Forget about the cancellation because each episode is enough of a story to enjoy. Another thirteen episodes may have been nice, or it may have been its ruin. We'll never know, but if you haven't seen this series I enthusiastically recommend watching it.