Why ABC's Defying Gravity is no Virtuality 2

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Christina Cox can accept people referring to her upcoming ABC sci-fi drama Defying Gravity as Grey's Anatomy in Space, but the actress is far less keen about comparisons between the show and Virtuality, Fox's recent, barely watched busted pilot/TV movie.

Defying Gravity sends eight astronauts—played by Cox (Blood Ties), Ron Livingston (The Time Traveler's Wife) and Paula Garces (Clockstoppers), among others—off on a six-year-long mission in space. Once on their way, the crew members begin their work, embark on assorted romantic entanglements and contend with a powerful force aboard the ship that has a strange effect on each and every one of them. And what happens in space won't necessarily stay in space, as Garces' character is recording footage for a documentary back home.

Cox, during an exclusive telephone interview last week, said that having tested for Virtuality, she can attest to the fact that Defying Gravity differs tremendously from Virtuality.

"I want to put this out there: I read both of these scripts, and I don't understand why people are making the parallels between these two shows," Cox said. "They could not be more different. Virtuality, the footage was beamed home for a reality show, but they also had their ghost-in-the-machine thing going on. They had a virus in their holodeck, and it was killing them off. Virtuality was a great concept. Peter Berg is a crazy-great director. Great cast. But there are going to be different kinds of interactions if [as seen on Virtuality] your characters are going into a holodeck and having their experiences singularly and reacting to things in a holosphere environment than if [as on Defying Gravity] they are grounded in real day-to-day relationships with their co-workers and there is no escape."

Cox added, "We can talk to people back on Earth via [the communications system], and it's a real-time conversation. Theoretically, the farther we get from Earth, there would be a delay, but that would be really awful and uncomfortable to watch on TV. So we're not using that device. But there is no escape like that, that they had on Virtuality. And they had the killer in the virtual setting. Yes, our activities our being beamed back to Earth, to our mission control, for observation, but in the reality television context [of Virtuality]? No, that's not happening. Really, the people in space is about where the similarities end."

Defying Gravity premieres Aug. 2 and will air Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.