Defying Gravity came to an abrupt halt last week, here in the UK. I neglected to read up on it before I started watching, and it was only around the third or fourth episode that I discovered the show was cancelled in the US after its first season. Poop. To be fair, I can see why it might have had trouble attracting an audience, regardless of the creator’s gripes about lacklustre publicity… its basically a slow-burning, supernatural soap-opera set in space… like Solaris stretched out for the long-haul. There was a lot of humour in the main characters’ banter, but overall the first few episodes were a slightly dour experience, with only the charm of the cast keeping things ticking over. At least Lost had the common decency to set itself on a gorgeous tropical island, so there was plenty of lush scenery to lap up between the more tedious flashbacks… with Defying Gravity, all you get is a rainbow of greys between the spaceship, training centre, and mission control, with a crappy local bar thrown in occasionally for a dash of colour. Eye-candy, it ain’t. In terms of the plot, enough was revealed and resolved before the finale to leave me feeling reasonably satisfied, but still hungry for more. The only problem there is that there will never be any more. Ever.
It was nice to see Laura Harris, of Dead Like Me fame, again. She’s a fun, sparky actress, but her character in this was a little too flighty and gaffe-prone for my liking. Still, some of her best scenes came when she was hanging out with her gal-pal ‘Jen’, played by Christina Cox. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Cox in anything before, but immediately warmed to her. There’s something about her that radiates responsibleness (is that a real word?) and quiet confidence. She’s a sturdy, safe pair of hands, and exactly the sort of friend you’d want watching your back on a crazy jaunt around the galaxy. Cox also handled Jen’s more emotional scenes very well, as the pressures of a long-distance relationship and loss of purpose ground her down. An award-worthy performance, imho, albeit one that is consigned to the DVD graveyard now.
I’ve read an interview with the show’s creator James Parriott on a fansite, which revealed a few of his ideas about where certain storylines would have gone, and it sounds like it could have been an intriguing ride… but I doubt it would ever have really “taken off” in a major, must-watch sort of way. Still, I’m sad that gravity eventually took its toll on the show, bringing the cast crashing back to Earth.