Defiance (TV series)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||23 (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 have released an MMORPG video game of the same name which is tied in to the series.
The show takes place in the future on a radically transformed Earth containing new species, some having arrived from space, many others the result of contamination by terraforming technology which has transformed native flora and fauna in unforeseen ways. 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 which premiered on June 19, 2014.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Cast
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Setting
- 5 Alien races
- 6 Development and production
- 7 Music on Defiance
- 8 Broadcast
- 9 Reception
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The story begins 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 partially re-built ruins of St. Louis.
|Actor||Character||Episode count||Season Appearance|
|Grant Bowler||Joshua Nolan||23||Main|
|Julie Benz||Amanda Rosewater||23||Main|
|Stephanie Leonidas||Irisa Nyira||23||Main|
|Tony Curran||Datak Tarr||21||Main|
|Jaime Murray||Stahma Tarr||21||Main|
|Graham Greene||Rafe McCawley||18||Main|
|Mia Kirshner||Kenya Rosewater||11||Main||Guest|
|Jesse Rath||Alak Tarr||17||Recurring||Main|
|James Murray||Niles Pottinger||8||Main|
|Actor||Character||Episode count||Season Appearance|
|Dewshane Williams||Tommy LaSalle||22||Recurring|
|Trenna Keating||Doc Yewll||19||Recurring|
|Nicole Muñoz||Christie Tarr (née McCawley)||17||Recurring|
|Anna Hopkins||Jessica "Berlin" Rainier||9||Recurring|
|Kristina Pesic||Deirdre Lamb||9||Recurring|
|Justin Rain||Quentin McCawley||8||Recurring|
|Fionnula Flanagan||Nicolette "Nicky" Riordon||6||Recurring|
|William Atherton||Viceroy Mercado||4||Recurring|
|Gale Harold||Connor Lang||4||Recurring||Guest|
|Douglas Nyback||Sgt. Frei Poole||4||Recurring|
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD/Blu-ray releases|
|Season premiere||Season finale||Region 1/A||Region 2/B||Region 4/B|
|1||12||April 15, 2013||July 8, 2013||October 15, 2013||July 15, 2013||July 3, 2014|
|2||13||June 19, 2014||August 28, 2014||September 23, 2014||N/A||N/A|
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
||This article may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience. (December 2013)|
||This section describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (December 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. When the Votans left their solar system 5,000 years ago, their instruments detected no signs of technology on Earth, so they thought Earth was uninhabited. Upon their arrival in 2013, they discovered otherwise. 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 in 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 any more, 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.
The Castithans are an aristocratic and ethereal race from the planet Daribo. Known for their pale skin and beautiful features, they've a cunning intelligence and unbridled ambition that helped them adapt to life on Earth. Very conservative in many aspects of life, including politics and a rigid caste system, Castithans are very liberal with sexuality. They are very disliked by the other members of the collective for their perceived arrogant and imperialist manner. In season 2 it was confirmed that they can reproduce with humans.
Irathients are the most common Votan race living on Earth, hailing from the planet Irath. Other races, including Humans, often view them as feral due to their tribal nature and love of the natural world. Irathients have deep red hair, highly athletic builds and bronze skin covered in naturally occurring contrasting patterns. While they're quite able to succeed at any occupation, most Irathients prefer to be farmers in order to honor their forefathers. Irathients are able to produce viable offspring with humans.
Indogenes tend to be slender, bald, with hexagonal-patterned skin of a solid color (most often pure white) who augment their bodies with a variety of cybernetic implants specifically designed for their chosen profession. They revere science and knowledge above all, and invented most of the technology used by the other alien races.
The Sensoth physically resemble apes and giant sloths, being fur covered, and originated in a specific region of Irath. They have many of the Earth's sloth-like characteristics, speaking and acting quite slowly. They have great physical strength and imposing presence, they can be intimidating to many, despite almost always having kind personalities. This strength of body leads to many of them being hard laborers, more often than not in the employ of a Castithan.
The Liberata are physically short and stocky with thick hair around their head and face. They often fill the role of servants for the other races, performing menial tasks and labor. The other Votan races look down on them due to their past history of greed and avarice. They breathe nitrogen instead of oxygen.
The Gulanee are the biggest mystery of the Votan races. It is believed they are beings of pure energy, appearing as large balls of light; however this is just an image projected by their "encapsulation suits", required to sustain Gulanee life. There are very few Gulanee on Terraformed Earth as most Gulanee stayed on their home Gula, confident they'd survive the destruction of the Votanis system. Most other races know very little about the Gulanee, as they have only recently established relationships with the other races.
The Volge are feared by humans and Votans alike for their warmongering attitude. Originating from a different system than the Votans, the Volge conquered the Votan planet Omec. Volge stand over eight feet tall and always wear armor, which sustains them on Earth because they cannot breathe oxygen. During the Votan exodus, the other races chose to leave the Volge behind – their appearance during the Pale Wars was a surprise to all. They are seldom seen since the Armistice, having retreated to underground caves.
Other non-human races
The Hellbugs are a once harmless crustacean race from the Votanis system that were mutated with Butterly DNA during the Terraforming. They are vicious predators who live in large collectives. They've a very similar hierarchy to ants or bees, headed by a Matron who commands Warriors, Archers, Skitterlings, and Monarchs. While very dangerous and always posing a threat to sentient life, they are not eradicated as they produce a valuable energy source: Petrohol.
Biomen are not aliens, but were commissioned as a super-soldier product by Earth's human militaries during the Pale Wars. Biomen are tall and very well muscled, coming in a range of colors and skin tones, but always with a batch number branded across their chest. All Biomen have an off switch somewhere in their bodies. If hit with enough force, they will be rendered unconscious. Several thousand volts of electricity will wake them up. Now effectively useless since the Armistice, they still suffer from the rage built in to their personae and need to be given a focused outlet. They have trouble integrating into peacetime, and are stigmatized by humans and Votans alike.
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 was aired in multiple countries around the world without much delay, atypical of global syndication norms.
- The series premiered on April 15, 2013, in the U.S. on Syfy and Canada on Showcase.
- The show also premiered in the United Kingdom and Ireland on Syfy, in France on Syfy and in Germany on Syfy Universal on April 16, 2013.
- In Australia, the pay tv premiere was on April 18, 2013, on SF (now Syfy Australia), while the free-to-air premiere was almost a year later on February 12, 2014, on the Seven Network.
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 Sep 18, 2013.
- Ryan, Maureen (July 8, 2013). "'Defiance' Finale Sneak Peek And News On Season 2's Return (VIDEO)". Huffpost TV.
- Ryan, Maureen (March 27, 2014). "'Defiance' Season 2 Premiere Date And Exclusive Video". HuffPostTV. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
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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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- Topel, Fred (June 19, 2014). "Exclusive Interview: Jesse Rath on ‘Defiance’ Season 2". Crave Online. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
- Richenthal, Matt (July 31, 2013). "James Murray Cast as Series Regular on Defiance Season 2". TV Fanatic. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
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- Bernstein, Robert; Johnson, Jen (April 24, 2013). "Our Interview with Trenna Keating aka Defiance's Doc Yewll". Den Of Geek. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
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- Nyback, Douglas (June 11, 2014). "Some pics of my new character in Season 2 of @DefianceWorld to come". Twitter. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- Nyback, Douglas (June 26, 2014). "Enter the #EReps! Tonight on @DefianceWorld with @AnnaBananaHops.". Twitter. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- Bryant, Adam (July 9, 2014). "Major Crimes Scoop: Meet Capt. Raydor's Son!". TV Guide. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
- Gallagher, Brian (February 17, 2013). "EXCLUSIVE: Ben Cotton Talks 'Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome' Blu-ray". Movie Web. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
- Lambert, David (July 23, 2013). "Defiance - The Syfy Series is Scheduled for Universal DVD and Blu-ray Releases this Fall". TVShowsOnDVD. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
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- Lambert, David (July 2, 2014). "Defiance - Universal Announces 'Season 2' for DVD, Blu-ray Disc this Fall". TVShowsOnDVD. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
- Defiance, episode 1.8, "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times"
- Inside Defiance: Episode 9
- Defiance: 2046 Map
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- 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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- Bear McCreary (April 16, 2013). "Defiance: TV Series – Music".
- "DEFIANCE TO PREMIERE MONDAY, APRIL 15 at 10 PM ET/PT ON SHOWCASE". July 19, 2012.
- 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.
- Wiegand, David (April 12, 2013). "'Defiance' review: Interspecies feudin'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
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