SyFy’s Defiance: Nothing mind-blowing, but entertaining nonetheless

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Defiance could be described as The Walking Dead meets Firefly meets Halo. Set in a dystopian Earth landscape, the show features a traveling veteran and his adopted alien daughter who stumble upon the ruins of St. Louis, Missouri, and the town of Defiance.
The year is 2046. Earth was attacked by aliens and retaliated by destroying most of their ships. The survivors–humans, aliens and all–now fight for survival.
Here’s one of the interesting facets of Defiance: in most science fiction, all members of one alien race look the same. They might even dress the same. But Defiance’s Votans are divided into many drastically different races and cultures, and while one looks suspiciously like Lucas’s Wookiees mixed with orangutans, it’s refreshing to see a realistic alien projection.
The show airs Monday nights at 8 p.m., is three episodes in, and finds interesting ways to keep it fresh. You’ll find yourself interested in the characters and hanging on as the plot twists and does things you don’t expect.
Ex-soldier Nolan (Grant Bowler) finds himself the sheriff of Defiance–a town where Votans and humans live in relative peace–and is forced to mediate between this show’s Montagues and Capulets; the McCawley and Tarr families (and yes, there is a forbidden romance). Meanwhile, Nolan has to find out who wants them to leave Defiance so badly, they would hire an alien warlord to drive them out.
Nolan’s relationship with his Votan daughter Irisa is tense and even though Irisa is instantly unlikeable as a character, the constant tension combined with the slowly developing backstory is fascinating.
The most interesting part about the show so far, however, is Stahma Tarr, a scheming sort of alien mafia wife. Though the writers veil it somewhat, it’s fairly easy to tell that Stahma acts harmless because she has some sort of overarching plan, and whether that plan involves overthrowing her husband, taking over the town or just settling the dispute, it’s hard to guess and harder to read her.
Defiance is a mystery, it’s action, it’s a Western, and it’s entertaining.

–Scott Greenstone

The Broadside



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