Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

Season One


Starring: Grant Bowler, Julie Benz,, Stephanie Leonidas, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray, Graham Greene and Mia Kirshner
Distributor: Universal Pictures (UK)
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 15 July 2013

Set in the near future, this epic drama introduces a completely transformed planet Earth, inhabited by the survivors of a universal war. Forced to co-habitate, the disparate group struggles to build a new society among the devastation. At the centre of this world is Lawman Joshua Nolan, who enlists the help of deputies and occasionally some civilians in the struggle to maintain law and order in the town and region. To survive in this unforgiving landscape, it will take strength. It will take will. It will take Defiance...

Defiance has a pretty impressive pedigree, having been developed by Rockne S. O'Bannon (creator of the movie Alien Nation and TV shows SeaQuest DSV, The Triangle and Farscape); Kevin Murphy and Michael Taylor (who was a writer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine [DS9]).

The show takes elements of popular classic sci-fi shows (like DS9 and Stargate: Atlantis) and makes them more accessible to a more modern audience. Like, DS9, Defiance has an ongoing story arc, and is not afraid to kill off the odd regular cast member. In fact, without spoiling too much, the last few episodes brings shock after shock as the writers dispense with characters left, right and centre. In addition, some characters you thought dead, return in later episodes (either in flashback, or due to some creative narrative twist).

It's good to see, in this day and age, that writers of sci-fi are not afraid to steer clear of the cliches that permeate the genre. Yes, there's a bit of the "villain of the week" element in some of the early stories, but this soon gives way to the much bigger story arcs that slowly start to unfold.

Also it's refreshing to see some realistic characters in a sci-fi show. There's no real good/bad characters - all are doing what they think is right for their own reasons. The only squeaky clean main character is Major Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz), the rest of the characters seem to have no problem committing murder if they believe it is for the good of the rest of Defiance - or in some extreme cases, to protect their own interests.

The way that all of the characters interact is believable too. And the moment when they start to get comfortable (like Nolan and Kenya dating) something comes along to shake it all up and take us in another direction. Likewise there are more than a handful of characters who we believe have certain characteristics, or are good, only to find out that we have them figured out all wrong. It's this, pulling the rug out from underneath the audience, which makes Defiance such an enjoyable and believable show.

The series also runs parallel to the online game Defiance, which is set in the same universe. Viewers of the series can follow the action of the immersive character drama set in the boom-town of Defiance in St. Louis, Minnesota, whilst gamers will adventure in the new frontier of the San Francisco Bay area. While the two don't directly overlap, there's a lot of nods to the game here, including creatures that fans of the game will be well familiar with.

As far as the DVD presentation is concerned, I couldn't work out why all 12 episodes (including the double-length pilot episode) were spread over 5 DVDs - they would have easily fitted across three discs. Also, hardcore fans of the series might be a little disappointed to learn that the episode titles aren't listed on the disc, the episodes just being numbered.

Extras are a little disappointing. All we get are Deleted Scenes (10 min, 57 sec - and you can see why they were cut from the finished episodes); and Gag Reel (3 min, 07 sec of not overly funny outtakes). I was surprised for such a new show that there weren't more in the was of added material. I'd have thought at the very least there would have been a feature on the game in a shameless attempt to try and get fans of the show to also pick up the game.

It's good to see that there are still avenues to be explored in sci-fi that don't necessarily retread well worn ground. Defiance is a thoroughly enjoyable series and I'm looking forward to seeing how they resolve the cliff-hanger when the show returns for the second season.


Darren Rea

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

icon icon
iTunes GB
Digital Download