When the murmurs of the internet brought forth the details of Defiance and that at the release of its maiden season a video game would co-exist in the same universe I may have been a little fast to judge it as yet another poor attempt at dual channel marketing for a quick-and-dirty money grab at the detriment of the avid fans of all things SciFi.
Well, I’ve been proven wrong before and I’m happy to say that I have been again.
Defiance isn’t the usual fair of aliens attacking Earth, its not the same Us v. Them game that has been flogged till not only the dead horse being bloodied and bruised but also the intelligence of anyone watching within fifty feet.
What Defiance is you might ask? Rich, the world it weaves is intensely rich.
If you haven’t seen it at all then let me recap the shows main premise, if you have seen it the you might like to skip ahead a paragraph or two.
Near future Earth is just happily plodding along when all of a sudden ships start appearing in our orbit and coming into low atmosphere of the planet. Turns out these ships are actually grand “arks” that are carrying the last remaining survivors of seven individual races of aliens after a stellar collision caused their home star to be annihilated.
After a bit of initial diplomacy everything went to hell after an alien dignitary was murdered on television by a human. Its enough to say the aliens were none too happy about this and decided to point large things that go boom in our general direction.
Once this all calmed down a bit there was an accident on several of the orbiting ark ships which triggered terraforming of the Earth on a massive scale, wiping out everything we hold sacred about our civilization, killing some, mutating others, causing weird creatures to rapidly evolve.
Generally a bad time was had by all.
Cue a new Earth and an even playing field for both aliens and Humans alike where we all must pull our weight to co-exist and survive.
The show gets its name “Defiance” from a myth about the actions of a few soldiers in the ensuing war where both sides put down their weapons in order to save some people. This causes the aliens and Humans to begin tolerating each other enough to call a truce. See it was the “Defiant few” that inspired peace, now in derelict St. Louis is a town named after that act… Hence both the town and show is called “Defiance”.
Ok, enough about the plotline, those who chose to skip it may resume here.
Anyhow, a lot of work has gone into this show to get it right. Not only has a good amount of design gone into the sets and storyline, but even the alien races. We see a good proportion of the show not spoken in American-English and instead in the native languages of the individual alien races.
Here is the kicker, the languages are actually good, not just a bunch of incomprehensible clicks and whistles but actual language. This is due to the fact that linguist David J. Peterson (who is also the creator of the Dothraki Language from the Game of Thrones television adaptation) is the inventor of these languages.
I’ve only seen two of the four episodes of season one (I’ll be watching the other two in the coming days) and I’m already hooked. Clear lines are drawn, characters are involved, the storyline is interesting which often keeps the pacing of the episodes tight and the inclusion of a cast of actors who are generally known for their work in other SciFi greats (Farscape, Warehouse 13, Sliders, Doctor Who, The Outer Limits) only bolsters the impressive nature of the show.
If you haven’t already seen the first episode of Defiance, then I suggest you drop everything (yes, even that third guy on the left holding the ugly baby) and do anything you can to watch it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how good it is.