Wednesday, May 22, 2013
TV Review - Defiance
I probably should have known going in that Defiance was going to be lame. It looked like it had promise in the ads, but then again, if I had been watching, I probably would have noticed the cheesy costumes, or the video game tie-in, or the fact that they played that wretched Imagine Dragons song non-stop during the TV spots. But I didn't. I saw space aliens on television and I wanted to watch it.
Defiance tells the story of a world destroyed by intergalactic war. Or, more accurately, it tells how aliens came to Earth and wrecked the piss out of it, then when they moved in, they broke everything and then somehow lost the ability to move back out again. So it's essentially post-apocalypse with aliens.
But these are not very alien aliens. They have taken a page out of Star Trek's book and made all the aliens just basically people with bad make-up. These aliens are so similar that they can get all Barry-White-Get-It-On with each other and with humans. Although so far, it looks like the only species interested in scoring a little extra-planar booty is the human race. The white-haired albinos don't seem interested in getting jiggy with the forehead-bone people. Humans, being a randy lot, will pretty much hook up with any of them.
Let's say you decide there's a good reason there are eight alien races on the same planet and they are all so similar as to be sexually compatible. Maybe you just give the uncreative assholes who made the show a pass and go on to see if there are exciting alien stories to be had. And then you will find out that no, there are no good stories, just mile after mile of blatant plot holes and logical inconsistencies.
Good sci-fi shows (as opposed to good SyFy shows, which would seem to be an oxymoron) often have lots of mysteries that unravel as you watch. Defiance tries to have a good mystery, but sadly, the mystery is so lame that I don't care. The mystery might be capable of saving the show if the show itself weren't so horrible. Or if there were enough good actors for it to be worth saving.
There are actually a few decent actors on Defiance. That chick who is in Warehouse 13 as HG Wells, and in the second season of Spartacus as a woman who has a lot of sex, is on this show. Unfortunately, her makeup is so unsettlingly bad that despite her being frequently close to nude, it's tough to watch her. So when the scene flips over to the lead character, you'll be grateful for the respite, especially because this actor is cool enough that if they had made him the mercenary bad-ass on Revolution instead of whatever daytime soap opera star they have in the job now, I might have actually believed that he had, at one time, killed a bunch of people.
Sadly, there are also the bad actors, and they're hard to avoid. Acting while wearing five pounds of rubber prosthetics on your face must be hard, because the sidekick girl seems to be incapable of facial expression. The albino husband is such a bad actor that he almost makes the guy who plays the son seem acceptable. He is not, by the way. The albino son is the worst actor on the show, and this is a show with a lot of bad actors, so that means he is a very bad actor.
But this is SyFy, so bad acting and cheap makeup is just about what we expect. We can overlook those factors if we can find something cool about the show. Cool tech, spaceship battles, exciting alien throwdowns, or plausible plot lines - any of those would make this a watchable show. If it had them. It does not.
I did give Defiance a decent shot. I watched the first four episodes. Now that I am writing this review, I can gladly go about not watching any more, and go back to trying to figure out how to get caught up on Falling Skies, which my wife insists got a lot better after the pilot, though I have a hard time believing that because the pilot was so dreadfully dull.
I just want someone to make something as good as Firefly, but until sci-fi writers realize that great characters make the show, not face putty and computer-generated spaceships, I guess I'll just have to watch Star Wars again on Blu-Ray.
Posted by Matt Drake at 7:24 PM