Remote Patrol: Defying Gravity

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When you think about it, it's odd there haven't been more romantic dramas set on space shuttles. You've got the close quarters of Big Brother, the built-in storylines of sexual tension between coworkers, and ample opportunity for anti-gravity sex scenes.

The lack of such shows probably has something to do with the fact that sci-fi is such a bad word, Sci Fi Channel recently changed its name to SyFy.

But ABC is venturing forward anyway with this new space-set romance, starring Ron Livingston (Office Space) as Maddux Donner, one of eight astronauts on a six-year mission to explore Venus and other planets. Among the four men and four women onboard are all sorts of romantic entanglements, which we learn about through flashbacks.

It borrows elements from several hit shows - the flirtatious banter of Grey's Anatomy (Laura Harris as the ship's geologist Zoe is channeling Meredith Grey pretty strongly), the underlying mystery of Lost (as ABC explains, the astronauts' mission "has a powerful and awesome mystery at its core") - but the end result just doesn't work.

The flashback sequences are fumbled, with way too much back-and-forth and no way to know how far back you're flashing. There's an irritating pregnancy storyline that has the possible mom-to-be hearing constant phantom baby cries.

And pushing things over the edge are Maddux's recurring, prescient dreams - let's just say dream sequences rarely make for compelling television.

"Defying Gravity"

10 p.m. Sundays, ABC

Grade: C