Odyssey 5 title screen.
|Genre||Science fiction, time travel|
|Created by||Manny Coto|
Tamara Craig Thomas
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of episodes||19 (20)|
|Running time||44 mins|
|Production company(s)||Manny Coto Productions
Columbia TriStar Television
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original run||21 June 2002 – 15 October 2002|
Odyssey 5 is the brainchild of Manny Coto, who served as a script-writer and executive producer during the series run. Through his website and in interviews, Coto has expressed his interest in returning to the series at some point, either continuing it or giving it a conclusion.
The story revolves around a set of people on a routine spaceflight of the space shuttle Odyssey, on August 7, 2007: four astronauts, a scientist, and a television news reporter. However, during the course of the flight, the Earth rapidly dissolves into a fiery ball and suddenly implodes. Before regaining control of the Odyssey, one astronaut is killed. The remaining five crew members resign themselves to death, but a non-organic being called the Seeker rescues them. Fifty other worlds have been destroyed in the same way as Earth, but the Seeker has always arrived too late to observe it and this is the first time he has found survivors. He offers to send them back in time five years (and therefore to present day, at the time of the series), so that they can prevent the disaster. He sends only their consciousnesses back, and not their physical bodies, as physical time travel is impossible. The mission commander knows only a codeword associated with the disastrous event: Leviathan.
The villains seem to be a race of artificial intelligence. These AIs are trying to learn about humanity through human-mimicking surrogates, called "Synthetics". In the course of their learning they apparently destroy the Earth. However, during the series, another group of Synthetics are discovered to be from Mars and that in the original timeline, all the Synthetics created by humanity are destroyed by a satellite designed for that purpose by a cabal within the US government. Whether this act of destruction is seen as a declaration of war by humanity's AIs or the Martian Synthetics are to blame for the Earth's destruction is never resolved.
While they deal with the search for the truth, the team must also deal with being back in the past, with memories of what is to come. A running plot through the series is reporter Sarah Forbes trying to save her five-year old son, who died of cancer. However, her efforts to get him experimental help end up with her husband leaving her, taking the boy with him. Astronaut Angela Perry must deal with her Senator father's corruption that would ultimately destroy her family. Commander Chuck Taggart must try to keep his family together, while his son Neil, a computer whiz who was also assigned to the Odyssey, deals with being back in his seventeen-year-old body, when he was known as a screwup. The last member, pessimistic scientist Kurt Mendel, doubts they can change history at all and wants to live his life as much as he can before the end.
The series is very different from most science fiction because it is set in the present day – in a fashion similar to Stargate SG-1 and Sliders – and also because the team of five is not a group of friends who always get along; the humanity of the team is shown through arguments, jokes, and their attempts to maintain social lives and help the world with their limited knowledge of the future.
A recurring theme is that the actions of the group may hasten the timetable to Earth's destruction. A character who was supposed to live until 2007 ends up dead in the first episode after helping the group out. They learn that defeating history isn't as easy as it sounds; the interweaving threads adapt. In one episode, Sarah and Angela, knowing a girl will be kidnapped, keep an eye on her to make sure it doesn't happen. However, the kidnapper simply takes another child in her place. History in the show is malleable in smaller ways too, as Kurt makes a rather large bet on a football game to which he knows the outcome, but the knowledge and pressure of knowing has an adverse effect on the kicker who would have won the game, causing him to fail.
- Peter Weller — Chuck Taggart, the Commander of the Odyssey and leader whose wife was killed in the Earth's implosion.
- Sebastian Roché — Kurt Mendel, a close friend to Chuck and second in command.
- Christopher Gorham — Neil Taggart, Chuck's intelligent son who became an astronaut like his father. He constantly has to deal with the struggles of growing up again and the repercussions that came with his High School delinquencies.
- Tamara Craig Thomas — Angela Perry, an astronaut who was rendered comatose during a spacewalk only to find herself suddenly five years in the past. Her issues following their return have a repercussion on her career altering her future.
- Leslie Silva — Sarah Forbes, a reporter who tagged along with the Odyssey for a report, finding herself back before her son died from cancer and threatens to tear her family apart through her determination not to let him die again.
- Catherine Black — Young Paige
(numbered as on the DVD)
- Pilot (1.5hrs, usually broadcast in two parts)
- Astronaut Dreams
- Time Out of Mind
- The Choices We Make
- L.D.U. 7
- Dark at the End of the Tunnel
- Trouble with Harry
- Vanishing Point
- Follow the Leader
In the United States, the initial run of the series ran for 14 of the 20 episodes, leaving the six remaining episodes unaired for a period of roughly two years. (They aired in 2004 on Showtime as "missing" episodes, which ostensibly included the open-ended series finale.) The series made a full run of all 20 episodes in the United Kingdom on Sky One and on Sci Fi Channel and in Canada. In 2004, the series aired in Finland on Nelonen and thus could also be seen in Estonia, and in June 2004 it premiered in Germany on Sat.1. In 2005, it aired in the Netherlands on NET 5 after midnight. In addition, Odyssey 5 is being or has been aired on RTL Klub in Hungary, and premiered in Australia on the Sci Fi Channel in December 2006 and on channel TV6 in Lithuania in 2008.
Currently[when?] the series airs on Netflix.com, Cadena 3 (channel 28) in Mexico, the Sci Fi Channel in the United States, SIC Radical in Portugal, Mega Channel in Greece, tv 3 in Estonia, extreme tv in Spain and AXN Sci Fi in Romania, Poland and Bulgaria.
The series was released as a Complete Box Set (Region 1) on April 2006, and in Region 2 territories on the 26th June 2006 . As an extra feature, the DVD set has a commentary track on the pilot episode by Manny Coto and Peter Weller.