Defying Gravity Review

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Last Sunday was the two episode premier of “Defying Gravity” on ABC’s primetime line-up. If you’ve been following the Beefboy for a while then you will know that I’m a big fan of science fiction, and I’m particularly supportive of the big networks taking a shot at primetime sci-fi. However, I have a lot of reservations about “Defying Gravity.”

The overarching plot of “Defying Gravity” is a six year trip to Venus by a ship full of astronauts. It’s clear that they are trying to evoke moments of “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Lost”, and those are good role models to have, but, just like space travel, it’s not as easy as it looks.

While I appreciate the heights the writers and producers are trying to achieve, the actual dialogue on the first two episodes is very pedestrian. I do like how they are telling the story by mixing up the sequential nature of the show and I like the where they are going with some of the mystery elements. However, I think I’ve already figured the whole thing out, and that’s not good at all.

The writing is not helping their cast out either. While these actors are perfectly fine in their roles, no one stands out as being particularly charismatic or extraordinarily talented. They really need the gravitas of a salty-dog veteran actor to anchor the show and it’s just not there. The cast is plenty attractive, and that’s something, but it’s not enough.

I have some questions about the science on Defying Gravity. The special effects are thin, and the production design is uninspired. The science, effects and design all seem to be the result of a low budget. I don’t know how the Sci-Fi Channel (or SyFy now) can have exceptional effects and production on a show like “Battlestar Gallactica,” but a major network turns in such a sophomoric effort. I suspect that a low budget was the only way this series was going to get made, so I can forgive them for that transgression.

All of this means that “Defying Gravity” is unlikely to be defying gravity for much longer. I’m far more gracious with science fiction than the average viewer. When compared to other shows that were legitimately good out of the gate (like “Firefly”) “Defying Gravity” just doesn’t measure up. While I sincerely hate to deride a primetime science fiction series on a major network, I also don’t want to prop up a show that degrades the genre. It’s possible that this series will improve over time, but I really think the cast and crew of “Defying Gravity” are over their heads, by several million miles.

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