• Network: Syfy
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 15, 2013
  • Season #: 1 , 2
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 235 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 34 out of 235

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  1. Apr 16, 2013
    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.
  2. Apr 18, 2013
    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.
  3. Apr 16, 2013
    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.
  4. Apr 16, 2013
    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. Expand
  5. May 4, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I gave it a few more episodes. It just seems like sci fi written by an art student (and not a scientifically inclined one). This series has more to do with magic and fantasy than science fiction. Putting boring, barely aliens in bad costumes doesn't make it a sci fi. (Hint for syfy channel: Science makes it a sci fi.)

    Let me point out a few bad science plot holes.

    1. "Killing" futuristic "world destroying" robots with single shots from standard guns ugh, my head hurts

    2. The world destroying robots walk across the ground they dont bother to incorporate flight or any sort of intelligent design into their destroying OK enough about the Vulge

    3. Going to bomb a nuclear reactor under the city in St. Louis to destroy Defiance... OK, well we get down there and its obviously abandoned. Any person who should be writing for a science fiction feature show should know that if that reactor wasn't shut down properly (all material taken off site) it would have melted down long ago and those idiots going caving would have received a lethal dose of radiation. The cooling ponds would be evaporated. It would make Fukishima look like a malfunction with your microwave.

    4. Hellbugs omg dont even get me started. I felt embarrassed for the whole production while watching that.

    5. Why/How is the famous arch above ground while the city is apparently buried far beneath? Right, it was thrust up or something during a terraforming incident.

    6. Why is everyone so darn backward? We have, what, 7 different alien life forms and the best technology they [combined] have come up with for everyday life is go karts, poorly designed handguns (big too look cool hehe), lightsaber/lightknives, and hot tubs. None of these idiots know how to make a spacecraft to salvage wreckage in orbit? 7 independently intelligent aliens and they all have the technological understanding of 1980s humans.

    7. The ugly runty girl main character alien has "the site(sight? oh wait who cares)" she done been touched by the gods /facepalm

    8. The head villain was driving a 1970 Chrysler Lebaron in 2046 no I made that up it was actually uglier and dumber than that

    9. Lawkeeper

    10. Lawkeeper

    11. Lawkeeper... this one word summarizes the whole shebang. Idiotic, tryhard, duhhhhhhhhhhhh......

    12. Lawkeeper
  6. Apr 16, 2013
    Wow! Syfy channel has a hit. This show nails it for sci-fi fans like nothing since Battlestar Galactica. The characters are diverse and interesting, always looking out for their own interests. The terraformed Earth is fantastic and reminds me of the Borderlands game. It's a simple enough story. It's Gunsmoke with space ships and lasers. Same as the ill-fated Firefly. The cast is packed full of hotties so it's even enjoyable with the sound off. But then you wouldn't hear Julie Benz's seet voice. I'm looking forward to more of this series and I expect it will keep rocking the house. Good job Universal Cable Productions. Expand
  7. Apr 17, 2013
    Atrocious, boring and devoid of any moral content oder suspense. The characters try to be cool but end up shallow and unsympathetic, the aliens look worse then Star Trek's Next Generation ever did, and the special effects look like they're done by low end low wagers on machines from ten years ago.

    Had high hopes for this, not even gonna buy the game now, although I was gonna after
    seeing a Let's play. Expand
  8. Apr 23, 2013
    Just when you thought nothing could be worse than 'Revolution', this show pops up. Bad acting, bad writing, just about everything here is bad, it looks too forced and fake and it tries to be smart when it clearly isn't.
  9. May 21, 2013
    The writers of Defiance created a complex and deeply rooted history for the show, which appeals to some and not to others but beyond the history, the stories in the episodes are poorly written. The concept of running an MMORPG along side the series was a brilliant idea but the prices they are charging ruined it. I am left with the feeling that the show itself is an extreme marketing campaign to launch the game. Points received is for the complex back story of the show, overall a 5 because the show is second priority. Expand
  10. Apr 19, 2013
    This series is just horrible. The plot is brainless, the acting is lousy and the props are even worse. The 1980s just called. They want their B-Movie story back. The 1990s called, too. They want their special effects back. Nothing in this show makes sense, the characters are just horribly played and the design of the aliens is so stupid it makes the worst parts of Star Trek look good. I usually give 1 point for trying, but this show does not even deserve that much. Expand
  11. Apr 20, 2013
    I came to this show with an open mind and was actually hoping it might sate my hunger for a new sci-fi show. In short ...it doesn't. The main character, Nolan, is just another cliched, "tough as nails", wise cracking, out for himself (but not really), instantly forgettable sci-fi hero. Most of the alien races are extremely uninspired creations, who appear to have identical motivations/ethos/syntax to humans. The effects fluctuate between passable and terrible, the plot thus far seems paper thin and any moments of drama are lessened by the fact that it is difficult to feel anything for the one dimensional characters. The contrived mashing of genres (Western/post-apocalypse survivalism/low tech futurism) simply does not work and the whole thing feels stitched together. So it seems that Defiance is another lesson in how not to do sci-fi, and another disappointment for this jaded science fiction fan. Expand
  12. Apr 22, 2013
    I realy wanted this show to be good but it unfortunatly turned out to be a disgrace to the whole sci-fi genre, despite good performances of the actors. The plot and presentation of the show simply can't interest anybody above the age of 3, this is destined to fail.
  13. Apr 23, 2013
    It has a few good parts, but it is overall slightly boring. It doesn't have the thrills achieved by "The Walking Dead", or the mystery achieved by "Revolution", it just has a few good shooting scenes. It's disappointing, but you should still watch it, at least the pilot.
  14. Apr 16, 2013
    Defiance has a very interesting theme and feel to the show. It starts off attractive then gets completely predictable about a quarter of the way through the 2hr premiere. I was hoping for something jaw-dropping but aside from the creative aspects of the set and costume designs there was really nothing new. I do have to say that I am happy that this show was not like all other SyFy cheesey movies especially for the special effects which were also not that bad.

    Defiance's weakest point is on Story. Instead of trying to break new ground to establish a series, the show takes a traditional path similar to recent series with minimal character backgrounds, forced character introductions, and overall no real story arc introduced to add potential longevity for the show to hook audiences on. This seems to be a reoccurring theme in television these days as studios do not want to invest in the long run but rather a brief light show to gather attention. It is no Firefly, Battlestar, or Fallen Skies but maybe a level or two below them like V or Revolution. If this approach is going to be taken at least have 2 or 3 A list actors in there to carry the weight until the show can gain some ground.

    The show has potential though. The set is fantastic and really gives that futuristic world feel (a lot like New Caprica on BSG) and the diverse alien races might add for a Babylon 5 type race theme as the show develops. But the show needs to be bigger than one city. Defiance should mean an overall point to the show not a location (or term from an older war). The show needs to move fast and think big. Utilize the aliens more and get into their backgrounds. We already know what humans are and do so let's see some intergalactic aspects to add better stories and plots to the show.

    It is a decent start but I'm afraid its one that will require a good deal of help in order to stay relevant on Monday nights.
  15. Apr 17, 2013
    A Show based on a game! A Show based on a bad game? YUP But is it still good? NOP

    The characters are ok, they are pretty cool and have some interesting things, the show isn't really eye opening or anything, atleast it gets the sci fi part right, it also sort of combines something like a western town or somethign idk. It reminds me of some great shows (firefly, battlestar...n00b if you
    don't know what those are) but it really isn't any better than the game, sure it was new for combining it with a game and it got me real excited, i was really hoping this would be good, and i was severly disapointed, now if you excuse me, i'm going to go poop, if you really like scyfy, and defiance, than go right ahead and watch this..... Expand
  16. Apr 19, 2013
    I'm shocked by the production quality of this thing. Visually it's inconsistent, troubled by really, really bad special effects (some indie pc-games from 2005 have better cut-scenes than some of the renderings!). Whenever they have green-screened something it really shows. The character are flat and act without any motivation that is born out of the scene or the overall plot. All the clothing doesn't make sense, everything is much too clean. The characters are flat in the sense that they are cheap mixes of old cliche that don't even get properly introduced or established. Main-Character-Cool-Guy whose name is hard to catch (as are the names of most characters because they are all incredibly unremarkable people) acts irrational most of the time and spews his pseudo-cool one-liners in situations where they really don't belong. The plot is hard to follow. The Aliens, which are an important part of the series, are boring and consist mostly of staple "mostly like humans"-creatures that don't even ACT alien. The action suffers from bad cutting and bad lightning. It's much too fast and hard to see.
    All in all I'm truly shocked how bad this is. I expected science-fiction. It was neither good "science" nor good "fiction" and visually unappalling.
  17. Apr 29, 2013
    I really wanted to like this show...I gave it 2 shows but I can't watch it anymore. It is just terrible. Boring, slow plot lines. Too many cliches and annoying characters. Cheesy graphics. So-so acting. This isn't going anywhere. Surprised by the 7.3 user score average...not sure what they are all watching must be a different show.
  18. Apr 16, 2013
    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.
  19. Apr 16, 2013
    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.
  20. Apr 18, 2013
    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.

  21. Apr 22, 2013
    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!
  22. Jun 1, 2013
    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!
  23. May 6, 2013
    I remember this show! But when did the aliens grow hair? They used to be bald, with spotted scalps, and didn't this used to be called Alien Nation? And what's with the post-apocalyptic Western lawman cowboys and shamans culture clash meets bratty adopted struggling to assimilate teenager theme? Can we mix and mangle a few more cliches in there? I'm sure the writers missed at least one or two. Okay, Defiance is honestly not terrible, but it's honestly not terribly good, either. Better than Revolution but nothing memorable. This is probably because in spite of a colorful splatter of gore and an amusing scene involving the safe word calamari (don't ask), Defiance is about as edgy as a plastic spoon. Expand
  24. May 15, 2013
    The show is terrible and the language is embarrassing to hear them use. They say words like "SHTAKO" and to also hear the humans say it, well its just embarrassing. The aliens look
    bad effects also bad and acting horrible. I would recommend not watching this show cant believe it
    got a offer for season 2 already.wow
  25. May 22, 2013
    Defiance has a lot of potential and it looks like Syfy is really trying to promote this show, its already green-lit for a second season! But even with all the potential in the world Defiance feels flat, tossed up, unoriginal, and boring. The Pilot surprised me, even with its clear short comings, but I would go as far to say that the Pilot is probably the best episode so far out of the 6 that have aired. For me, the show is loosing a lot of steam and its steam that it never really had. The alien races feel very unoriginal and arent even interesting, they come off looking very odd and funny. The acting is below average, I feel like the man guy is the only actor who feels comfortable in the show. Defiance is episodic, meaning you dont really need to watch the episode before to understand the one your watching. I kept on giving Defiance a chance and after 6 episodes, I am now officially dropping the show. Defiance is a chore to watch and is only worth your time if you like cheap Syfy. Expand
  26. Apr 16, 2013
    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
  27. Apr 16, 2013
    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.
  28. Apr 16, 2013
    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!
  29. Apr 16, 2013
    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
  30. Apr 16, 2013
    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

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
    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
    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
    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.