When a company pours $100 million into a project, it’s a fair assumption that they want that money back, and to eventually make a profit. I’m certain everyone behind the new Syfy series/game tie-in Defiance was waiting with baited breaths as the show premiered Monday night, waiting and hoping for huge rating numbers.
While they aren’t huge, Defiance‘s ratings are a definite step up for Syfy, and the two-hour premiere’s total number of viewers — 2.7 million people — is the best the network has seen since the mystery drama Warehouse 13 debuted to a 3.5 million strong audience. For the coveted demographic of adults 18-49, Defiance was watched by 1.3 million, the highest since Eureka‘s 2006 numbers. So these are good numbers, but not quite great numbers, though word-of-mouth and the gaming population — which has logged over six million hours of play time so far — could slowly build this show a dedicated audience to compete with other high-profile cable shows. I’m not saying it’ll get to The Walking Dead levels, but if Defiance avoids Walking Dead‘s haphazard storytelling and character development, it might even rope in some non-genre fans.
“(NBC Universal CEO) Steve Burke is a big cheerleader of this,” says Syfy president Dave Howe, who told The Hollywood Reporter that Defiance will be given time to succeed. “This project makes sense in the marriage of content and distribution. The game is obviously broadband-hungry, which from Comcast’s perspective makes total sense for their broadband business.”
Between Monday and Tuesday, Defiance will debut in over 55 countries, which makes it the biggest day-and-date launch for any show in NBC Universal’s history. This all pretty much guarantees the serie will avoid the dreaded early cancellation that keeps hour-long science fiction such a rarity. Although me saying that pretty much guarantees that it will get cancelled.
You can check out the premiere’s first 14 minutes below, and tell us if you were one of the 2.7 million watching.