Defying Gravity

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Aug 02, 2009 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
211 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

In 2052, four women and four men prepare to start the most ambitious exploration of the solar system in the history of mankind aboard the Antares. When two of the astronauts get sick, one of their alternates learns the true nature of the mission.

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  • Many interesting and controversial topics (Too many ?), great performance by Ron Livingston but stereotyped characters, ER in space so fake science fiction but intriguing mission secret

    A video clip featuring Ron Livingston convinced me to learn more about Defying Gravity. I only saw him in Office Space but his character and performance were so great that I just couldn't resist. However when I read on Wikipedia « The series was pitched to networks as "Grey's Anatomy in space." » my expectations went straight from high to low. Of course after watching the clip it was obvious the show wouldn't be as deep and smart as Virtuality, considering the number of babes running around and the sexist jokes, but when it comes to science fiction fans are not accustomed to deal with Desperate relationships and stereotyped characters. But I decided to give it a chance anyway because some elements intrigued me.

    First I thought it would deal with reality-based productions but it doesn't as the lives of the astronauts are only recorded and used to produce a documentary. But it's not a problem as Virtuality already and brilliantly covered the subject. Second the libido-controlling device should lead to quite interesting twists. As a human being I find the idea horrific and just thinking about how some poor animals are butchered make me sick. However it seems the writers have decided to cover the issue and things don't seem as simple as the technology would like it to be. Humans are not objects, we have feelings. In general many other philosophical topics and issues are also covered. For example the eternal battle between destiny and free will, rationality and spirituality. The scenes weren't perfect but at least they were interesting and one ensemble character, an indian, was well used. In fact he reminded me of the one in Heroes. We don't share the same believes but if you keep an open mind and forgive the over the top elements you should enjoy them. Abortion was also covered and it worries me a little because I hope the show is not sponsored by some organization trying to brainwash our minds with their one-sided ideas. Moreover the writers' opinion is obvious considering how the issue is mixed with the story. Other subjects like after life, control and teamwork are also covered. So to sum things up all these elements demonstrate that the show has potential. Moreover Livingston's performance was quite convincing even if his character attitude reminded me of Tom Cruise's characters in his younger days.

    However the sci-fi elements are just excuses to make us believe that it's not yet an other drama. Defying Gravity is definitely ER in space. The visual effects are not cheap but definitely not great, the spaceship design is not inspiring and the writers chose the easy way when it comes to deal with zero gravity for example. But I have to admit that the big secret behind their mission is quite intriguing. Many events occurred related to it but for the moment we don't know what it is. I already read the next episode summary, Natural Selection, and it seems it'll revealed in it. Moreover both episodes were aired the same day so I suppose they should be considered as a single pilot episode. So even if I found the usual subliminal YouTube advertisements annoying and the slow motion scenes pathetic I have decided to give it one more chance.moreless
  • Not sure yet... but may be promising..

    Mm... considering this is a pilot.. I am not sure. I cannot say it was brilliant but it wasn't bad either. I think I am that kind of person who likes sci-fi and little drama added to it, why not. So, I think I am going to watch it couple of more episodes and probably more but I am not sure this show can survive in network like that. Ofcourse I am not sure where the show is going - will it be just drama and relationship thing or will there be sci-fi aspects more? That first episode did not gave that answer but for sure it gave something to expect - the big "secret" or thing.. what is that, how it affects and why it affects the crew.

    Anyway, I really think that show can be exciting and who knows, maybe they can work it out. I am not expecting any hit or so, but that episode was quite ok.moreless
  • Never heard about this show until last week. Been a bit under the radar.

    Defying Gravity was boring and the acting was awful and worse than most daytime soaps, used too many clichés as someone previously stated, in addition, there was the cute but annoying Mexican girl who threw in unrealistic Spanish in for no reason (look at under "Gratuitous Foreign Language"), even if in the future Spanish becomes more of a major language, it's still completely ridiculous if the girl speaks English (almost) perfectly, and yet she's speaking random Spanish words to everyone else whose common language is obviously English, it's just complete Hollywood bullcrap and unrealistic, Spanish speakers if they speak English, they're not gonna speak in random Spanish to "gringos" who won't understand what they're saying, it was so stupid and just one of the many things wrong with this show. Also those corny musical sequences, how about replacing those moments with actual good and interesting dialogue?moreless
  • MTV / Lost Generation Sci-Fi Crap

    It is difficult to summarize how bad this show is and its numerous flaws but I will try...

    01. Most of the crew are infantile idiots who would never make it through astronaut training.

    02. Decrepit character development.

    03. The plot CRAWLS with no explanation of the causes of random "action/drama" events.

    04. Not a bit of science or explanation of how any of the ship system work or function. (The MTV demographic chooses not to think about such things.)

    05. After the the second episode we still have no idea what "IT" is and if I see where this is going, viewers will have absolutely no clue what "IT" is until maybe episode 30. I really think that the title for this series is a misnomer. The real title for this series should have been "Lost 2" or even better "Lost In Space".moreless
  • We meet the crew of the Antares and get our first inkling of the mysterious circumstances surrounding their mission.

    This pilot offers our first look at the crew of the Antares and the people that will guide their mission from Earth. There are several flashbacks to 2 different times used to give us some background into the characters. The first being 10 years ago, in 2042, when Donner and Shaw were forced by Goss to leave 2 other members of crew behind on Mars, presumably to die. One of these abandoned crew members was Donner's wife/partner judging from the photos we see of the 2 of them. The second flashback is when the training for the Antares mission began 5 years ago and the new cadets met the old hands, Donner and Shaw. Now Goss is in charge causing plenty of friction between himself and Donner. In 'present day' 2052 Donner and Shaw are not part of the team leaving on a 6 year mission to all 7 planets which Donner believes is due to what happened on Mars. There are also several allusions through secret meetings and vague chats between Goss and Shaw's wife (who is one of the people in charge) regarding a secret aspect to the mission, either something they are carrying on board or something they will encounter I believe. Shaw and Donner are told suddenly that they will be on the mission to replace 2 crew members who mysteriously now have heart conditions. As a result Shaw is told the truth about the mission and we discover the other crew members will not be told until they are over a month into the mission when it will be too late to opt out. We also observe an attraction between Donner and Barnes and later learn that they were going out at one point and allegedly Donner could have had a child with Barnes. Couples seem to be a theme in the group as Rollie and Jen are married but will now be separated for 6 years and Jen may have also dated Shaw who is now married to the boss. It is also interesting to hear references to some harsh rules such as required vasectomies and the conversation between Jen and Zoe regarding unwanted pregnancies and the suggestion that abortion is now illegal. I think this series offers promise and it will be interesting to see where they take it.moreless
Charles Haid

Charles Haid

Maddux Donner's Father

Guest Star

Adrian Hough

Adrian Hough


Guest Star

Michael St. John Smith

Michael St. John Smith


Guest Star

William C. Vaughan

William C. Vaughan

Arnel Poe

Recurring Role

Leanne Adachi

Leanne Adachi

Suki Cho / FDO

Recurring Role

Lara Gilchrist

Lara Gilchrist


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Featured Music:
      "Pioneering" by Adaline (Bar scene)
      "Hope for the Hopeless" by A Fine Frenzy (During Jen/Rollie's love scene, Donner prepares to leave, Ajay paints his face/heads to the airlock)
      "Alive" by Edwin (the Antares takes off for Venus)

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Zoe: I always thought out of the two of us you'd be the one flying.
      Donner: So did I.

    • Donner: (voice-over) My old man calls space travel a fool's game. He says human beings are 60 percent water, they eat, sleep, defecate, can't follow directions, and explode like piñata when exposed to the vacuum in space. Lately, I've been wondering if he is right.

    • Donner: (voice-over) I've always been one of those people who believe that you create your own destiny. I'm through a few bad decisions, I certainly made mine. But as much as I believe in self-determination, there are those who simply do not. It's that kind of thinking that makes me nervous. Because being an astronaut is all about control. From the walk to the launch pad to the final touchdown. You don't want surprises. It's not about fate. It's about planning.

    • Donner: We're not getting away from it, are we? Mars is just gonna haunt us till the day we die.
      Ted: Headline in our obits.

    • Ajay: I've always believed that this was my mission, my ship, that I was traveling on the path Ganesha wanted for me. That this out here was where my challenges and obstacles laid. I feel so lost now. I cannot understand this. I cannot. Who needs this path more than I?

    • Donner: We can find redemption in the simpliest acts of humanity. I've never heard of a robot or a probe that was able to do that. So if space travel is a fool's game, then... Hey, that's what I am. So be it. But I've never felt more alive. Or more human.

    • Eve Shaw: How many of them do you think would have gone if we had told them.
      Mike Goss: That's a weak-minded question, Eve. But the answer is all of them. Every single one.
      Eve Shaw: Thank you, I will be able to sleep tonight.

    • Ajay: Goss knows that there is no way I can do this without you. You, me, that ship, we're a three-way, Donner.
      Donner: Team.
      Ajay: Yes.
      Donner: Trio. That's... three-way is different.

  • NOTES (3)