Binge Guide

Weekly Binge: Defiance

by | June 17, 2014 | Comments

Every television season sees the arrival of some fun (some might even say great) shows that go unnoticed by regular television audiences. One show that is off mainstream radar and is worth a look is the sci-fi/fantasy show Defiance. Holy “shtako,” season two starts tomorrow, June 19! Here’s why we think you’ll dig it.




What’s the premise? In 2046 Defiance (a city-state formerly known as St. Louis, MO), humans, aliens, hybrids, and mutated species of Earth all fight for their species’ rights and acceptance, while a human lawkeeper, Nolan (Grant Bowler of True Blood, Liz and Dick, Ugly Betty), discovers and bonds with his adopted Votan (alien) daughter.

What’s it like? It’s like a western/sci-fi hybrid, with lots of brilliantly designed aliens, intense action, soapy character interaction, and some sexy stuff too. The show’s inter-species tension is clear commentary on cultural struggles of the here-and-now, but it’s not presented as a lecture on contemporary acceptance. Rather, it’s a faux documentation of where we might find ourselves if Votans joined us here on Earth and said, “Hi, we’re here to share your planet; please have some delicious river otter.”

Where can I see it? Season one is available to stream on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes and for members of Amazon Prime (the first two episodes of season one are free!). It’s also available on DVD. Season two begins on 6/19 at 8/7c on the SyFy Channel.

How long will it take? There are only twelve episodes in season one, each running under an hour (without commercial interruptions). So you could speed through it in about nine hours. That’s barely enough time for a Sensoth to ask you for the remote!

What do the critics think? The reviews were mixed upon Defiance‘s premiere last summer, largely due to what some critics felt was a lack of originality. Mark A. Perigard of the Boston Globe said, “SyFy’s Defiance is the Frankenstein of TV series — built from the parts of other shows.” But its weakness, then, was also part of its success: Maureen Ryan of the Huffington Post said, “Defiance is not just a smart, well-crafted TV show with a good cast and an adventurous flavor, it’s also indisputably science fiction, which is a relief.” Ethan Alter of Television Without Pity called it “solid meat-and-potatoes sci-fi that has the potential to get better the longer it remains on the air.” Its appeal extended beyond just sci-fi enthusiasts, too: “I am engaged by the show’s lively metaphor for a polyglot culture fractured by tribalism and Otherness,” said Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly. Currently, Defiance sits just above Fresh on the Tomatometer at 61 percent.

Why should I watch this? Defiance has something for everyone; it stands on its own as an action/adventure, a drama, even a romance. All of it just happens to exist in this fictional version of our future world. You don’t need to understand the history of this world to enjoy the show, but its backstory is wonderfully complex and reads like a lesson in history or mythology. As a result of a mysterious explosion known as the “Ark Fall,” several spaceships hovering in orbit were destroyed, and the terraforming technology they carried has transformed Earth and its inhabitants. Governments have fallen and risen again, allowing many humans and Votans to test the boundaries each day. Some of the plots are soapy, but deliciously so, equipped with heroes to root for and villains to love-hate, while unlikely alliances help to drive its unusual narratives. The humor is addictive, especially regarding the Castithan species’ strikingly amorous nature (bathing alone is considered “weird”). The scenic landscapes and thrilling creature designs also deserve props, and you gotta love another SyFy show that invents its own vulgar slang; Battlestar Galactica had “frakking” cuss words, but we think Defiance is the “shtako!”

What’s my next step? If you currently enjoy Defiance, other SyFy Channel shows like the now defunct Battlestar Galactica and Caprica, and the more recently Certified Fresh Helix might interest you. In 1983, the miniseries V was a pop-culture hit about an alien invasion on Earth, leading to a follow-up miniseries (V: The Final Battle) and a full season as a TV show (1984/85). The franchise had a similar theme to Defiance, but it was set in contemporary times. The 2009 re-imagining of V lasted two years, the premiere season of which earned a fresh Tomatometer score of 71 percent. On the film scope, John Carpenter’s They Live is a great aliens-on-earth movie, and Alien Nation, while not as critically acclaimed, was popular enough to result in a television series of its own. The Alien film series is always a good choice as, of course, are the Star Wars and Star Trek films. Since Defiance was the first TV show to premiere simultaneously with a coinciding video game, you may want to try your hand at that, especially now that users are able to play for free. There is also a web series of minisodes at

Have you tuned in to Defiance and will you be watching season two? Tell us why!

For more TV news, visit the Rotten Tomatoes TV Zone.

Tag Cloud

MTV harry potter spanish YouTube Winners Baby Yoda popular 99% free movies FX on Hulu DC Comics Disney Plus Animation Hallmark Christmas movies Podcast Box Office Starz YouTube Red hidden camera Columbia Pictures Tomatazos Brie Larson heist movie Mindy Kaling FOX franchise Emmy Nominations streaming Dark Horse Comics Paramount Plus Broadway Peacock rt archives jurassic park TBS Pacific Islander marvel cinematic universe chucky dramedy Crackle Drama japanese Endgame Amazon Prime Video boxoffice RT21 new star wars movies HBO award winner Writers Guild of America MSNBC Premiere Dates Warner Bros. Horror Marvel Studios Super Bowl Anna Paquin 24 frames adventure TCA Winter 2020 ViacomCBS Adult Swim crime drama Star Wars X-Men Disney cancelled TV shows razzies Academy Awards AMC emmy awards comiccon teaser Sundance TV south america know your critic Travel Channel 71st Emmy Awards political drama 4/20 Fox Searchlight ABC Signature SXSW DirecTV toy story TruTV Image Comics TV renewals blockbusters Pixar Mudbound cops Esquire halloween die hard Biopics Infographic book children's TV comic doctor who dceu MCU nbcuniversal Marvel Television rom-coms transformers Star Trek zombies Comedy Central aliens game show mission: impossible Syfy Watching Series Cosplay stoner boxing science fiction Paramount Network Discovery Channel true crime Awards kaiju twilight Disney+ Disney Plus Martial Arts casting Family screenings Rock finale Crunchyroll Musical BBC One DC streaming service cats what to watch asian-american Alien films TCM TCA based on movie lord of the rings GLAAD richard e. Grant USA Network stop motion 93rd Oscars Opinion Showtime Tubi spain godzilla Pet Sematary travel nfl anthology french dark television BBC America The CW psychological thriller Reality ABC remakes BAFTA Fox News 21st Century Fox revenge romance Black History Month APB Awards Tour Fall TV Binge Guide tv talk natural history First Look christmas movies WGN new zealand international Pirates spider-man serial killer Trophy Talk Mary Tyler Moore toronto zero dark thirty comics Election Disney Channel Mary poppins Rom-Com Countdown latino President fast and furious foreign Comedy NYCC psycho GoT Apple Nominations TCA Awards Apple TV+ archives Britbox Red Carpet PaleyFest Universal mockumentary news Tarantino LGBT Western Trailer cooking adaptation IFC Films Character Guide Mary Poppins Returns TLC crossover reboot slashers OWN Epix Toys fresh Vudu The Academy American Society of Cinematographers venice elevated horror canceled TV shows scary movies TIFF Hulu witnail cancelled television 2020 game of thrones independent Lionsgate 2018 The Walking Dead Masterpiece The Arrangement Elton John Sundance YA kong screen actors guild Bravo spanish language Spectrum Originals Fantasy renewed TV shows Winter TV Christmas festival directors disaster comic books trailers miniseries theme song Walt Disney Pictures PBS Spring TV werewolf TCA 2017 hispanic El Rey Netflix telelvision biography DGA 2016 Nat Geo universal monsters football GIFs BET name the review Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt spinoff quibi australia historical drama Mystery Video Games 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards TV Oscars prank Calendar cartoon Ghostbusters Sneak Peek San Diego Comic-Con green book black cancelled TV series indie Logo indiana jones 007 Lucasfilm series worst blaxploitation CNN Amazon Prime nature Emmys Pop TV LGBTQ Comic Book cars james bond strong female leads new york Superheroes Marathons deadpool breaking bad child's play A&E Summer movies Sci-Fi docuseries VICE Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Quiz Ellie Kemper Year in Review supernatural sequel classics Avengers comedies reviews IFC BBC HBO Max aapi canceled Stephen King social media Chernobyl Creative Arts Emmys FX CW Seed hist E3 Food Network concert period drama 72 Emmy Awards scene in color Kids & Family sitcom BET Awards ITV Shondaland kids RT History jamie lee curtis war CBS Film Festival dc First Reviews Trivia WarnerMedia criterion Heroines a nightmare on elm street thriller Apple TV Plus Pride Month SDCC Schedule Acorn TV TNT halloween tv Pop Marvel facebook zombie Spike diversity Sundance Now cinemax binge Captain marvel 2019 Song of Ice and Fire SundanceTV Reality Competition anime The Walt Disney Company Tumblr saw stand-up comedy TV Land laika New York Comic Con high school Thanksgiving Certified Fresh superman The Purge CMT target History cancelled movie Comics on TV Amazon Arrowverse 20th Century Fox 2021 monster movies Set visit singing competition Holiday Cannes Turner Classic Movies VOD book adaptation Lifetime Christmas movies 45 rotten batman animated Turner live action medical drama Interview Valentine's Day VH1 cults Cartoon Network Hear Us Out versus Funimation Rocky Shudder HBO Go Grammys Ovation crime justice league italian joker Classic Film scorecard Sony Pictures sag awards docudrama 2017 spy thriller vampires Nickelodeon PlayStation Netflix Christmas movies E! A24 YouTube Premium video CBS All Access The Witch Music Disney streaming service USA Photos Paramount Lifetime golden globe awards Best and Worst space Musicals parents ESPN Exclusive Video all-time satire See It Skip It ABC Family Film worst movies sequels Country dragons DC Universe ID Polls and Games Rocketman hollywood dogs Teen ratings sports best Television Academy video on demand romantic comedy politics king kong National Geographic festivals Action superhero Legendary documentaries 2015 Women's History Month pirates of the caribbean Television Critics Association composers OneApp NBC rotten movies we love technology obituary blockbuster police drama discovery robots talk show women mutant Freeform Amazon Studios FXX crime thriller Hallmark Superheroe golden globes critics Holidays Extras documentary TV One unscripted Black Mirror ghosts