Defiance (TV series)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13 (List of episodes)|
|Location(s)||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Running time||40–43 minutes
85 minutes (Pilot)
|Picture format||NTSC (480i)
|Original run||April 15, 2013– present|
Defiance is an American science fiction television series developed by Rockne S. O'Bannon, Kevin Murphy, and Michael Taylor. The series is produced by Universal Cable Productions, in transmedia collaboration with Trion Worlds, who are producing an MMORPG video game of the same name, which will be tied into the series.
The show takes place in the future on a radically transformed Earth containing new species arriving from space. In the show, Joshua Nolan (Grant Bowler) works as the lawman for the town of Defiance, a community where humans and intelligent extraterrestrial species coexist. The show follows Nolan, his adopted alien daughter Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas), and the town's new mayor Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz).
The series is broadcast in the United States on the cable channel Syfy and in various international markets. It premiered on April 15, 2013, in the United States and that same week in most countries that picked up the series. On May 10, 2013, Syfy renewed the series for a 13 episode second season to premiere in June 2014.
Set in the year 2046, Earth has been radically transformed, causing changes in topography, the extinction of plant and animal species, and the emergence of new species. The series follows Joshua Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his adopted Irathient daughter Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas), who have put down roots in Defiance, a city-state community where humans and several extraterrestrial races, collectively known as Votans, coexist over the ruins of St. Louis.
- Grant Bowler as Joshua Nolan — A former Marine and the Chief Lawkeeper of Defiance.
- Julie Benz as Amanda Rosewater — The Mayor of Defiance.
- Stephanie Leonidas as Irisa Nyira — An Irathient warrior who is Nolan's adopted daughter and Deputy Lawkeeper.
- Tony Curran as Datak Tarr — An ambitious Castithan businessman.
- Jaime Murray as Stahma Tarr — Datak's wife, also a Castithan, a cunning Lady Macbeth figure.
- Graham Greene as Rafe McCawley — The owner and operator of "the largest mine in the territory".
- Mia Kirshner as Kenya Rosewater — Amanda's sister, the self-assured, dauntless proprietress/prostitute of NeedWant, Defiance's bar/brothel/gambling hall.
- Dewshane Williams as Tommy LaSalle – Deputy Lawkeeper in Defiance.
- Trenna Keating as Doc Yewll – Defiance's sarcastic doctor and technical genius, an Indogene with a sordid past.
- Justin Rain as Quentin McCawley – Rafe's second son.
- Jesse Rath as Alak Tarr – Datak and Stahma's Castithan son who has fallen in love with Rafe's daughter, Christie. He DJ's the "Raider Radio" show from the Gateway Arch's observation area.
- Nicole Muñoz as Christie Tarr (née McCawley) – Rafe's daughter, a waitress, Wife of Alak.
- Fionnula Flanagan as Nicolette "Nicky" Riordan – the previous mayor, Amanda's trusted mentor and arguably the main antagonist of season one.
- Gale Harold as Connor Lang – Earth Republic representative and former love interest of Amanda.
- Noah Danby as Sukar – Irathient and leader of the Spirit Riders.
- Tiio Horn as Rynn – Irathient and member of the Spirit Riders.
- Steven McCarthy as Mr. Birch – Nicky's immoral associate.
- Wesley French as Luke McCawley – Rafe's older son.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
The series is set in the near future, where aliens, known collectively as Votans, have come to Earth seeking a new home after their star system was destroyed in a stellar collision. The Votans had thought Earth was uninhabited, but upon their arrival in 2013 discovered that humans were living on the planet, and the humans responded to them with hostility and suspicion.
A limited number of Votans were allowed to settle in a colony in Brazil, and eventually three other colonies, but millions of Votans remained in hypersleep aboard their ships in orbit around the Earth, as negotiations dragged on with Earth governments to establish a full-scale settlement.
Tensions rose for ten years, but the Votan and human governments were on the verge of negotiating a peaceful settlement, when in 2023 the Votan ambassador to the United Nations was assassinated by a disgruntled human supremacist on live television outside of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. This sparked a disastrous global conflict between humans and the aliens, known as the Pale Wars.
The wars tore apart the planet for seven years, until their culmination in 2030 in the apocalyptic "Arkfall" event, when the Ark fleet in orbit mysteriously exploded. The aliens think a rogue human commander was responsible, while humans suspect it was an alien weapons experiment gone wrong. Millions of Votans died. During the Arkfall, destroyed Arks rained down on Earth and accidentally released terraformer technology.
While the Votans had intended to use their terraforming technology in a carefully planned manner, the Arkfall haphazardly unleashed chaotic and radical changes to the biosphere and even the geology of Earth, making the planet dangerous to both humans and the aliens. The earth was scorched, chasms opened in the ground, new mountain ranges were raised, and the surface of the planet was covered with dust and debris.
Animal and plant species from the Votan star system were introduced to Earth, and both native and alien animal species were horribly mutated by the uncontrolled terraforming technology, creating bizarre and dangerous hybrids and new species.
Within a few months, the Pale Wars wound down as both sides had fought to the point of mutual exhaustion, and a ceasefire was declared. Few organized governments remained for either the humans or the aliens, and both sides factionalized as their respective members began looking out for themselves. In several areas, local human and Votan militias began to band together when they realized that they had to cooperate if they hoped to survive on this new, almost alien planet.
The debris from the destroyed Ark fleet now forms an artificial "Ark belt" in Earth orbit, which periodically rains down in small scale "Arkfalls", which present a hazard for survivors on the surface, but also provide valuable opportunities to salvage advanced technology aboard the Arks. More frequently, most of the debris breaks up on re-entry into shards of metal shrapnel, a dangerous phenomenon known as "razor rain". Electromagnetic distortion created by the malfunctioning terraformers have rendered most long-distance communication and air transit impossible, isolating far-flung regions much as they would have been isolated in the 19th century. Low-flying aircraft such as helicopters are still safe to fly, and will still function, but high-altitude long-distance flights are too dangerous; neither the humans nor the Votans are capable of launching vehicles into Earth's orbit anymore, as it is not only dangerous, but prohibitively expensive for societies that only just managed to pull themselves back from complete collapse. Fifteen years after the armistice, a new proposed maglev train line is being built with the goal of re-establishing regular transit between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America. Short-range radio stations will still function within the localized area of a town, as will personal smartphone-like devices known as hailers, but otherwise, the disruption of long-range telecommunications means that information must be sent between different regions by courier. At best, an unreliable method known as "text relay" can be used, in which local radio-stations rebroadcast a message received from a neighboring station to reach other regions of the continent, but this can take days or weeks.
In 2046, fifteen years after the armistice, both humans and Votans struggle to rebuild on this shattered world. In the western hemisphere, the Votanis Collective controls much of Central and South America, while the new unified Earth Republic has a major foothold in the populous cities of northeastern North America, now reorganized as a territorial unit known as "Columbia" (a combination of the United States' Boston-to-Washington megalopolis and Canada's Quebec City–Windsor Corridor, along with the Canadian Maritime Provinces), with its capital being in New York City. Otherwise, much of North America remains a badlands region, a "New Frontier" slowly being recolonized by several small independent republics and city-states. One such community is the independent city-state of Defiance, located in the heart of the continent, built over the ruins of St. Louis, Missouri.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD/Blu-ray releases|
|Season premiere||Season finale||Region 1/A||Region 2/B||Region 4/B|
|1||13||April 15, 2013||July 8, 2013||October 15, 2013||July 15, 2013||TBA|
Season 1 (2013)
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|1-2||"Pilot"||Scott Stewart||Rockne S. O'Bannon and Kevin Murphy & Michael Taylor||April 15, 2013||2.73|
|Nolan and Irisa scavenge an Arkfall impact site and recover a powerful power source. They end up in the town of Defiance, (built on the ruins of St. Louis, Missouri), populated by Human and Votan survivors of the wars. Nolan is asked to track down a murderer after the town's lawkeeper is killed. The killer is found, but not before the town's shield generator is destroyed, rendering town vulnerable to attack by the Volge. Nolan and Irisa use the aforementioned power source to destroy the Volge attacking force and are asked to remain in Defiance as the new lawkeeper and his deputy.|
|3||"Down In the Ground Where the Dead Men Go"||Michael Nankin||Kevin Murphy & Anupam Nigam||April 22, 2013||2.40|
|A Castithan willingly undergoes torture to compensate for his cowardice in the defense of the town, but Irisa stops the ritual. A traitor who destroyed the town's field generator flees to a series of underground caverns in the ruins of Old St. Louis and attempts to force a nuclear reactor to explode, destroying the town above.|
|4||"The Devil In the Dark"||Omar Madha||Michael Taylor||April 29, 2013||2.29|
|Two humans are attacked and killed by Hellbugs; Nolan, Irisa and Yewll discover that they were actually murdered by an Irathient whose parents were murdered by the victims many years earlier in order to steal their land for mining. One of the Irathient Riders, Sukar, learns that Irisa has "The Sight" (an extrasensory ability to see the past, present and future without actually being present for the events seen) and helps her to tap into its potential to discover the murderer, another Spirit Rider named Rynn. Nolan, Irisa, Deputy LaSalle and Sukar follow her into the hellbug nest, capture her, and destroy the nest. McCawley deeds the stolen land back to the Irathient Spirit Riders.|
|5||"A Well Respected Man"||Michael Nankin||Craig Gore & Tim Walsh||May 6, 2013||2.15|
|Nolan rescues Kenya and one of her employees from having their adrenaline harvested for a drug. Meanwhile, Datak's wife Stahma maneuvers her husband into a seat on the town council, and Rafe and Quentin discover a set of disturbing cave paintings featuring an object that Quentin's late brother had in his possession.|
|6||"The Serpent's Egg"||Omar Madha||David Weddle & Bradley Thompson||May 13, 2013||1.98|
|While Nolan escorts Rynn to prison via land coach, Amanda is also along, carrying investment money raised by the town to pay for a new rail spur to Defiance. Bandits attempt to attack the coach but Nolan, Amanda and (suprisingly enough) Rynn foil the attempt. Meanwhile, back in Defiance, Irisa runs into the Castithan who ritually tortured her as a child and is intent on killing him before realizing that the man wants her to do so to fulfill a prophecy. She releases him and begins a relationship with Deputy LaSalle.|
|7||"Brothers in Arms"||Andy Wolk||Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer||May 20, 2013||1.95|
|A bounty hunter arrives in Defiance to apprehend a Castithan fugitive. Quentin is advised to destroy the book and artifact left behind by his brother.|
|8||"Goodbye Blue Sky"||Andy Wolk||Anupam Nigam & Amanda Alpert Muscat||June 3, 2013||1.69|
|Irisa sets out during a Razor Rain storm to find Sukar after receiving a premonition of his death. Nicky searches for the artifact. Stahma attempts to hire Kenya to provide Alak with experience before his marriage. Alak and Christie argue over a proposed marriage ceremony.|
|9||"I Just Wasn't Made for These Times"||Allan Kroeker||Clark Perry||June 10, 2013||1.91|
|In the aftermath of the Razor Rain, an American astronaut is found in the wreckage of an Ark.|
|10||"If I Ever Leave This World Alive"||Allan Kroeker||Bryan Gracia||June 17, 2013||1.60|
|The disease infecting Defiance appears to be carried by the Irathients; all Votans appear to be immune. The town council overrules Amanda and imposes a quarantine on the Irathients, holding them in a tunnel at McCawley Mines. A cure is sent from San Francisco, but lands beyond the quarantine zone imposed by the Earth Republic. Datak announces his intent to oppose Amanda for the position of mayor. Nicky reveals to Quentin that he has been lied to by his father.|
|11||"The Bride Wore Black"||Todd Slavkin||Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer||June 24, 2013||1.67|
|Things get heated as the discovery of the remains of a rich businessman leads Tommy to launch a murder investigation, with Datak as a potential suspect. The wedding between Alak and Christie is almost ruined when the future of the McCawley Mine is discussed.|
|12||"Past is Prologue"||Michael Nankin||Michael Taylor||July 1, 2013||1.94|
|During a public debate between Datak and Amanda, Nolan kills a young Castithan aiming a gun at the stage, which in turn puts Amanda's chances of winning the election in jeopardy. Datak conspires with the Earth Republic, for their support, in exchange for McCawley's mines. Doc Yewll performs experiments on the gold artifact, which appears to be linked to Irisa.|
|13||"Everything is Broken"||Michael Nankin||Kevin Murphy||July 8, 2013||2.17|
|Nolan is looking for Irisa after she escaped from Yewll's office. Datak is named the new mayor of Defiance and Earth Republic goes straight to the mines to get what they want. An ancient Votan ship that has a weapon is in the mines and the two artifacts are the keys to it. After capturing Irisa, they try to get to it. Nolan sets her free but gets shot and dies. Irisa brings him back to life after an agreement she made with Irzu. Earth Republic is taking over Defiance.|
Development and production
In June 2011, Syfy announced that they would be producing a television series which was being developed by Rockne S. O'Bannon and would be produced by Universal Cable Productions. It was also announced that the TV series would be connected to a video game being produced by Trion Worlds. It was later confirmed that Syfy had ordered thirteen episodes for the show's first season, which would premiere in either late 2012 or the summer of 2013. In July 2012, the network announced that the series and game would debut in April 2013.
Casting announcements began in January 2012, with Grant Bowler being the first to be cast. Bowler plays Joshua Nolan, "the law keeper in a bustling frontier boomtown that is one of the new world's few oases of civility and inclusion." On February 8, TVWise revealed profiles for five of the main characters. It was later reported that Gillian Anderson had been briefly considered by the show's producers to play either Amanda or Stahma. However, that casting did not move forward as they assumed she would not be interested in returning to episodic television. On March 8, 2012 it was announced that Julie Benz, Stephanie Leonidas, Tony Curran and Jaime Murray had been cast in the series. Julie Benz plays Amanda Rosewater, the mayor of Defiance; Stephanie Leonidas plays Irisa, "a beautiful warrior who is part of an alien race called the Irathients"; Tony Curran plays Datak Tarr, "the right hand to Amanda"; and Jaime Murray plays Stahma Tarr, "Datak’s beautiful and proper wife".
As of Season 1, linguist David J. Peterson has developed two full languages for the different alien races, for the Castithans and the Irathients. Basic language sketches also exist for two of the other races, the Indogenes and the Liberata.
Music on Defiance
Defiance's score (for both the series and the game) was assigned to Bear McCreary. Bear said that he had to be sure that each version (for the series and the game) had its own unique characteristics, suited to its needs, but also that musical threads united the franchise. He also stated that scoring a project like Defiance was a rare situation for a composer. "Heavy synths and ethnic soloists played a key role in defining the sound of “Defiance,” but the cinematic quality came from working with a string orchestra.[...] I was asked to help bring the alien cultures to life by developing a distinct musical heritage for each. I fashioned Votan instrumentation and lyrics into a variety of popular songs and ceremonial pieces. I wrote pieces for street musicians that float through open-air marketplaces. I produced alien classical music, jingles, jazz, rock-anthems and torch songs."
Defiance premiered in Canada on April 15, 2013, the same night as the U.S. premiere, on Showcase. On April 16, 2013, the show premiered in the United Kingdom and Ireland on Syfy. In Australia the premier was on April 18, 2013, on SF.
Critical reception of Defiance has been "mixed or average" according to Metacritic, with a 57% rating according to 17 reviews. Maureen Ryan of The Huffington Post called it "a smart, well-crafted TV show with a good cast and an adventurous flavor" and added "it's also indisputably science fiction, which is a relief," saying that she felt too many science fiction shows were "watered-down... genre-lite dramas". She also praised the casting, performances and the production design. Ellen Gray of the Philadelphia Daily News noted that "the TV show may not break new ground... but it does stand on its own as a watchable sci-fi series, with a Wild West vibe mixed with a bit of 'Farscape'-meets-'West Side Story.'" Conversely, David Hinckley of the New York Daily News gave it one star out of five and found it to be "incomprehensible", but said "if you’re a sci-fi fan for whom this stuff can never be too complex, have at it." Other reviewers gave Defiance average reviews and noted its similarity to previous television series, while at the same time praising its "breathtaking" landscapes and "impressively rendered" monsters; its "intriguing" cast and setting; its digital effects and performances; and its mythology and "interesting" story.
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- Hibberd, James (May 10, 2013). "'Defiance' Renewed By Syfy". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved Sept. 18, 2013.
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- Gorman, Bill (January 17, 2012). "Grant Bowler Signs On For Lead In SyFy’s Upcoming Epic Science Fiction Series,Defiance". TVByTheNumbers. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
- Jensen, Jeff (May 17, 2013). "Defiance Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved Sept. 18, 2013.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 8, 2012). "Julie Benz Gets Female Lead In Syfy Series ‘Defiance’, Pilot ‘Rewind’ Casts First Actor". Deadline. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
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- "Oscar Nominee Graham Greene Joins the Cast of Syfy's Series "Defiance"". The Futon Critic. March 27, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
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- Defiance, episode 1.8, "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times"
- Inside Defiance: Episode 9
- Defiance: 2046 Map
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- "Defiance – Season 1 [Blu-ray + UV Copy]  [Region Free]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- Bibel, Sara (April 16, 2013). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'WWE Raw' Wins Night, 'Defiance', 'Bates Motel', 'Dallas', 'Teen Mom 2' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (April 23, 2013). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta' Wins Night + WWE Raw, 'Teen Mom II', NBA Playoffs & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
- Bibel, Sara (April 30, 2013). "Monday Cable Ratings: NBA Playoffs Win Night, 'WWE Raw', 'Teen Mom 2', 'Bates Motel', 'Defiance', 'Warehouse 13' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (May 7, 2013). "Monday Cable Ratings: NBA Basketball Dominates + 'Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta', 'Teen Mom II', 'TI & Tiny', 'Monday Night RAW' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (May 14, 2013). "Monday Cable Ratings: NBA Basketball Wins Night + ', 'Teen Mom II', 'Bates Motel' & More". Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- Bibel, Sara (May 21, 2013). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'WWE Raw' & 'Love & Hip Hop Atlanta' Win Night; 'Bates Motel', 'Defiance', 'Warehouse 13' & More". Retrieved May 22, 2013.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (June 4, 2013). "Monday Cable Ratings:NBA Basketball Dominates + 'Love & Hip Hop', 'Monday Night RAW', NHL Hockey, 'Teen Wolf' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
- Bibel, Sara (June 11, 2013). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'Love & Hip Hop' Wins Night, 'WWE Raw', 'Teen Wolf', 'Major Crimes' , 'Switched at Birth', 'Longmire' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (June 18, 2013). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta' Wins Night + NHL Stanley Cup, 'WWE Raw', 'Fast N Loud', 'Hit The Floor' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
- Bibel, Sara (June 25, 2013). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'Love & Hip Hop Atlanta' Wins Night, 'WWE Raw', 'Teen Wolf', 'Major Crimes', 'Longmire', 'Switched at Birth', 'Warehouse 13' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
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- Bibel, Sara (July 10, 2013). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'Love & Hip Hop' Leads + 'WWE RAW,' 'Switched at Birth,' 'Major Crimes,' 'Longmire' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- Gorman, Bill (June 6, 2011). "Trion And Syfy Reveal Defiance, The First Interconnected Video Game And Television Series". TVByTheNumbers. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
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- Andreeva, Nellie (January 17, 2012). "Grant Bowler Cast As The Lead In New Syfy Series ‘Defiance’". Deadline. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
- Munn, Patrick (February 8, 2012). "Exclusive: Gillian Anderson Was Considered For Lead Role In Syfy’s Defiance". TVWise. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
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- Munn, Patrick (January 31, 2013). "Syfy UK Acquires Rights To ‘Defiance’". TVWise. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
- "Express from the US: ‘Defiance’ to premiere on SF". April 3, 2013.
- "Defiance: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- Ryan, Maureen (April 15, 2013). "'Defiance' Review: New Syfy Drama Comes Out With Guns Blazing". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
- Gray, Ellen (April 15, 2013). "'Awkward,' 'Defiance': Strangers in a strange world". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
- Hinckley, David (April 13, 2013). "'Defiance': Television Review". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
- Wagner, Curt (April 14, 2013). "TV review: 'Defiance' a messy mash-up, with potential". RedEye.com. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
- Bark, Ed (April 11, 2013). "Syfy's Defiance a visual plus but often an audio minus". UncleBarky.com. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
- Owen, Rob (April 14, 2013). "Tuned In: Weak story development torpedoes Syfy's new 'Defiance'". Phittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
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