Show Reviews (75)
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Watchable, but only just.
Given the shameless hype I expected a clever, well-made Sci-Fi show, but instead got a dystopian soap. There's nothing new here at all, unless you count the alien races. The characters are all well-known stereotypes we've seen countless times before.
Basically it's just an old Western show that's been transported to the future and where some characters have been given heavy make-up. So while I've watched the first season, there's no way I'll bother watching the next one.
ok, not great. (*some spoilers*)
Most of the main actors actually do a decent job considering the circumstances (J. Murray seems to play the same type of character in all shows, be it Dexter, Warehouse13 or Spartacus - however she does it well :) ). Irisa is mostly just annoying, she strikes u more like an obstinate teen than an actual alien devouring mother. What irks me about this show are a couple of things. The "aliens" are, as per usual, humanoids with skin paint, colored lenses and some latex pasted onto the face. Anyone w a brain realizes that any actual alien races will NOT look like humans (more convincing aliens can be found in halo, starship troopers, district 9, some species in the mass effect series). This of course is a budgetary issue I guess (CGI costs to much). The storyline is, so far, pretty generic ; outcasts with special abilities (visions), the coming of the big bad (angel of death), individuals vs the state (NY) etc... To me it feels more like a western with aliens, but maybe that will change. Like the music though, reminds me of Firefly (sigh). Overall not great, but better than whats around at the moment . Also, I really like the concept of tying a show to a video game. The best case scenario would be a show that actually follows developments in the game between seasons, but maybe that is too much to ask for...moreless
I am 29 minutes into Episode 11 and this show just exploded into character development. Suddenly I care deeply about our Lawkeeper (the acting was pretty great too) or mayor feels like a real mayor, the political scheming here is awesome and really gritty. Yes the first 9 Episodes haven't been the greatest setup to get to this point, but Defiance just totally redeemed itself. They keep it going like this and don't loose themselves to much in stories-of-the-week, THIS might well be THE show we will remember starting back in 2013 (alongside Bates Motel and The Americans of course). I am wowed!moreless
I am totally hooked
I think this show has a lot of potential for lasting a long time I love how they picked the actors and actresses they really have done a great job with all the costumes and special effects and as far as this being a family show well that depends on how you think everyone has different opinians on what they think is good for kids and as far as Datak and stahma sharing the prostitute well that would be weird but if you watch the last episode Datak threatened to kill stahma but we also got to look at the fact that they are from a different planet and have different ways of doing things in their life as the show portrays...
I had my reservations about this show
At very I had my reservations about this show, taped the pilot, did not liked it, also episode 2 did not work for me, but after I have watch episodes 5 & 6...... got interested, could not follow the story line so I again taped 1st till 10th episode.
Yes I'm Hooked!
Defiance really keeps you guessing with unanswered questions, so I'm always looking forward to the next episode. Acting of several players is really bad, for instance like the actress judith benz (Dexter). Second reason is that I'm not a really Si-Fi fan, but ones a while I do appreciate a good Si-Fi movie or tv show.
Defiance is entertaining, certainly different from other Si-Fi shows I have watch on tv. Story line is good,
the aliens in defiance are realistic. Tony Curran who plays Datak Tarr - great actor.
I must admit Defiance has an originality of it's own and that is fantastic!
Outstanding, Unique & Entertaining
This first season has been an exciting rollercoaster of introduction to plots & characters. This show has the potential to take so many different avenues yet never leave the city! My only disappointment was Sukar being killed. His characters continued presence could have made for some interesting viewing! Love the show!!!!
The Movie has potential BUT
The movie Defiance has potential to be real good except the role acting of the McCawley is horrible, the father is grumping all the time, boring and depressing. The daughter acting has got to be the worst acting ever. The music doesn't seem to fit in well with the scene. Everything else is good.
Layers grow with the Show
The first 2 episodes were comfortably competent, as with any new series you just plain cant truly judge a show till after the third-fourth episode (writing/producing tweaks from pilot etc). If they don't have their stuff together by then very rarely does a show ever recover.
The the introduction of the radio station is an excellent example of additions that give better illustrative nuance.
This is a show that hasn't made the mistakes of the new wash of sci-fi that's come out in the last four years. Defiance isnt trying to reinvent sci-fi nor do they rely on epic or large scale production to draw.
This cast and their development is taking the slow and maturing route that has been a lynch pin of the most successful sci-fi in TV (think DS9, Voyager, Battlestar). And there is no escaping that every sci-fi that includes a familiarity with our time period will inevitably be compared to Firefly which itself was largely inspired by Cowboy Bebop which essentially is the true originator of the future/present earth genre mash up. Although if you wanted to be technical all of this kind of sci-fi genre is inevitably indebted to Blade Runner's post modernist innovation.
All that said Defiance on its own has become a delightfully original show free of formulaic stagnation. Each episode starts in the introduction of the individual episodes 'situation' while seamlessly carrying over series long arcs.
The central protagonists are Nolan (the sheriff) his adopted daughter alien Irisa and mayor Amanda Rosewater. And equal narrative time is given to more ambiguous characters like the leaders of industry and society Rafe McCawley, and Datak Tarr.
These five act as the core from which the rest of the show has spun an elaborate and complex web of highly refined characters and motivations. Defiance abides by ambiguity and works against rigid black and white contrivances rife in sci-fi without being annoyingly bombastic about it. The dubious behaviors of ex-mayor Nicky Riordan and 'the doc' infuse a cunning depth of back-story without labored narrative and the writers dont hold our hands as more is revealed.
This methodology of narrative is bold in trusting the sophistication of the audience and the show is better for it.
Beyond those technical elements Defiance brings us cultural and ethical dilemma in a refreshing unapologetic way. There are clearly defined motivations which are either 'for the good' or are 'bad' relative entirely on which characters appeal to you. If you like the mayor and Nolan than Datak and Nicky Riordan are bad people but if your behind Datak than Rafe and the doc arent in your favor.
The cultural aspects are unique and individual. The multiple alien races are distinguished with a clean originality that is neither lazy nor overreaching. Most sci-fi currently and historically relies on humans plus maybe one other alien race. In Defiance we have three alien races (so far) who can coexist (to a degree) with humans while the Volge is the only entity that is outright 'bad'. Other agencies such as the imperialistic Earth Republic (a human ran organization from New York) makes the ambiguity that much more rich.
This show thus far has marshaled all of its diverse and complex bodies in a pristine order with each party playing an effective role without feeling like they are jammed in atop one another.
The social concepts arise seamlessly out of each episodes narrative and are void of that preachy forced feeling many TV shows (across all genres) can have when writers are trying to 'say something'.
Themes of family, gender, race, tolerance, defense, security, sacrifice, love and hatred are interwoven by the actions of the characters as opposed to grandiose labored speeches. And each episode contains tightly written themes that result in each episode closing out on a bang as opposed to simple drifting to an end.
The musical score is geat, the CGI is sparingly used and all the more convincing (under cable network limitations), and the town of Defiance is a vibrant interactive community with consistent logic and very realistic sensibilities.
Defiance is story story story even when the action is at the fore, and the action sequences are fluid logical and never overworked although sometimes too brief for my taste.
Performance wise Grant Bowler (Nolan) has the most difficult road to travel because he is cast in a character that will echo back to so many other male sci-fi protagonists. It shouldn't be surprising that immediate comparisons linked him to Han Solo and Mal Reynolds (Firefly).
However, Nolan's interaction with his adopted daughter Irisa has provided exposure and development of a pathos that is singular from the lone gun slinger brigand of Solo or Reynolds. If you only watched the first episode or two and nothing else this would be overlooked. At this writing (episode 9 has just aired) Nolan is cleanly cut separate from the other 'captains' of the sci-fi genre (even if his aesthetic still type-casts him). With all that said, Bowler seems sufficient until surrounded by the other more charismatic players.
Stephanie Leonidas's Irisa is effective but we have yet to really crack into her (which is clearly by design) she is playing the guarded warrior child (with a touch of messiah I suspect) and she conveys this well but her development is being restrained clearly for narrative reasons down the road.
The other cast plays their parts excellently but the performance stand outs go to four particular people.
Tony Curran has sunk his teeth deep into alien Datak Tarr and his enthusiasm shows in every scene he essentially dominates with few exceptions. He is engaging if not mysterious at times and quite often its just a treat to see him move across screen. I cant say he is the single best character because his screen wife Stahma Tarr is brilliantly evoked by Jaime Murray who brings the cunning electricity we've seen from Christina Hendricks in Mad Men and Leana Heady's Cersei Lannister (one critique might be that Stahma sometimes comes off a little to Cersei Lannister).
Its a joy to see Graham Greene (II) play someone other than a native American and he brings his veteran skills to fully realize Rafe McCawley as a shrewd man whose cards are close to his chest. He is gruff but not ignorant, street smart and gritty but refined with a political edge. His talents here are similar to the opportunity afforded Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones (another type cast overlooked veteran).
My personal favorite performer on the show often steals the scene with little more than a flick of an eye lid is Nicky Riordon, played sumptuously by Fionnula Flanagan who has been around long enough to know how to do big things with little scenes and she owns the camera in every scene she is in.
Trenna Keating as Doc Yewll despite all that makeup she gives us the effecting performance that makes her part comic levity part concealed darkness. The remainder of the cast has also performed top notch work as well. And when any number of the key characters are sharing scenes the chemistry is clearly there.
Overall Defiance is an excellent new narrative on TV. The direction isnt repetitive and we get new cinematography and editing production with every episode. And once they got control of the whole 'Schtako" thing the dialogue really took off as it is never over bearing. The pace is tight but not always airtight. Although the origin story of the aliens was slightly vague at the onset, 9 episodes have resolved that issue quite well.
I wont call this show great just yet, although it has every indicator of becoming one of the classics as the long range narrative is intriguing and has been revealed with excellent discipline.
Dont be surprised if people who didnt objectively watch Defiance come back to it in its second season as the ratings have held and every episode thus far has been at its weakest, good often times strong to great.
Also I cant blame professional critics and reviewers who may be uncomfortable with the corporate synergy of the show (the video game tie in) or just generally for being neurotic about certain concepts (noble savages is a good example) and in that way dont be surprised if you see allot of official reviews that go something along the lines of 'this was good but this X was heavy handed' or 'this x has been done before". Because they are right, Sci-fi of any genre is well trodden ground and Defiance has clearly decided not to try and stress over reinventing sci-fi of any genre.
The meat of this show is an engaging long range narrative, and it isn't a perfect show (is there such a thing?) but it is truly exciting to see a recent Sci-fi show whose biggest problems are simply minor technical things (some action sequences are underwhelming aka the bug hunt in 'Devils in the Dark').
While the majority of sci-fi (and TV in any genre) struggles to just remain coherent Defiance is off and running headlong into a drawn out fully realized multi-layered saga with consistent to strong performances without fear or hesitation going down the rabbit hole it is traversing.
Ultimately, I'm engaged on the verge of being hooked, and I feel just how I did when I was watching Firefly and wondering why the hell no one else liked it or reviewed favorably. [Despite all who jumped on the wagon I remember what critics wrote and the absence in ratings] I wont put Defiance at that level yet but as someone who watched Firefly in real time (one of the few lol) this show is developing in the exact same way even if (due to Whedon's current aura) people cant accept that.
If you are on the fence than take this advice: Like a good sci-fi fan abandon preconceptions and pretensions just watch the show contained in itself and I am positive you will quickly discover Defiance is a good show without conditions.
Not a family show!
How some of the scenes gets past decency laws I'll never know! When you have basic topless shots, a hooker seducing a husband and a wife condoning it, then SHE sleeps with her and kisses her on screen! Let's not even talk about the family trying to talk their daughter-in-law to be into an incestuous bath time with his family!
Good grief is NOT family television or even television! This is adult grade soft porn stuff!
I saw the commercials leading up to the bath scene where the wife was topless, they did the close up of her breasts in EVERY commercial! Yes she's an alien but those are still a woman's bare breasts! And yes in 'OTHER' cultures the family bathes together, although I'm not so sure how much of that really goes on any more. BUT we are in AMERICA! Not another culture! And I agree, if it takes 'sex' to sell your show, it ain't much of a show.
You are pushing the envelope because you can and until people start complaining you are going to push, well, they ARE COMPLAINING! We KNOW there are laws against this crap!
If you think I'm a prude, TOO BAD! I AM. I am for the traditional values our country was formed on and I will fight to keep calloused, jaded perves in their place! I have children and grandchildren and they have as much right to decent television as I had.
For goodness sake, we all know what boobs look like, do we really need them flaunted all over television? Or encouraging prostitution and incest? If you think so, Dr Phil has a chair for you and your sex addiction or porn problem! I guess peeking through key holes or magazines isn't enough any more for perves, they NEED to wallow in it.
SICK and SAD!moreless