Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
From left, Julie Benz, Graham Greene and Grant Bowler in an episode from Defiance. Ben Mark Holzberg / Syfy / AP Photo
From left, Julie Benz, Graham Greene and Grant Bowler in an episode from Defiance. Ben Mark Holzberg / Syfy / AP Photo

Defiance comes alive on television and online

Defiance combines a gritty alien-invasion drama with an online video game.

Invading Earth has been done to death, literally, by sci-fi showrunners. What’s new with Defiance is that it’s being done by seven alien races at once – refugees of a dying solar system – who wind up with no choice but to seek an armistice to live alongside human survivors on what remains of the old terra firma. And what remains isn’t pretty.

The Syfy network’s president David Howe hails Defiance as a world first and “the biggest and most ambitious undertaking in Syfy’s 20-year history”, as it combines a television series with an online game, in partnership with Trion Worlds, Inc.

“The Trion game has its own narrative. It has its own storylines,” adds the executive producer Kevin Murphy. “Our show has its own dramatic storytelling needs, its own storylines. But if you choose to partake of both, because we exist in a shared universe with dual portals or entrances, you get a richer, fuller, more nuanced experience.”

In the year 2046, it’s a new Earth – with new rules. With our landscape terraformed nearly beyond recognition, it has been more than 30 years since the aliens came to Earth. To the town of Defiance, under the battle-scarred arch of what used to be St Louis, comes the mysterious Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his adopted alien charge, the red-headed scrapper Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas).

As they settle into the town – overseen by the mayor, Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz), and filled with folks such as the powerful Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene), the enterprising lounge owner Kenya (Mia Kirshner) and the ambitious albino-faced aliens, the Tarrs (Tony Curran and Jaime Murray) – a fragile peace falls into jeopardy.

Says Bowler, whose Nolan becomes the “law” in this wild enclave: “If Defiance were the real world, I’d be cowering somewhere in the corner, clutching a rattle.”

In the pilot, however, he’s front and centre and forced into a bar fight with a “bioman”, a hugely muscled weapon bred in wartime to receive and inflict massive damage.

“The bioman fight took 15 hours to shoot; it was the most physically demanding scene,” says Bowler. “That bloke was enormous; there wasn’t a lot of CGI or special effects in that. He was 320 pounds and he was six-foot-six. So, he hurt me. I couldn’t get out of bed the next morning. If you’re watching it at home, I hope you enjoy it – I certainly didn’t.”

As Defiance unfolds on the television, its residents’ struggles impact the multi-platform online game and vice versa. Players take on the role of Ark Hunters – survival, combat and tracking experts who retrieve lost relics of advanced or alien origin for money. (The Arks are the ships that brought the aliens to Earth.)

“It’s strange, man,” says the New Zealand-born Bowler. “I’ve been watching myself on screen for 20 years and bored to death with myself. And the whole thing of being 3-D-rendered into a game was like seeing yourself on camera again for the very first time, and really, really odd. I love the game aspect.”

In describing the dealings between the alien races, the producer Murphy adds: “Their solar system was going to be destroyed. Their sun was going to explode, and different alien species lived on different planets within this system. So what’s kind of cool about this is Castithans and Irathients, who are two of the races, they don’t particularly like each other. It’s a marriage of convenience. Everybody can agree they all hate the Vulge, who are sort of the villains, and they’re one of the races.

“This is eight different races who are now forced to share one planet - and not everybody quite gets along.”

Syfy has renewed Defiance for a second season to be broadcast next year.

 

Defiance premieres at 11pm on June 30 on OSN First HD. For the online game, visit www.defiance.com

 

artslife@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @LifeNationalUAE

Follow us on Facebook for discussions, entertainment, reviews, wellness and news.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 This comparison image shown on Reddit annotated the objects with vehicles from the movies.

What Star Wars fans say is going on in Abu Dhabi’s desert

We may still not know exactly what The National caught pictures of in the Abu Dhabi desert last week, but the online community has had plenty to say. Here are some of the best bits.

 Jennifer Grout will compete against seven other celebrities in Your Face Sounds Familiar. Joseph Eid / AFP

Jennifer Grout on competing in the new show Your Face Sounds Familiar and her rise to fame

Jennifer Grout is set to wow Arab audiences once again in the new MBC talent show Your Face Sounds Familiar. Saeed Saeed speaks to the American about her success story

 From left to right: Greg Churchouse, Roy Stride and Peter Ellard of Scouting For Girls. Ian Gavan / Getty Images

Sandance returns in May

Sandance is heading back to Dubai in May with a line-up that includes Arrested Development, Scouting for Girls, the Pet Shop Boys and Fatboy Slim, plus the Saudi DJ Omar Basaad and local acts.

 Jedi Master Yoda in 'Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith'. Lucasfilm / Twentieth Century Fox / AP

Star Wars shooting in Abu Dhabi rumours gain traction

What started out on Sunday as an optimistic rumour that Star Wars Episode 7 is set to shoot in Abu Dhabi is seemingly gathering traction as the week progresses.

 A boy waters plants in the yard of a restaurant in the Colombian village of Aracataca. Yellow butterflies make an apperance in the book. Eitan Abramovich / AFP photo

Mourning and memories in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s languid hometown

Mourning and memories in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s hometown of Aracataca, Columbia.

 Shah Rukh Khan plays a shot during a friendly match between the members of the support and administrative staff of Royal Challengers Bangalore and his Kolkata Knight Riders cricket team. Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP

When the worlds of Bollywood and cricket collide

With the first game of the Indian Premier League beginning today in the UAE, we explore the league’s Bollywood connections, which are as glitzy as they are controversial.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National