• Network: Syfy
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 15, 2013
  • Season #: 1
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 207 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 32 out of 207

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  1. Apr 16, 2013
    10
    We may just have a winner here. I see tons of potential in this show. I wasn't "blown away" by the pilot, but I was very entertained and curious to see more after it ended. I'm rating this a 10 to counter the inevitable trolls that will come here and give it a 0 because it's a SyFY show.
  2. Apr 16, 2013
    9
    Pretty damn good so far for a science fiction series. I agree with the first review, the characters are diverse and deep. Only gave it a 9 because I thought if one of the races is synthetic, I would presume they would be less emotional. Good acting and a believable script make it enjoyable to watch if you love scifi.
  3. Apr 18, 2013
    10
    This show has so much potential.. it's mind numbing. Mix my two favourite genres (western/science fiction), add a splash of GoT (character deep development multiple story arcs) and add a pinch of 'Firefly' with a hint of 'The Wire' and you get Defiance.

    If that doesn't convince you to watch this show, then I don't know what will.

    10/10 Science Fiction back on Syfy.

    fin.
  4. Jun 1, 2013
    9
    My opinion on this show has changed.
    After Episode one you will see this shows improvement big time. OF coruse it's got some cheesy scyfy graphics still, but I recommend this show to everyone.
    The acting has improved just from one episode too! Awesome acting by Irisa's actress and Nolans!
  5. Apr 16, 2013
    9
    It's been a while since I've been this excited about a show coming out on the SyFy Channel.The introduction of so many characters in the pilot episode sets the stage for some potentially great story archs for the future of the series. The special effects in the show were not the best, but they did the job fairly well. When the pilot episode ended I was left excited for more.
  6. Apr 22, 2013
    10
    I love the sheer potential of the show, and I love same about the game. I'm happy someone has the balls to try something fresh and special. I've had a blast so far, please keep 'em coming! TV/game crossovers seem to be our future and a bright one at that. Great job!
  7. Apr 16, 2013
    9
    Defiance was executed very well in terms of story line interacting between both the show and the game, that is after all what they are trying to accomplish. The visuals were stunning, and the plot sets up an exciting future and leaves you wondering what will happen in future episodes. Being a player of the game, I understood probably more than the group that will only watch the show. Although it is not necessary to play the game, I understood where the crystal in the beginning game from, and when they mentioned the "99ers", i knew they were a cybernetic race 80% cyborg, 20% human. Also the future of the show may include an item called the "Ark Core" which you are in search of in the game, and could very well change the power source of many things to come in the town. The show may not implement any extremely new ideas, but for what it is, I believe it is presented flawlessly. Defiance is worth a watch, it's up to you if you decide to keep watching, but don't let this series pass you by because some snooty critics who only appreciate specific types of shows. If you enjoy Syfy originals with great visuals, lots of actions, and a deep story, Defiance is for you. Expand
  8. Apr 16, 2013
    9
    My son and I had the DVR set and had been looking forward to this premier for weeks. I was disappointed to see the initial low scores on Metacritic. Tonight, my wife, son, and I got cozy on the couch with high hopes and low expectations. Our eyes were glued to the TV for the next two hours. We loved it! I don't understand the complaints about it being boring. I didn't experience that at all. Sure it was a bit cheesy and predictable at times, but overall, it was a really satisfying sci-fi drama. We all agreed it was much better than the very disappointing Revolution. We can't wait for the next episode! Expand
  9. Apr 24, 2013
    10
    I would call this the sci fi Game of Thrones. In a world where most sci fi shows keep getting canceled im glad to see that they still try to go big even in the fear of failure. Giving it a chance and loving it so far
  10. Apr 16, 2013
    10
    Finally Syfy came back with a hit! Since Stargate i didn't enjoyed in something that they made! Next week i'm watching Syfy Effects can be a litlle more better but they are not so important to the story!
  11. Apr 16, 2013
    10
    The fastest 2 hours ever. From the beginning till the end it kept me busy. Sci-Fi fans have all right to be EXTREMELY excited about this show! Defiance is the show I've been waiting for.
  12. Apr 16, 2013
    10
    While many believe this show to be a snoozer, I believe this is the return of a much-missed Sci-Fi genre. Instantly nostalgic Firefly-type character drama comes to mind. Nolan is just as charming as Captain Malcolm Reynolds in an outlaw-ish way. The emotional rattling that series like Battlestar Galactica provided with themes like survival of humanity. The show also borrows a lot from wasteland tales such as the Fallout series, which is always a plus in my books. While the show follows some established tropes, they help to make the sure instantly relatable. I sure hope Defiance stays defiant. Expand
  13. Apr 22, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Defiance kicks off with a scene the evokes memories of the final series of Fringe. If you watched that series and I say the scene in the park with observers you will know what I mean. The scene shows the arrival of the Votans, a collection of alien races who have travelled to earth after their own home was destroyed. Although we do not see it on screen (fingers crossed for flashbacks) we learn that there was war after the aliens arrival. We then skip forward decades later after war and terraforming have completely changed the planet. It is here we meet Nolan (Grant Bowler), an ex solider who fought in the war against the Votans and his daughter Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas). The pair make a living as Ark hunters, retrieving lost relics of advanced or alien origin for cash. It’s a shame that we only get a glimpse of this side of Nolan as there was definitely a bit of an Indy Jones vibe to the job and Nolan filled the hard done by adventurer role quite nicely in his intro scene.

    After their latest ark hunting mission goes awry Nolan and Irisa end up in a settlement known as Defiance and that’s where things really start to go wrong for the pair.

    With its Sci-fi meets western theme, with a scoundrel set in the central role, it’s hard not to think of shows like Firefly or a film like Stars Wars. Any familiarity with these well worn themes and situations will probably mean that you will spot most of the dialogue and plot developments in Defiance coming a mile off. The characters, in this opening episode, read like a who’s who of walking cliches’

    The scoundrel who, when push comes to shove, will do the right thing.

    The pair of star crossed lovers.

    The shady businessman who runs all the gambling and dodgy goings on who has designs on controlling the town.

    The sassy prostitute with the heart of gold who runs the local whorehouse.

    The young and inexperienced Deputy.

    The inexperience leader who must rally her people.

    The old and experienced Sheriff…sorry Lawkeeper.

    In fact in one scene with Nolan and Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) Mayor of Defiance ,set before the final climatic battle, you could easy replace them for Princess Leia and Han Solo just before the attack on the Death Star.

    All this may sound like I hated the show but I didn’t. I can be forgiving of cliches if the characters are solid or at least entertaining and the show’s two main characters Nolan and Irisa were very entertaining to watch. Nolan is both a bad ass and a likeable character, who you want to root for. There are times feels like the writers have tried to merge a mixture of Mal Reynolds and Han Solo to create Nolan. The problem is when this is forced too much through the dialogue the effect can be jarring with some of the one liners missing their mark. However it’s the moments where Nolan is allowed to come into his own that outweighes his cliche beginnings. There’s a small scene in which a particular relationship is revealed to Nolan. The look on his face as he works out all the possibilities is hilarious. The same can also be said for Irisa who also gets a few of her own golden moments. One of these moments is shared by the town’s deputy who hits back with a brilliant put down line. Also I have to give a mention of the alien Doctor who also got a few nice lines in. Primarily though it is Nolan and Irisa and their interactions with each other and the other townsfolk of Defiance that saved this first episode for me. I hope that in future episodes I will find more to like about the other characters.

    Bear Mcceary provides the musical score as always excels himself and as someone who is a huge fan of his music I would keep watching just to hear what he’s got in store for the rest of the series.

    There’s a very nice climatic battle at the end of the pilot although it would have been nice to get a little more background on the enemy as it felt a little rushed. I’m guessed the reason for this is the connection to the overall mystery that we are left with by the end of the pilot episode. It is intriguing (along with a nice twist) and I’ll be interested to see just how that story arc unfolds.

    The effects are solid and with the opening scene and final battle being among my favourites. Also mention must be given to some of the make up on with different aliens races…one of the potential strengths of the show is getting to know the these different races and how they interact.

    There’s a lot of world building going on in this episode but there’s till a lot of unanswered questions about this new earth and its inhabitants that will hopefully be revealed over the course of this first season. It’s a wise move not to give you all the answers in one episode as it could have felt like one massive information dump.
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  14. Apr 23, 2013
    9
    Complex characters and an intriguing plot combine to deliver and engaging, and entertaining experience. Rife with sci fi themes and pulls any fan of sci fantasy right in with its strong post apocalyptic influence. The show's principle character, Josh Nolan, brings that cool and demeanor and presents a persona akin to such iconic favorites as Han Solo.
  15. Apr 18, 2013
    9
    with the heiring of defiance i believe Syfy finally has the new flagship series they have been waiting for. most of what we have seen from Syfy in the last few years has been lackluster at best, but i think Defiance can breathe new life into this channel and maybe even the genre as a whole. with so much advertising and the huge 2.7+million viewers the pilot brought in it is no surprise this series has been met with mixed reviews, but i feel much of the hate is misplaced. i personally found the whole universe the writers made to be absolutely fascinating and full of potential. i also loved the main characters, especially the chemistry between Nolan and Irisa and their unusual relationship. id have to say Irisa is my favorite character and will definitely stay that way. she is just so enigmatic and complex, i want to know more about her and her past. i also like Tommy, he reminds me of myself in a lot of ways. overall i think Defiance is a diamond in the rough that Syfy needs to continue with. the potential of the show is near limitless. Expand
  16. Apr 23, 2013
    10
    Ever since Syfy butchered the Stargate Franchise with Universe, I have kept a long distance from any show on the network. My roommate pointed this show out to me, and was thoroughly impressed with the premise, universe, and overall feel of the series. As a pilot I have to be fair to look at it as a pilot. I took the liberty of watching the pilots of my favorite franchises to fairly compare this show to other franchises:

    1: Star Trek (TOS, TNG, DS9, VGR, ENT) All 5 of these shows had weak pilots compared to the strength of themselves as a series when they ended their runs. I'll never forget hating the DS9 premier so much as a young teenager, it took 4 years for me to return to the series.

    2. Stargate SG-1/Atlantis Both shows had relatively mediocre plots and seemed very overly campy for my tastes. Atlantis I didn't resume watching until the end of the first season because I felt so indifferent towards the season opener, and although I did not catch the SG-1 premier until many years later, it is among the strongest of the showings I have seen in the premier department. I didn't mention Universe on purpose.

    3. Smallville VERY weak pilot, honestly the entire first season pretty much served as the pilot. The show didn't really find its footing until the second season. It lasted 10.

    4. Firefly Strong pilot, victim of Fox, enough said here

    This show has a likable cast, a strong underplot involving the former mayor, and most of all a vast expansive believable universe. It employs all of the things I enjoyed about Deep Space 9, Firefly, and Stargate SG-1. In an entertainment world where things are very rarely original, the premise of this show is one of the best I've seen since Firefly, beating other shows now considerably established by a long shot in both strength and viability at this early stage.
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  17. Apr 25, 2013
    9
    I've enjoyed the first two episodes tremendously and believe there is a lot of promise. As with most pilots, the first episode is heavy with character introductions and scene setting, but the second episode showed a lot more nuance and intrigue.

    The acting was excellent (primarily due to superb casting), and the characters are sketched on broad canvases with plenty of room for depth
    and detail, which I expect will be filled very quickly.

    The writers have drawn up an intriguing universe that gives them plenty of options for storytelling and theme development. I enjoyed the second episode's emphasis on the cultural/religious conflicts between the Casthi, on the one hand, and the Irathi and Humans, on the other, and I look forward to more of the same--though it did get a little heavy handed at times. (I don't deduct points for lack of subtlety at this point--subtlety is hard to find in the first several episodes of any new show, especially one so ambitious).

    Overall, I expect Defiance will dutifully fill the void in the hard core science fiction genre left with Stargate having ended its run and Star Trek currently absent from television.
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  18. Jun 17, 2013
    10
    The rating on this comment only follows by the pilot. The pilot, wow. It just blew me away. It had so much stuff going on, invasions, introducing clans, adventurous journeys, goals to where they will be in the future, a new team assembling in the middle of a war, sticking by your clan, a cliffhanger at the end, a romantic gesture, cook science fictional weapons. It was one of the best pilots I've ever seen. And now I'm in episode 8 and I would give it a 3 because that's how much downhill it goes from the pilot. It had nothing ever to do with it except the love gestures well one of them... It got much more boring. If I could rate the whole season it would be a 4 and all the four would go to the genius pilot. Did like any writer or some something die from the pilot or did he she get fired? Something went wrong. Expand
  19. Jun 18, 2013
    10
    It's not a brand new idea, but it *is* a great story and well done retooling of older ideas. Sci-Fi really seem to have finally got one right with this show, it's fun, the characters and their relationships are interesting and the story is good enough to keep you waiting for the next show, with enough 'one episode' plot like the old ST: TNG show but also a deeper underlying story that carries on from episode to episode. Well worth watching and hopefully it will just get better. Collapse
  20. Apr 29, 2013
    10
    The pilot had me hooked, the second episode not so much. But it has a lot of potential so heres to my hope it will end up good. Previews for more episodes do make it look like the conflicts from the game will be brought to life in an amazing way, I can tell it has a deep universe I just hope they can dish it out.
  21. Apr 24, 2013
    9
    An extreme attention to detail and lots of love for all the little things. They have set the frame for an amazing show, but still need to have the characters build a bit more of a personality. Game of Thrones suffered from the same problems in its early days, with the many characters getting so little screen time that they took time to evolve into something more than "elder brother, younger brother, bastard".

    Its worth noting though, that while Game of Thrones benefitted from people having read the book (as most reviewers seemed to have), Defiance aims to get the same exposition through the game (which reviewers have generally not played). In the same way, those who play the MMO will be forming the core fanbase for the show for some time to come.
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  22. Apr 30, 2013
    9
    Bear with me, I've been waiting since the cancellation of Farscape to be able to say these things about a sci fi, so this is going to be big.

    This is the quintessential sci fi, which perfectly blends every loveable cliche into one distinct show. If you're idea of sci fi is limited to Firefly and the new BSG, you're probably going to find it unoriginal and awkwardly bad, but if you've
    immersed yourself in OL, Lost in Space, Star Trek, B5, Farscape, Sliders and other campy yet colorful shows, you're going to love the classical sci fi flair this show brings back to the table. It's not meant to be innovative beyond its (yet to be seen) connection to the game, rather, it comes off as an homage to the themes that sci fi shows have repeated over and over again to the point of cliche.

    The acting is slightly overdramatized, the dialogue is delivered seriously though bordering on cheesy, the characters are more like caricatures, and the themes and cultures are awkward and innovative. Apart from bikini clad Leia visiting you in your mom's basement for a one night stand, this is the sci fi fan's ultimate wet dream. This truly follows suit with many of the shows we grew up with while digging up even older wild west themes, along with the ever growing post apocalyptic obsession of our current time.

    When it comes down to details, the pilot introduces quite a bit of background, culture and subplots into the series. It does a good job of maximizing the ammount of plot/backstory without progressing too fast, and without sacrificing details. The viewer gets a good sense of who the key players are, what this new world is like, and what dangers and challenges will await the characters. It included fun dialogue, plenty of western tough guy acting as well as a wealth of colorful new races and cultures all blending in the new world melting pot of Defiance. Overall, the best part was the blatant use of stereotypical vibrant sci fi characters paired with plenty of western elements in such a way that it creates a very diverse setting with plenty of old school roots. There is plenty of plot to behold, which emerges as seperate subplots which turn out to be linked to one main event, making it a well crafted story even if it didn't pull a "6th Sense" crazy plot twist.

    The second episode was just awful. It was a tying of loose ends episode addressing the pilot. I guess they let the guy who produced Desperate Housewives make this episode, as there is far more drama than action. It makes a transition from the pilot to the series, but not in a way that's interesting to watch. It was kind of a let down from the pilot, and I'm not sure that it is even necessary to watch, you can more or less pick up what you missed in ep.3, unless you like mother-son... "interactions". It has a few merits in that it utilizes the drama better outline the cultural/political climate touched upon in the pilot.

    The third episode is pretty solid, and has a single plot event unfold and conclude within the episode. This is what I like to see as a norm in a sci fi, rather than an ongoing plot highly connected between episodes. It still followed ongoing subplots, and did so in a way that balanced the persistant dramatic tension with the short, easy to digest plot of the individual episode. This shows promise for the rest of the season being a clever yet distinctly classic sci fi.

    9/10 if you're a sci fi obsessed kid-at-heart who just wants a fun show to really become immersed in the cliches of the genre.

    4/10 if you have high standards for CGI, are embarrassed watching shows with corny dialogue (especially in made up funny talk languages) or you are looking for a show that is lustfully insisting that it deserves an award for acting or its dramatic plot. It's a frelling sci fi series, not Schindler's list.
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  23. Jun 1, 2013
    9
    wow there is a lot of mixed reception on this show but to me i am really enjoying this defiance is about aliens come to earth and we react with nuclear bombs now after all this chaos the aliens have tried to maintain peace, the show is very well done the makeup design is flawlessly done and the CGI is exceptional defiance itself is a shanyi town and it looks good overall defiance is a show that really deserves your time watch it on the SYFY channel Expand
  24. Jul 3, 2013
    9
    The problem with this series seem that everyone now stops at the pilot to assert of the series quality, which is a mistake. If you take the time to watch all the episodes that came out so far, you realize the series isn't all that bad. Personally I'm loving the direction the finale of the first season is taking.
  25. Jul 14, 2013
    9
    This is a solid show. I'm not even a sci fi fan. Some of the effects are a little hokey, but the script is pretty good, the characters are good, and it's a little like Game of Thrones where they will just kill off people you thought were going to be major characters all willy-nilly. So I like that unpredictability.

    Out of 12 episodes, I thought 2 were a little weak and the rest were great.
  26. Mar 27, 2014
    10
    Great show in my opinion. I love how each actor/actress brings their own unique style to the character(s) they are portraying.
    Seems to me people are getting way to anal these days, if it does not have tom cruise, or an A list'ish actor/actress people tend to dump on the shows, at least from my stand point. Hope we get 5+ seasons. Cant wait for season 2!
  27. Apr 26, 2013
    10
    Like everyone else I didnt think the 2 hour premier is making history as the new Star trek. But its really become my new favorite show. I think the cast is amazing and a perfect fit to the movie, and there is so much room for character development, Something I believe gives longativity to any show. And from playing the game I can certainly say the show has along way to go to fully explain everything and I sure cant wait!!! Expand
  28. Oct 2, 2013
    10
    The score of this show once again proves that critic's haven't got a clue. Whilst I was broke, I was making plans what games I'd be buying next. I decided that Defiance was one I was definitely adding to my wishlist but I was broke. So I decided that I'd check out the TV show and that was a good move. This is truly a fantastic show. Do NOT listen to the critics, listen to the users. At the time of writing, this show has 22 mixed, 28 negative and 138 positive reviews. Be warned, the first two episodes, Pilot part 1 and 2 are a bit boring. Nothing much happens until the end of part two but it sets the scene really well. After that the episodes are great. The politics, betrayal, diplomacy and issues faced leave you fully immersed. The storyline is gripping (although it does get a bit confusing towards the end). Another thing I loved is the character development. You cannot predict what a character will do. I changed my opinions of certain characters constantly throughout the series. They'll do something good and you'll love 'em, right up until the next episode when they'll do something equally bad and you'll hate 'em. The acting was superb and the people who played the aliens did an excellent job of portraying a being who's customs and beliefs are different to any human being's. Overall a fantastic series and I will be right on top of the next series without a doubt. Expand
  29. Jul 12, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This show is very special. I don't really know what to compare it to. This show is set into a reformed Earth in the near future (2046) where aliens (collectively called Votan vera similar to the Covenant from Halo) live alongside the humans. This is the story of a particular town called Defiance and the story centers on lawkeeper Nolan (human), his adopted daughter Irisa (Irathient), newly appointed mayor Amanda Rosewater (human), her sister Kenya (prostitute), yes, prostitucy is legal now and two prominent families: the McCalleys (who own a mining enterprise) and the Tarrs (Castithans, Da'tak Tarr being a mobster with rage issues, who's wife is so manipulative, she is capable of getting him to candidate for mayor). There is a conspiracy lead by former mayor Nicoletta, who is really a disguised Indogene. The story is intriguing. The only problem I have with the show is that you need to play the Defiance MMO to really understand the story and background. The setting feels extremely unrealistic and distant from the current state of things and often supernatural and scripted. Oh yous and also the word ''shtako'' is very similar to ''frak'' from Battlestar Galactica and it's there just to make it accesible to more viewers. Every episode keeps you wanting more and that is in my opinion key. A very impressive 9. I recommend this show to everyone who likes sci-fi. If you like a few episodes I definetly suggest you get the Defiance MMO. I plan on getting it myself. Expand
  30. Jun 24, 2013
    10
    It's very hard to do a show review for me because I review games and movies so this is my first tv sires review and it's about my first syfy and I love this show and chacters and every thing about this show just watch it I know people are saying its just another average syfy well it's not ok
  31. Jul 2, 2013
    9
    My husband and I really like this show the acting is good, the storyline is good, and I love it which means that SYFY will probably cancel it after 4-5 seasons (if it makes it that far).
  32. Jul 9, 2013
    10
    I love this series what I can't understand is why does the second primary in June 2014????? Can't wait to see what happens. We look forward to every Monday night and have never missed it. Get a life and bring it back earlier don't leave us hanging.
  33. Jul 30, 2013
    10
    I'm hooked. Can't wait for the next season. I'm so sick of seeing one season wonders in the Sci-fi genre. PLEASE go and buy season 1 if you enjoyed this. It's the only way to guarantee more seasons will be made.
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: 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.
  2. 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.
  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.