Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TV Snapshot: Answering to a higher power

I suppose there’s a kind of comfort in following orders. All you have to do is exactly what you’re told to do. It’s effortless. It’s mindless. And it completely absolves you of any responsibility. Unless you get a conscience.

It’s been said that the capacity to blindly follow orders is what turns ordinary people into monsters—or, ordinary people into heroes. All depends on exactly what the order is. And that’s the catch, because we’re all responsible for who we pick to lead and who we choose to follow. Whether we give orders or take them, we all contribute to the outcome. The responsibility falls on all of our shoulders. No matter who’s giving the orders and who’s taking them, sooner or later we all have to answer to a higher power.

--Maddox Donnor’s voiceover from the "Love, Honor, Obey" episode of Defying Gravity, ABC’s sci-fi series about a group of astronauts on a mission through the solar system. You can see the episode here.
Personally, I thought this episode of Defying Gravity was fantastic. I love how it explores why we make the decisions we do, what we value and what we’re willing to sacrifice for that—particularly in terms of who (and what) we choose to follow and what rules we chose to live by. And (warning: spoilers ahead) the scene at the end—where the mysterious entity they call Beta is finally revealed to the crew—is well-done and even moving, as the crew literally sways backwards as the light from Beta washes over them as the hatch opens.

And, while I think there’s little doubt Beta will be revealed to be a being as fallible as humanity, I couldn’t help but resonate with the obvious desire of this powerful entity to be known. It is something we share with it—and something we share with God in whose image we are created. And I couldn’t help but think how the failure of Mission Commander Goss’ attempts to keep the revelation of Beta under his own control echoes the attempts and failures of religious and political leaders in restricting God’s own desire to act and be revealed.

While it seems that ABC has not yet cancelled this series, this is the last we will see of it for the foreseeable future. There are five more completed episodes in the can, but when—and if—we will see them is not known. Here’s hoping Defying Gravity defies the ratings odds.

If you haven’t already, I invite you to consider viewing Defying Gravity episodes at ABC or Hulu. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

(Image: ABC)

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