A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series about a six-year space mission examines human conflicts and emotional interactions, making it more of a drama than a sci-fi space opera. There’s a good bit of drinking and plenty of (non-explicit) love scenes, which makes it a better fit for older teens and adults; the absence of aliens and blaster-battles, along with a relatively slow pace and the focus on interpersonal relations, isn't likely to appeal to young viewers anyway.
What's the story?
In the mid 21st century, eight astronauts set off on a six-year mission, perhaps mankind’s most ambitious attempt yet to explore the solar system. The show's story unfolds on two tracks, following the spaceship Antares as it leaves the planet and also offering flashbacks that detail both the crew’s motivations for volunteering for the dangerous mission and the backstories behind their often-complicated relationships.
Is it any good?
DEFYING GRAVITY is one part sci-fi and about three parts primetime drama. The space travel elements seem more like today's missions, which means that everything moves verrry slowly. (But oddly, other elements of the show are totally unrealistic, like magnetic clothes to simulate gravity. Star Wars this is not.) The bigger focus is on human interactions in the ship's confined environment, especially on Maddux Donner (Ron Livingston), who joined the crew as a last-minute replacement. Donner has a history with both Nadia (Florentine Lahme), the sexually forward pilot, and Zoe (Laura Harris), a scientist who has unresolved feelings about a secret pregnancy.
The mission is made more complicated by the presence of an unknown force that seems to be pulling some important strings. The support staff on Earth is aware of this presence, but the crew isn't; all they know is that inexplicable problems keep popping up. That’s a flaw, because it makes for seemingly random plot complications: A spacesuit safety check becomes a crisis, for example, when the airlock hatch blows mysteriously. If the writers feel the need to manufacture drama, perhaps they should just ditch the too-realistic space travel and introduce a few aliens and blasters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the sci-fi genre. Do the astronauts/ship in this series seem more realistic than what you've seen in other TV shows and movies? Does that make them more or less entertaining/exciting?
Some unseen force seems to be guiding some of the action on the ship. Do you think destiny is predetermined? What do you think is working behind the scenes on this series?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love sci-fi
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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