Review: Defiance – Season One (2013)

Defiance is far from perfect and certainly not original but Defiance is entertaining throughout and a worthwhile experience for genre fans.

Defiance is an original sci-fi series (and videogame, that this reviewer hasn’t got round to playing) with a post apocalyptic setting. The series picks with ex-marine Joshua Nolan and his young alien companion Irisa arriving in the town of Defiance and getting caught up in local affairs. After assisting the town in repelling an attack Nolan decides to stay on as the town’s Law Keeper.

So an intriguing if unoriginal premise but how does it stand up to scrutiny? Unfortunately it’s not without its share of problems. The most obvious (and also the most frustrating) is the alien and creature designs. To speak frankly they are just a bit crap, very little thought or creativity has gone into this aspect of the show and it even makes some of bad aliens from Star Trek TNG look good. This is a real shame because the characters albeit unoriginal are well fleshed out and there is definitely an entertaining show here.

The landscapes and city itself are thankfully handled a little better and do convince as post apocalyptic locations even if it is a little difficult to notice at times what the terraforming of the planet has actually changed.

Despite having been lauded by other reviews the digital effects aren’t really up to scratch, despite one fairly decent set piece in the opening episode we are talking more Dr Who than Battlestar Galatica when it comes to the CGI on display here. Whilst it’s evidently cheaper to throw in substandard CGI a few more practical effects could have given the show’s monsters some genuine character.

Thankfully the humanoid characters are well acted by a likeable cast, Grant Bowler as Nolan is the lead and is engaging and humorous throughout. It’s a clichéd character but he delivers it well even if he isn’t quite Nathan Fillion.  Solid support comes from a fairly experienced cast including Julie Benz and Graham Greene who all give decent enough turns in their respective roles.

Storylines have decent enough variety and touch on real life issues as well fictional sci-fi, race religion and prejudice are all covered off with a fairly deft hand and the show makes its points subtly rather than ramming preachy dialogue down its viewers throats.

Whilst it’s not without issues and it doesn’t reach the heights of the genre greats, Defiance is entertaining genre fare that has a lot to offer and you could do a lot worse than spend some time with it.

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