Wednesday, June 24, 2009

'Virtuality' review - Sepinwall on TV

In today's column, I review Fox's "Virtuality" -- and wonder what, if anything, is behind the network's decision to air the pilot for a show (created by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor from "Battlestar Galactica") they declined to order.

12 comments:

Tom said...

so the commander's choice for a relaxing, virtual reality fantasy is... fighting the civil war. hmm. i think i'd rather just be Dixon Hill.

also, the premise sounds like a set-up for an eventual twist ending finale that would be Life on Mars in reverse.

Tracey said...

Wow... that actually sounds really interesting. No wonder Fox didn't pick it up.

Am I the only one who is amused that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (of New Amsterdam) is once again doing a show with period-costume cutaways?

Anonymous said...

It may be more than just Moore & Co. doing PR - rumor has it Fox also forked over some money to revamp some of the special effects.

Personally, I think the show is as dead as it has ever been, but Fox is trying to emulate the Caprica model, hoping for DVD sales from the Moore faithful.

Besides, it's not like Fox PR department has anything else going on in the short term.

Alan Sepinwall said...

so the commander's choice for a relaxing, virtual reality fantasy is... fighting the civil war.

I think it's more the commander's choice for something to break up the monotony of a 10-year mission where most of the time will just be spent traveling.

Tracey said...

@Alan: Yeah, seriously, there's only so many times you can listen to the crew say, "Are we there yet?" before you go postal on them.

Anna said...

Not fair! That sounds amazing. But it definitely doesn't sound like it should be on Fox. It sounds like a cable show... or a movie.

Number Five said...

Thanks for the news and review, Alan. I rarely get this excited about a TV show before it airs, but the combination of the premise and Moore and Taylor as creators did it from the start. I really hope it makes it to series. I'd even consider selling my soul to Ray Wise to make it happen. No matter what I'm glad we get to see the full pilot.

I don't know the percentage of BSG fans who were very upset over the finale, but I hope it doesn't keep them away from this, since that is its only chance. If there is a DVD, I'll buy it.

I was thinking about whether another model like TV movies might work, but the premise, especially the reality show aspect, makes it uniquely suited for series television.

Oaktown Girl said...

I dunno. I'm not sure I can stand to watch this show. Coster Waldau looks sooooo much better in the longer hair he had in New Amsterdam, I think I'd just be frustrated watching him in this with that buzz cut. But I'll probably give it a try anyway.

Also, it sure would have been a heck of a lot more creative for them to come up with a hobby for him that wasn't martial. But I guess that would have been asking too much.

Craig Ranapia said...

While I get the complaints about the lack of 'closure' in Virtuality, I don't understand why Fox didn't do what ABC did with the Twin Peaks pilot, which I watched last night. If my memory serves, Lynch was contractually required to make a version of the pilot with a 'closed' ending, which was released on VCR outside the US and even did some film festivals. So, even if the series wasn't picked up they were going to make some money on the back of Lynch's reputation as a film-maker.

francoesque said...

I just watched the pilot and it was very interesting and set up lots of potential had it gone to air. And it obviously wasn't cheap.

In terms of what's going on, the evidence presented is obviously inconclusive but I got a heavy Thirteenth Floor feeling and suspect the Captain's final line (and his continued life within the VR system) makes me think that both layers (spaceship and VR) are a simulation. And the 'ghost in the machine' played by Jimmi Simpson is a guy playing a game and they are all the characters in it.

Maybe Fox are testing the waters by airing it, if not for a series, maybe another feature standalone or two if DVD sales make it worthwhile. Here's hoping, anyway.

Anonymous said...

hummm was thinking that it just may end up like the movie (1997) the Cube.... just another trick up someones sleeve to see how the human mind works to survive

Operation Aesthetic said...

I just had a chance to watch the pilot, and it was fantastic... Definitely the best thing that would have been on a network since LOST. The possibilities for where the story could go were pretty endless and the tension was very palpable, ala Sunshine and Alien. I would kill to see the resolution of the story. Awesome! This has to get revived!