Defying Genre: Defying Gravity

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Many noble professions get the television treatment; it's impossible to flip through the channels without finding shows about cops, lawyers, doctors, firemen, and even guys who make cakes. So why not astronauts?

That's exactly what ABC is doing with Defying Gravity, a new drama that premieres Sunday. Here's the gist: The show takes place in the future, circa 2050. Eight astronauts are manning a six-year space mission to explore planets in the galaxy. (Conveniently, there are four males and four females -- check that -- four HOT females.) And along the way, they struggle with interpersonal relationships and eerie space happenings.

The show has been pitched as Grey's Anatomy in space, but TV.com asked star Ron Livingston about the science-fiction aspect, and he said it's a bigger part of the story than one would think. Livingston equates the sci-fi aspects to classic tales from the genre's behemoths such as Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlin.

For those who prefer their shows to include more hanky-panky than techno mumbo-jumbo, don't fret. A large chunk of Defying Gravity features plenty of soap-style romance -- including love triangles and zero-G sex.

As a result, what Defying Gravity is two shows in one -- and this could be a good thing or a bad thing. No one will mistake Defying Gravity's sci-fi storylines for Battlestar Galactica's or compare its romantic drama to something out of a good episode of Grey's. But viewers will get is a taste of both sci-fi and sex -- even if neither component will be as good as if it were the focus of the show.

From what we've seen of the pilot episode, the sci-fi elements are much more intriguing than the kissy-kissy drama. If Defying Gravity is to succeed on its mission to become a sleeper summer hit, it's going to need a good intellectual payoff.

Defying Gravity premieres Sunday night at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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