Here at Geekvengers we watch a ton of television. Our tastes are varied, but we all tend to gravitate towards science fiction. This is always something we sometimes dread due to sci-fi not traditionally doing well on television. We get involved, fall in nerd love, then are crushed when the show gets the ax. 😦 It has been a few years since a hard sci-fi show has graced the airwaves. Our friends over at Project Fandom wrote a snazzy review of Syfy’s new show Defiance so I won’t do that. What I will do is give you 8 solid reasons why you should be watching this show.
1. It’s an immigrant story. Aliens called Votans escape their dying star system of Votanis in sleeper-ships and come to Earth. Our world is new, strange to them, and far from their home. They had no other choice and were hoping for a fresh start and acceptance by Earthlings. That doesn’t turn out as they had hoped and there is what is called a Pale War that rages for years. The Votans are a conglomeration of 7 distinct species; Irathient, Castithan, Indogene, Liberata, Sensoth, Gulanee, and the Volge. Immigrant stories have been told and lived numerous times throughout history. Whether fictional or real, the struggle for a place in a new world with strangers wary of your motives, customs, and culture is a compelling one. When immigrants come, they bring about changes to their new home, intended and otherwise. This can be seen in the terraforming of Earth by alien technology and the introduction of new religions, laws, and societal norms brought on by humankind meeting extraterrestrials.
2. It’s visually unique. Within most science fiction, the setting is either very stark and desolate or futuristic to the point of a lack of any lushness. Defiance has a great look. The world is post-war, but not traditionally post-apocalyptic. The old world is ruined from war, sure, but on those ruins a new, beautiful world rises up. There is strange new flora and fauna brought on by alien terraforming technology along with the familiar. There is color and life! There is technology beyond our wildest dreams of course, but it doesn’t feel that out of place and isn’t just everywhere.
3. Little details. The show makers recruited a linguist to create 2 full alien languages for the show as well as a basic framework for 5 others. They aren’t just speaking gibberish. When the languages are spoken, it feels real. Also, the aliens have their own beliefs, morality, and cultural norms as well as idiosyncrasies. When the humans and Votans end their war after the events of a battle called Defiance, they realize that all the races have to adapt to each other. This adaptation affects music, entertainment, socializing, and politics.
4. The Music. Famed composer Bear McCreary is responsible for the music on this show and he’s fantastic. Battlestar Galactica and The Walking Dead are just a couple of shows he’s done music for. Look him up or YouTube some shit. Dude is amazing.
5. Interesting scientific concepts. Bio-engineered super-soldiers with off switches, cold fusion, sleeper-ships, mechs, plasma weapons, terraforming, and cybernetically enhanced alien races all appear, and that’s just in the pilot episode! While fantastical, I never thought any of it felt hokey or forced. The characters treated it all as just part of life on a now alien-infested Earth of 2046.
6. People still do shitty things to each other. Star Trek has always been a favorite of mine, but I always had issue with Gene Rodenberry’s vision of a utopic society where everyone gets along and humanity has abolished things like greed, anger, poverty, hunger, and homelessness. It always seemed unrealistic to me. Human beings will always have a tendency to be shitty towards each other and our base instincts and desires will always on occasion lead us astray. Defiance shows us that just because there is a truce between 8 races of beings, doesn’t mean they like each other or aren’t still trying to fuck each other over for profit and other passions. This shows me that there is room for character growth, both good and bad.
7. Shtako! Frak! Frell! P’tok! Shol’va! Who doesn’t love alien curse words?! Bonus points to you geeks and nerds out there who can identify what shows those are from and what they mean.
8. Rockne S. O’Bannon. He has created such awesomeness as the movie Alien Nation, television shows SeaQuest DSV, Farscape, and the less than awesome recently-canceled Cult. The thread that connects all these together is his ability to create a deep, fictional world that you just want to always know more about. Well, except Cult. That shit sucked hard. Hey, they can’t all be winners. Cult aside, he’s very skilled at creating back-story and history. Personally, that’s what I like a lot about science fiction I enjoy. If you are familiar with Mr. O’Bannon then you will recognize his style immediately. If not, get acquainted!
So there you have it! I watched the 2-hour pilot episode and I really liked it. The hype for the show is well deserved. Selles says give it a watch. Mondays on Syfy! Check your local listings!
Until next time!