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Defying Gravity Blasts Off

August 3rd, 2009 by Rebecca Harper Editor

In the new ABC series Defying Gravity, eight astronauts — four men, four women — are sent on a six-year mission to outer space in the not-so-distant future. Their first stop is Venus, but because this sci-fi series is a soap, too, there’s plenty of on-deck romance. There’s also a bit of mystery: not only are many of the astronauts’ lives already intertwined, but it turns out they’re answering to a enigmatic higher power, something called “Beta.”

Last week, Hulu spoke to actor Ron Livingston (Office Space) about his role as Maddux, a flight engineer with a checkered past in outer space. It turns out he took the role for a couple of reasons: to fulfill a childhood dream and for the chance to play a ladies’ man — after all, this is the guy who played Berger to Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City. See more in the exclusive interview below.

What did you think of the Defying Gravity? Share your thoughts in the comments section, or join in on a discussion from the Defying Gravity show page.

Rebecca Harper ()
Editor, Hulu

Last comment: Oct 24th 2009 29 Comments
  • Edward M Roche says:

    We have now seen the 13 episodes, the final episode posted yesterday. Zoe picks up the Gamma object on Venus and returns to the lander piloted by Donner. Everyone lives, but it seems like a strange place to end the series.

    There is some information that the series is cancelled, other information that it will go into season 2.

  • DG Fan says:

    It’s great to see that momentum is starting to pick up for this great show! I’m anxious to get the official official word, but the rumors of it not getting cancelled are encouraging! There’s a campaign going on over here to make sure the show doesn’t get cancelled: http://defyingravityonline.com.

  • Michael says:

    I think the show is great. I like the speed of the show and the on going story. It is not just the destanation but how they got there. I have wached the shows on line and every time I see something new. I hope the show has a long run.

  • Amitiel says:

    I’m not impressed by this show. The story structure is poorly conceptualized.. The CONSTANT recaps of past events is Annoying.. Characterization is sub standard..

    I get more enjoyment from watching paint dry.. I want a refund on my life for time spent watching this tripe.

    ABC.. Defying Gravity is an Epic Failure.

  • Denisse says:

    I love the fact that there is a new sci-fi show out there. I did not know this show was on, was channel surfing when I stumbled upon it. Because I saw the end of the second chapter, I went online to see the first episode and the start of the second. I am totally hooked on the show. I just hope that ABC decides to keep it on.

  • DaveG says:

    ABC screwed up BIGTIME by releasing this during the summer… Its not often shows take off during the summer…everyone is out doing other things until the weather makes them come in earlier. MOSTshows this summer have flopped BIG TIME. ABC has to give this show a chance…its good writing, special effects, and casting. But, since ABC only concerns itself with how many commercials it can sell in the 42 minutes of actual showtime–it will no doubt shoot itself in the foot and forget that it sometimes should take a chance with things. Didn’t NBC make a similar mistake with STAR TREK back in 1968?

  • Caryl says:

    I am over the moon with this show (no pun intended). You have to actually pay attention to the story lines to stay up with the show. Makes you think! Yea. I hope it gets a long run – science fiction is everywhere these days – finally! At worst, maybe the syfy channel or USA might pick it up if ABC does its normal thing and dumps a good show.

  • Steve says:

    The crewmember “beta” is an interesting , I’m wondering if the name refers to the fact it’s the second intelligent lifeform humans came in contact with (humans=alfa, alien=beta). Or does it mean that there are two syncronized aliens working together .
    One on earth Alfa – communicating w/earth command , and one on the ship Beta-controling the ships mission.

  • Ami says:

    I was fascinated by this, and immediately jumped from Ep 1 to 2. More interested in the scifi part than the soap part. But wondering if this is just an extended Solaris.

    I agree with the last comment though that I’m concened it will disappear from ABC, not usual programming for them and a strange timeslot. I haven’t seen any trailers for it and without hulu would never have known about it. I rarely add comments but felt the need as I don’t want this to die and hope the more positive comments they get more directly from this medium they will listen.

  • kristina Brinton says:

    Loved the show… and it was way better than Virtuality! I hope this catches on…it’s one I think I would watch every week.

    On a side note, I don’t think we can really blame ABC completely for the failure of some great scifi shows–the reason they get killed is because we fans of the genre tend to be in the minority, and they aren’t going to keep a show that isn’t making them the money they could be making with something with broader appeal. I didn’t get the “Grey’s Anatomy” vibe from Gravity–the characters don’t seem nearly as self-involved and bratty. I can’t blame them for Introducing the “relationship aspect” into the scifi genre either–it may be the only way we can please both sides. Lost was successful partly because it was MORE than just a sci-fi premise. It hooked a wide variety of people because of the relatability of the characters and overall themes. I’m just hoping that the networks will give shows like this a little more leeway to build their audiences. Hopefully by now the genre is becoming more and more mainstream so this show won’t go the way of so many others that had great potential.

  • Danny says:

    Syfy is good at killing worthwhile shows as well. So it should be be moved there either. They are showing wrestling on syfy now if tells you anything.

  • M says:

    sorry to say, its not going to be a good one…the scene with sharma in space is…can’t seem to find the words- off. enough said.

  • David says:

    I just finished watching the first two episodes. This plot is well done and I didn’t feel any “lag” time it held my attention. Good science fiction series are hard to find and I hope that they keep this one going.

  • Mary says:

    I saw the interview with your CEO tonight on Charlie Rose. Your company sounds terrific. I am your neighbor.. I live in El Segundo, also known as Mayberry By The Sea and say great going new neighbor Hulu!

  • Lee says:

    Thought the show was really awesome. Ron L. did a great job not making me think anything of office space. As usual lets see how long it lasts. If a show like firefly can get dropped then not a lot of hope for this one. Lets watch and see =)

  • ken1w says:

    A very promising first two hours. I look forward to seeing more, for as long as it lasts. Since it’s a “six-year mission,” let’s hope it lasts half that time at least. Hey, Star Trek’s “five-year mission” lasted only three, and look where that ended up.

    Anyways, I liked the characters, the actors playing them, the “science” which seemed well-grounded (compared to fantasy-oriented sci-fi shows like “Lost”), and the production values which are first class. It’s amazing what can be produced on a TV show budget these days. This is the ultimate “bottle show” (a term used to describe Star Trek episodes that took place entirely on “the ship”). The other similar recent pilot, “Virtuality,” at least would have had the virtual reality environment to explore. It will be very interesting how the producers of THIS show keep things interesting over the course of this season (and hopefully beyond).

    And someone should give credit to the movie-length docu-drama that I saw on one of the nature/science cable networks a few years ago. It was about a multi-planet exploration mission on a ship very much like Antares, and how they might explore some of the planets on a “grand tour.” It was like this “Defying Gravity,” minus the romantic and mystery (“Beta”) elements.

  • keith snider says:

    I just finished watching the first episode and really enjoyed it very much. Nice to see a fresh approach to story-telling. Im a sci-fi fan, but i think this show might appeal to a broader audience.

  • Chris says:

    I think it has real promise. One thing that we as an audience need to do is keep an open mind and imagine the impossible could one day be the possible. I like how they are setting this in the future but not too far out. I have real hopes for this as I really can appreciate what Ron Livingston can bring to the screen. Also this will be good for him to redefine himself and allow us to know him more than just the Office Space guy. I sure hope they have a well thought out plot like Lost or 24.

  • Katelyn C. says:

    I watched the show because of Ron Livingston, but I did not think it was going to be too great. However, I was surprised to find that the show was tastefully done with great acting and an interesting storyline. I agree with the earlier posting that the science is not there. Yet, greats such as the Twilight Zone were not all scientifically plausible. I look forward to seeing where this show is taken, and please, do us all a favor and include a Ron Livingston nude scene…what’s the harm?

  • Lynnee says:

    I really enjoyed this show. It’s got a great future, if the network will just hold on and give it a chance. The actors are all outstanding. The storyline kept me involved right from the start and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

  • nobodez says:

    I actually watched the first two episodes on iTunes (only because I found it there first, I’ll be watching future episodes here). It’s not as good, in my opinion, as virtuality, but it’s still fairly good. The science is a bit of a stretch, but who cares, so was Star Trek. I hope it lives and doesn’t die a quick death. At least let it live long enough for us to see what’s so special about Venus and Beta!

  • Steve Schaper says:

    I am very impressed with the (for TV) high degree of scientific and engineering accuracy. Sure, there is no instant communications with Mars, you’d want the modules more compact behind the aerobrake, and so forth, but apart from that, it is very good, and shows that you don’t have to dump accuracy to have an interesting and wonder-filled show.

  • michael franks says:

    I watched the first two and realized it’s an ABC show. ABC is good at killing sci-fi series except for LOST. It should move to SYFY so it will live. Otherwise it seems to be a rework of Fox’s “Virtuality” tv show which showed great promise but there again Fox is also excellent at killing great sci-fi programming such as Space: Above and Beyond, Firefly, and The Sarah Connor Chronicles. So I assume ABC will kill it quickly even though its really good.

  • Scott says:

    Scott, my gut feeling is that the progress depicted on the show is somehow related to the “Beta.” It also seems clear it somehow ties in with their mission once they arrive at Venus.

    Given the Beta’s capabilities and the agency’s obvious knowledge of these capabilities (as indicated in the pilot) it’s quite possible the Beta has been involved with (and influenced) the space agency for quite some time. This mission may be the culmination of a joint effort between the Beta and human beings.

  • warjo says:

    I like idea/concept of this show, but I’m upset about “Beta”. I love Star Trek because man kind has grown enough to explore the unknown of space, not needing a Big Brother type of character making every move for man kind.

  • Robert says:

    I think the show has a lot of promise. The cast is solid and the script is quite a bit better than Virtuality. I don’t have a lot of hope because I am not sure America will get behind it, but I will be doing what I can to support the show. Only time will tell.

  • Dave says:

    We don’t need another Grey’s Anatomy.
    The networks couldn’t find a GOOD sci-fi concept to move on?
    No internets for you

  • scott says:

    I think the acting, sets, and speacial effects are good. However the science in the show is so bad that I don’t think it will last past the first year. People may say it’s just a show but that is like having a law show that dosen’t follow our justis system. Things like talking to earth happen in real time which goes aganst the laws of physics(lightspeed). Also walking on Venus really! So if anyone cares I will go on but the writers of this show are trying to sell us Desperate House Wives in space. There have been good space shows that have done this and if the can’t they make up a thing that can and this show just hope you are stupid enough not to know. This is a slap in the face to the people that watch ABC’s shows.

  • mematron says:

    I really like this show. I watched the pilot and the 2nd episode. The flashbacks a good but I hope that eventually we are caught up with enough back story that they are no longer needed. Keep the back story but allow us to find out as the the other characters do.

    If the show keeps up this pace it will hopefully have the kind of staying power as Star Trek. ‘Cause we all know that Star Trek was always about exploring the human condition.

    This is most definitely part of my watch list.