Dick De Jong
October 9, 2013
With Producer credits that include such Sci-Fi favorites like Battlestar Galactica, Caprica and Farscape, Michael Taylor, Rockne S. O'Bannon , Kevin Murphy have proven their knack for creating edgy, intelligent, other-worldly, action adventure series.
Defiance continues that futuristic, somewhat post-apocalyptic recipe, this time with a pinch of Wild West spice mixed in.
This SyFy channel TV series is set in 2046, with the requisite flashbacks to illuminate the characters' shadowy pasts and reveal how the aliens invaded Earth over 30 years before.
And if one alien race is good for the gumbo, then multiple species make a succulent stew - as well as a daunting challenge to the make-up crew and actors who spend hours daily transforming into Irathients, Castithans, and Indogenes. Holy Shtako!
But under the real masks and metaphorical mythology, Defiance is grounded by familiar, human-like interpersonal relationships. Indeed, the touchstone of this multi-species series is the loving bond between father and daughter.
True to the spirit of the show, the Earthling father, Joshua Nolan (played by Grant Bowler), had rescued as a child and adopted Irisa, (Stephanie Leonidas), an Irathient, who has grown into a headstrong teenager with a sharp skill with a knife.
But Defiance is not a futuristic Little House on the Prairie. The episodes serve up an abundance of intrigue, sex and violence (to the TV-14 limits that the SyFy channel does not usually push).
Encompassing all those characteristics are Defiance's Macbeth and his Lady, Datak and Stahma Tarr, (Tony Curran and the diaphanous Jaime Murray), a Castithan couple who can comingle all three elements in a shared bathing tub.
The rest of the cast is a mix of veterans like Graham Greene (the mining patriarch, Rafe McCawley), familiar faces like Mia Kirshner and Julie Benz (sisters Amanda and Kenya Rosewater) and younger, though seasoned actors like star-crossed lovers, Nicole Muñoz (Earthling Christie McCawley) and Jesse Rath (Alak Tarr, son of Datak and Stahma).
Even if you are not a Comic-Con enthusiast, the Defiance writers seem to make the effort of not allowing the mythology of the series bury the essential story of real people living, loving and surviving.
A shout-out goes to the Visual Effects crew who won an Emmy nomination for their colossal task of rendering the terraformed world on a TV budget. The results look great on this high definition Blu-ray three disc set.
The Bonus Features are the usual mix of Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, and Behind the Scenes featurettes.
The most interesting of the choices are "Defiance: A Transmedia Revolution" and "Making Defiance."
Defiance is not simply a TV series. The characters and storylines cross over to Defiance, the massive multiplayer online game, (therein the term, "transmedia"). A separate team of animators is creating the game and this featurette describes how the two groups interact.
If you like to peek behind the curtain at how effects shows are made, "Making Defiance" offers a few choice tidbits without becoming mired in self-congratulations.
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Cast: Grant Bowler, Stephanie Leonidas, Julie Benz, Graham Greene, Jaime Murray, Tony Curran, Mia Kirshner
Length: 13 episodes, 9 Hours 32 Minutes total
Rated: Not Rated
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1