Top positive review
47 of 49 people found this helpful
on 2 April 2013
In many ways, it's easy to see why this show was cancelled; it required the audience to think about what was happening and remember past events, in an age where TV is full of explosions, fast-cuts and two-dimensional characters. It was also a very hard-science brand of science fiction: there were no transporters, warp drives, ray guns or rubber-headed aliens. Everything had been designed to look like it was something that might actually be used on a real space-mission, and they were unafraid to show that being an astronaut is a hard, life-long commitment that only a select few can every aspire to.
Time moves between the 'present' of the mission and the 'past' of training and selection, something that can seem a little confusing at first, but actually works. Other shows would have had the entire first season be nothing more than training and selection, ending with the departure of the mission, but in Defying Gravity they found a way to blend the two time lines together so that they can show you the more visually exciting elements, namely the mission, with the more character driven back story.
The characters are complicated, with deep back stories that are gradually unveiled as time passes. We get an understanding of why they are the way they are. They are complex, functioning humans rather than a collection of stereotypes, and it's easy to see why even the intentionally unsympathetic characters are the way they are. It was clear that a number of the supporting characters were going to become more important had the show continued, so they can seem a little out of place when shown interacting with the main cast. We feel that there are stories there, but we don't know what those stories are.
Visually, Defying Gravity is nothing short of stunning; the sets are a work of art, the CGI is first rate and the sound effects well played. A lot of inspiration was taken from the BBC/Discovery Channel docudrama Space Odyssey: Voyage To The Planets, including the design and mission of the Antares. But where as Space Odyssey had been intended to look like a documentary from the future, Defying Gravity is very clearly a work of speculative fiction.
I wouldn't say this show is a “must see”, but if you like substance over style, and a little more science in your science-fiction, then its something you might want to consider checking out.