More then ten years passed since the unrivalled Firefly had started its march into the Valhalla of science-fiction classics. The cancellation of the show left a big hole in the life of the fans or the browncoats as they call themselves. The marriage of the post-Civil War America and the space was a stroke of genius. The stars became the new prairies. The message of the struggling nobodies doesn’t feel less relevant in our times: Deny the authority of the central power, get out of its reach, be on your own way, go always forward, make a home and keep your family together. If that means you have to live under the rules of the jungle where life is cheap, then so be it. This review is about the science-fiction TV-show and franchise Defiance.
You cannot take the Arch from me
After a decade of withdrawal, a new star is knocking the same doors. The spots are shifted this time (minor SPOILERS). Defiance is a real science-fiction show if I may use this oxymoron. Although it’s unusual for one; the plot is confined to Earth. There is no space travel, at least not anymore. First contact with aliens had been made, but the results were disastrous on every level, and cataclysmic events reshaped the face of our home planet in a very short time. What we have here is a junk-civilisation based on human and extraterrestrial technology alike, and the long healing process has just started after this apocalypse.
The viewers are dropped into this fresh start; the independent town of Defiance, where humans and several sentient alien species try to overcome not only the hate and ignorance of the past but to avoid the grasps of the reemerging central power, which strives to control and plays the power play on the old corrupt ways.
|Another valley where a man's fate took a turn; the Battle of Serenity Valley.|
Where do sins end and where does forgiveness start?
If Firefly was about being your own master and taking care of those who matters for you, then Defiance is about second chances. In my opinion, this show was made for a mature audience with honed sensitivity and learned openness. The main protagonists are past of their biological prime. They have plenty of regrets, dark secrets those are judged easily by people with a stricter moral code. Still, they live, they strife, they hope that something different than before awaits them.
Second chances are metaphors for Defiance in many ways. For example: the first look at it doesn’t tell the tale. After I had seen the pilot, I was sitting on it for two weeks, and I didn’t feel much incentive to go on with. For one thing, I didn’t like the reheated concept of the make-up aliens. But I gave the show a second chance, and now I’m hooked. As the episodes run you get to like Defiance. Like in real life, some people don’t look much at first. But the more you know about them the more intrigued and forgiving you are, the more you care. The characters defy fast understanding, another trait of Firefly. The most important thing is that the fictional world of the show feels living.
|The new America in Defiance. The frontier is back.|
Now, before the browncoats stone me
Defiance is not Firefly but the closest thing to it I met on TV in the past ten years. Defiance is not the most original, but it’s cleverly put together, and you can feel the enthusiasm behind it. Even the make-up aliens are starting to be interesting. The episodes can stand as their own, and as they flow they show some pretty decent special effects. Maybe the makers counted on the aforementioned sci-fi nostalgia because you can hear familiar tunes from Firefly and the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (no wonder, it's the same composer) time and again.
|The male protagonist Nolan with his adopted alien daughter (left) and the major of Defiance; Amanda (right)|
To sum it up, the first season of Defiance (twelve episodes with the pilot) is promising, and the show holds great potential. I didn’t feel like rewatching the episodes since Firefly and Rome. It has an impressive background story and timeline to present the show on these very pages. The alien races are colourful (literally) and plenty. One of them feels like a medieval Shakespearean society from the old continent, another reminds me of North American indians, a third looks like they just arrived from Star Trek: Deep Space 9, and so on. Grant Bowler plays his seen-a-lot character with boyish charm, Julie Benz is gorgeous and charismatic in dignity as ever. Defiance-fans, you are not alone! I totally ship Joshua Nolan and Amanda Rosewater (Nolanda?)! Let’s hope for the best and wait for the second season of Defiance starting in Juny.