geekery

SF Obscure: Odyssey 5

Odyssey_5

Howdy Earthlings! And whomever else. This week let’s take a look at a short-lived show out of Canada, Odyssey 5.

Odyssey 5 begins with a crew of six: four astronauts, a scientist, and a TV news reporter. While circling the Earth, the planet dissolves and implodes. One astronaut is killed; the remaining five passengers are saved by an alien known as the Seeker. He sends them back in time five years to prevent the disaster.

The show revolves around their search for answers about who or what destroyed the Earth. There is a group of aliens known as Sentients who may be involved, how are why is not known. Throughout the episodes, the survivors collect various clues about secret government agencies; humanoid robots; hidden technologies. There even seems to be some suspicions that US government agents on earth had something to do with creating the disaster.

Amid all of this, there is the story of five people sent back in time trying to adjust to life in which they know the future. The news reporter, Sarah Forbes (Leslie Silva) tries to save her son, who died of cancer in the original timeline and tries to save a kidnap victim before the crime happens. Angela Perry(Tamara Craig Thomas) has a father who is a corrupt senator and she tries to stop his path, which eventually ruins her family in the original timeline. Commander Chuck Taggart (Peter Weller) and his son, Neil Taggart (Christopher Gorham) are thrown back into their dysfunctional family dynamics. Scientist Kurt Mendel spends most of his time coming up with gambling and betting schemes to live life to the fullest because he believes the future cannot be stopped.

Thematically, what holds it together is these five people who don’t always get along trying to save the Earth even though, the don’t know how. And they might be making things worse by changing the timeline. And they are not always terribly likable people. Captain Taggart can be arrogant, annoying, and really sexist. His constant fights with NASA over the direction of the program raise poignant issues about the future of the space program and what it should be doing. Kurt Mendel is unreliable and cares about little outside sex and drinking. Sarah Forbes is sympathetic in her fight for her son, but sometimes shows really bad judgement. Poor Neil Taggart has to go back to high school again.

The show can at times be heavy on the personal drama-at the expense of moving the SF plot forward. Still, the fine cast is what makes it work. Peter Weller has done a lot of work,recently Admiral Marcus in Star Trek Into Darkness. Sebastian Roche has an extensive list of work, including Supernatural’s Balthasar. Leslie Silva has also done quite a bit-Trek fans may know her from Enterprise. Christopher Gorham was a regular ( I think) Covert Affairs.

On the whole, I enjoyed the show despite the fact that it was cancelled and therefore no resolution. Some of the characters tend to overshadow others so the plots aren’t always even. I felt as if Angela Perry’s character was a bit underdeveloped. It does have a lot of profanity-keep that in mind with younger children around. No explicit sex or violence.

So Smart Girls Fans, any fans of Odyssey 5 out there? If you could go back five years, what would you do differently?

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4 thoughts on “SF Obscure: Odyssey 5

  1. I vaguely remember that show. I watched 1 or 2 episodes thinking to watch it because I am a fan of Buckaroo Banzai, I mean Peter Weller. But then I could not find it anymore. Too bad. At that time sci-fi shows had such a hard time getting support. If today’s disaster sci-fi shows like Falling Skies or The Last Ship had been aired back in 2002, I wonder if they would have lasted beyond the first season.

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