Grant Bowler and Stephanie Leonidas in Syfy’s Defiance
Considering that Syfy has put all sorts of money and time into the advertising alone on this series and not to mention a video game that spans all of the current generation video game consoles; and to top it all off a stellar cast which includes Julie Benz, Graham Greene, Mia Kirshner, Tony Curran, and Grant Bowler. One would almost expect this ambitious and big budget production of Syfy’s to be a runaway hit and it is, sort of.
It’s certainly not hard for those that know the difference between film and digital to be able to pick out what is real and what isn’t real on the screen. Film has well film grain as well as that natural look that almost immediately claims its nostalgic rights, and compared to the super clean image produced by Arri’s wonderful Alexa its no surprise why digital is indeed taking over the media as we know it. However, getting more to my point Syfy is known for filming its series entirely on Red Epic and behind a green screen. Hell, Sanctuary the recently cancelled Amanda Tapping show never left a green screen and when it did it was only to go out and shoot a rather dull exterior that would hardly match up with its match frame on said green screen. The reason why it’s so heavily used by the network is because the workflow makes sense when using so many visual effects as the network does on its shows. It works for the three important rules of filmmaking, which is to be fast, cheap, and easy to work with. However, some of the full on CG shots look like they are straight up copied and pasted from George Lucas also recently cancelled Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Granted, this is nothing new, but Syfy has failed to do this tastefully. Other shows on other cable networks such as Game Of Thrones and A&E’s Longmire have at least made their fake exteriors look decent and unnoticeable to the trained eye.
Well now that I have divulged what I feel to be the weaker points of the show in question I won’t bore you anymore with technical jargon and get back to the reviewing Defiance.
Earth, as we know it today has come and gone, aliens of all sorts have invaded and humans are no longer the dominant race. Earth has become a melting pot filled with aliens that are not only out for their own good but, only a few cities remain from what the show has led us to believe. Earth has been Terraformed and looks like what can only be described as something out of the Star Wars universe or of James Cameron’s Avatar. What used to be known as Saint Louis and what is now called Defiance is one of these remaining cities.
Two drifters Jeb Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his Irathient daughter Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas) are on their way to a recent crash site to scavenge and find their next payday, when they are taken upon by other irthathient looking to rob them of their loot. Caught in a jam Jeb and Irisa make a daring escape, only for Irisa to be shot in the process.
So traveling in the forest with no apparent direction in mind Jeb is worn out and without help for Irisa only to be attacked by giant spider creatures of some kind. Jeb appears to be fending them off quite well, until he runs out of ammunition. Alone and unable to defend himself Jeb prepares to be spider food and is predictably saved at the last minute by one of Defiance’s’ lawkeepers.
Upon arrival to the city and after seeing treatment in a hospital Jeb gets himself involved in any situation that could become potentially dangerous and catches the eye of every big player in the city starting off with a fight in the “Holos” and ending with a Fight in Kenya’s (Mia Kirshner) brothel, which is remiscent of Quarks bar on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Does the heart of the story reveal itself.
George MCawley’s (Graham Greene) eldest son has been murdered and was last seen with Alak Tarr (Jesse Rath) son of Datak (Tony Curran) and Stahma tarr (Jaime Murray); Two of the oldest and richest families in Defiance, However MCcawley’s daughter Christie (Nicole Munoz) whom admits to having something for Alak says her older brother was with her the night of the his death. its Romeo and Juliet without the social status and prejudice.
So Jeb offers to find the killer, he is after all a decorated war hero with a perchance for violence and justice; who else would be better qualified to find such a killer? Certainly not deputy Tommy whom is told, he is not experienced enough by the town’s recently elected mayor Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz).
Defiance echoes Syfy’s recently cancelled show Eureka with a touch of Shakespeare; and its damn good television that certainly has its flaws, but it is nonetheless entraining like some of syfy’s other shows such as Haven or Continuum. Plus its cast provides great performances from all major parties involved. Defiance will be something to talk about or will be indefinitely shelved. I hope for the sake of the network that it continues to grow and gain more viewers than it currently has for a Nielsen rating; we all remember what happened to Stargate Universe.