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.
I was really excited for Syfy’s Defiance. The concept of a community of humans and aliens trying to make a life together after a devastating war was ripe with dramatic potential, and even better, Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon was onboard as an executive producer and Battlestar Galactica’s Bear McCreary was handling the music. Unfortunately, Defiance proved to be only sort of okay, never really reaching its full potential. Nevertheless, it earned a second-season pickup from Syfy, so hopefully it will hit its stride when it returns this summer. But you won’t have to wait that long to return to the world of Defiance, thanks to a series of “minisodes” which will bridge the gap between the first and second seasons.
Most of the much-hyped science fiction movies of the spring and summer were met with mixed reviews and box office success. Oblivion pulled in $280 million worldwide, but didn’t win over critics terribly well (53% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). Star Trek Into Darkness did better, earning nearly half a billion worldwide and receiving largely positive reviews (87% fresh), but earned the ire of many Trek fans not happy with Abrams’ handling of their favorite fictional universe. Even Pacific Rim, which we loved, only did so-so here in the States, earning much of its $407 million worldwide box office from international markets such as China. But if you asked me to name the best science fiction movie of the year so far, none of those would be in the top slot. Instead, I’ll evangelizing about Europa Report, the rare hard sci-fi flick that beautifully evokes the danger and wonder of outer space, wrapped up in probably the most satisfying finales I’ve seen in ages. If you haven’t seen it yet, mark your calendar: it hits Blu-Ray and DVD on October 8.
The first season of Syfy’s Defiance may have come and gone, but thanks to the innovative cross platform collaboration between the show and the accompanying massive multiplayer online videogame from Trion Worlds, you won’t have to wait months and months in order to get your fix. One of the coolest things about this whole shebang has always been that events from the show, and even some in the game, breach traditional boundaries, and one influences the other. In fact the producers plan to take this collaboration to an even higher level next year. Defiance just launched a contest where the winner will have his or her character from the game appear in season two of the show.
According the Defiance website, in the contest, which runs from July 8 through July 30, players must replay all of the cross over content, and complete the most major ArkFalls during that time. The top ten players will qualify to have their avatars appear in season two, and the winner will be announced on September 15. This is a pretty unique prize. The writing staff will develop a backstory for your character—you can’t help but wonder if you’ve already come up with an elaborate one yourself, if they’ll let you contribute ideas—and he or she will appear in an episode in the upcoming sophomore season. There’s no word how big the role will be, but does it matter? This is like winning a virtual walk on role.
Usually the end result of watching a TV show is mental stimulation and having something to talk about with like-minded people who also enjoy whatever show you’re watching. (I’m sorry if I just broke the notion of entertainment for some people.) But rarely does fandom net you the chance to win prize packages.
If you’re a fan of Syfy’s Defiance series or the tie-in video game, then this is the contest for you (picture me pointing at you). Syfy is offering up the “ultimate Defiance prize pack” through the show’s website. And here’s the kicker: you don’t even really have to be a fan of the show or the game to enter. You just have to be able to get to the website and know your own name, address, phone number, and email. Most of our reading audience should qualify for that. But the point is, you should be a fan of the show, because it’s good sci-fi, and they’re giving cool shit away. It’s pretty much all I want out of anything in life.
So what’s the prize pack? Two grand prize winners get a 50-inch Samsung LED HDTV with the gaming console of their choosing, either the Xbox 360 or the PS3. They’ll get the Defiance game for the system they choose, and I can’t be the only one hoping someone chooses the wrong one. Winners will also be hooked up with a membership to either Xbox Live or the Playstation Network, along with a full season pass to play the game. To top it all off, they’ve included the full season pass to the series on iTunes. I can’t really think of anything else they could have included, except maybe to have a cosplay event in the winner’s honor.
Have you been watching Syfy’s original drama Defiance? Based on the ratings, it seems like many of you have. Maybe you’ve been playing the online video game that accompanies the series. We know the show has been renewed for a second season, so they’re not going to go too crazy, like killing off everyone or blowing up the planet, but as we approach the conclusion of the freshman season, some of the characters are not long for this world.
A recent article over at TV Line reports that, within the last few episodes of season one, fans will witness “the death of two characters who’ve been with us from the start.”
While Defiance has a decent-sized cast, we’re not talking about a Game of Thrones scale call list here. HBO’s fantasy epic can drop a couple characters without missing a beat. Most shows, however, aren’t that lucky. Dropping two key players will cause some large ripples, to be sure, but we’ll have to wait and see exactly how big these deaths are. Are they the kind that will alter the show moving forward, or are they more of the momentarily shocking variety?