Starring: Peter Weller, Christopher Gorham, Leslie Silva, Lindy Booth, Tamara Craig Thomas, Gina Clayton, Sebastian Roche
Studio: Sony Pictures
Video: 1.78:1 Widescreen Enhanced
Audio: DD 5.1, Japanese Stereo
Extras: Previews (Stargate SG-1 Seasons 1-8; Stargate Atlantis Season 1; Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children; The Cave; MirrorMask; Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King; Poltergeist: The Legacy); Audio Commentary on Pilot
Length: 935 minutes total
Manny Coto created Odyssey 5 for Showtime back in 2005. Unfortunately for fans, it was cancelled after the first year. Thanks, Showtime, another good show cancelled—just like Dead Like Me! What’s worse for viewers, the series does not reach a conclusion after these 19 episodes. Perhaps it will be revisited eventually as Coto states during the commentary of the pilot, but I wouldn’t hold your breath…
The show revolves around five members of the crew of the Space Shuttle Odyssey 5 that, while during a routine spaceflight, witness the implosion of the Earth. Their existence is just about extinguished when an alien steps in and uses his power to send their consciousnesses back five years in the past. Armed with the knowledge of the impending doom of the planet, they join forces and try to discover who or what is the cause of the planet’s destruction. The direction of the series at first is very episodic and follows a sensible pattern. But after a time completely new plots are thrown into each show. Some work better than others and although the plot as a whole is kept together, subplots and themes tend to fall by the wayside either appearing much later or never appearing again.
Although the viewer and characters are not sure what is behind the disaster, there are many leads the characters follow. The majority of the episodes center on sentient activity—machines or computer code that have come to life and are either in human (or other) forms or manipulate humans to do their bidding. This theme is repeated over and over throughout the series.
The leader of the crew is Chuck Taggert, a crusty, older astronaut who smokes cigars, drives an excellently kept vintage Mustang, has two kids, a wife, and is the action man of the group. His son, Neil, a 22-year old gets sent back to his 17-year old self in high school and in some of the episodes he has to deal with his brother, his girlfriend, peer pressure, his mother—basically the difficulties of a teenager. He is one of the techies of the group and does a lot of the computer related work.
The other astronaut is Angela. She’s a tough Texan with a Senator as a father (who may be involved in a conspiracy) that relates to the group’s mission. She’s tough, carries a gun, and is not afraid to use it! She was also involved with Kurt, the scientist of the group. He does a lot of the research and often figures out the next step that the group must follow. Lastly there is Sarah, a news reporter/head anchor. Her son died, but now in the past she is forced to try to prevent that future from occurring. Some of the episodes involve her custody battle, a new romance, and her efforts to save her son. Her occupation gives the group the ability to enter places where they normally couldn’t go and get inside information.
For a cable show with this type of subject matter there is an unusual amount of profanity. Some of it seems appropriate and some of it does not. However, the nudity in the show is completely gratuitous, added nothing at all to Kurt’s character that wasn’t already evident, and should have been left out. Some of the episodes were clearly better than others, but most of the time I was left anticipating the next episode. (For a complete list of episodes and summaries, visit www.tv.com.
Getting to the end of the series with more questions than answers was a huge disappointment. I can only hope that they do in fact resurrect the series and let it play till its conclusion.
— Brian Bloom