Defiance: This Summer’s Best Sci-Fi TV Show

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This summer has had a larger than usual share of genre TV shows, but the best one was Syfy’s Defiance. Its second season took the show and its characters to new places and on the whole it was a vast improvement over its freshman season.

Defiance takes place about forty years into the future in the town of Defiance, which is actually built on the ruins of St. Louis, MO. In the show, several races of alien refugees came to Earth and attempted to terraform the planet and the resulting war ended in a stalemate where humans and aliens are forced to live side by side as they struggle to rebuild society and the planet.

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This season saw four major storylines that were skillfully interwoven and mesmerizing to watch as they unfolded.

One had to do with Datak Tarr (Tony Curran), a Castithan mob boss who ruled Defiance’s underworld last season with a vicious fist. After being elected mayor to the town, Datak Tarr allowed the devious Earth Republic (E-Rep) into the town and effectively ceded control of it. He was also jailed for murdering an E-Rep official. This season dealt with Datak dealing with his fall from grace and his attempts to rebuild.

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But first he had to deal with his scheming wife Stahma (Jamie Murray), who took over his business and turned out to be better at it than he was. This was a conundrum for Datak because women in the albino-skinned Castithan society have a low ranking and he had to accept the new reality. While he was still calculating and malicious, Datak learned a bit of humility and had to swallow his pride.

The next storyline followed Datak Tarr’s son Alak (Jesse Rath), who is a lot like Michael Corleone. He doesn’t want anything to do with his family’s criminal business and would just be fine doing his DJ job and caring for his human wife, Christie (Nicole Munoz). But as shown in the second season, the two have had marital problems. He cheated on her while Christie struggled in trying to be accepted into his family and had to adopt their alien culture. She even went so far as to secretly cross-dress as a Castithan at an underground nightclub. Her father Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene) also had to deal with having Castithan in-laws out of necessity. Once a prominent mine owner and a rival to Datak, Rafe had his mining business and home taken away by the E-Rep. This forced him to an uneasy alliance with Datak as he sought weapons for an insurrection.


Niles Pottinger (James Murray) is the town’s provisional mayor and the face of the E-Rep in Defiance. As a representative of the E-Rep, he doesn’t have the town’s best interest at mind and has a sordid past. Throughout the season he contends with keeping things running smoothly in the backwater town and with courting the town’s former mayor Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz). Now, she is forced to take over her younger sister’s brothel (after she was killed by Stahma in the first season) and reluctantly accepts a position as Pottinger’s advisor. In this season, Amanda struggles to make peace with her fallen status, while agonizing over her sister’s disappearance and finding out she was killed. Continue reading