Fox’s Virtuality follows astronauts being filmed for a reality show

Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, Fox will air Virtuality, a two-hour movie co-written by Battlestar Galactica producer Ronald D. Moore that is really a pilot for a possible TV show. And although it’s fictional, reality TV plays a role in the plot.

The movie follows the 12-person crew of a spaceship that’s exploring a star system, and as they travel, their lives are the subject of a reality show on Earth. That’s because the spaceship’s funding came from selling the rights to broadcast footage from the crew’s lives on a show called Edge of Never: Life on the Phaeton.

Moore told the Edmonton Sun, “We started talking about when they would be broadcasting pieces back to Earth, like astronauts do today, and hey, what if they made a reality show out of that? Then it all started to come together. Were the needs of the reality show starting to impact what was happening on the spacecraft? Were people being manipulated in order to make better drama for the reality show? And the astronauts themselves would start to wonder, are they telling us the truth about what’s happening back on Earth, or is that just to get us upset for the cameras?”

Here’s a preview that includes cast members discussing the reality TV component:

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.