Television Review – Defiance

June 21, 2013 1:30 pm

As someone who has never played the games, and has no intention to, Defiance manages to be an easy to watch sci-fi and adventure TV show. Originally, the show was never one I set out to watch, purely because it appeared to just be another attempt at the dystopian future gimmick that seems to be the current fad (with programmes like revolution and the multitude of zombie based TV shows and films).  So I had my reservations, but through perseverance, and moments of wit and action packed scenes, it roped me in and I’ve found myself a regular viewer on a Tuesday night.

Picture a western where a loaner and his partner walk in to town. They get in to trouble with the local law, and tangle with a corrupt businessman, but somehow the loaner becomes the local sheriff when a fight turns nasty. Now picture that scenario where Earth has been taken over by aliens and you have Defiance. It’s not the most original plot line ever, with sci-fi westerns such as firefly being the benchmark, but it does make for some reasonably good, if clichéd, TV.

Defiance has many positives going for it, but I’ll start with its characters. Initially centered around the story of Joshua Nolan, Grant Bowler, and his relationship to his adopted daughter of an alien race; Irisa, Stephanie Leonidas. We see the story evolve into the plight of the town previously known as St. Louis, now Defiance, and its people.  The back story of many characters comes to light and creates a, what I can only describe as, lovable rogue type destination. Many characters have sinister undertones, with many dark themes represented in the show; which I have to say I did not expect. From the Mayor, played by Julie Benz, who becomes a significant character fairly on and also a prospective love interest to Nolan, to the primarily perceived of as an evil character, Datak Tarr, played very well by Tony Curran. Occasionally we are shown glimpses of the equivalent of humanity in an alien race, and a whole range of personalities is shown, creating a unique experience when pulled together.

Plotline wise, the show starts a bit slow, verging slightly into the “monster of the week” territory that many new programmes of this genre fall into, but soon speeds up the pace and by the fifth/sixth episodes the various inklings of plot start coming together, forming a more intricate story that regularly leaves me on the edge of my seat, until the next week, where I am waiting for the answers to questions.

DefianceOf course some points seem to be glossed over. In the first scene of the pilot the entire history of how the earth came to be like it is, is quickly shown with a narrator giving us all the highlights before I’ve even had time to get comfortable in my chair. Some character details are also kind of just stated and then moved on from. Take the typical young couple in love that we get introduced to in the first couple of episodes. We are told they are in love but we never really see it enough to make it believable, instead we get the girls dad going on a rant to the local brothel to find the boy and “kill him”. To say their subplot of forbidden teenage love is uninspiring is an understatement.

Overall, I have to say, although I had my doubts, Defiance had turned into a show that I really enjoy watching, despite its occasional downfalls. If you plan to watch it, all I can say is persevere for the first couple of episodes and eventually you’ll find yourself wrapped in the dystopian world the writers have created.

Relevant link: Defiance IMDB



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