Defiance S1E2: Down In the Ground Where the Dead Men Go (2013)


Summary: Nolan chases Ben as he flees down an old mine, where an entire ghost city is buried.  Ben is up to evil, and must be stopped!  Meanwhile, Irisa confronts Datak Tarr as he leads a torture ritual in the streets.

Thoughts: What a boring episode.  Nothing interesting in this one at all.  The plans of the villains are far too vague to be interesting, and the main characters have no goals except to confront whatever obvious moral wrongness they see.  If the next episode is this shallow, I’m calling it quits.  I want real conflict, moral dilemmas, witty sarcasm.

Defiance S1E1: Pilot (2013)

Summary: In a future in which several alien races have invaded earth, a man and his adopted alien daughter look for a safe haven amid the chaos, because apparently a lot of aliens are evil and there are wars all over the place.  They stumble upon a town called Defiance.  The town has its own share of problems, but at least it’s better than the cruelty outside.

Thoughts: Overall, I thought the pilot was decent.  They avoided the common pilot mistakes of trying to do to much backstory and/or trying to overcrowd the subplots.  They deftly kept the story simple and jumped right in.  It seemed they knew the fun of the show would be in the setting and introducing the various alien races and cultures, so they got right to it.  The visual effects were also very good for a TV show, especially after witnessing the horrible effects of shows like Terra Nova.

My main complaint is that the writing was horrible.  There was way too much exposition in dialog, people saying things for the obvious sake of telling the audience something.  Some of this may have been to compensate for skipping over the backstory, but I think they could’ve gotten away with much less exposition.  True sci-fi fans can figure things out.  Anyway, I thought the writing could still have done with some more humor.  I want some witty banter, sarcasm, along with the occasional astute philosophical observation.  The overall plot was also rather uninspired, but I can forgive that in a pilot.  Making the main character become the new sheriff was a rather forced way to get him to stay in Defiance and involved in future conflicts, especially since the same thing happened in Once Upon a Time.  Lastly, the character of Doc Yewell really bothered me.  She came across as arrogant and moody, yet she’s portrayed as a good character we’re supposed to root for.  I hope she’ll either lighten up or get more sarcastic in future episodes.

I’ll check out the next episode, but I’m not yet impressed enough to become a dedicated viewer.  We’ll see.