Some of you may remember the 2009 ABC Science fiction series called DEFYING GRAVITY. You may also remember that it was short-lived, with only about 8 or 9 episodes airing. It was an intelligent series about a group of astronauts that were on a first mission to the planet Venus. But even though it was a sci-fi set in space, every episode was a lesson in how to deal with real human problems. It was just another example of how good sci-fi can be meaningful, and reach deep into the human experience. But good writing, set design and acting don’t a series make because, like I said, it got canned. There was one saving grace. ABC did finish the first season with 13 episodes, even though they didn’t show them all.
Oh, and did I mention that there was a secret ‘Something’ on the ship, with the astronauts? Of course I didn’t. I’m not trying to give it away just yet, but basically the astronauts thought it was just a historic mission, because the head of the project didn’t tell them that the ‘something’ was on board with them. If you have seen the show on tv, then you have an inkling of what I’m talking about. In fact, this series review is mainly for you geeks out there that caught the show when it aired, but didn’t get a chance to see the rest of the first season. But anybody can watch the trailer.
(SPOILERS) It’s over 40 years in the future, and Donner (Ron Livingston) is one of eight astronauts chosen to partake on a mission to Venus aboard the Antares spacecraft. Well, he wasn’t chosen at first, because his chief, director Goss didn’t want him near the ship. Donner, along with Ted Shaw, apparently botched the previous Mars mission, which left 2 people stranded on the red planet, one being Donner’s lover. But events lead to Donner and Shaw taking the place of two astronauts aboard the Antares that developed heart murmurs… at the same time. It gets more weird.
Eight men and women, four each, finally head off to deep space. But Shaw’s wife – the beautiful and natural hair rockin’ Eve (Karen LeBlanc), keeps going into a secret room and having visions, talkin’ about ‘It wants to communicate again.’ At this point we know everything isn’t on the up and up. Then we realize that the Antares crew doesn’t know there is something screwy going on. They are just going about their business, trying to do their jobs like good astronauts. But it’s hard when you’re battling homesickness… and having hallucinations. They think it’s because of the space travel, but back on Earth, Eve and Goss know the real deal. Eve tells her husband Ted (Malik Yoba), who is captain of the crew, to look in one of the storage bays. He sees what Eve has been seeing in the secret room on earth. All we see is some bright yellow light shine in Ted’s face, and him getting super freaked out. Later in the series, Ted finally spills the beans to the rest of the crew and they all stand there together, looking at a bright yellow light shining in their faces. Can you believe that’s where the series stopped airing on ABC? WHAT WAS IN THE ROOM? Talk about a cliffhanger that will make you spit your corn chips at the TV, the network producers really pissed me off that day.
(DOUBLE SPOILERS) Okay, so after a few years of me wondering what that super bright, sunrise colored light was that lit up the crew, the production company decided to release the show on DVD. At first I thought to myself ‘Who would want to buy a show that ended like that?’ But then I realized that they included the rest of the episodes. Finally, some answers. I knew it probably wasn’t going to be a full story like DAYBREAK was, which also aired on ABC, aaaaand got canceled before its time (still one of my favorite shows). But I figured I would be satisfied just knowing what was behind the secret door. As I had guessed, it was an alien. But I what I didn’t know was that the alien was a fractal based life form, composed of elements not even discovered on earth yet. And on top of that, this alien that was aboard the Antares wasn’t the only one in the system. There was one on each planet! How did Eve and Goss and the others involved know? The aliens started contacting each other years ago. As a young adult, Eve ‘heard’ their communication mentally, and that’s how she got involved in the program. Donner and Shaw didn’t know at the time, but that’s why they went to mars first.
Sadly, the season only lasted 13 episodes, with the last one showing Donner, and fellow astronaut Zoe Barnes, retrieving the second alien from the surface of Venus. I still didn’t know what the aliens were exactly, and why they contacted humans or what their purpose was. And of course the finale left us with some cliffhangers, like is the world going to find out about the aliens? And is Zoe going to live from her ordeal on Venus (she got Jacked-Up)?
If you’ve caught the show on TV before, then it may be worth your while to catch the unaired episodes. And I don’t want to tell you to invest in a show that got canceled, but if you haven’t seen it before, you might like to check out the first few episodes, just for curiosity’s sake. It was definitely a humanistic show that delved into the lives of people, and what was important in the grand scheme of things. If you watch (or watched) DEFYING GRAVITY, let Geek Soul Brother know what you thought.