Commander Falconer is the hero’s hero’s hero. A gifted combat veteran, with a really cool eye patch, Falconer is rewarded for her valor by being transferred to a research facility on Pluto.
She’s being punished.
Falconer is by the book, driven, courageous and quietly worried she’s extremely broken. Her new staff include:
- Christy-Endlessly enthusiastic, very well read, excited to be there and with hidden depths…
- Lowell-Cyborg, rich internal fantasy life which never stays internal terrible long, can survive outside without a space suit. Sometimes remembers things.
- Burney-Enigmatic! Prodigious! Knows other long words!
It would have been so easy for Oblivity to be a space sitcom. Radio 4’s very fond of them and the show has that confidence and bounce in its step for sure. But what becomes apparent very quickly is just how smart this show is and also, fundamentally, how kind. Also it’s very funny, and occasionally disgusting. Lowell in particular, played with syllabic berserker glee by the mighty Ashley Hunt is a fount of terrifying, occasionally damp knowledge. But, brilliantly, where other shows would rest in that ‘student flat in space’ Goldilocks zone made of odd socks and terrible food choices, Oblivity burns instead for the high frontier.
As the show goes on, writer Rob Stringer cleverly plays out both some excellent world building and some really impressive character work. Cate Nunn’s Falconer in particular is great, a rock-steady officer who is convinced she’s anything but and slowly finds herself being healed by standing next to Pluto’s shambolic collection of inmates. Falconer is strict, by the book, angry and kind in a really obtuse way and the show is at it’s best when she’s allowed to be all those things at once. Likewise, Lowell is often a punchline but never just that and Burney’s rich, byzantine internal scheming marks him out as much more than an off the shelf Science Officer. Although Max Windich does have massive fun playing with the vocal expectations of that sort of role, the deadpan, laconic North to Lowell’s exuberant South.
But it’s Hannah Wilmshurst’s Christy who stays with you. Episode 3, Revolutions in the Air, in particular is a real standout. A solo pilot, circumnavigating the solar system, crashes at Persephone. While her ship’s being repaired, her relationship with Christy grows in a way that’s both heart-breakingly British and reticent and desperately sweet and romantic. That by itself would be enough but the payoff to all this gives Christy yet another dimension, sets Amelia the navigator up for a possible return and does all of this with clear eyes, a massive heart and a wicked sense of humor.
Oblivity is a fiercely good show. The cast are all top notch, the scripts crackle with absurdity, humor and action and the show has a unique energy that’s just deeply, profoundly likable. Season 1 has an episode left and you should absolutely check it out. Falconer and her team are, despite appearances to the contrary, the best of the best.
Oblivity’s first five episodes are available now with the sixth following shortly. Their really excellent website (And their excellent badges) is here.