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

Calendar criterion spanish language Pride Month franchise HFPA halloween tv heist movie anthology Writers Guild of America worst 72 Emmy Awards robots japan AMC rt labs critics edition Universal dragons Grammys TCA 2017 San Diego Comic-Con YA cults batman cinemax miniseries debate 20th Century Fox satire comedies genre cancelled TV shows harry potter fresh basketball new star wars movies Tubi name the review Cartoon Network venice Paramount Network Music LGBTQ See It Skip It live event renewed TV shows YouTube Red crime crime drama Sundance Now Starz Countdown American Society of Cinematographers trailers HBO Max new york E3 TCA VH1 LGBT what to watch Anna Paquin Trophy Talk BBC America Crackle Discovery Channel nbcuniversal ratings razzies crossover Rock Apple Awards Tour richard e. Grant VICE Stephen King screenings suspense scary reboot SXSW IFC Films kong mcc Rocketman golden globe awards scary movies Awards Set visit Netflix target south america Hollywood Foreign Press Association Lifetime science fiction Paramount Plus Legendary marvel comics The Walt Disney Company scorecard indie Ellie Kemper Marvel Television Wes Anderson YouTube ABC Family DC streaming service MCU Netflix Christmas movies comic book movies The Academy GIFs DirecTV Drama television BET Awards Pixar pirates of the caribbean Tokyo Olympics 45 Brie Larson asian-american mockumentary Britbox mob ghosts FXX Election Reality Competition comic book movie spain dreamworks NBC APB serial killer movie king kong Disney+ Disney Plus period drama war Sci-Fi quibi based on movie sag awards independent 2021 GLAAD medical drama 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards travel Trailer spinoff RT History adenture japanese TruTV breaking bad Mary Tyler Moore Captain marvel doctor who international Character Guide comiccon boxing art house free movies 93rd Oscars Polls and Games BAFTA Disney Channel marvel cinematic universe strong female leads game of thrones AMC Plus Columbia Pictures Tarantino Video Games Chilling Adventures of Sabrina best Fantasy award winner boxoffice festivals TV movies Best and Worst jurassic park Pirates Comedy Central Alien Ovation golden globes popular 21st Century Fox police drama Amazon Studios PBS Star Trek social media saw Kids & Family 73rd Emmy Awards aapi A&E Trivia biopic Tags: Comedy james bond Binge Guide OneApp FX superhero DC Universe singing competition 90s The Purge twilight FOX Fox Searchlight Sundance dark Hulu Valentine's Day 2015 Black Mirror hispanic heritage month Animation Instagram Live vampires directors Teen Podcast Film Thanksgiving Freeform Mudbound Travel Channel Mindy Kaling Christmas TNT TV football revenge stop motion biography YouTube Premium comic books justice league spanish CBS natural history universal monsters Hallmark Christmas movies Year in Review Prime Video NYCC canceled TV shows Comics on TV deadpool toronto hist disaster Creative Arts Emmys Showtime dogs Exclusive Video jamie lee curtis Lucasfilm Chernobyl Disney streaming service Fargo Avengers documentaries Film Festival 79th Golden Globes Awards Pop TV discovery FX on Hulu black comedy Nat Geo zero dark thirty Superheroe Ghostbusters child's play 99% Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt The CW Television Academy book adaptation video films comic comics Spike true crime scene in color game show adventure DGA concert 2019 First Look classics Quiz a nightmare on elm street sequels Funimation nfl live action The Witch Comedy rom-coms slasher halloween zombie Amazon Prime Video kids SundanceTV TCA Winter 2020 stoner 2020 ViacomCBS hidden camera Disney Rocky Classic Film Winners Amazon Prime composers spider-man facebook Sneak Peek TCM cancelled television 2016 toy story vs. dexter christmas movies Musical all-time Song of Ice and Fire Cannes Country docuseries kaiju teaser Hear Us Out talk show 007 Acorn TV Mary poppins adaptation unscripted CMT political drama Lionsgate Oscars prank Heroines CNN GoT mutant godzilla ABC Signature technology Bravo Premiere Dates critics WGN Photos Marathons Emmys Nominations psycho spider-verse finale superman Toys olympics rt archives nature Western space Syfy spy thriller TV One hispanic casting Crunchyroll Reality rotten movies we love Pet Sematary NBA PlayStation young adult Schedule Lifetime Christmas movies The Walking Dead die hard green book PaleyFest Marvel cats latino Arrowverse diversity Fall TV archives New York Comic Con tv talk joker ABC Paramount blockbuster Mary Poppins Returns Superheroes Horror The Arrangement gangster IMDb TV Interview Walt Disney Pictures First Reviews werewolf RT21 cops Academy Awards Spectrum Originals Vudu cancelled Nickelodeon streaming foreign know your critic docudrama ID Women's History Month streaming movies Biopics Dark Horse Comics laika Comic-Con@Home 2021 IFC elevated horror Food Network Marvel Studios Hallmark Tumblr Sundance TV MSNBC E! cars Endgame OWN National Geographic TIFF news lord of the rings hollywood Musicals BET cancelled TV series A24 Television Critics Association Neflix blaxploitation book trophy Martial Arts Family australia versus posters supernatural theme song Warner Bros. Holiday blockbusters 1990s Tomatazos canceled cooking Winter TV El Rey HBO series stand-up comedy screen actors guild Holidays Extras historical drama USA Network Super Bowl zombies feel good Comic Book animated USA ESPN slashers Turner Classic Movies Peacock 24 frames festival Opinion Turner new zealand sports remakes worst movies Fox News children's TV psychological thriller Infographic 2018 Box Office telelvision Elton John VOD fast and furious ITV TCA Awards TV Land women romantic comedy dc movies Star Wars Broadway TV renewals aliens video on demand rotten sequel anime Masterpiece HBO Go Action X-Men reviews monster movies mission: impossible transformers Sony Pictures Mystery Black History Month WarnerMedia Epix sitcom 4/20 action-comedy Pop History Image Comics dceu Esquire politics Universal Pictures witnail DC Comics BBC CBS All Access TLC Watching Series king arthur Disney Plus rt labs parents critic resources Shondaland binge obituary 71st Emmy Awards Pacific Islander 2017 Baby Yoda wonder woman BBC One documentary royal family sopranos SDCC cartoon leaderboard Logo french Amazon indiana jones Summer emmy awards CW Seed President Spring TV MTV romance legend dramedy Cosplay Apple TV Plus TBS Emmy Nominations chucky thriller black Apple TV+ Certified Fresh high school Red Carpet Shudder Adult Swim crime thriller italian Rom-Com