DVD Review: DEFYING GRAVITY - THE COMPLETE SERIES

PrintE-mail Written by Julian White

 

Review: Defying Gravity – the Complete Series / Cert: 15 / Director: Various / Screenplay: Various / Starring: Ron Livingston, Laura Harris, Ty Ollson, Christina Cox / Release Date: February 25th

It was mission aborted after only one season for this ambitious show, which is a shame because it at least tries to bring something different to telly sci-fi, albeit with mixed results. Some forty years in the future, a team of astronauts go on a grand tour of the Solar System – seven planets in six years. But what they don't know initially is that a strange entity is hitching a ride in one of the storage pods and dictating their every move. When they do find out, you can bet it gives them pod for thought.

Defying Gravity comes from the same stable as Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives, and it's basically a soap in the sometimes wistful, sometimes comedic vein of those shows, but in space. Or at least partly in space. Because we also spend a fair bit of time on Earth, as a consequence of regular crosscutting to Mission Control and numerous flashbacks to the crew's first year of training.

This latter device immediately identifies Defying Gravity as one of those shows that jumped on the Lost bandwagon just when audience enthusiasm for that whole flashbacky thing was starting to wane. It poses particular problems here. Primarily this is because the flashbacks themselves aren't all that gripping, centring as they do on the crew's romantic entanglements with one another – the sort of antics that are fine for the characters in 90210 but that seem beneath the dignity of highly trained spacemen and women (Desperate Astronauts?). But they also have the more insidious effect of undermining the sense of isolation, the separation from all things Earthly, that is kind of the point of a story of this nature. And – like red shift – the further into space we go, the longer the flashbacks seem to become.

On the bright side, the show looks stupendous on DVD, going for a chilly, 2001: A Space Odyssey-style aesthetic, all Teflon and touchscreens. There are some clever details (a rabbit foetus floating in zero gravity, one of the astronauts vlogging in Splanglish for the benefit of classrooms back on Earth), and later episodes take a darker, more sharply questioning tack as the mission seems doomed to failure and of more and more questionable validity (you get the impression morale was seriously low in the writer's room by this stage). Heading the cast, Ron Livingston (Band of Brothers) brings bags of folksy charm to his role as Donner, a veteran haunted by a calamitous Mars landing, and the behind-the-lens talent includes Peter Howitt (Sliding Doors) on directorial duties. A worthy attempt, then, to do grown-up, emotionally rich, character-driven SF – but it ends up seeming like hard SF with a soft centre and not quite the real deal.

Extras: Mission Accomplished – a look at Defying Gravity / Photo slideshow / Deleted Scenes / Character profiles


Suggested Articles:
In The Perfect Insider a programming genius is murdered in a locked room in her research base. Visit
Jamil Dehlavi’s Jinnah documents the trials and tribulations of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the man
With a tagline reading ‘Lies eventually catch up’, Malcolm Deegan’s sole feature outing as wri
The success of Easy Rider in 1969 took everyone by surprise and after it, the big studios scrambled
scroll back to top

Comments  

 
0 #3 Daniel 2014-04-25 12:02
” These are the ones who will absorb that which comes from others,
whether they are political figures or associated with the mainstream media, and will reach conclusions based upon the voices and actions
of others as they display such an unconditional
loyalty to those entities that personal logic or common sense and reasoning
is not even a requirement to reach those conclusions.
The unique bent head allows for easy view of the eye while applying eyeliner.

Manipulation of the muscles means the lymph is easily drained, carrying away
with it toxins and waste products which can build up in the
surrounding tissues.

my blog post web
site: http://bestlashenhancer.angelfire.com
Quote
 
 
0 #2 Captain Scarlet 2013-04-11 21:01
I too watched this series with great enjoyment despite the BBC doing their best to alienate the viewership by messing around with broadcast times. What I would like is a Blu-Ray release as it worth replaying and I have seen it three times so far. Damn fool thing for the execs to cancel this show as it was interesting and original and had a great cast.
Quote
 
 
0 #1 Shauna Askew 2013-02-07 22:03
I loved this show!
Quote
 

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

THE PERFECT INSIDER - COMPLETE SEASON COLLECTION 03 December 2016

JINNAH (1998) 02 December 2016

FRACTIONAL 02 December 2016

THE HIRED HAND (1971) 02 December 2016

IRONSIDE SEASON 4 02 December 2016

IRONSIDE SEASON 3 02 December 2016

STAR TREK: THE RODDENBERRY VAULT 02 December 2016

GHOST IN THE NOONDAY SUN 29 November 2016

AKIRA: THE COLLECTOR’S EDITION 29 November 2016

ASTERIX: THE MANSIONS OF THE GODS 29 November 2016

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

      
      
 
...
 
 
...
 
 
 
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144