Defying Gravity

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Defying Gravity TV Poster Image
Slow-paced space drama examines fate, human emotions.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Makes it clear that preparation is key when it comes to dealing with dangerous situations and other serious issues. But the show also has a strong undertone of fate, suggesting that some kind of unseen force is guiding the action and that not everyone is aware that their destiny might already be determined.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The astronauts are portrayed as the best of the best, yet they also come across as real humans who are sometimes capable of making mistakes. People have to make very tough life-or-death decisions and later must deal with the consequences of their actions.


Some fistfights, but they aren’t very intense. A few of the astronaut training sequences show people in danger, and the space explorers face a variety of dangers as they venture out into the solar system.


Several love scenes (both in space and back on Earth) show couples disrobing and embracing; later they're seen relaxing in bed or getting dressed. Some people are shown nude from behind. The sequences don't show genitals or anything more explicit than kissing, but it’s very clear what’s going to happen as soon as the cameras cut away.


“Screwing” and “fricking” are about as racy as it gets.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Quite a lot of drinking on Earth as the astronauts and their trainers blow off steam during the rigorous selection process. People drink heavily at bars and then make reckless decisions that they later blame on being drunk.

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.

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byslasher23 September 5, 2010

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?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi

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