I’m going to be brutally honest: this is an awful television show. Not simply because of the subpar acting and cliched plot, but because this is clearly intended only for marketing purposes for the accompanying video game, which also has received mixed reviews. There’s not a single bit of effort anywhere except for set design and makeup. Whichever dumbass executive who really thought that creating a TV show and video game at the exact same time really doesn’t know the target audience well.
Raise your hand if any of this sounds familiar: years from now, aliens will visit Earth. They look strangely similar to us, except uglier. Now, a rugged space rogue and an alien go on an epic adventure for blah blah blah…
So, like Star Trek and Star Wars combined, except all of the things that made people love both of those films is missing. I was seriously expecting someone to make the Vulcan hand gesture or take out a lightsaber.
Here’s another quirky thing they do: they make up entire words and languages, and never tell the audience what any of it means. I just started pretending that they were talking Yiddish, because that’s what it sounds like to me.
Obligatory over-dramatic voiceover? Check. Flashback sequence with PSA-quality acting? Check again. Some guy clearly based off of Han Solo? Oh yeah. Some annoying-ass alien chick? Yuppers. Are the rest of her kind ethnic stereotypes? They make Jar Jar Binks look like an angel. And I always kind of liked Jar Jar Binks.
Oh yeah, and there’s an alien that looks almost exactly like Chewbacca. They’re not even trying to pretend that they’re doing anything original, God help me.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad on a Jersey Shore or Glee level. It’s just that it’s so incredibly lazy, and so deliberately trying to grab money above everything else, that it really makes it a chore to watch. This is why I hate most science fiction: because if it’s got aliens of any kind, it’s clearly trying to rip off Star Wars. Any successful sci-fi franchise since, like Halo or Mass Effect, simply subverted the formula. And that’s OK, because the characters and concepts within are fascinating and they keep us invested. At least those stories are interesting. Defiance doesn’t even bother trying to be anything different. It thinks that merely by existing, we’ll all watch it in droves.
When science fiction begins to try and do something different again, then I’ll begin to watch again. A good example are the films by Neill Blomkamp and Alfonso Cuaron (look ‘em up, you won’t be disappointed) coming out several months from the time I’m writing this. For reference, they’re the guys who made District 9 and Children of Men. I’ve heard Joss Whedon’s Firefly is good, too. And I’ve heard that this show severely rips it off too.
So whatever you do, don’t watch Defiance. Don’t buy into the hype. Let me suffer for you and make fun of it weekly, if that’s what you want. And I hope that you make intelligent consumer choices. Stay classy.