Last night, I finally sat down and watched Defiance, SyFy’s latest highly anticipated original series. I mentioned this show a while ago. The short version of the review is: equal parts Star Trek, Mad Max, and Firefly, right down to the scruffy rogue who was a veteran in the war but would rather not talk about it. I did love a couple of things about it: the overall setup; the worldbuilding, which has a pretty hardcore SF feel; and the characters of Amanda and Kenya, two very different community leaders and sisters who love each other. More of them, if you please, but only if it doesn’t turn into some ridiculous love triangle with the scruffy Nolan, which I’m sadly afraid the show is setting up for. Also, appearances by Captain Power alums Peter MacNeil and Graham Greene.
Unfortunately, a lot of the show didn't click with me. They spent all this time and energy on the world and background, then threw the most familiar, predictable story on top of it. They’re going to have to come up with some better stories and characters that are far less cliche ridden than what they showed us. Every trope in the story was exhaustingly predictable. Beloved elderly sheriff gets killed? Check. The Rogue with a Heart of Gold gets offered the badge at the end? Check. ”I ain’t in it for you, sweetheart, and I ain’t in it for your rebellion…” Check. The Battle of Helms Deep? Check. Deftly using classic tropes is one thing. But this show never gets past the top drawer. Pretty tiresome.
I was waiting for the aliens to be a bit more... well alien. So, the goth alien nightclub? I think the dancing was supposed to be alien-looking, but I’ve actually been to goth clubs with dancing like that. So really that was kind of hilarious. Also, there is apparently a race of Steampunk aliens — no lie, one of them was wearing a top hat with goggles on it. All I can think is, "Holy crap guys, really? You couldn’t come up with anything better?" Because aliens arrived and immediately thought, “Hey steampunk, that’s cool!” I mean, I can’t blame them. But really? That’s not thoughtful SF, that’s just designing your show based on what the Wall Street Journal says is the next big thing.
So yeah, I’m not sold on it yet. I’ll give it a couple more chances, but it’s going to have to work hard to win me over after the pilot.
The preceding was (mostly) said already by Carrie Vaughn.
In case your wondering why I re-posted most of it here, it's because while I pretty much shared her opinions she happened to get them out there in the blog-o-sphere first.
Edit: Update May 3, 2013
I've since watched the second episode, and have the third queued up, but I just can't get up the interest to actually watch it.