I had high hopes for Syfy’s Defiance last year. It was nice to see the former Sci-Fi Network airing some actual sci-fi again. Plus, Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon was on board as a writer and executive producer. Maybe it’s just because my expectations were set at “Farscape,” but when Defiance finally premiered, it was something of a let-down. It wasn’t bad, mind you, just…not great. But I have to admit, the new trailer for season two up top looks pretty great, and there’s one other compelling reason I’ll be giving the show a second chance this summer: Linda Hamilton.
Hamilton is one of several new actors joining the show, and she’ll be guest starring as Rafe’s (Graham Greene) estranged wife, a woman packing the unlikely name of “Pilar McCawley.” (A pillar of the community, no doubt.) And I’m not the only one excited to have Hamilton joining the show. Defiance showrunner Kevin Murphy told EW, “Her character will simultaneously make you cry and scare the crap out of you.” Sounds like a role right up the alley of the woman who played sci-fi badass Sarah Connor.
Actress Julie Benz put it more succinctly: “I think my response was … ‘Holy s–t. How the f–k did we get her’?”
There are three other actors joining Defiance as well. William Atherton is playing an Earth Republic official named Viceroy Mercado, and Anna Hopkins will be filling the role of Berlin, an Earth Republic soldier. Finally, we’ve got James Murray as Niles Pottinger, the new mayor of the town of Defiance. He’s done a lot of TV work, but I’m only going to namecheck his role as “Ralph Longshaft” in Kród Mándoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire. Because I am an asshole. Here’s what Syfy’s press release had to say about season two:
As the story of Defiance resumes, the lives of the townspeople are in drastic turmoil. The Earth Republic has assumed control of the town, with far-reaching consequences including a new mayor. Nolan traverses the badlands to find a lost Irisa, Amanda has an unexpected new role in the town as she searches for Kenya and the Tarr family desperately tries to keep control of their criminal empire in the midst of dramatic changes.
James Murray joins the cast in the integral role of Pottinger, the new mayor of Defiance. Appointed by the Earth Republic, Pottinger is shrewd, polished and charming; he quickly wins the trust of most people he meets. But his civilized veneer hides a ruthless pragmatist who traffics in information and secrets, and mercilessly punishes those who defy him. Pottinger sees people as tools to be exploited or prizes to be won; his latest object of desire is ex-mayor Amanda (Benz).
Defiance returns June 9 at 8/7c on Syfy. If you’re eager to get a jump on the second season, you can watch Defiance: The Lost Ones below. The five short webisodes bridge the gap between seasons, with Nolan (Grant Bowler) trying to track down Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas).