Odyssey 5 title screen.
|Genre||Science fiction, time travel|
|Created by||Manny Coto|
Tamara Craig Thomas
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of episodes||19|
|Running time||44 mins
92 mins (Pilot)
|Production company(s)||Manny Coto Productions
Columbia TriStar Television
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original release||21 June 2002 – 15 October 2002|
Odyssey 5 is a Canadian science fiction series that first ran in 2002 on Showtime in the United States and on Space in Canada. The premise involves five space travelers who witness the destruction of the Earth; they are given the opportunity to travel to the past to identify and prevent the cataclysm.
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 follows six people on a routine flight of the space shuttle Odyssey, on August 7, 2007: four astronauts, a scientist, and a television news reporter. During the flight, the Earth rapidly dissolves into a fiery ball and implodes. Control of the Odyssey is momentarily lost, and one astronaut is killed. The remaining five crew members resign themselves to death, but an inorganic being called the Seeker rescues them. The Seeker tells them that fifty other worlds have been destroyed in the same way as Earth, and the Seeker has always arrived too late to observe it; this is the first time he has found survivors. He offers to send them five years into the past (to 2002, the year the series aired), so that they can prevent the disaster. He sends only their consciousnesses back, because physical time travel is impossible. The mission commander learns a codeword associated with the disaster: Leviathan.
The villains are a race of disembodied artificial intelligences known as "Sentients". These AIs are trying to learn about humanity through artificial humanoid robots called "Synthetics", which are nearly indistinguishable from humans. Another group of Synthetics are discovered to be from Mars. In the original timeline, a previous race of Synthetics created by humanity was destroyed by a secret US government agency. Whether the destruction of the Earth was retaliation for this act by the Sentients is never revealed.
While they search for the truth, the team must also revisit their pasts while retaining past knowledge of what is to come. Reporter Sarah Forbes tries to save her five-year-old son, who died of cancer in the original timeline. Her efforts in this direction alienate her husband, who leaves her and takes their son with him. Astronaut Angela Perry must deal with the knowledge that her father is a corrupt U.S. Senator whose malfeasance destroyed her family in the original timeline. Commander Chuck Taggart must try to keep his family together. His son, Neil, a computer technician on the Odyssey, must adjust to being seventeen again, when he was a poor student who hadn't yet discovered his talents. Pessimistic scientist Kurt Mendel believes they cannot change history and spends his time indulging every desire.
The series is different from most science fiction[which?] because it is set in the present – similar to Stargate SG-1 and Sliders – and also because the characters are not friends and frequently disagree; 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 cataclysm they are trying to avoid, or alter history in undesirable ways. A character who was supposed to live until 2007 dies in the first episode after helping the group. In one episode, Sarah and Angela protect a girl they know will be kidnapped. Although this prevents that individual's kidnapping, the kidnapper takes a different child. Kurt makes a large bet on a football game whose outcome is already known to him, but the pressure of knowing has a negative effect on a player instrumental in winning the game, and the team loses.
- 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
|#||Title||Directed by||Writer(s)||Original Airdate|
|1||"Pilot"||David Carson||Manny Coto||21 June 2002|
|2||"Shatterer"||Randy Zisk||Manny Coto||28 June 2002|
|3||"Astronaut Dreams"||David Straiton||Manny Coto||5 July 2002|
|4||"Time Out of Mind"||David Straiton||Tracy Tormé||12 July 2002|
|5||"Symbiosis"||Randy Zisk||Lindsay Sturman||19 July 2002|
|6||"The Choices We Make"||Peter Weller||Tim Foreman||26 July 2002|
|7||"Rapture"||Stephen Williams||Edithe Swensen||2 August 2002|
|8||"L.D.U. 7"||George Mendeluk||Tommy Thompson||9 August 2002|
|9||"Flux"||Ken Girotti||Edithe Swensen||16 August 2002|
|10||"Kitten"||Milan Cheylov||Lindsay Sturman||23 August 2002|
|11||"Dark at the End of the Tunnel"||Peter Weller||Tracy Tormé||30 August 2002|
|12||"The Trouble with Harry"||Stephen Williams||Alan Brennert||6 September 2002|
|13||"Skin"||Bryan Spicer||Lindsay Sturman & Edithe Swensen||13 September 2002|
|14||"Begotten"||Terry Ingram||Lindsay Sturman & Edithe Swensen||1 October 2002|
|15||"Vanishing Point"||David Winkler||Melinda M. Snodgrass||1 October 2002|
|16||"Follow the Leader"||George Mendeluk||Jonathan Glassner||8 October 2002|
|17||"Half-Life"||Stephen Williams||Lindsay Sturman & Edithe Swensen||8 October 2002|
|18||"Rage"||Ken Girotti||Michael Cassutt||15 October 2002|
|19||"Fossil"||Peter Weller||Manny Coto & Jonathan Glassner||15 October 2002|
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.
As of August 2014 the series is unavailable on Netflix in the United States. It has aired on 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 26 June 2006 . As an extra feature, the DVD set has a commentary track on the pilot episode by Manny Coto and Peter Weller.