TV Review – Defying Gravity Episodes 12 Venus & 13 Kiss

Defying gravity did end on a note of teasing an revelation however the weight given to the human drama elements in the final too episodes – particularly relationships – which will reinforce the views of those who see it as a soap coincidently set in Space.

Well be that as it may. While the awe and mystery of the Beta/Gamma objects may have taken a back seat – if not their threat, it was enjoyable drama all the same. I think there is a place for a drama which does bring as much genuine everyday human experience into Science Fiction – to often SF characters can be little more than idealised archtypes (Next Gen) or glib wisecrackers (Stargate) coming across of having depth of a pretentious 12 year old’s Dungeons and Dragon’s character. Maybe Defying Gravity steered to far the other day but I think it was brave to try.

Venus was about patience, anticipation and disappointment. The disappointment from Paula in her failure to be piloting the landing and the pressure put on her during a psych evaluation. Revelations regarding changes to the crew shared with Mintz who patiently work at monitoring the situation. The anticipation was the flashbacks showing Zoe didn’t make the cut for potential Antares crew leaving a hanging clag which wasn’t resolved by the end of the series – this fitted with the general anticipation of the Venus landing. Venus was perhaps a weaker episode and felt a little like filler. Perhaps Venus, Solitary and Kiss could have been cut to two episodes a significantly quicker pace it wouldn’t have been Defying Gravity but something else.

May a penultimate episode featuring disappointment made sense in retrospect given the shows cancellation.

Certainly in ‘Kiss’ the theme was courage being showed by Zoe in her delusions, Maddux in his devotion and Rollie in facing the consequences of his actions. Other members of the crew showed courage in smaller ways. The Direction was again a little traditional and static which was a shame. The compromises the crew made for the sake of obscuring the truth created an additional tension in the execution of Zoë’s excursion as the version being given the public would not square with her potential demise. There were hints particularly with Nadia of future developments that would have been interesting if done right (if done wrongly we could have been looking at a Tom-Paris-Janeway giant space newt sex car crash.)

I think Kiss was an appropriate sign off for a show which had the courage to try and be something different.

GS Reviewer: Andrew

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One comment

  1. webdiva /

    Kiss wasn’t written to be a sign-off episode: it was written and taped months in advance of ABC’s bungling with this show, which the network treated from the start as an ugly stepchild.

    Defying Gravity treated the concept of venturing into far space with both awe and and commonplace practicality. One is reminded of novelist Stanislaw Lem’s Ivor Tichy and Pirx the Pilot, both characters existing in a time when space travel is common drudgery and taken for granted, with the quirks of everyday life intruding into what was once incomparable adventure. Defying Gravity was somewhere in between the Apollo 11 moon landing and Lem’s microcosm, set in a near future wherein space travel is more common than it is today and yet not so common as to be less than wondrous. There are still big costs and big risks, long-term missions like the Antares are still experimental, and and an adult sense of wonder, challenge and responsibility prevails. Yet there is still mystery as well.

    Defying Gravity was a fine series that would have done well given five or six months to build its audience … that is, if network execs and programmers weren’t all cursed with ADD these days. TV today being what it is, sleeper shows like The X Files would never make it past three or four episodes today, even with adequate promotion (which DG did NOT get) … a sad commentary on the short attention spans of the supposed adults in broadcast programming.

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