‘Virtuality’ Deserves a Chance to Explore Its Universe

30 Jun


June 29th, 2009-

Good science-fiction is a precious commodity; especially on television. Over the last 50 years or so, we have had no more than a handful of truly innovative and intelligent sci-fi series. Among them, I count the the well-known and the celebrated, Star Trek, X-Files and Lost, the prematurely canceled Firefly and the cult classics like Battlestar GalacticaBabylon 5, and The Outer Limits.   For every one of those, there were five more that were either ridiculous garbage(Space Marines) or instantly forgettable (Earth 2).  So, it becomes a priority for me, as a sci-fi nerd, to direct your attention to quality examples of the genre wherever they may be found, and last Friday Fox aired the pilot to a prospective series it didn’t pick up called Virtuality that met all the criteria for solid science fiction.

The pilot, directed by Peter Berg(Hancock, The Kingdom) and written by Battlestar Galactica scribe Ronald D. Moore, was dropped by Fox into the Friday night wasteland where it did abysmal numbers and will fade away without any more fuss. So, there isn’t really much chance of ever seeing it on network television, though if I was the Sci-Fi channel I’d be trying to acquire this one pronto! Telling the story of crewmembers aboard the exploration starship Phaeton, who are trying to make alien contact and find a new home for themselves before Earth presumably crumbles, Virtuality did what all good science fiction must do; it told a human story with an interesting cast of characters, it suggested some compelling and thoughtful ideas regarding the nature of reality, the possibility of contact with extraterrestial life, and the invasive and manipulative nature of the Reality tv set. The roles were smartly cast and acted, the special effects were well done (for television), and most importantly the storyline did not want for detail or imagination. I would say more, but if you are interested, I suggest you go into this one blind. Here’s the Hulu link where you can watch IT.

I’ll be back later  with a full review.


6 Responses to “‘Virtuality’ Deserves a Chance to Explore Its Universe”

  1. dhaRma shark July 1, 2009 at 6:44 am #

    How dare you call Earth 2 forgettable.

  2. Bartleby July 1, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    Well, maybe not forgettable for you…You did just watch the entire thing a little over a year ago.

  3. dhaRma shark July 1, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    That’s fine. I’ve emailed Clancy Brown. Expect a response.

  4. Bartleby July 1, 2009 at 1:05 pm #

    Did he tell you to see The Burrowers? because he should.


  5. Xiphos July 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm #

    Jonah you liked this, really? Man was I ever bored with this show and I have incredibly low standards. It was so slow and unintersting to me that I thought I was on a 10 year mission to get through the pilot. I thought the characteres were horrible, unlikable, cliched and badly acted. I thought the story was poorly written and frankly nonsensical. The stupid conciet of making the trip a reality show witht the characters talking in a “confessional” irritated me to no end.

    On the plus side, the broads were hot but the cheating in cyberspace scene was dumb.

    Well anyways that’s my opinion to each thier own right?

    I’ve been rerwatching the X Files lately, they replay them on Sci-Fi or Sky Fy or Skiffy or whatever it’s called now and I have to say it’s not holding up well. I remember liking it a lot better years ago.

    Granted I was watching the final two seasons becasue I missed them when they aired orginally and they were horrible.

    The pilot was just on and it was not that good. Or maybe it wasn’t as good as I remembered it to be. I’m going to slog through the whole series again just to see if the episodes I loved stand up to the test of time.

    • Bartleby July 1, 2009 at 11:20 pm #

      With X-Files, they hit their stride in the 5th season…that season rocked and had more excellent stand alone eps than any other. Also, the main storyline was better then than it had ever been. The pilot is very weak, and the last two seasons I have honestly never seen. I own seasons 1-7 and think that 1 takes awhile to get going, and 7 is a mixed bag, but 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are for the most part excellent…That’s five great seasons. I’ll take that.

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