We’ve seen the first three episodes of Syfy’s biggest gamble to date, the half-futuristic neo-Western, half-MMO game Defiance. Was it worth the risk? Can Syfy resurrect the sci-Western without stepping in a big pile of “Firefly did it better?” Here are our first impressions.
Here’s the backstory: On April 14th 2013, the Votanis Collective arrives on Earth after a 5,000 year hypersleep journey. The collective is made up of 5 different alien races who have fled their dying solar system. Earth was supposed to be their new beginning, so imagine their surprise when they wake up and find it well-populated with humans. Humans give the Collective a plot of land in Brazil, but like all good science fiction alien race wars, negotiations fail and the Pale Wars begin. This war over the Earth lasts for 15 years, eventually ending in an uneasy truce but not before blasting away much of the familiar landscape of our home. Defiance takes place 30 years after the Collective first appeared.
Now that the Earth has been forever altered due to war and alien terraforming, humanity goes full Tombstone. Cue the old timey steampunk leathers, aliens in top hats, and dirt roads. Because concrete doesn’t exist anymore (seriously the townspeople can build a new Saint Louis Arch but not paved roads).
This neo-West world is centered around two drifters, and our main characters Nolan (played by the forever-stubbled Grant Bowler) and his adopted alien daughter Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas). Together the two get saddled with the local Lawkeeper job in the town of Defiance. Putting them directly in the line of fire for every weekly drama.