I really wanted this show to be good. I was not disappointed.
Looking for a new home after their solar system is destroyed, a group of aliens called Votans arrive on Earth. After negotiations for coexistence fail, the Votans declare war on the planet. During the war, they released terraformers which drastically changed the landscape: there are vast chasms in the scorched earth and most of the world is covered in dust and debris. After decades of fighting a truce is called. Humans and Votans have to find a way to live on the only planet available to them both. The show picks up in 2046, more than three decades after the aliens arrived.
Jeb Nolan is ex-military and served in the war. Now he travels with his alien ward, Irisa. They arrive in Defiance (formerly St. Louis) after trying to scavenge some alien tech from a crash site. Low on funds, in debt, and without a vehicle, they’re forced to stay in Defiance long enough to raise some cash.
Defiance is run by the new newly appointed mayor Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) and Chief Lawmaker Caleb. Other power players in town include Datak Tarr (Tony Curran; Vincent Van Gogh in the Vincent and The Doctor episode of Doctor Who) and the owner of the town’s mine, Rafe McCawley. The two men don’t get along and it doesn’t help matters that McCawley’s teenage daughter Christie and Tarr’s son Alak are secretly in love.
Christie and Alak
When Rafe McCawley suffers a tragedy, Nolan steps in to help with the case. During the course of the investigation a major town betrayal is revealed and their defenses are weakened, making them open to an impending attack from the horde of aliens (The Vulge) headed their way.
The town puts aside its differences to fight their common enemy. Nolan decides to stick around and use the energy sphere he hid in the woods to help rebuild the town’s defenses. Irisa? Not so much. She resents the fact that Nolan seems to take two steps backwards every time they manage to take one step forward. She heads for their original destination: the sunny beaches of Antarctica.
A lot of the pilot reminded me of Eureka: a stranger and his daughter arrive in town and he steps in as sheriff to help solve crime. But that’s a good comparison.
There are two interesting subplots brewing: Nolan managed to hook up with the town’s madam, Kenya, who also happens to be the mayor’s sister and there seems to be a little flirtatious chemistry between Nolan and Amanda. Also, Datak Tarr’s devious and sultry wife Stahma points out that if they allow their son to marry Rafe McCawley’s daughter, and something should happen to Rafe and his son, the mine would belong to Christie and, by extension, her new Tarr family.
The relationship between Nolan and Irisa is touching and I’m looking forward to more backstory on how they came to be. She does mention to the town’s deputy, Tommy LaSalle, that Nolan did something she couldn’t do for herself: murder her parents.
The score by Bear McCreary is fantastic and will stir up all the feelings in BSG fans.
One small complaint: very predictable. Nothing happened in the pilot that you didn’t already see coming.
The cast is capable and the special effects and makeup are solid. (Although, it would be great if the Tarrs didn’t look like Twilight rejects.) Between that and finding out why the town was betrayed and who would send The Vulge after them, I’ll be tuning in next week and recapping the episodes for Project Fandom.
I’m still going to wait another episode or two before diving into the game.
What say you, ProFans? What did you think of the premiere of Defiance?