Three weeks ago, SyFy debuted their science fiction epic Defiance. It's the first original show on that channel that I've been interested in since Battlestar Galactica went off the air. With a multiplayer game to go along with it (reportedly costing more than the show), it seemed worth the time to watch given that it's rare for a network to invest so much into something new. I was also intrigued by the scope of the story, and now three episodes in, the verdict is still out, though I already know I'm in for the long haul on this one.
Over the first three episodes there have been moments where I can see this show turning into a Battlestar Galactica type of brilliance. It has a wonderful cast of characters with their own agendas and secrets that will no doubt continue to collide in the small town that once was St. Louis. But with any ensemble show, there are always characters with better story lines than others, and this is no different. I find myself not caring much at all for the Mayor and her troubles, or the grizzly mine owner Rafe McCawley. But the other stories more than make up for it, especially the mesmerizing Irisa. However, I do hope it quickly loses the element of serial detective story that has crept into the last two episodes and focuses more on the bigger plot.
So far, viewers have learned frustratingly little about the larger picture. We know there are several races of aliens that came to Earth, fought a war, and tera farmed it beyond recognition. I still don't understand who was fighting who, or why. There are a few alien races that we've seen but heard nothing about. And we have little or no sense as to whether they all came together or separately, or are from the same place or not. In a way, I enjoy how these things are being revealed little by little. Nothing kills a show quite like devoting the first four hours to back story, but there are some things that I think need to be cleared up sooner rather than later. Context is important if you want me to understand the disputes between characters.
Thankfully the show seems to have high ratings, which means there's a chance it might survive long enough to get some answers. Either way, it's nice to have a new sci-fi franchise to root for.