What the hell can a geek say? Just a hop, a skip, and a jump into the pilot of Syfy’s new series Defiance and I had already spotted enough actors from other shows I dig to have a full-on meltdown: MirrorMask, Farscape, Trueblood, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Warehouse 13, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, and *&%@! Doctor Who, amongst others. I’m lucky I didn’t pee myself. You’re lucky I didn’t pee myself. Don’t ask, just read.
So, blammo: what you’ve got here is a semi-unique mythology that one might expect from the strange copulation of Firefly and The Fifth Element (with all of the cartoonishness, glitter, and Chris Tucker sucked out of it with a turkey baster). There’s a well-remarked upon Wild West element to it, but I’m pretty sure that whenever the majority of a planet’s population is wiped out and microcosmic city-states crop up… well, that’s what you get. Congratulations, critics, you have successfully described the show to the sort of folks that won’t watch it. I offer you high fives and gold stars.
Being sci-fi, the clichés abound—but this show provides a lot to offset them. Several times I was surprised by character developments, not the least of which was the evolving understanding of the relationship between the main character Joshua (played by Grant Bowler) and his “companion.” In two hours the writers were able to define some pretty diverse groups and set themselves up for an almost endless array of possible subplots. And all before exploding a whole lot of stuff in a final sequence that should have come with an epilepsy warning.
Now, in all fairness, here’s the boot to the teeth: they seriously rushed Grant’s transformation from hardened stuff-hunter/brawler to humanitarian hero. But at the same time, I suppose you gotta do what you gotta do. The ending is no cliffhanger, but I think that they took one of the only responsible routes for rectifying the pilot’s plot. Cliffhangers can sometimes be a cheap trick, and so the lack of one gives me high hopes as the season progresses.
Defiance is currently airing a 13-episode season on Syfy, Mondays. To boot, there’s an MMORPG game version of the show that was released on April 2!
by Johnny Beaver