Defiance Preview: Preparing for the Ark Fall

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On April 15, Defiance debuts on Syfy. 

Given the amount of promotion underway for the show (and the video game) since Comic-Con last July, you may be familiar with the name, but not the concept behind this series. So before it airs and my first review is posted Monday night, allow me to bring you up to speed.


Defiance was conceptualized as a video game and TV show that would interact and affect each other as they went along. However, given the difference in production time between TV shows and video games, it quickly became apparent there would need to be some boundaries.

So, Defiance the TV show is set in St. Louis while Defiance the video game is set in San Francisco. Both take place in the same time period (the year 2046) and a few characters will go back and forth between the show and game (Nolan and Irisa for example).

What’s The Show About?
Defiance is about the human spirit surviving after the world is changed beyond recognition. After a mass of alien ships come to earth (in 2011) to try and find a new home, a war breaks out. During this war there is a cataclysmic event, the Ark Ships (the armada that arrived) explode, raining debris of all sort down on the world changing the landscape forever.

In 2046 we meet Nolan and Irisa as they find their way to Defiance (formally St. Louis, as shown by the Gateway Arch). Nolan has adopted the young Irathient and sees her as his daughter. Irisa is not the only alien in Defiance, the world is now populated by dozens of different species, including Irathients,  Castithans, and Indogenes – just to name a few. This is where the show will pick up.

What’s the Buzz?
Defiance is being sold as a frontier town of immigrants where human and aliens alike are trying to build a better life for themselves. Given that “western meets sci-fi” worked very well in Firefly (Serenity) and the show is not on FOX, I have pretty good hopes that it will make it.

What Firefly did so well and Battlestar Galactica turned into four seasons was telling a story set in and around space, but not about space. This is where a lot of sci-fi and fantasy shows like last year’s Terra Nova fall down.

But I think Defiance might be on the right track; just look at the show’s amazing cast. My favorite heartthrob from Warehouse 13, Jaime Murray, is playing Stahma Tar, one of the more powerful Castithans in Defiance; her husband Datak Tar is played by screen veteran Tony Curran, and these two will make a powerful pair on screen.

I suspect the show will start out following Nolan and Irisa as main characters. While I’ve seen Grant Bowler in several things, I’m not familiar with Stephanie Leonidas off the top of my head. What bits I have seen with them look good, so I’m willing to give her a chance.

Finally, I would be lynched by the Buffy fans out there if I didn’t mention Julie Benz as Amanda Rosewater, the Mayor of Defiance. I haven’t seen Benz do much since “No Ordinary Family, so it’s great to see her back and in a show that plays to her strengths (she does really well with sci-fi/fantasy).

Are you looking forward to the premiere? Could we be seeing the next Firefly or Battlestar Galactica? Is there anything you’re really looking forward to in the show? Post your comments below and remember to return here next week for a full review! 

Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

Show Comments

Defiance Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Tommy: [To Nolan] Come on, give me your wrists.
Nolan: You took too long, I got bored [handing Tommy the handcuffs]

Garrett: Tommy, I told you to watch him, not cuff him.
Tommy: He was armed.
Garrett: Now he's unarmed. See that patch on his shoulder? If he really wanted to hurt you, those cuffs wouldn't stop him.