Sunday, 28 April 2013

Review: 'Defiance: Pilot'

'Defiance: Pilot,' 2013, SyFy. Written by Rockne S. O'Bannon and Kevin Murphy and Michael Taylor. Directed by Scott Stewart. Starring Grant Bowler, Stephanie Leonidas, Graham Greene, Tony Curran, and Julie Benz. Rated TV-14 for language, sexual situations, and violence. Airs 9.00 p.m. Mondays on SyFy Channel, or watch full episodes at

Set in 2046, this series takes place after the Votan races have terraformed Earth and settled there. There was a war (the Pale War), but the pilot doesn't go into that too much, so we're likely to be treated to more information as the series goes on. We do know that there are eight races living on Earth now (presumably this means humanity, along with the seven Votan races). 

We also know that the hero of the show, Joshua Nolan (Grant Bowler, pictured on the right), fought in the Pale War as part of the 9th Division, 'the Defiant Few.' There was a battle called 'Defiance,' and it's from that battle that the town in the show got its name. 

Travelling with Nolan is his adopted daughter, Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas, pictured), an Irathient who was rescued by Nolan during the war. We don't know exactly what sort of trouble Irisa was in, but she says Nolan saved her by murdering her parents. 

Nolan and Irisa are wanderers and scavengers, taking what they can get from wherever they go in order to eke out a living and try to hit the big time. Their goal is to get to the beaches of Antarctica (remember, Earth has been terraformed), which they've heard is 'paradise.' They finally have a chance to do that when they find a terrasphere, which will sell for a hefty price. 

Unfortunately, they get separated from their prize when they're forced into the  woods by spirit riders (think alien bikers) and Irisa is injured. They're saved from becoming lunch for some creatures that give new meaning to the term 'wolf spider' by a man named Gary Clancey. Clancey is the lawkeeper of a nearby town called (you guessed it) Defiance. 

Defiance is run by the new mayor, Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz). Rosewater is unsure of herself and her abilities to be mayor; she's stepping into some big shoes. Her predecessor, however, is only too happy to step down. 

Other characters include Deputy Tommy LaSalle (Dewshane Williams); Kenya (Mia Kirshner), the keeper of the town bar/brothel NeedWant; Datak Tarr (Tony Curran), a Castithan and the leader of Defiance's underworld; Stahna (Jaime Murray), Datak's wife, also a Castithan; Alak (Jesse Rath), Datak's son; Rafe McKawley (Graham Greene), a mine owner and Defiance's richest, most powerful human; Christie McKawley (Nicole Munoz), Rafe's daughter, who is in love with Alak; Ben (Douglas Nyback), an Indogene and Amanda's assistant; and Doc Yewll (Trenna Keating), also an Indogene. 

The relationships between all the characters is fascinating, as are the numerous races. There's also plenty of action, CGI, and other special effects. The aliens' makeup must take hours to accomplish, but it's worth it, and there are really cool weapons and methods of transportation, such as the roller Nolan and Irisa had at the beginning of the episode. And the storyline and back story keep one interested. We were sorry to see the first two hours end.  

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