I have a hard time knowing what to expect when I tune in to a show on the SyFy network. It has been the home to really good series like Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, Alphas and Face Off. It is also the network that brought you ridiculous cheese like Total Blackout, Ghost Hunters, Mega Python vs Gatoroid, and Sharktopus. When I saw the teasers for the new show Defiance, I was hoping that it would belong on the SyFy list of successes, and it does. It takes an interesting concept and fills it up with distinct characters and a solid story.
In the near future, a number of alien races have come to earth seeking refuge from their dying solar system, but when they are turned away by the world’s governments it leads to war. After the planet is devastated by the fighting, an uneasy truce is stuck and now several different alien races share the newly terra-formed world. The main characters of Defiance are former soldier Jeb Nolan and his adopted alien daughter Irisa. Jeb and Irisa are going across the wastelands salvaging parts from the wreckage of spacecrafts that have fallen to earth. When a roving band of thugs tries to rob them, Jeb and Irisa escape and stumble upon a settlement that was built in the ruins of St. Louis, named Defiance. Defiance is an independent outpost that exists without any help from the governing bodies that have sprung up in the wake of all of the military conflict.
When Jeb gets pulled into a local dispute, he uncovers a plot to destroy Defiance and he and Irisa decide to stay and fight an invading force in the hopes of saving this community and possibly finding a home after years of nomadic wandering.
Defiance succeeds in creating a diverse and original world, populated by characters that immediately get your attention. It is clever and entertaining and it gives a realistic feel to subject matter that can often push your ability to believe to the limit. In the two hour premiere you feel like you really learn who the individuals in this story really are. The actors, who have to deal with heavy prosthetics and make-up, are able to perform through those barriers and convey the personality of their characters clearly. Some of the standouts from the series premiere include Grant Bowler as Jeb, Stephanie Leonidas as Irisa and Tony Curran as Datak Tarr. This show has captured my interest and I plan on being a loyal viewer week to week if the show continues on at the level of quality that it has shown so far. I give it an A- and I urge you to give it a chance as well.