We start of with a family sitting is green field when they are shocked by an alien invasion. This scene is taken almost frame for frame from the last season of Fringe. We then fast forward 33 years to a world that has been terraformed, but not enough to kill off the original population, just enough to add silly looking CGI plants all over the place. We are told that the invasion reached a point where the soldiers on both sides decided they didn’t want to fight any more. Then peace broke out and Mad Max went all Steam Punk.
If Defiance were on a real network, it would already be canceled. But since this is the Syfy Network, drawing in almost three million viewers is a roaring success.
Defiance is a standard Western turned into Science Fiction. The rouge outlaw becomes the new Sheriff, much like the outlaw in the short lived Spielberg dino-drama Terra Nova. The cast of aliens look as if they walked off the set of Farscape, though I haven’t seen any Muppets yet. One of my favorite odd little scenes was a backroom fight arena where a white haired champion bore a striking resemblance to Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher game series. He was replaced in the arena by a fellow who was a dead ringer for one of those pesky Engineers from Prometheus.
Countless reminders of other sci-fi shows aside, Defiance doesn’t make a lot of sense. How did we puny humans defeat a space faring race? What happened to all those wrecked ships floating around Earth? Why do all the aliens seem to hate each other? Why is an alien the head of the local mafia? Why the hell is THERE A LOCAL MAFIA???? Why didn’t our super smart aliens use the power from the shinny round thingie to repair the force field instead of destroying it-and all those cool weapons the bad guys had?? Why did our hero go down on a prostitute-seriously that sounds like a really bad idea.
The CGI was often terrible, as most computer generated graphics on the Syfy Channel have always been. The plot, such as it is, lays the groundwork for a future where our heroes will constantly be under attack by the one person they have come to trust over the past 33 years. If the show lasts a couple of season, it has a chance of becoming worth watching. The first seasons of science fiction shows are notoriously bad-though some, like Star Trek Enterprise, never get any better.
It’s just hard to watch a show like this without being reminded of better science fiction-as the song goes, It’s All Be Done Before.