8 Reasons Why You Should Watch Defiance


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.

The Principal cast of Defiance.

The Principal cast of Defiance.

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.

Strange, new beauty built upon the ruins of destruction.

Strange, new beauty built upon the ruins of destruction.

 

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.

Here's a fun game: Try to find his off-switch before he beats you to death!

Here’s a fun game: Try to find his off-switch before he beats you to death!

 

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!

I make shit you like, nerds!!!!!

I make shit you like, nerds!!!!!

 

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!

 

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Superhero Black Out


If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts you have come to two realizations:

1. I am a serious geek.

This is my actual coffee table.

2. I have far too much free god damned time on my hands. See the above picture.

This blog is of a geek nature but within it there is a real social message. I watch a shit-ton of movies and read an equally shit-ton of comics and science fiction-ey books. While they are all mostly good and all that, there is a theme running through many, if not all, of them. Or lack thereof. Black heroes. Yes, I’m talking about black people. Where are they? What the fuck? I guess I should say where are all the upstanding, non-stereotypical portrayals of black people in comics, movies, and books. Black people make up like 1.3 billion of the world’s 6.7 billion people. By black I mean anyone of a dark chocolate or milk chocolate skin tone. With that many of us you would think that there would be some tall, dark, and bad-ass superheros and shit, right? You’d be super wrong. Let’s examine shall we?

1. You argue that one of the Green Lanterns is black. John Stewart. Sure, he’s bad-ass and has great powers and was gifted with a power ring and entrusted with the protection of Earth’s sector of space, buuuuuuuuut he was the god damned 3rd string Green Lantern after Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner. Two white guys. Also, Stewart has a belligerent attitude towards authority figures. Just like a common stereotype of black men. Why the black dude gotta have issues? Everyone does! Let’s give everyone a problem, not just the scary black dude.

Seriously, The Green Lantern movie would have been better black. 🙂

2. Luke Cage. A man with invulnerable skin and super strength is awesome right? Hell yeah he is! Of course he can’t be too awesome because, well, he’s black and we can’t have black guys looking more heroic than their caucasian counterparts can we? Let’s make him a convict who volunteers for a top secret program to give him his Shaft-like BAMFYness! Then when he escapes from jail or whatever, have him become a hero for hire! Because lord knows those darkies won’t do anything for altruistic reasons! They like money too much! Uhh, give him a shitty catchphrase too! “Sweet Christmas?” “Perfect, let’s go to print!” “Susan, we need more cocaine!!!”

This was his original costume. Hey it was the 1970s. The drugs were good and plentiful.

3. The Falcon. Sam Wilson started out as a social worker determined to help inner city youth when he adopted a falcon anddonned a silly costume that let him fly. He has no powers other than being able to talk to birds or something. When you’re more shitty than Aquaman, there’s a problem. This back-story and intro was apparently too upstanding for the mainstream folks so they decided to retconn (retroactively going back and changing a character’s past or origin) it into him being a former thug and a pimp who was ‘angry at the world’ cause his mother was shot and killed. So he said, “Fuck this helping people noise, I’m gonna go get some bitches and make them earn dollas, fo sho!!” What the deuce?! Bruce Wayne’s parents are shot and killed by a mugger and he becomes the GOD DAMNED BATMAN!!! A black guy though? He turns criminal after one really bad break? Of course with the help of the terminally white Steve Rogers (Captain America) Wilson becomes a hero! So the black guy has to get help and be rehabbed by the incorruptible white man? Come on guys!! We aren’t all pimps and thugs.

Bitch, when I get back from superhero'n, you betta have my money.

4. Bishop. Lucas Bishop is a mutant from the future who goes back in time and joins the X-Men to possibly change the past  to prevent the terrible future he comes from. One where all mutants have been rounded up and put into concentration camps. That’s where he grew up, the little scamp! Since he’s black, he fails. Not once, not twice, but like three times. Then he decides to fuck it all and goes bad, becoming one of the X-Men’s main villains. Of course, he’s a loud, angry antihero. Maybe this is more from where he comes from and his experiences, but I don’t buy it. Why can’t you portray the minority as a stand-up good man? We exist, trust me.

Brutha, you seem easily upset....

5. Geordi LaForge. Star Trek: The Next Generation. It doesn’t just happen in comics, it happens in tv and films too. You might think a black chief engineer on the greatest fucking starship known to man would be the whizbang, and it would be if they hadn’t made that negro blind! Sure he got a visor that allowed him to see and shit and eventually got cyber eyes, but why do that to him in the first place? You’ll argue “Well, Picard had an artificial heart!” and I’ll counter-argue “Well that Frenchman got into a fucking barfight and was stabbed thru the heart!” That sure is a better ‘gettin’ bitches’ story than “I was born blind”. They couldn’t even make his disability cool. The one time he got close to scoring a chick? She was a holodeck recreation of a real scientist chick he had a crush on. He almost hooked up with the hologram too. Then he met the real chick and thought she would be all on his space nuts like a tribble, but then guess what? She rejected him. So he got cockblocked twice by the same chick essentially. Come on, they let the fucking android get some pussy! Not the darkman apparently.

This was just too cool to not put in here. This is how pimpin' LaForge should have been.

These are just a few examples that come to mind, but there are so many more out there. Take some time to sit and think about a black character that you would consider great like Superman, Batman, Captain America, or Capt. Kirk, Spock, or any of a number of sci-fi legends. When I was little I thought Darth Vader was black. Nevermind that Luke and Leia were white kids. I just assumed that nigga got with a white woman and had some light skinned chilrens. Then Return of the Jedi came and lo and behold…he was an old, white guy. Dammit!!!! Lando Calrissian was the shit, but the only black man in a whole galaxy? Really? Sure we got Mace Windu, but George Lucas muted everything that was fucking cool about Samuel “Motherfucking” Jackson by making him play Mace like he was Ed Begley Jr. Then there is Jar Jar Binks. The most annoying stereotype of a black man ever. He looked weird, talked weird, acted weird, was dumb as a box of rocks, and did I mention completely useless? Also, he was voiced by a black man, Ahmed Best. That says it all right there.

This was the only way this asshole was going to appear in my blog.

Look at the most recent X-Men: First Class for further proof that Hollywood has not learned and still sees minorities as secondary, throwaway characters. Without being too spoilery for those who haven’t seen it…they kill the half Latino-half Black mutant first. He’s named Darwin. Real name Armando Munoz. Seriously, a guy with a nickname that reeks of survival of the fittest……was killed FIRST. Was his power something super stupid and lame? No. He could adapt his body to survive most any environment or threat. Yet…..they find a way to kill him in the movie. In the comics he’s actually a cool character and does so much more than this throwaway role in the movie. The other minority character, Angel Maldonado, known as Angel (not the Warren Worthington one unfortunately) starts out as a stripper and then eventually becomes a villain. Quit whining, I’m not spoiling anything! If you are reading these geek shenanigans, odds are you have already seen the movie. So the remaining hero characters are all white and save the day. Two of the villains look physically menacing and different so they cannot hide their mutations. So the different looking, darker colored mutants are obviously the meanies? Of course. Let’s give one of them horns and a tail!!! The black man is the devil!!!! BOOOOOO!!!!! This movie takes place in a fictional version of the early 1960s. An era full of social and racial upheaval and you couldn’t at least let the brutha survive to the end of the movie?!!!

The X-Men before affirmative action.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Pulp Fiction and Jules Winnfield. That nigga is the shit, but he’s still a bad man. The difference was he was so damned cool about it!!! Anybody who can rock a jheri-curl, spout out fake bible verses, and have a wallet with BAD MOTHERFUCKER on it is a straight up…well…..bad motherfucker. Again, the character was written by a crazy white dude. Albeit Tarantino grew up around black folks so his portrayal of black people was colored by his experiences around black people. Stereotype or not, anyone who has grown up or lived in the ghetto knows at least one scary black dude. My point is that these are the only ones that we get to see in popular entertainment these days. I guess I’m as guilty as anyone of perpetuating this situation by still watching, reading, and playing these properties. I just notice it more lately than I used to.

Nigga, what'd the fuck you say about my curl?

This subject I’m going black angry geek on was touched upon much better and funnier in “Chasing Amy.” Best part of that film, besides Jay and Silent Bob. I just was thinking about this subject and had to get it out of my system.  While playing a video game. I thought, “Why aren’t there any black or latino men or women portrayed as the hero of games. The main playable character? He or she is usually always Caucasian. If there is a black character, he is the sidekick or comic relief or cannon fodder. Is this blatant, purposeful racism? Nah, most times no. The majority of people who make movies, games, comics, books, and the like are white men. You create what you know and are familiar with and relate to so they write, create, draw, and digitize white dudes that have traits they most think they would have were they the character in the game. Stuff they think is cool. Women aren’t protrayed much better in science-fiction either. Either butched up man-haters or femmed up fighting in high heels and tight spandex. Either way they always have big tits and tight asses. Women and minorities are getting the shaft here! What gives, man?! Seriously, the real problem is there aren’t enough minorities within these jobs that would portray minorities as the great hero and maybe…one day…….a black person will make it to the end of a horror movie and be the survivor!

"Just give me all the darkies and I'll let the dumb white girl go."

Lawd knows I’m tired of it being the pretty white girl all the motherfucking time!!!

Unless my black ass gets to bang her first.