Television critic Robert Lloyd, writing in the Los Angeles Times, says that he “wouldn’t warn you away” from the premiere tonight of the new ABC show “Defying Gravity,” but he notes that many of the characters are “flat or opaque.” Here’s an excerpt from his review:
Ron Livingston, from “Office Space” and “Band of Brothers,” leaves Earth this weekend in “Defying Gravity,” a sci-fi series premiering Sunday on ABC. I will not be the only observer to remark on its coincidental superficial resemblance to “Virtuality,” the pilot by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor (“Battlestar Galactica“) that Fox recently ran as a one-off TV movie. Each is set around a near-future space mission that confines its characters — some with prior issues and entanglements — in a relatively small space; in each, a mysterious force guides events; and each uses TV broadcasts back home as a narrative device.
Still, the basics of the tale — the haunted spaceship story, broadly — have been rattling around for quite a while. The more productive comparison might be to “Lost,” where a small group of people are stuck out in the middle of nowhere, the unwitting playthings of some greater intelligence, or force, or fate. And there are lots of flashbacks too.
Livingston, an actor of attractive, sometimes seedy solidity — he’s like a less jolly Tom Hanks — plays Maddux Donner, who 10 years before the main action was forced to abandon two other astronauts on the surface of Mars …
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– Robert Lloyd