This month’s “What Could Have Been” is brought to you by special request (a while ago, actually, but I wanted to cover Odyssey 5 in a Primer first). As it turns out, Odyssey 5 doesn’t have a whole lot of information out there on how it would’ve progressed; Manny Coto, the show’s creator, has been fairly tight-lipped about his plans and still has a fervent belief that he may be able to resurrect or remake the show some day. It’s hard to argue with the idea that the show would likely be far more successful if it were made today than it was at the time, although ratings weren’t behind its cancellation. Almost everything I’ve found comes from one source: the DVD commentary for episode 1. However, there’s still enough tantalizing tidbits here that we can reconstruct some of the series’ plot and eventual resolution. Let’s look at the plans for Odyssey 5 Season 2 and beyond.
This is kind of hearsay because I’m having trouble getting my hands on the DVD commentary directly. As soon as I can, I’ll adjust anything here that I can get more info on. Now, the first thing to establish is that earlier interviews with Coto indicate he’d planned for the show to have at least 5 seasons worth of material, and a loose arc and plan to fill that time frame. Obviously, some things would have to be adjusted on the fly, and it seems like even the length was on the table–later interviews suggest he was prepared to wrap it up in as little as 3 seasons. Whether that’s an evolution of storytelling or an attempt at reducing the amount of time and money needed to tell it is unknown, but being sent back 5 years seems like it sets up for 5 seasons quite nicely.
- One of the key points for Odyssey 5 season 2 specifically would be reappearances of the Seeker. Exactly how that’s possible is unclear, given the nature of their time travel and the fact that he was explicitly not allowed to, but it’s suggested that he included aspects of himself in the five of them as part of sending them back. He may have held information that would help the crew to determine whether the humans or Synthetics were the ones responsible for the destruction of the Earth.
- As it was becoming clear in the final moments of season 1, the Sentients/Synthetics don’t seem to be the bad guys. They’re certainly not all Terminator SkyNet or anything. The conflict was becoming a lot grayer, and part of that would mean convincing Chuck and the others that the AI don’t necessarily mean them any harm. To prove they mean it, one of the possibilities being considered was the resurrection of Chuck’s wife, Paige. How the Sentients would be capable of that isn’t exactly clear; presumably it involves the nanobots.
- Coto kept a lot of the details for what would happen directly after the season finale to himself, but he did elaborate on the larger goals of the series, to an extent. The first step towards that would be the revelation that neither of the groups we’d seen so far were responsible for the destruction of the Earth–not a huge surprise, given that the Seeker had found other worlds destroyed in the same manner. Instead, an outside group was responsible: dubbed the “exterminators,” at least for production purposes, they’d have been a group determined to wipe out AIs anywhere that they emerge, presumably out of a fear that they’d go crazy and destroy all life or something.
- Faced with this external threat in the form of the Exterminators, the Humans and Sentients would have to cooperate to save the Earth–a cooperation that would grow and lead to better understanding and interdependence between the two groups. Ultimately, humans and AI would merge together, Singularity-style, to become a single hybrid. This is a pretty radical idea for television, and definitely not something I’d have guessed going into the show. It’d be nice to see a show where the AIs aren’t evil or second class citizens.
- One last detail: it’s said that in spite of the fact that other planets have fallen to this same fate prior to Earth, the threat does originate there. How, then, did it happen elsewhere first? Well… can’t answer that one. We do have one possible answer, though: time travel already exists in the world of Odyssey 5. It’s possible whatever the Exterminators were, they were created from Earth and sent back. But that’s just speculation.
Unfortunately, that’s about it as far as info on the resolution of Odyssey 5 Season 2 or beyond. We still don’t know what would become of the individual characters, and there are plenty of plot questions that the above doesn’t cover (like what the deal was with the viruses and the Martian rock). But it does answer some of the big ones that were left, and might help to bring a little closure to the story. If I learn anything else about Odyssey 5 or how it might have continued, I’ll update this post immediately. But until then, we’re left to ponder What Could Have Been.
Do you wish Odyssey 5 had continued along these lines? Or are you glad that Coto moved on to work on Enterprise instead? Are there any other shows with lost seasons you’d like me to research? Leave a message in the comments, or send a tweet to @RetroPhaseShift. If you enjoy these and want to know when the next one’s out, you can also subscribe to the “What Could Have Been” RSS Feed here.