The purpose of this blog is to have a little fun. It is NOT to start arguments. I don't profess to be an expert on Sci-fi, nor do I aspire to become an expert. You are welcome to comment on any and all content you find here. If my opinion differs from yours, as far as I am concerned, it's all okay. I will never say that you are wrong because you disagree with me, and I expect the same from those that comment here. Also, my audience on the blog will include some young people. Please govern your language when posting comments.

Posts will hopefully be regular based on the movies I see, the television shows I watch, and the books I read as well as what ever strikes me as noteworthy.

Spoilers will appear here and are welcome.

Friday, May 3, 2013

There's No Denying That DEFIANCE Is A Good Show!

I have now watched three episodes of the new SyFy series, Defiance, and so far I am enjoying it.

Votan Ship Arriving at Earth
Defiance is set in the future on a ruined Earth.  While searching the galaxy for a suitable place to settle, a group of aliens known as the Votans mistake Earth for an uninhabited planet.  After being allowed to settle in a few colonies, the Votans are viewed with suspicion and distrust by the earth’s population and an eventual war breaks out between Votans and Humans, leading to widespread distruction on the planet.  The Humans eventually win the war and Votans are allowed to live among humans in the ruined cities.

The Town - Defiance
The series takes place in and around the settlement of Defiance, which is the former City of St. Louis.  Everything has changed, resources are scarce, and the tension between the Human race and the Votans continues in an uneasy peace.

It needs to be pointed out that the Votans are not a single race of aliens, but are rather are made up of several different races of aliens that have distinct characteristics as far as culture, appearance, and behaviors are concerned.  At this point in the series, the story is concentrating mostly on Humans and the Votan races of the Castithans, the Irathients, and the Indogenes. 

I have read that fans of Firefly will especially be attracted to this show because of the frontier-like appearance of the characters and of the sets.  But this is not a replacement for Firefly, the entire premise of Defiance is completely different.  As for myself, it actually feels more like Bonanza or Gunsmoke than anything else.  There is definitely a frontier western feel to Defiance which is one of the aspects that appeal to me; there are heroes, villains, and undefined characters that will make future plots interesting.

The pilot episode was quite complicated as it introduced the main characters and their struggles.  The second and third episodes are a combination of one-off stories with an underlying story arc that will develop over time.  One story arc that is well founded in the tradition of a western is a power struggle by two of the most affluent members of the community.  Rafe McCawley is a very rich and powerful man who has gotten used to getting his way over the years, while he doesn’t intend to circumvent the law, he does feel that he can take it into his own hands when he believes that justice isn’t being served.  McCawley’s  struggle is mostly with the Castithian Datak Tarr who acts as a Votan representative and advisor to Amanda Rosewater, the Mayor of Defiance.  Tarr is outwardly aristocratic, but secretly the only thing on his mind seems to be to seize power, and is apprantly not above all kinds of subterfuge including Allowing his son, Alak to marry McCawley’s daughter, Christie.  But Datak is not the only one who is power-hungry; as is often the case, behind every ambitious man is an even more ambitious woman.  This role is being played by Datak’s wife, Stahma, who is quite adept at manipulating others, but especially Datak, while still allowing Datak the illusion that he is actually the person pulling all of the strings.

Datak, Mayor Amanda, and Rafe McCawley

Amanda works hard as Defiance’s mayor to maintain peace in the community amidst the strife that is taking place.  She is assisted by the newly appointed sheriff, Josh Nolan, a former Marine who was just passing through, but became involved with the settlement’s population while helping to defend the town against an attack.  In the third episode, we learn that Josh is actually a native of St. Louis and witnessed the arrival of the Votans as a young man.

Another story arc that is slowly unfolding involves the former mayor of Defiance, Niki and a mysterious individual who seem to be doing what they feel is the right thing for Defiance by setting up attacks and sabotage against the town.  I think they are trying to undermined the Votan influence in Defiance with acts of what can only be labeled as terrorism.

As the Long Branch Saloon served as a place for everyone to interact in Gunsmoke, so is the Need/Want saloon, brothel, and gambling establishment owned and operated by Amanda’s sister, Kenya.  A few scenes in the Need/Want have revealed much of the social structure of Alliance and really adds to the frontier feel of Defiance as a television show.

It is obvious when one watches the show that SyFy has invested a lot in this show.  It has great special effects, rather complicated but good story lines, great costuming and makeup work, and a cast that works well together.  The characters are well written and well directed so that the viewer can immediately take an interest and care about them.  In a word, I would have to call Defiance a well balanced show that is worth the time to watch.  But be warned, this is definitely an adult series as some of the themes are not appropriate for young children.

Well, there it is…