The Defiant, The Damned And The Dirty

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I AM GOING TO BE IN CALGARY THIS WEEKEND FOR CALGARY EXPO!!! Details HERE

Here’s a new LoFi comic! 

I have lots of thoughts on SyFy’s Defiance, but I have to leave for the airport in about 12 hours (yes, 3am to catch a 6am international flight) so for now I will say give it a try.

The second episode is better than the pilot in terms of story and pacing, so I would recommend going at least that far before deciding whether or not it deserves a trial season pass on your DVR. The 2 hour pilot tried to establish the world of the show, but in many ways seemed to leave out key details that would give you a better understanding of how all these aliens came to be on Earth and why we were peacefully coexisting with a seemingly hostile invasion force. As of the 3rd hour of the show I still don’t have all that sorted out. I’m not sure who the agressor is, or if there even was one. I know there was a war, but I can’t tell who it was against. The main character, Shiny Captain Han Reynolds, is a member of the Defiant Few, a platoon that refused to fight and gave way to the uneasy peace with the 8 different races of aliens who all seem to be from the same planet. I understand revealing details in due time, but there are some important things about this high concept world the show would like me to be invested in that I really feel they’ve neglected to explain.

Ok, that was a bit of rambling, but I still say test Defiance out and see what you think. We need more (quality) Sci-Fi on TV and so far Defiance hasn’t revealed itself to be wholly without quality. There’s a good bit to enjoy now and a lot of room for improvement.

Regarding the similarities to Firefly, they are extremely apparent but innofensive. Firefly was 10 years ago. It’s about time it start inspiring a new generation of genre fiction.

COMMENTERS: Firefly was all about humans alone in the big ‘verse, where as nearly every other sci-fi space drama has involved extra terrestrials as friends, foes and unknowns. Which shows or movies do you think made the best use of aliens as real characters, or at least real and effective story elements? I feel like most Star Trek is disqualified in this argument because all of their aliens were just bumpy foreheaded humans that acted exacted exactly like (caricatures of) humans.

Comments (37)

I have a deep and abiding love of Babylon 5. I thought it integrated alien races and humans very well; some as enemies, some as allies, and some as “unknowns”.
Did Eli have to crush his Bat-sicle while being Heston? It seems disrespectful and clearly a waste of good ice cream…

3 replies · active 110 weeks ago

lou's avatar

lou · 110 weeks ago

He’s gonna regret that when it leaks into his eye.
Casey's avatar

Casey · 110 weeks ago

Farscape, enough said.

3 replies · active 110 weeks ago

Jon's avatar

Jon · 110 weeks ago

+1

Of course Farscape and Defiance have producer Rockne S O’Bannon in common

LeoP's avatar

LeoP · 110 weeks ago

I have recently started re watching FarScape for the first time since it ran on TV. I just finished season one. I thought that most of the aliens fell into the sad trope that Star Trek did… most of them are humanoid bipeds except for a few specific puppets. Having said that, I honestly respect their attempt at making Rygel and Pilot real characters despite their lack of traditional human-like proportions. Still… I want to see more varied non-human-look-alike humans.
Candace's avatar

Candace · 110 weeks ago

Although I haven’t re-watched FarScape as you recently have, I would say that some of the superficially humanoid aliens ultimately turned out to more deeply weird over time than they seemed at first – examples being Zhaan and Noranti.
katznhund's avatar

katznhund · 110 weeks ago

As a former resident of St. Louis, I just have to say that last panel is good stuff.

1 reply · active 109 weeks ago

Im glad my hastily researched sports facts we’re offensive.
melchar's avatar

melchar · 110 weeks ago

Another shout out for Babylon 5. The alien/human dynamic was excellent and the storyline is still satisfying now. A lot of other science fiction shows ‘age out’, but B5 remains re-watchable.
As a former resident of Los Angeles who grew up when the Rams was OUR team, St. Louis has all my sympathy..
BluesFan's avatar

BluesFan · 110 weeks ago

What about the Blues? Hockey, sir!
Mr C's avatar

Mr C · 110 weeks ago

Actually the pilot episode of defiance is almost the same as the pilot for eureka (RIP)
http://www.memecenter.com/fun/1341067/defiance-an…

2 replies · active 110 weeks ago

You’re an awful person for linking to that site
Mr C's avatar

Mr C · 110 weeks ago

At least it isn’t 9gag
Doctor Who! Who doesn’t love the Daleks?
But i know most of the aliens they have are humanoid types like Star Trek and Farscape.

2 replies · active 110 weeks ago

WhoFan's avatar

WhoFan · 110 weeks ago

I disagree there.. The new run of Doctor Who certainly has its share of humanoid aliens, however the originals (re: the first 7 doctors) had a plethora of non-humanoids. Mostly still rubber-suited people, but definitely not human shaped. Unfortunately, none of them really continue to be used in future episodes, so they are canon but not integrated species.
I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the old series, not enough to really know all the aliens they had included. But that’s pretty awesome to hear that had odd shaped aliens.

I feel that one of the reasons why there are so many humanoid aliens is because it’s easier and cheaper to slab makeup on an actor.

WhoFan, They did bring back the Ice Warriors, who knows maybe Moffat has a few other reunions up his sleeve?

It’s on SyFy. The best I can hope for is that it doesn’t completely embarrass the genre.
DS9 shouldn’t be exempt since it had characters like Dukat, Garak, Quark, Odo, Kira, etc. As for shows where the aliens that don’t act human at all, I can’t really think of any. Even shows like Farscape had aliens with human like traits.

As for Defiance, there’s definitely a Babylon 5 vibe to it. The characters are interesting and have potential. However, the show does have its problems. The pilot was pretty predictable and there are some continuity issues that they need to address. Just a few potential continuity problems that I noticed:

The mayor said in this week’s episode that they drove out the Irathients with cold-fire weapons but during the battle in the last episode, they only had earth weapons and no alien weapons.

What happened to all the Volge wreckage from the battle? Shouldn’t they be scavenging the battlefield for tech and weapons that they can use?

The deputy was assigned to investigate who set Ben free and hired him to destroy the town but he just forgot about it and decided to save the guy who was being tortured.

They stopped Ben from blowing up the nuclear power plant but the power plant is still there so they better deal with it in the future or the bad guys could just send someone else to blow up the power plant.

BowtiesAreCool's avatar

BowtiesAreCool · 110 weeks ago

Stargate SG-1 pulled the “we populated the universe…mostly” so when there were aliens, they usually were good because all the budget went into making the costumes.

Atlantis had the Wraith, and they were scary albino witch vampires…so there is that.

wwlaos's avatar

wwlaos · 110 weeks ago

I can’t say I was “disappointed” by the pilot because, really, I expected worse, but I still thought it was terrible. Haven’t bothered to watch the second episode yet, but I’ll probably get around to that eventually.

As for shows treating aliens as real characters, obviously Star Tre -*reads the rest of your blurb* … you and me, we come from different worlds. 😐

1 reply · active 109 weeks ago

The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 109 weeks ago

Actually, it helped if you Wiki’ed (if that’s a word now) about the show to read up on the background…but that doesn’t help the casual viewer who should be learning about the backstory (in broad strokes) PDQ into the show.
Of Star Trek, my favorite was the episode of ST: TNG where Geordi LaForge joins the crew of the Enterprise. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch it. I’m not going to spoil it. I like the use of metaphysics to explain a theory of sentient evolution (that I’m sure most real physicists don’t really believe in). The effects, for their time, were pretty decent, and the drama and suspense were ratcheted up for that part.

In general…I think maybe Star Wars. Sadly, most of the movies did not focus much on the non-humanoids, or even the weirder humanoids, but between the Ewoks, the Mon Calamari, the various ruffians of Tatooine and the casual way alien reptiles were used as beasts of burden (and cavalry – apparently Taun Tauns were just hairy reptiles…somehow).

In the extended universe, many of these less human characters were free to roam around in the spotlight or as an integral part of the background noise of life in the galaxy. Of course, the quality of writing wasn’t always up to the task, but you can forgive a man his first love.

The Thing.

It was actually a free form jazz artist, but no one could comprehend the beat.

anxiety.junkie's avatar

anxiety.junkie · 110 weeks ago

It may be a weird choice, but I always thought Alien Nation was a great movie/series; especially when it was discovered that they had 3 genders.
Julie Benz is back on television? Why does nobody tell me these things?

Does it suck more or less than No Ordinary Family?

3 replies · active 109 weeks ago

DuckAmuck's avatar

DuckAmuck · 109 weeks ago

It sucks less. I think. It’s difficult to compare 2 different genres, 2 different “networks”.
Her character is a lot like her character from Dexter, but without all the abusive past and children.
I like it, based on the pilot. Like Alien Nation filtered through Orguss and Warhammer 40k with some character-notes from Enemy Mine.
NOTHING sucks more than No Ordinary Family except for maybe The Cape.
Mass Effect has more alieney aliens than anything else I’ve seen. Elcor, hanar, geth. Crazypants.
This is just a test, I’ll delete it in a moment.
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5 Comments

  1. Of Star Trek, my favorite was the episode of ST: TNG where Geordi LaForge joins the crew of the Enterprise. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch it. I’m not going to spoil it. I like the use of metaphysics to explain a theory of sentient evolution (that I’m sure most real physicists don’t really believe in). The effects, for their time, were pretty decent, and the drama and suspense were ratcheted up for that part.

    In general…I think maybe Star Wars. Sadly, most of the movies did not focus much on the non-humanoids, or even the weirder humanoids, but between the Ewoks, the Mon Calamari, the various ruffians of Tatooine and the casual way alien reptiles were used as beasts of burden (and cavalry – apparently Taun Tauns were just hairy reptiles…somehow).

    In the extended universe, many of these less human characters were free to roam around in the spotlight or as an integral part of the background noise of life in the galaxy. Of course, the quality of writing wasn’t always up to the task, but you can forgive a man his first love.

    Reply
  2. The Thing.
    It was actually a free form jazz artist, but no one could comprehend the beat.

    Reply
  3. This is just a test, I'll delete it in a moment.

    Reply
  4. I know you asked for movies & tv shows, but I have to just put this out there that author Julie Czerneda writes the absolute most inventive sci-fi alien species I have ever seen in 50 years of sci-fi. I say this as a Whovian who grew up in a Trekkie household, she writes aliens I have never seen before. I didn't know that was still possible. (Oh, and the books themselves are just good too. My fave sci-fi author.)

    Reply
  5. Intense Debate is garbage and lost a bunch of the comments, so I moved them into the post.

    Reply

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