• Network: Syfy
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 15, 2013
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Jeff Jensen
    May 15, 2013
    83
    The individual alien races aren't all that fresh. Yet I am engaged by the show's lively metaphor for a polyglot culture fractured by tribalism and Otherness, for a world that can easily put aside past pain and present differences to tackle a common threat.
  2. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Apr 15, 2013
    80
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Apr 17, 2013
    70
    There's a lot of genre-bending in this one but some real entertainment value, dramatic potential and, hell, if it can be half of what Battlestar Galactica was, that's a winning combination.
  4. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Apr 15, 2013
    70
    Much of the casting is disappointingly flat, and the character development as shallow as in any video game.... Still, ambition counts for a lot in this expansive genre, and Defiance gets better with each episode.
  5. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Apr 15, 2013
    67
    The pilot is so busy establishing its new world, performances are afterthought generic. But Defiance gets more distinctive, and dramatic, through its next two hour episodes.
  6. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    Apr 15, 2013
    63
    Defiance wants to be that crossover science-fiction show that appeals both to true believers and general audiences. If "Terra Nova," which aimed for that same ground, didn't succeed, I can't see "Defiance" doing it either.
  7. Reviewed by: Bruce Miller
    May 29, 2013
    60
    Moments in the first episode suggest Defiance could be filled with the kind of minutiae "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" fans love. But its plot is so thin it could float away.
  8. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Apr 15, 2013
    60
    Defiance the TV show may not break new ground in its two-hour premiere Monday, but it does stand on its own as a watchable sci-fi series, with a Wild West vibe mixed with a bit of "Farscape"-meets-"West Side Story.
  9. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Apr 15, 2013
    58
    The show’s pacing, particularly in the first hour, could trigger a nap.
  10. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Apr 11, 2013
    58
    The ripping good special effects of Syfy’s Defiance harken to Fox’s recently failed and likewise futuristic Terra Nova, which also popped the eyes. In each case, the bigger your DVD screen, the better. Another shared trait: the scripts and story lines tend to be cliche-heavy and sense-dulling predictable.
  11. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Apr 15, 2013
    50
    Defiance is less gritty than Syfy's best series, "Battlestar Galactica," and the characters aren't as well drawn as on the superior "Farscape." "Defiance" lands at a slightly higher end of the murky middle ground of quality.
  12. Reviewed by: Mike Lechevallier
    Apr 15, 2013
    50
    The visionary environments are without blemish, and the sound design is on the level of some of Hollywood's heavy-hitters. Yet the stodgy inaction between each explosive set piece is so often bereft of substance that to endure Defiance is to lamentably scour its orbit for any exiguous points of engrossment.
  13. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Apr 15, 2013
    50
    Not only is the production harmed by its overloaded pilot and just fleeting moments of originality, its visual effects and alien makeup design are wildly inconsistent. Despite all this, Defiance grew on me the more I watched.
  14. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Apr 12, 2013
    50
    There are only fleeting moments when you feel you're seeing something brand new in Defiance, but in its imitative way, it's fun to watch, thanks to some competent CGI effects and decent performances.
  15. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Apr 15, 2013
    40
    Possibly as a result of the hybrid project’s longer-than-usual development process, the show’s fictional world, in which humans struggle to coexist with seven alien races, is satisfyingly coherent and the stories are relatively crisp and well shaped. What Defiance lacks, though, is any shred of originality, or any of the conceptual audacity that could keep you involved in “Battlestar Galactica” or “Stargate Universe” despite their ticky-tackiness.
  16. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Apr 11, 2013
    40
    Defiance isn’t any worse than some of the so-so international imports Syfy has picked up to add original spice to its lineup, but the ingenuity that went into the process of conceiving the game and show together--as well as the nifty look, visual effects and makeup--simply aren’t matched by similar effort regarding story and plot.
  17. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Apr 15, 2013
    20
    If you’re a sci-fi fan for whom this stuff can never be too complex, have at it. If you’re not, wait an hour and watch “Revolution.”
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 242 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 88
  2. Negative: 22 out of 88
  1. Apr 16, 2013
    4
    An amalgam of every overused Sci-Fi and Western trope there is, with a beaten-into-the-ground Shakespearean sub-plot thrown in to poor effect. Overall very little imagination or skill involved in this hamfisted production, surprisingly wooden acting, and often questionable CGI. Might improve, I'm assuming the acting issues are a matter of the actors working things out, but I'm not holding my breath for the poor writing or (barely) two-dimensional characters to go anywhere interesting.

    Watchable, if only just better than the game, at least as things currently stand (not that that's saying much) but surprisingly poor given the names involved and the amount of money that was dumped into it.
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 18, 2013
    8
    It's amazing all the bad reviews I'm reading for this pilot 2-hour episode, because I did not get the same result from it at all.

    1) It is
    far more believable than all the other cliched shows we've been subject to over the past few years. Getting into a fight with aliens due to xenophobes on either side is believable. The alien ships blowing up but activating their terraforming 'arks' which ravage the land I can accept. Supposedly not having electricity, yet have a working computer miraculously in the house connected to an operational computer network is not.

    2) I play the MMO, and the mission introducing the main two characters is not only fun, but it gives you an added perspective of them for the show. Don't diss the MMO ratings being bad and not trying it to understand more of the world. It's an innovative way in this age to learn backgrounds.

    3) People are complaining about the various tropes. But, look who is involved in creating this show. They created those tropes you are complaining about. Alien Nation, V, Farscape, etc. were all written by, created by, or produced by those involved. It's understandable how these are integrated into the show.

    4) Yes, a lot of Firefly is seen behind this show as well. A lot of people see this as a bad thing, but I'm not one of them. It's obvious the 'backwater' yet advanced planet theme is popular. One thing I can see happening is guest appearances by some of those actors involved in Firefly, or the shows I previously mentioned.

    5) Do you remember Encounter at Farpoint? The Cage? Emissary? Those pilots, when you look back, were not all that good. Costuming was not perfected. Characters were not refined. How long have those three shows lasted? We still have Star Trek the Next Generation, Star Trek the Original Series, and Deep Space 9 in syndication. Though the original only lasted 3 years in actuality, TNG and DS9 each lasted 7 years. The pilots, though bad, did not break them by any means. Go back and watch An Unearthly Child or Edge of Destruction. How long has that series survived, even with 11 different individuals playing the main title role during the series (and more in one shots and movies)?

    Defiance is a show that will grow. It is a show that has better potential than some of the things I've seen renewed out there, and even critically acclaimed. I plan to watch, and I plan to play the game as well.
    Full Review »
  3. Apr 16, 2013
    3
    Every once in a while a show comes around that you really want to be good. After multiple weeks of advertising from Defiance and trying to be convinced that the game/tv combination was smart, the TV show premiere finally debuts.

    This was a painful two hours with every cliche imaginable taking place throughout the show. I could not agree more that this show underwhelms the viewer to no end and pushes back the progress of the scifi genre on tv. Lacks any originality or good storyline and fails to capture the attention of the viewer. I am normally pretty patient with new TV shows, but this once is truly a snoozer.
    Full Review »