July 20, 2024


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Defiance ‘Pilot’ Review!

Defiance Joshua Nolan and Irisa

Defiance is Syfy’s latest TV-show and it didn’t come a moment too soon. Syfy has been accused of ignoring its roots in favor of reality TV. Despite a rather slow start to Defiance I do think that this show has a lot of potential.

Julie Benz as the mayor of Defiance
Julie Benz as the mayor of Defiance


The pilot episode as such deals mostly with the characters of Joshua Nolan and his foster daughter Irisa Nyira as they try to reap benefits from Arkfalls. After Irisa is wounded they seek help in Defiance. Before long both are involved in the towns intrigue and Joshua finds himself protecting the town from a swarm of onrushing robot aliens. In the end he becomes the town’s sheriff with Irisa as his deputy. Nuff said really. I suggest you go view the pilot yourself if you want a recap.

Defiance - the votans are coming
Defiance – the votans are coming


While watching the pilot of Defiance I could really see the influence of Farscape on it’s characters and settings. Defiance’s creator Rockne S. O’Bannon has a talent for writing witty dialogue that stings while not being rude. He also manages to include sexuality into his characters in such a fashion that they are very much defined by it. As such he doesn’t have to go down the road like many HBO (Game of Thrones) or Starz (Spartacus) TV-series. In fact, so many other shows such as Da Vinci’s Demons and The Borgia’s include violence, gore, bad language and nudity that it is quickly becoming the new standard. Mostly it does manage to add a sense of realism and wit to the afore mentioned shows but I find it refreshing that Farscape managed to same thing 13 years ago but in a much more subdued fashion. As Defiance is on Syfy I am not sure what the plans are in the future as Syfy can’t be the only cable network that won’t show violence, gore and nudity.

Grant Bowler as Joshua Nolan and Stephanie Leonidas as Irisa Nyira - Defiance
Grant Bowler as Joshua Nolan and Stephanie Leonidas as Irisa Nyira – Defiance

The pilot episode of Defiance itself is fine but it’s length is too long. It could have easily been reduced in length by 20 minutes. Of course all the characters need to be properly introduced and for the most part they are! The plot twists that allow Grant Bowler’s character Joshua Nolan to become sheriff of Defiance are a bit predictable and improbable. In fact the premise for this sequence of events seemed eerily similar to last years Terra Nova pilot or even Eureka. Some of the special effects in the pilot are also terrible. The space battle seems to predate the Battlestar Galactica remake and the CGI cars and structures look dated. I am not sure where this show wants to go but it could be that it will be stuck in Defiance for the most part.

Jaime Murray as Stahma Tarr nude in Defiance
Jaime Murray as Stahma Tarr

Despite the pilot suffering from a number of issues I do believe that this show has a lot of potential. The scene is definitely set for lots of intrigue similar to The Borgia’s. The potential depth of the Defiance universe when it comes to technology, races, characters and places can easily rival shows such as Star Trek and Babylon 5.

Score; 7.5 / 10. Hardly the worst pilot I have seen but nowhere near as good as it could have been.