We join the Overture – a generational spaceship on its way to Earth’s nearest star (after the Sun) – 25 years into its journey and the changeover from the first shift to the second. Tensions begin when Robert King, the Commander of the first shift, decides replacement Gail Gartner isn’t up to the job.
The drama of Personal Space is centred on the therapy room, where the awake crew members talk things over with AMI, the ship’s AI, unaware that their sessions are being broadcast to Earth as reality TV. Audio clips are also saved and relayed to other crew out of context, causing further friction.
The episodes are short, akin to Big Brother’s Diary Room, and the viewer is quickly pulled into the claustrophobic atmosphere. A small budget actually works in the show’s favour in making the Overture look like a 25 year old ship, complete with gaffer tape repairs and barely-working door, with the majority going towards some nifty exterior CGI, and a star-studded cast, headed by the late Richard Hatch [Battlestar Galactica] in one of his last appearances.
One thing I loved was the inclusion of King’s character being a sci fi fan, a moment under which the soundtrack when into a touch of the original BSG theme. That made me smile and get a misty eyed.
Hatch is joined by Nicki Clyne [Battlestar Galactica reboot] as Gartner, Kurt Yaeger [Sons of Anarchy] as engineer Freeman, Sean Persaud [Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party] as doctor “Blasto” and Vivi Thai as biologist Li, whose first name AMI refuses to pronounce properly. They’re eventually joined by Captain James LaBarre, played by perennial bad guy Cliff Simon [Stargate SG1]
Personal Space is a 28 episode series you can easily binge in an afternoon, and highly recommended.