VR.5

Tagged: TV

Tv series (1995; vt VR5). Samoset Productions with Rysher Entertainment for the Fox Television Network. Created by Jeannine Renshaw. Produced by Adam Cherry, Jack Clements, others. Directors include Rob Bowman, Jim Charleston and Michael Katleman. Writers include Naomi Janzen, Renshaw and John Sacret Young. Cast includes Michael Easton, Louise Fletcher, Anthony Head, David McCallum, Tracy Needham, Will Patton and Lori Singer. 13 45-minute episodes. Colour.

The central character is Sydney Bloom (Singer), a telephone worker with Computers as her spare-time hobby, whose parents Dr Joseph Bloom (McCallum) and neurochemist Nora Bloom (Fletcher) were involved in Virtual Reality research but have been killed along with her sister Samantha (Needham) in an auto accident. Sydney accidentally discovers that she can tap into a very advanced form of VR, the level of immersion into which provides the series' name. Moreover, her actions in the virtual world can somehow affect reality. Because of this she is recruited by a mysterious organization known only as the Committee and receives covert assignments on this group's behalf, delivered in episodes 1-4 by Frank Morgan (Patton) and thereafter by Oliver Sampson (Head). Exactly what the Committee's ultimate goals may be is never revealed. The only non-Committee person who knows of Sydney's VR involvement is her friend Duncan (Easton), who offers what advice and help he can provide. Amid her strange missions Sydney occasionally uses the Technology to interact with (stored versions of?) her parents and sister.

After ten episodes had aired in the US, VR.5 was cancelled with little of its story arc resolved. The unconventional premise may have shortened its life. Cost was certainly a problem, at some $1.5 million per episode: the distinctive VR Cyberspace sequences were shot in black-and-white film and hand-coloured to differentiate them from real-world action. The last three episodes were not originally broadcast in the US but aired in Canada and the UK; the latter release changed the sequence of instalments and omitted #3. [GFi/DRL]

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