Amazon and Netflix have been engaged in an ongoing scuffle over exclusive streaming content for a while now, even aside from both of them diving into the world of actually producing original shows. While Netflix has a lead on the original series front, Amazon Prime has landed exclusive streaming rights to several big science fiction “gets” such as TNT’s Falling Skies, CBS’s Under the Dome, and BBC America’s Orphan Black — one of our favorite new shows of 2013 (and favorite things of 2013, for that matter). Now Amazon has reeled in another sci-fi fish: Syfy’s Defiance, which returns for a second season this summer, and which is now available for streaming by Amazon Prime customers.
Variety broke the news, reporting that Defiance was part of a larger deal between Amazon and NBCUniversal that they signed off on last May. Other shows that were part of the deal include NBC’s brilliant Hannibal, the twisted fairy tale drama Grimm, and USA’s Suits. I haven’t seen the latter two, but if you haven’t watched Hannibal yet then for god’s sake put in the queue for once you finish Defiance (and Orphan Black).
Defiance had me chomping at the bit before its premiere last year for precisely one reason: the involvement of Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon as co-developer and executive producer (alongside Kevin Murphy and Michael Taylor). Set in the future, after a war between humanity and colonizing aliens has left the face of our planet dramatically altered, Defiance tells the story of the titular town, a settlement built on the ruins of Seattle. There humans and aliens do their best to co-exist amid the strange and dangerous new status quo. Defiance was, along with Helix, an ambitious science fiction project of the sort Syfy hadn’t seemed eager to tackle in far too long — so ambitious, in fact, that it launched alongside an action MMO video game designed to coexist and tie in with the unfolding storylines on the show. (Good in theory, not great in execution.)
Unfortunately, Defiance never quite lived up to its potential during its freshman season, resulting in a show that was good, but rarely great. (Not the only O’Bannon misfire of 2013, sadly.) Nevertheless, Syfy gave it a vote of confidence and a second season, so hopefully this year the show will find its footing and become something truly worth watching. I plan to burn back through the first season soon, just to see how it all plays when binge-watched back to back. If nothing else, having more successful science fiction on TV is always a good thing, especially since Syfy seems to be working hard to rebuild its reputation among genre fans of late.
Defiance’s second season will premiere Thursday, June 19 on Syfy. Once you’re done with season one, don’t forget to check out Defiance: The Lost Ones, the web series that bridges the first and second seasons.