Combine a creator who worked on Grey's Anatomy with a plot about a space mission, and critics were never be able to resist the moniker Grey's Astronomy. Viewers will decide if that's an appealing combination when Defying Gravity premieres Sunday, August 2 on CTV and ABC.
"A lot of people have latched on to Grey's Anatomy in space, and I don't think that's really what they're trying to do," cautioned Andrew Airlie.
Airlie plays Mike Goss, the flight director of the Antares. Stationed at Mission Control, Goss had been the commander of a Mars mission that left two astronauts dead, a mission that Antares flight engineer Maddux Donner (Ron Livingston) survived.
But besides the interpersonal conflicts, politics of space travel, and a mystery involving the real mission of the Antares, Defying Gravity includes romantic entanglements, including Donner's past tryst with mission geologist Zoe Barnes (Laura Harris).
Creator James Parriott – who also created the cult series Forever Knight and Misfits of Science — and executive producer Michael Edelstein of Desperate Housewives do have extensive experience in female-friendly programming.
"I don't think they went into it with the idea, 'OK, let's find something that will satisfy the sci-fi and the Grey's crowd,'" Airlie explained, pointing out the inspiration for the show was the BBC pseudo-documentary Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets. "They found the source material interesting on its own, and they dramatized it and boosted the production value."
But even apart from the pedigree of its creator, Grey's is the logical shorthand for a relationship-focused series. "There are a lot of couples where the guy might want to watch Battlestar Galactica and she might want to watch Grey's Anatomy and he's not interested," Airlie acknowledged. "I think there's something for everyone."