Odyssey 5 - The Complete Series
While most people were watching Queer as Folk, a little show flew under the radar to become the second most popular show on Showtime the season it premiered. Odyssey 5, available on DVD April 25th, was a sci-fi mystery show with a creative premise before the whole Lost/ 24 craze. Like many great well made shows it was before its time and just missed its audience. The show’s creator Manny Coto went on to become a staff writer on the current season of 24.
Odyssey 5 followed the crew of the spaceship Odyssey who witness the destruction of the Earth. On the verge of death they are visited by an alien who offers them the opportunity to save the Earth. They wake 5 years in the past having to relive their lives and save the world.
Imagine being able to relive your life and correct the mistakes of your past, and know then what you know now. The show took two strong premises that could easily stand alone and made them into an interesting series. There is the mystery surrounding the destruction of the Earth. It is suspenseful with its mysterious twists and turns and a slowly unraveling "big secret." It is very geek-friendly with the prerequisite sci-fi talk, alien creatures, technological conspiracies, and its own band of mysterious enemies called "Sentients."
But it is not just a sci-fi drama. It also takes on deeper issues. This band of former space travelers now must return to the past and deal with all the problems and pitfalls they faced 5 years ago. They are confronted with the mistakes they’ve made, and what they know will happen over the course of their new lives and to top it all off aliens exist. They must resist the urge to change the future and they never know if a decision will expedite the end of the world.
The crew consists of a pilot, his computer genius son, a scientist, a military astronaut, and a reporter. The pilot and leader of these makeshift heroes is played by none other than Robocop himself Peter Weller. His bravado combined with a sense of what is right make him believable as someone who would work their hardest to save the Earth. It also stars Christopher Gorham who must be cursed because he has been part of so many great shows that have not had the chance to last including gay cult hit Popular and the recently failed Out of Practice. Gorham plays the youngest of the crew who is transported back into his seventeen year old body and forced to relive high school. His character is amusing as he must hide his advanced intellect and uses his future computer knowledge on his old PC to trail the aliens. News reporter Sarah played by a truly gifted actress Leslie Silva, adds heart to the show. In her past life she had a son who died of stomach cancer. She wakes up 5 years in her past next to her ex husband and reunited with her son. She hopes to save him but her paranoia about his future illness alienates her from her husband. To add drama she is also reunited with her future second husband but he doesn’t know who she is. Her storylines involve her using her news anchor past and future knowledge to help stop the aliens and human crimes.
The genius behind Odyssey 5 Manny Coto, has worked on many notable shows including the geek hit Enterprise, and MTV’s Dead at 21 another intelligent show with a mysterious premise that was cancelled before the big reveal. He is currently working with Peter Weller on the newest and arguably the best season of 24.
The DVD features are somewhat disappointing given the show lasted only one season but the commentary on the 2 part pilot episode does offer some insight into where the show was going and the BIG secret. It doesn’t however give any of the show’s fans a resolution to the number of cliffhangers in the last episode.
The show offers a little of everything - drama, science fiction, mystery, and explores a lot of interesting themes before anyone else went there. The writing is amazing and the characters are more than two dimensional science fiction characters. If you can’t miss an episode of"Lost or shows like The 4400 you should definitely check out Odyssey 5.
Commentary on pilot episode by creator Manny Coto and actor Peter Weller
Available Subtitles: Japanese, Portuguese
Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)