“Defiance” premiered Monday (April 15) on Syfy — is it the latest must-watch science fiction show to hit the airwaves?
We think fans of “Battlestar Galactica” are in for a treat. While not set in space, “Defiance,” like “BSG,” pits humans in a post-apocalyptic world working with, and against, alien creatures who have taken over their planet.
In addition, “Defiance” also has an added mystery element. Wherein “BSG,” viewers were left wondering who was a Cylon and who was not, “Defiance” introduced shady former mayor, Nicky Riordan (Fionnula Flanagan), and the mysterious Mr. Birch, who are working with someone to try to wipe Defiance off the map. Working with them are the toaster-like Volges, a Votan race hostile towards other Votans and humans alike.
(For the record, we’re guessing the Earth Republic is somehow involved, since it came up several times that Mayor Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) does not want to trade with them.)
We also love the smaller “BSG” nods, like hexagons everywhere (as opposed to octagons) and the swear word that’s OK for primetime TV (shtako vs. frak).
As for “Firefly” lovers out there, we definitely see hints of the roguish Malcolm Reynolds in our loner-cum-lawkeeper Josh Nolan (Grant Bowler). In fact, if it weren’t for the aliens, “Defiance” would read a lot like a typical Western, complete with a Miss Kitty in the (lovely) shape of Amanda’s sister Kenya Rosewater (Mia Kirschner).
The only misstep for us was the “Romeo & Juliet” storyline between Christie McCawley (Nicole Munoz) and Alak Tarr (Jesse Rath). It’s not that isn’t room for romance on a sci-fi show, but there are plenty of shows out there about teenage angst. We want a good adult drama and let’s hope this romance doesn’t dominate things too much.
The saving grace for the romance is that Alak’s parents Datak (Tony Curran) and Stahma (Jaime Murray) have already seen what an advantage it will be to them if their son is married to the daughter of the mine owner (should anything tragic befall him). The Tarrs make excellent interior villains in Defiance, much like Gaius skulking about with his invisible Six.
Overall, we’re definitely on board with Syfy’s newest offering. We hope it goes the way of our favorite former sci-fi programs and continues to be an adult drama with high stakes.