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October 3, 2015

Virtuality -- An early look

by Brad Trechak, posted Jun 25th 2009 2:02PM
VirtualityI really wish I could have liked the pilot for Virtuality. It was Ron Moore's first new series since the end of his Battlestar Galactica relaunch that wasn't related to that series. Unfortunately, the pilot seems to fall flat and is unlikely to lead into a series.

The concept is solid. It's about a group of 12 space travellers (each of whom could be mistaken for an underwear model) who are on Earth's first interstellar spacecraft, the Phaeton. Earth has become all but unlivable and they are traveling to a nearby star for ten years (five there, five back) and try to save the planet.

To keep themselves from going nuts, they use a virtual reality system via their ship's computer, named Jean (forgive me if I misspelled the name). This could be a tribute to (or a dig against) Gene Roddenberry whose franchise launched the careers of co-writers Ronald Moore and Michael Taylor. Jean develops a glitch and the fun begins. It's very 2001. Jean itself looks like Hal's love-child.

Unfortunately, the plot, while seeming straightforward, is confusing and the characters are difficult to empathize with. Some of the characters even seemed contradictory, such as a television producer that was also the ship's psychologist or the host that was also a computer scientist. On a positive note there were a few cool scenes (one of the VR fantasies involved a rocker chick singing The Munsters theme in Japanese).

The show itself seemed contradictory since part of the concept is that it's a reality television program about the astronauts being sent to Earth in an effort to defray costs. As a result, it seemed mixed between pseudo-documentary and drama without a clear line in between (movies like Cloverfield executed the concept better). If the series lasts, Moore and Taylor would likely be using one of the themes of The Matrix in which life is what you make of it.

I'm sorry I couldn't give a better review, particularly since I'm such a fan of Moore's work. If you want to catch the pilot (and likely only episode), check out Fox this Friday night at 8 PM ET.

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The show was a little slow but the ending was great if it hadn't been for the fact that there will be no more. I would have been a great intro to a series.

The ending seems to suggest that the whole mission might be a VR thing for the purpose of a tv show. So they were doing th VR inside VR. The commander isn't dead, he just figured things out.

June 30 2009 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hated it so much I wanted to turn it off, but I wanted to give it a chance. IF they make a series of it I might try it, but the pilot just fell flat.

June 28 2009 at 10:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matthew Hawkins

I'm extremely disappointed that this has not been picked up for a series! I would most definitely be watching this! A real shame...

June 28 2009 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've gotta disagree with your take. I didn't find it confusing at all. I thought it was intriguing and multi-layered, and the characters were great. Also, since there was a reality show being made to cover the mission costs, the ship's crew had to pull double duty; they couldn't have a whole separate TV crew on board. I hope that somehow this goes forward to a series.

June 28 2009 at 6:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

wow i wanted to check this out and i missed it WTF oh well i'll probly see it sooner or later.

June 27 2009 at 9:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ricky19's comment

You can watch it at http://www.fox.com/

June 28 2009 at 6:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

spoilers* the ending reminded me of the Caprica pilot. that's all i'll say. if they make more, i'd watch.

June 27 2009 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

made perfect sense to me ... 12 people on a ship ... documenting their journey as a reality show for those back on earth. Someone has to be the producer ... making it the ship's shrink the person makes sense to me (they will know what footage to pick) ... someone has to be the host ... and they let the person who has little to do during the journey that job (she was the "rocker chick" BTW).

As for the show in general, I cannot see what you felt was confusing about it ... seemed pretty straight forward ...

June 27 2009 at 4:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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