Defiance, pilot impressions

[First, a note: I didn’t put up a post last weekend, but I did tweet letting people know that it wasn’t going to go up–so in the future, if anyone wants to know why a post isn’t there, the answer will probably be in my twitter feed, which is also visible in my sidebar.]

By now, Syfy has kind of gained my confidence for the TV they’ve been putting out. I don’t know when it happened, but all of a sudden, their shows were as good as or better than shows on other networks–Being Human, Alphas, Warehouse 13. (Now if only graduate school gave me enough time to catch up on those…)

So when I decided to watch the pilot for their new show, I was expecting it to be good. And I’m happy to say that it’s the most promising pilot I’ve watched since Once Upon a Time.

Defiance takes place in a world where, about thirty years ago, alien…well, let’s call them immigrants for now–arrived. “Defiance” is the name of a town. Two of our characters are newcomers who end up there by chance, and manage to get embroiled in some of the local politics while trying to make some cash. Of course, the remnants of the old wars and conflicts which predate the series are still there, and still threatening the residents of Defiance. In short, they’ve got problems.

Right off the bat, in the first scene, the characters managed to engage me. How often does that happen? We got to see them in a laid back, more normal moment for a few minutes, and it really works.

Even when more characters and plot lines were introduced, the show remained engaging. I really like Amanda, the new mayor of the town. She’s not necessarily confident in her abilities, but she can step up when she has to. I love that blend of uncertainty, due to her inexperience, and the potential that she shows. Seeing where she goes should make for a good journey.

The two first characters we’re introduced to, the newcomers Nolan and Irisa, are so fun. He’s cocksure and a little ridiculous, but he’s totally self-aware on both counts. Irisa calls him on everything, but usually lets him get away with it. Probably because she knows he’ll just do it anyway. She’s a very harsh character on the surface, and it fits pretty well into what we know about her backstory. It’s made clear from the beginning that their relationship is not romantic, but the way, and she’s more of a daughter to him–which I did not see coming, because she didn’t seem much younger, to me.

I like all the characters here, actually. I can’t say there’s a single one I don’t want to see more of.

We get the set up to a lot of conflict in this episode, with prejudice running under the surface and plenty of ruthless players in the game. And even beyond that, there’s the overall threat to the town that Amanda and Nolan are going to have to deal with. It’s a great set up. And we’re still missing plenty of information about the history that led up to this point, and what the world is like now.

The episode runs very smoothly, with no jarring scenes that take me out of the story, like I’ve seen with some other pilots. I didn’t catch any warning signs at all. All in all, very promising, and I’m definitely going to keep watching. I love this episode, and really expect to love the rest of the season. There’s also apparently a game tie-in, which I have not played. If anyone else has, go ahead and let me know what you think! Or about the show, too.

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