One of my favorite series from last year, DEFYING GRAVITY, finally came out on DVD this week — that means viewers can see the five episodes that ABC never aired. As a spaceship hurtles toward Venus and some type of mysterious project, they relive their relationships and friendships in flashback and onboard the spacecraft. Originally intended to run at least three seasons, the show was cancelled after one, primarily because of the way ABC screwed the producers out of funding.
Of the three shows I have loved most the last few years, all of them on ABC, and all of them cancelled, this was by far my favorite (the other two, Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone.)
ABC picked up this series literally three weeks before they aired the first episode, mis-sold it as a “Gray’s Anatomy in space” and never spent the money to develop an audience for the show as a mid-summer replacement. Developed as a multi-national series (including Fox, the BBC, and Space) this was not an ABC series, but one that they purchased and then botched selling. A websearch will lead you to the outline for the remaining episodes had the series continued beyond season 1. Sadly, the cast was dismissed, and the sets dismantled and destroyed in October.
This 4-DVD set contains all the episodes (including the 5 not aired on ABC), deleted scenes, and other extras. I watched all 5 unaired episodes in one sitting. This is the type of great television that was designed and written for Network, but shows why quality television is heading toward cable. The characters are interesting, the storylines gripping, and the episodes get better and better as they go along. The last 5 unaired episodes are by far the strongest episodes, and the show, sadly, leaves you dangling at the end. You can sort of infer how some of the pieces were going to play out, but this is just a darn shame that it was cancelled.
There is some fine acting here — from Ron Livingston’s mcdreamy sadsack astronaut to Eyal Poddel’s emotionally wounded psychologist. But every single supporting player here is good, and they are all likable.
The DVD quality is excellent (widescreen High Definition); the sets and costumes look great, the special effects are terrific. You will really enjoy this series, and like most viewers long for more. And unlike some other fare, this is bright sci-fi; colorful, with a heart. It focuses on the characters more than the science, but even that is fun.
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