Ask Tiarala what her favorite things are, and a few will be consistent: Firefly. ’80s new wave music. Michael Trucco’s arms in Battlestar Galactica. But the rest… well, depends on the day. Every month, she’ll be telling SpaceGypsies about her current obsessions and why they managed to catch her attention… at least long enough for something shiny to catch her eye.
Okay, so SyFy’s new original series, Defiance… the one developed by veterans of Battlestar Galactica and Farscape? I buy it.
That’s the hardest sell for me in a lot of sci-fi/fantasy. I have to buy it. The characters have to feel genuine. The makeup has to have purpose. The costuming can’t be too over-the-top. I like some realism with my fantasy, and a lot of sci-fi, for me, is a very hard sell.
That’s why I was so blown away by the pilot for Defiance: I buy it. If you want a synopsis of the show, you can check it out here, at SyFy’s website. If you want a play-by-play, I’m not your girl. I’m just here to tell you why, at this point, I’m in love.
I totally buy the complicated but loving relationship between the scavenger Nolan and his “adopted” daughter Irisa, whose teenage petulance seems balanced by a good heart. Political drama can be dull, but what’s ramping up intrigues me, and I can already tell I’m going to love hating Stahma Tarr, the deliciously wicked (and holy gorgeous) wife of one of Defiance’s most powerful men. I buy the story of the star-crossed lovers, and I’m intensely curious about Kenya the barkeep (played by Mia Kirshner, who was brilliant as Alaric’s whacked out “estranged?” wife on The Vampire Diaries.) The makeup and costuming are flawless and interesting, the storytelling is top notch, and I just buy it all. This world makes sense as the new earth of the near future that rose up after the Votons attacked. I want to know more about it.
And, most importantly, I want more Doc Yewll. Trenna Keating owns her role and steals every scene so completely that I expected to see a rich history in sci-fi I just hadn’t heard about. It can’t be easy to so thoroughly embody a character under such heavy makeup, but I LOVE HER. Doc Yewll made me laugh, made me tense, and, more than anything, made me want more.
My only complaint? We get that you made up some swear words. Clever, you. But instead of rolling off the tongue like the occasional Frell or Frak, every character seemed to look for every chance to say “Schtako” they could get. Unlike the rest of the native language, which flowed naturally, this seemed super-forced and broke me out of the moment by the end of the episode. Seriously lame.
That said, I’ve got very high hopes after this riveting, emotional pilot episode. Yeah, I know, there’s a video game tie-in of some sort. I couldn’t care less and hope they’re not basing the success of the series on the video game. What they’ve got so far is a quality show with great production, excellent writing (aside from the gratuitous not-swearing), awesome performances and a storyline that’s intriguing as hell.
I don’t have cable, so I caught the pilot on HuluPlus. Hopefully SyFy will be considering these views in their ratings process, because I need more.