“Defying Gravity” didn’t quite soar to new heights

[clearspring_widget title=”The most ambitious mission in history!” wid=”48bda4baaf82f1d1″ pid=”4a774cc2042eb444″ width=”308″ height=”235″ domain=”widgets.abc.go.com]

The 2-hour series premiere for ABC’s “Defying Gravity” premiered on August 2, 2009. Here is a description of the show via ABC.com:

Defying Gravity is a sexy, provocative thriller set in the very near future against the backdrop of our solar system, in which the eight astronauts from five countries undertake a mysterious six-year international space mission on the spaceship Antares. They can’t run from karma, however, as their past actions reveal intimate and interconnected relationships that have a strange effect on the present. As the astronauts travel towards Venus, we travel into their past with flashbacks to earlier years from the grueling selection and training process. What could have happened?

**POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD**

What could have happened indeed? “Defying Gravity” is a cross between ABC’s “Lost” mixed with “Grey’s Anatomy” set in space. It sounds promising on paper, but for me the series premiere fell short of all the hype that surrounded it. I am a little perplexed by the premiere because it jumped between past and present so much that it lacked congruency. In addition to everything going on, the ship’s activities are also being broadcast as some sort of a reality show. One of the astronauts is the host and the other astronauts log video diary “confessions”. By the end of the episode you get a glimpse of what the mystery of show is about, but I don’t know if it was really clear. Perhaps being vague was the goal, in order to keep you watching. If you ask me the premiere was like a puzzle, and when you added all the pieces together; you really didn’t get much insight into what the show was going to be about. Considering that it was a two-hour premiere, I felt that if they spent more time on the characters’ back stories then delve into the story; the premiere could’ve been better. Here is a mini-rundown of the premiere:

  • We meet the 8 astronauts selected for this mission.
  • Zoe Barnes (Laura Harris) makes it into the program, and we find out she is pregnant and that she slept with someone who had a vasectomy.
  • Jen Crane (Christina Cox) befriends Zoe. Jen is dating Rollie Crane (Ty Olsson), who was originally selected to the mission but gets dismissed along with Ajay Sharma (Zahf Paroo) because they both have a heart condition that prohibits them from going into space.
  • Maddux Donner (Ron Livingston) is an instructor and conducts the astronaut candidate training. During a routine checkup, he was told that he needs to get a vasectomy. He says that he got one before, but the doctor says that even though his chart says he had a vasectomy – his body scan tells a different story.
  • One of the replacement astronauts is Ted Shaw (Malik Yoba) and he is informed by his wife Eve Shaw (Karen LeBlanc), who is also one of the mission directors, that there is some mystery with Pod 4 and that he should check it out.
  • The recurring dream sequence: Ron Livingston’s character is fixing something [in space] and then he sees Zoe heading to one of the chambers and opens it (without an astronaut suit on) and she comes out and there is a flash of light.
  • Zoe tests out a new astronaut suit that is suited for Venus’s atmosphere and they are performing tests while checking for leaks [on the suit]. Meanwhile Zoe hears a baby crying and she seems to be the only one who can hear it.
  • Ted Shaw goes to Pod 4 and presses a few keys and then something happens.
  • The hatch opens where Zoe is and then she gets blown out the door and into space. Luckily she was tethered. No one knows who opened the hatch, they think it could’ve been Zoe.
  • Ron Livingston’s character quickly straps on an astronaut suit and heads to the open hatch and begins reeling her in. A lot of flashbacks run through both of their minds and we find out that Maddux and Zoe slept together.
  • Air is running out in Zoe’s suit and she is starting to lose consciousness.
  • Someone suggests to hock a loogey in the suit in order to stabilize the pressure [in the suit] so that Zoe can buy herself more time while Maddux reeled her in.
  • Zoe does what she is told and it works and Maddux is able to get her back onto the ship and the medical team tend to her. They still don’t know who opened the hatch, but they confirm that it wasn’t Zoe.
  • The episode closes with the line “never hit the eject button”, as we flash back to when Ted Shaw investigates Pod 4. It opens and he enters, and then flashes of red rocks or it could’ve been the surface of a planet flash and Ted starts to scream.

I think I have to tune in next week in order to see what is going on with this show. Catch “Defying Gravity” on Sundays on ABC. The full cast list for “Defying Gravity” can be found on IMDB.com. Did you watch the “Defying Gravity” series premiere? What did you think?

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