What would you do if you were suddenly sent back in time to prevent the Earth from blowing up? Well, you’d probably crap yourself a lot in between sobs and shell shock. Fortunately an hour of crap-crying every week makes bad television so Manny Coto (who now produces 24) made Odyssey 5. The pilot episode starts with five astronauts, led by Peter Weller, hovering over the Earth when it blows into bit-sized chunks. As they are resigned to die one of those sleepy-time Oxygen-deprived deaths that all the kids are always talking about, an alien being turns up and offers to send their conscious minds back five years to solve the mystery and prevent the destruction of Mother Earth. Naturally they accept this offer so that the series doesn’t end after fifteen minutes. What follows is a fantastic sci-fi whodunnit with computer beings and synthetic humans.
Though everyone on the show does a great job–e.g., Peter Weller and Sebatien Roche’s mutant facial hair–it isn’t perfect. It can get a little heavy-handed sometimes and some of the shots and music feel, for lack of a better word, “Canadian.” The show was shot in Canadia for Showtime (swearing & tits alert) in 2002, and though there are reports that it was the highest rated show on the network at the time it was not renewed. All that exists are the twenty episodes which could fit nicely into your Netflix queue.
SPOILER ALERT: There is nothing to spoil. The series ends on a cliffhanger and doesn’t resolve. If you can enjoy the ride in spite of that, get it. It won’t take up much of your time and you can add one more notch to your nerd belt (a belt made of slide rules and virginity). Coto claims that he’d love to revisit it at some point but it seems unlikely. Maybe YOU could be the pencilneck that writes the conclusive Odyssey 5 fan fiction! Hey! A summer project! You could write about sending Manny Coto back in time five years to prevent the destruction of what probably would have been a really cool second season.
Featured image: Showtime