Defiance — Season 1 Review

The Defiance franchise comes with a lot of baggage in tow, presented as part television show, part video game. Being marketed as such may be something that could bolster the series to popularity, or ultimately be its downfall, especially if one turns out to be an epic fail. The writing may be on the wall for the video game portion, as thus far the game has gotten lackluster reviews. Be that as it may, we will be taking a look at season one of the television series, to see if it can at least hold up its end of the bargain.

In the not too distant future, the Votans, a collection of seven different races, arrive on earth. A planet in which they had previously thought to be uninhabited, or so we are originally told. What first starts off as peaceful negotiations, then gradual colonization, leads to a global war known as the ‘Pale Wars’, which culminates in the Ark fleet exploding, releasing massive terra-forming technology on earth. After the ‘Arkfall’ event, a peace treaty is brokered, resulting in a war-torn earth in which humans and the Votans are forced to co-exist.

In the opening of the series we are introduced to Joshua Nolan (Grant Browler) and his daughter Irisa Nyira (Stephanie Leonidas). But something is obviously different about this father-daughter duo. Irisa is an alien—an Irathient to be exact—and her supposed father is a human who served in the Pale Wars. We later learn they become a duo after Irisa’s village was raided and her parents were killed. But there is more to this girl than meets the eye.

We find that Irisa and Nolan live as nomads, moving from place to place, scavenging valuable items left over from the Pale Wars in order to survive. Their journey eventually leads them to a place called Defiance, which you and I know as St. Louis, Missouri. Once the duo arrive in Defiance in an attempt to make some money from a recent find, they are compelled to stay through an uncontrollable series of events in which Nolan becomes the town law-keeper.

The series plays on the human-alien conflict, the search for valuable artifacts, and an underlying power struggle between Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz)—the newly appointed town’s mayor—and her followers, versus Datak Tara (Tony Curran)—a very powerful but shady Castihan businessman—and his followers. Most of the series follows the antics surrounding these political and cultural differences, in which Amanda is eventually challenged for her seat as mayor by Datak. Not surprisingly the season is filled with a host of secrets, treachery, lies, and scheming from Datak to bolster his cause.

Then there is the search for very powerful artifacts, which are known to be somewhere in the mines of Defiance. Many are willing to kill to get the artifacts, most surprisingly of which is the former mayor Nicolette Riordan (Fionnula Flanagan). It is later revealed the artifacts are the key to a powerful ancient ship.

Throughout the series we see protagonist Nolan keeping the order as much as possible to keep Defiance safe from not only internal power struggle, but from external confrontation as well. Which comes in the from of the Volge, Irathient Riders, and The Earth Republic. Nolan, his deputy-daughter Irisa, and deputy Tommy LaSalle (Dewshane Williams), handle most everything in stride, with the town coming together to aid in extreme circumstances.

As it stands Nolan is pretty much a bad-ass who can handle most any situation, due to his military training and experience in the Pale Wars. As a lawman he’s a likable guy and holds a strong allegiance to the mayor who hired him. Iriza on the other hand doesn’t carry that charm. She is a quiet and very violent person who acts one hundred percent on emotion. As the story unfolds we find there is something special about her that is only starting to unfold by the end of the season. We eventually find the artifact found somehow has something to due with Iriza, and awakens special powers within her.

All in all, for me to say that I’m excited about season two would be a it of an overstatement. And I dare not say the overly used phrase “cautiously optimistic.” I’ll continue to watch this show with the same perspective I’ve had from the start, not expecting a lot, but welcoming the occasional pleasant surprise. The second season of Defiance begins sometime in June on the SYFY channel.

Source: Wikipedia, Official Defiance Website