Last night I watched a pilot of a new series, "Defying Gravity." My wife was unenthused, as she is about anything sci-fi. But I decided to hog the downstairs TV and watch it anyway. The premise is that a new space-ship is taking off for a 6 year tour of 7 planets. First stop is Venus, after a brief pitstop in earth orbit. Only the astronauts don't know that some unknown thing, "it" or "Beta", is making all the decisions, including who is on the mission.
Set in 2054, the mission is commanded (or some other role, it was difficult to tell), is the man who commanded a Mars mission 10 years earlier, a trip that left two people stranded on the red planet. The show is full of flashbacks to the Mars mission and to the 5 years of training this set of astronauts went through to earn a spot on the ship.
One interesting aspect is the view of abortion. Now we're never really told that one of the astronauts had an abortion, but it's certainly implied. Zoe, had a one night stand with the mission commander (the one from the Mars trip). She was drunk and he was persistent, so they ended up at a no-tell motel. He's quite a womanizer, seen hitting on several different women in the pilot (and one woman actively hitting on him).
It is confirmed that she's pregnant and her friend tries to talk her into an abortion. We haven't seen yet that she decided to go through with it, but presumably she wouldn't have been allowed on the trip with a 5 year old at home. What makes all of this interesting, is that all through the pilot, she hears a baby crying. No one else hears the baby, so I'm assuming that it's the baby she aborted.
The series focused more on the romance and tension between characters than it did on any real sci-fi. I was surprised at the free sex within the astronaut community (maybe AIDS and STDs have been eradicated). The tension between former sex partners is shown, so surely, some mission psychologist would have prevented this kind of action. Also, all of the characters went on a drinking binge the night before lift-off. Today airline pilots are prohibited from drinking the night before flights (which makes me glad), why would you let astronauts drink before their flight? One astronaut is even confronted as being an alcoholic, they would let him go? Oh yea, Beta is making the decisions.
All in all, it was a good show. I'll probably watch again next week, but it comes on very late for me (10pm). I can't stay up that late every Sunday night.