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|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8 (List of episodes)|
|Location(s)||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Running time||40–43 minutes|
85 minutes (Pilot)
|Picture format||NTSC (480i)|
|Original run||April 15, 2013– present|
|This article may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience. (June 2013)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8 (List of episodes)|
|Location(s)||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Running time||40–43 minutes|
85 minutes (Pilot)
|Picture format||NTSC (480i)|
|Original run||April 15, 2013– present|
Defiance is an American science fiction television series developed for television by Rockne S. O'Bannon, Kevin Murphy, and Michael Taylor. The series is produced by Universal Cable Productions, in transmedia collaboration with Trion Worlds, who are producing an MMORPG video game of the same name which will be tied into the series. Defiance stars Grant Bowler as Joshua Nolan, the local lawman in a border town known as Defiance, as well as Julie Benz, who plays the newly appointed mayor of Defiance, Amanda Rosewater. Also starring are Stephanie Leonidas, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray, Graham Greene, and Mia Kirshner.
The series is broadcast in the United States on the cable channel Syfy and in various international markets. It premiered on Monday, April 15, 2013 in the United States, and that same week in most countries that picked up the series.
In a near future where Earth has been terraformed to cause radical changes in topography, the extinction of plant and animal species and the emergence of new species. The series follows a Human drifter and his adopted Irathient daughter putting down roots in Defiance, a community where humans and several extraterrestrial races collectively known as Votans coexist in the ruins of St. Louis.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
The series is set in the near future, where aliens known collectively as Votans have come to Earth seeking a new home after their star system was destroyed in a stellar collision. The Votans had thought Earth was uninhabited, but upon their arrival in 2013 discover that humans are living on the planet, who respond to them with hostility and suspicion.
A limited number of Votans are allowed to settle in a colony in Brazil, and eventually two other colonies, but millions of Votans remained in hypersleep aboard their ships in orbit as negotiations dragged on with Earth governments for full-scale settlement.
Tensions rose for ten years, but the Votan and human governments were on the verge of negotiating a peaceful settlement, when in 2023 the Votan ambassador to the United Nations was assassinated by a disgruntled human supremacist on live television outside of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. This sparked a disastrous global conflict between humans and the aliens known as the Pale Wars.
The wars tore apart the planet for seven years, until their culmination in 2030 in the apocalyptic "Arkfall" event, when the Ark fleet in orbit mysteriously exploded. The aliens think a rogue human commander was responsible, while humans suspect it was an alien weapons experiment gone wrong. Millions of Votans died. During the Arkfall, destroyed Arks rained down on Earth and accidentally released terraformer technology.
While the Votans had intended to use their terraforming technology in a carefully planned manner, the Arkfall haphazardly unleashed chaotic and radical changes to the biosphere and even the geology of Earth, making the planet dangerous to both humans and the aliens. The earth was scorched, chasms opened in the ground, new mountain ranges were raised, and the surface of the planet was covered with dust and debris.
Animal and plant species from the Votan star system were introduced to Earth, and both native and alien animal species were horribly mutated by the uncontrolled terraformer technology, creating bizarre and dangerous hybrids and new species.
Within a few months, the Pale Wars wound down as both sides had fought to the point of mutual exhaustion, and a ceasefire was declared. Few organized governments remained for either the humans or the aliens, and both sides factionalized as their members began looking out for themselves. In several areas, local human and Votan militias began to band together when they realized that they had to cooperate if they hoped to survive on this new, almost alien planet.
The debris from the destroyed Ark fleet now forms an artificial "Ark belt" in Earth orbit, which periodically rains down in small scale "Arkfalls", which present a hazard for survivors on the surface, but also provide valuable opportunities to salvage advanced technology aboard the Arks. More frequently, most of the debris breaks up on re-entry into shards of metal shrapnel, a dangerous phenomenon known as "razor rain".
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
The Votans // are not a single species, but a collection of seven different alien species who evolved on a number of planets in the Votanis star system. The different races banded together to flee their star system when it was destroyed in a stellar collision, and ultimately arrived at Earth. The Votanis star system was destroyed in a stellar collision 5,000 years ago, but the millions of Votans who fled in ark-ships made the long interstellar journey in hypersleep, thus many of the older Votan characters were born in their home star system and lived under their old social structures before they had to evacuate. For example, older Castithans such as Datak and Stahma grew up in the caste-based society on their old homeworld, but younger Castithans born on Earth grew up after the Castithan social hierarchy broke down when they lived as refugees. Thus there is something of a generational divide between those Castithans who immigrated to Earth, who possess an older value set, and their second generation children raised on Earth (such as Datak and Stahma's son Alak).
The Votanis star system was located in the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way galaxy. It was actually a binary star system, composed of the stars Vysu and Solus. Vysu was orbited by two habitable planets, Daribo and Irath, each of which had one habitable moon. Solus was orbited by one habitable planet, Casti. The Indogenes and Castithans evolved on Daribo, and the Castithans later colonized Casti (hence its name). The Irathient, Sensoth, and Liberata evolved on Irath. Together they were known as the "three worlds" and the "twin suns", though soon before the evacuation fleet departed, the Gulanee were discovered on the neighboring gas giant Gula, and the Volge on the planet Omec.
The Votanis Collective is the unified government of the Votans, formed to escape their home star system, though since the Pale Wars many Votans have (like humans) factionalized and broken off to carve out their own small fiefdoms. The Castithans, Indogenes, and Irathients were the most politically powerful races in their home star system, thus they made up a disproportionately large number of the survivors in the evacuation. Because they were politically weaker, relatively few of the Sensoth, Liberata, or Gulanee were present in the evacuation fleet.
The Votanis Collective is officially an alliance of five races, excluding the Gulanee and the Volge. So few Gulanee survived to arrive on Earth that they are not considered a separate faction, but are simply spread out among the other races of the Collective. The artificial Volge are hated by all other Votan races, and are the enemies of humans and other aliens alike. The Castithans and Irathients loathe each other, as their societies are based on idealistically opposite values of hierarchical order and rugged, chaotic independence. In contrast, the other four races besides the Castithans get along together quite well. The Irathients, Liberata, and Sensoth all evolved on the same planet where they peacefully co-existed for generations, while the rational Indogenes are also quite tolerant and try to get along with all of the other races. Most of the other Votan races, while not outright hating them like the Irathients do, see the Castithan as arrogantly trying to assume control over the other races. The Indogenes have a complicated relationship with them, because the Indogenes are very tolerant, but at the same time, the fact that they and the Castithans evolved on the same planet has led to each bickering over which of their two races is superior. Meanwhile, the labor-minded Liberata are just content to serve anyone, even the Castithans.
When the Votans arrived at Earth, the United Nations granted them a limited settlement area in Brazil, created by clear-cutting massive areas of the Amazon rainforest. The Votans named this new colony "Sulos" (after one of the stars in their home system). Over the next decade, the Votans were granted three further colonies: "Irath" in Peru, "Indo" in Guatemala, and "Omec" in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Humans were upset that any territory was being given to the Votans, while the aliens were upset that they were essentially being ghettoized in glorified refugee camps. During the Pale Wars, these colonies became the core territories of the Votanis Collective, and even 15 years after the war during the events of the TV series, Sulos in Brazil remains the capital of Votan territories on Earth.
The Castithan, or Casti for short, appear very similar to humans. Their coloration is very pale, however, verging on albinism, with pale white skin, white hair, and pale silver, blue, yellow or orange eyes. While it has not been explicitly stated, it has been heavily implied that Castithans can procreate with humans. The Castithan society is aristocratic and hierarchical, and the other Votan races view them as arrogant. The Castithans used to have a patriarchal, rigidly segregated society on their home planet based on castes, known as liros, though this has broken down somewhat among the survivors on Earth due to the harsh conditions of the war and its aftermath. Datak Tarr, co-founder of Defiance (in the former location of St. Louis) is a Castithan, from one of the lower castes. His wife, Stahma Tarr, is from one of the Castithan higher castes. As a member of the higher castes which benefited from the old patriarchical hierarchy, Stahma feels that their family should acquire more power for itself. However, this very ideology insists that it is not a woman's place to seize power, thus Stahma is faced with goading Datak into taking more aggressive measures so that he (and by extension, she) will possess more power. Known liros include the Yuke and the Shanje (Datak's caste). There are five liros, though there is also an untouchable group officially outside of the caste system, which functionally makes up a sixth liro. An unofficial seventh liro has sprung up among the Castithans living on Earth. Castithans as a whole have a markedly shame-based society, based on external actions instead of internal opinions, summarized by the Castithan maxim "seeing is being". A Castithan who is treated as a fool is seen as a fool, and therefore, by definition is a fool. This principle of "seeing is being" extends to the liros, as a Castithan who behaves negatively (e.g. cowardly retreating in battle) shames not only himself and his family, but his entire caste.
Castithan society is deeply religious, based on a monotheistic belief system with rigid dogma and leadership (in contrast to more loosely "spiritual" Irathients). However, while dogmatic in many other social areas, the Castithan religion has few restrictions on sexuality, and Castithans are actually quite liberal in their attitudes towards sex. Ritual bathing is a common practice which holds a central place in Castithan culture, as well as some religious ceremonies. Higher castes are able to afford taking more frequent baths, up to three times a day. Bathing is a communal practice among the Castithans, somewhat like a Japanese onsen bath house, and thus they do not find nudity in the presence of family members at a bath to be particularly unusual. Indeed, when Christie is uncomfortable at the thought of sharing a communal bath with Alak's family, Datak complains to Stahma that Christie bathes in private, which is considered unseemly for a "proper" Castithan wife.
When the Votan star system was being evacuated, each race was left to decide how they would select the small fraction of their populations which would be saved. The scientific and rational Indogenes stoically selected their best and brightest, while the Irathients decided who would earn a place in the evacuation fleet during a round of inter-tribal wars to determine who was the strongest (and therefore fittest in their culture). However, the Castithan leadership officially decided to evacuate only members of their higher castes, and leave the lower castes to die in their home star system. Thus, more than any other Votan race, the Castithans on Earth are not a microcosm of their entire race's social structure, but a disproportionate slice of their ruling elites. This causes several problems for the Castithans on Earth, as they don't really have a working-class base to rely on. Indeed, higher-caste Castithans living on Earth tended to assume that they could treat the other Votan races as essentially their new lower-castes, feeling they should lead the Votanis Collective while the other races serve them. This has led to considerable tension with the other races. Even so, a large number of Castithans from the lower-castes were still able to make their way onto the evacuation fleet and arrive at Earth, through one means or another (bribing their way onto the ships, or simply stowing away).
The Castithan language is created by linguist David J. Peterson. Kastithanu, the Castithan language is head-final in nature and is spoken at a very fast pace, making it difficult but not impossible for non-Castithan to learn it. The language is intentionally complicated and fast, as the Castithans believe this is a mark of sophistication, and they don't need to lower themselves to the level of other races by speaking slowly for the benefit of non-native Kastithanu speakers. This fast speaking pace only extends to when the Castithans are speaking their own, "refined and sophisticated" language: when Castithans speak foreign languages such as English, they speak at a normal pace.
The Irathients, or Iraths for short, appear very close to human. Their coloration is more similar to humans than the pale Castithans, with bronze skin interspersed with biologically occurring patterns of white marks. However, the proportions of their facial features are slightly different from humans (and the human-like Castithans), with a wider bridge of the nose arcing towards the eyes. The bridge and arch is wider and more pronounced in the males than in the females. Their hair is usually a bright warm color, usually a shade of red, and they have oversized, brightly-colored irises. As with the Castithans, it has been heavily implied, but not confirmed that Irathients can procreate with humans. They are naturally athletic and skilled at combat. The Irathients are the most common Votan race living on Earth. David J. Peterson also developed the full Irathient language. L'Irathi, the Irathient language is in many ways the opposite of Kastithanu; for instance, L'Irathi has a head-initial word order. The phonologies and phonotactics also differ considerably. L'Irathi is built around an extensive noun class system which affects every aspect of the language. The L'Irathi word Shtako has been picked up by the four other races in the Votanis Collective, as well as humans; it is used as a swear word.
While aggressive and tribal, the Irathients also have a great respect for nature and are a deeply spiritual people. However their "spirituality" is a very loose and personal polytheistic belief system, in contrast with the rigidly ordered hierarchy and strict dogma of the Castithan religion. One of their chief deities is a god known as Irzu, who has a path planned for everyone. They look down on humans for disrespecting and abusing nature. Due to their respect for nature and religious beliefs, the Irathients refuse to vaccinate their children. This led to tensions when the town of Defiance instituted a mandatory vaccination policy, leading to violence and many Irathients leaving the town. Several members of other races look down on them for this, blaming unvaccinated Irathients for spreading diseases. Irathients chemically cremate their dead in a funeral custom known as "sinking", in which the body is wrapped in a shawl and then sunk into a bath of acidic chemicals. The chemicals break down the flesh of the corpse into basic nutrients, allowing the flesh to rejoin nature most efficiently. Similar to certain forms of cremation with fire, the chemicals do not dissolve the bones, which are left behind as a memorial of the deceased.
The Irathients tend to get along well with the Sensoth and Liberata, because they all evolved on the planet Irath, and peacefully co-existed on it for many generations. The Irathients can't stand the Castithans, whom they see as arrogant, as their rigidly hierarchical and ordered society and culture is the opposite of the chaotic, independent-minded society and culture of the Irathients.
On extremely rare occasion, certain Irathients are born with psychic abilities, which grant them visions of past or contemporary events during which they were not physically present. Irathients who possess "the sight" are said to be touched by Irzu. Irisa Nyira is one such Irathient who possesses these abilities, though because she was raised by the human Joshua Nolan, she didn't know what her visions were and he mistook them as simply PTSD-induced hallucinations. On arriving in Defiance, other Irathients explained to Irisa the true nature of her abilities.
The most technologically advanced Votan race. They have bright white skin and no visible hair follicles. Their heads are hairless and smooth; their external ears don't really protrude, smoothly merging with the rest of the head. They have hexagonal shaped irises, and their skin is covered in faint hexagon-shaped scales; even their written language is based on hexagon shapes. Despite having scales their skin is surprisingly soft, like human skin, and their blood is silver-colored. Indojisen, the Indogene language is polysynthetic, thus allowing multiple words to be expressed in a single word. As the most scientifically advanced Votan race, they have been upgraded with numerous genetic and cybernetic implants (which are often not externally visible). Some parts of the cybernetic implants are often visible as faint dark lines running under the skin of their heads. Culturally, they tend to be technical geniuses, scientists, and doctors.
Indogenes are typically atheists. They cremate their dead, and store the ashes in hexagon-shaped boxes.
Due to their technical expertise, most Indogenes remained on the Ark fleet in orbit when the Votans first arrived at Earth. Thus the Indogenes' numbers were devastated when the Ark fleet was destroyed at the end of the Pale Wars. After the wars, the surviving Indogenes have one of the smallest populations of all Votan races, usually concentrated in cities and towns. Highly analytic and adaptable, the Indogenes tend to get along well with all other Votan races. The Castithans, however, are something of an exception, as both races evolved on the planet Daribo and each feels they are superior. However, Indogene-Castithan tensions are more along the lines of petty bickering than a deep-seated blood feud.
The Liberata are shorter than humans, broad shouldered and thick-necked, with blockier facial features and long scruffy yellow hair, though their proportions aren't too different from the human range. Male and female Liberata do not exhibit pronounced sexual dimorphism, making it difficult to tell the two apart, even for someone who has dealt with them consistently. They have four digit hands, including three fingers and a thumb. They are described as a servant-class race. Yanga Kayang, the Liberata language, includes a high frequency of slang terms. The Liberata were once economically very powerful in the Votan star system, but their own avarice led to the ecological and social collapse of their society. Present-day Liberata humbly consider their present-day status as menial laborers and servants as deserved atonement resulting from the mistakes of their ancestors. They are well known for their gruff tempers and are sometimes considered petty. However, their frequently sarcastic demeanors have a deeper and more tragic origin, stemming from cultural disillusionment after their society self-imploded due to their own ancestors' short-sightedness.
The Liberata have a polytheistic religion focusing on the basic needs of life. However, their social collapse while in the Votanis system, combined with their relatively low numbers in the evacuation fleet, resulted in very few of their religious traditions surviving on Earth. Instead, the Liberata ended up borrowing many religious traditions from their planet-mates, the Sensoth and Irathients.
The Liberata are the servants of choice for the hierarchical Castithans, who find that the Liberata's labor-class work ethic and resignation to being servants in society fits well with the Castithan's own attitude that they are a superior ruling class. Because they were not politically powerful when the evacuation fleet was being organized, many of the Liberata who were let onto the Arks did so in exchange for contracts of indentured servitude with the Castithans. The Liberata get along well with the Irathients and Sensoth, because they evolved on the same planet where they peacefully co-existed. The independent-minded Irathients are often frustrated with the Liberata, however, because they feel the Liberata should stand up for themselves more and not be content to let others, such as the Castithans, order them around.
Slightly larger and taller than humans, the Sensoth resemble humanoid orangutans, or the wookies of Star Wars. Their bodies are covered in reddish-brown fur, except on their faces, which have grayish skin. Their jaws protrude further forward than on humans, like apes. Sensoths have protruding guts, possibly from having stomachs and intestines that specialize in processing a diverse variety of plant materials; not unlike many Earth herbivores. The Sensoths have a lifespan about twice as long as any other Votan race, often living as long as two centuries. This has made them a very patient people, preferring long-term plans over abrupt action. They come from a region on the planet Irath known as the Great Tarnalin Forest. They thus share several aspects with Earth's sloths, being arboreal in nature, speaking and acting very slowly and deliberately. Like the Liberata and Gulanee, they were not one of the more powerful Votan races, though for many generations they co-existed relatively peacefully with their planet-mates, the Irathients and Liberata. However, due to the value of the Sensoths' great strength, Castithan raiding parties frequently captured Sensoths and brought them back to their own planet to be servants and soldiers. Sensoths can often be found as bodyguards and bouncers as well. Sensoths can be fiercely loyal to their Castithan "employers", almost to the point of gullibility. They enjoy the company of Earth domestic animals, one Sensoth owning a dog as his companion.
An energy-based race, they are a mystery to everyone else, including the other Votans. The other Votans weren't even aware of their existence until fairly recently, when the Indogenes sent out an expedition to the gas giant planet Gula to look for the mineral gulanite to power the Ark fleet. They established contact with the Gulanee, who agreed to help mine gulanite in exchange for a small fraction of Gulanee being allowed into the evacuation fleet. Most of the Gulanee stayed behind on their homeworld, confident that they would somehow survive. Like the Sensoth and Liberata, they were not politically strong when the exodus from the Votanis system was being planned, and very few were present in the evacuation fleet. The Gulanee are exceedingly rare on Earth, to the point that the Votanis Collective is officially considered to be made up of five races, excluding the Gulanee (who would have been the sixth). Instead, the handful of Gulanee on Earth are spread out amongst the other Votan groups.
Gulanee are so rare that others often assume that they are simply floating balls of energy. Instead, they wear carefully crafted "encapsulation suits" which are difficult to build and maintain. Gulanee will die if they spend more than a few hours outside of their suits.
Disliked by all of the other Votan races, and the closest thing to a straightforward "villain" race. They stand over eight feet tall, are covered in dense armor, and possess integrated internal weapons. They come from a different planet in the Votanis system, Omec, and during the evacuation were intended to be left behind by the other races. No one knows who smuggled the Volge onto the Arks, or why, and their reappearance during the Pale Wars was a surprise to the other Votans. After the Pale Wars ended they retreated to underground caverns, and continue to be hostile to humans and other Votans alike.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
Numerous new mutant races were created when the Votans' terraformer technology was haphazardly released in the Arkfall of 2030. Some are bizarre hybrids of animals from Earth and different Votan planets, or creatures so drastically altered that it isn't really clear what stock they were created from. Most prominent among these are Hellbugs, originally a small and rather harmless insect species from the Votanis system carried in the Arks, which were twisted by the terraformers into vicious predators. Hellbugs are hive-based eusocial insects with several different specialized castes, ranging from small Skitterlings that attack in swarms, to larger lion-sized Warriors. There are even larger varieties that are several stories tall. Greater effort hasn't been expended on eradicating Hellbugs because they are a very valuable fuel source. Hellbugs consume gulanite ore as a digestive aid, which results in their excrement containing unrefined "petrohol", the main fuel source for contemporary vehicles.
In addition to the alien races, another race present in the series are the Biomen (or Bio-Marines). During the Pale Wars, in an effort to match the Votans' superior technology, Earth's militaries successfully developed fully synthetic, sentient life-forms which could be mass-produced as shock troops in the war. Designed to be stronger and tougher than humans, the Bio-Marines were treated as expendable, because they were considered to possess no human rights. Biomen are larger and better muscled than normal humans, with bulging overdeveloped neck muscles. They come in a variety of skin colors, both natural and unnatural (e.g., blue) and have vividly colored eyes. Biomen can be individually identified by the three inch tall serial numbers which have been branded across the width of their chests, with each production run of Biomen was given its own "batch name", e.g., "Pierce" or "Ulysses-537634". Biomen have an off button somewhere on their bodies, with the location dependent on their batch. If hit with enough force in the off switch, a Bioman will be knocked out cold; several thousand volts of electricity will wake them up. Biomen were designed to be naturally aggressive for the wars, and now that the wars are over they have been rendered obsolete. Biomen are not known for having staggeringly high intellect and are rather obtuse at times, they are however intelligent enough to carry out orders usually, but not always, to the letter. The Biomen have difficulty integrating into peacetime and are ostracized by baseline humans and Votans alike.
|This section is incomplete. (April 2013)|
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD releases|
|Season premiere||Season finale||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||12||April 15, 2013||July 8, 2013||TBA||July 15, 2013||TBA|
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|1||"Pilot"||Scott Stewart||Rockne S. O'Bannon and Kevin Murphy & Michael Taylor||April 15, 2013||2.73|
|Nolan and Irisa drive through the terraformed landscape of Earth and observe an Arkfall event. They find the impact site and search the wreckage for salvageable technology, recovering a powerful spherical power source. They are ambushed by Irathient marauders but escape with the sphere; Irisa is wounded and collapses. Nolan hides the sphere and then fights off an attack by spider-like creatures until he runs out of ammunition; he and Irisa are rescued by lawkeepers who escort them to the nearby settlement of Defiance, which is built on the ruins of St.Louis, Missouri. The people of Defiance are celebrating the anniversary of the end of the Pale Wars and the founding of Defiance, which is home to a mixture of Human and Votan survivors of the wars. The mayor, Amanda, seems to be losing faith in her ability to lead the people of the town, and tensions are rising between Datak Tarr, a wealthy and influential Castithan, and Rafe McCawley, owner of the mines which fuel much of the local economy. A budding romance between Tarr's son Alak and McCawley's daughter Christie meets disapproval from her older brother Luke, and he and Alak have a minor but uneventful scuffle before Luke excuses himself from the festivities and disappears. Later that night Luke meets someone on the edge of Defiance and is killed; McCawley's suspicion immediately falls on Alak. Meanwhile, with no money and no equipment, Nolan attempts to make a quick fortune prizefighting; he wins, but most of his winnings are confiscated by Datak Tarr, who runs the prizefighting ring and, it seems, just about everything else in Defiance. McCawley, notified of Luke's death, pursues Alak in a rage with the intent of lynching him; Nolan intervenes and in the ensuing fight the town lawkeeper is accidentally shot and killed. Amanda is persuaded by Nolan to let him track down Luke's killer; he investigates and discovers that Luke was killed by a Votan "coldfire" weapon. Tracking the killer, Nolan and Amanda discover that it is her Indogene assistant, Ben; Ben subsequently destroys the generator powering the shield which protects Defiance. They learn that a party of armed Volge are approaching Defiance with the intent of destroying the town. While Amanda attempts to rally the people of Defiance and construct a defense plan, Nolan and Irisa collect their reward and leave, retrieving the sphere. Nolan has second thoughts and returns to help defend Defiance and its people; Irisa, furious, leaves him behind. The people of Defiance attack the Volge in a narrow canyon outside Defiance; during the battle Datak Tarr is infuriated by another Castithan, Elah Bandik, who displays cowardice and flees. The battle is going badly for the townspeople until Irisa returns, leading the Irathient Spirit Riders to attack the Volge on the ground; Yewll then uses the sphere to completely destroy the Volge. Nolan and Irisa reunite and decide to remain in Defiance; Amanda persuades Nolan to become the new lawkeeper and Irisa becomes one of his deputies. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that former mayor Nicky Riordan and a man named Birch were behind Ben's treachery; they wanted the Volge to attack and destroy Defiance, for unknown reasons.|
|2||"Down In the Ground Where the Dead Men Go"||Michael Nankin||Kevin Murphy & Anupam Nigam||April 22, 2013||2.40|
|Elah Bandik is undergoing a "cleansing" (ritual torture) at Datak Tarr's insistence; Nolan and Irisa intervene, but Amanda allows the ritual to continue, citing a previous incident in which many Irathient were killed and those remaining left Defiance. Birch and Nicky continue with their plan; Birch releases Ben from his restraints at the hospital and forces him to try another approach. Ben sets off an explosion at McCawley Mines, trapping himself in a shaft leading deep underground. Rafe McCawley leads Nolan through a series of caverns called "The Rat's Nest", meeting up with the blocked shaft in the ruins of Old St. Louis. They find Ben attempting to blow up a post-Arkfall nuclear power plant. Ben is captured and the bomb is deactivated; Nolan talks Rafe out of killing Ben in revenge for Luke's death, but Ben then throws himself on McCawley's gun and pulls the trigger. Meanwhile, Irisa, incensed by the torture ritual, rescues Elah Bandik, and Nolan and Rafe return just in time to prevent further violence when Datak tries to retrieve him. A memorial service is held for those who died defending the town from the Volge. Rafe tries to mourn, but he is struggling to comprehend Ben's final words that Luke wanted to pull away from him and leave Defiance; he searches Luke's room, discovering maps, a pile of scrip and a strange object. Elah Bandik has one last meal with his family, then departs with Datak; he is subsequently discovered dead, in front of the lawkeeper's office.|
|3||"The Devil In the Dark"||Omar Madha||Michael Taylor||April 29, 2013||2.29|
|Two humans are attacked and killed by Hellbugs; Nolan, Irisa and Yewll discover that they were targeted using Hellbug attack pheromones. Hellbugs attack the Tarr residence, where Christie McCawley is having dinner with Alak and his parents; her clothes have been sprayed with the pheromones. Datak kills the attacking bugs. Nolan discovers that the two dead men had sold land to McCawley for his mines and the attacks are therefore connected; Irisa begins to have "visions" of an Irathient family. Consulting with the Irathient Spirit Rider, Sukar, she learns that she has "the sight" - a visionary ability to see the past, present and future without actually being present for the events seen. Irisa has a stronger vision and discovers that the two dead men did not own the land but killed an Irathient family to obtain it; the daughter of the family, Rynn (Tiio Horn) escaped and grew up to become a Spirit Rider. Her father was an entomologist; inheriting his talent, she discovered a nest of hellbugs and began using them as a weapon. Nolan, Irisa, Deputy LaSalle and Sukar follow her into the hellbug nest, capture her, and destroy the nest. McCawley deeds the stolen land back to the Irathient Spirit Riders.|
|4||"A Well Respected Man"||Michael Nankin||Craig Gore & Tim Walsh||May 6, 2013||2.15|
|Nolan intercepts a shipment of weapons being transferred by two of Datak Tarr's men; unknown to both Nolan and Amanda, the town council had made a deal with Datak to arrange for weapons to be delivered to the town after the loss of the shield generator. Nolan's relationship with Amanda's sister Kenya develops, somewhat to Amanda's displeasure; Kenya is irritated by her sister's interference and accuses Amanda of trying to replace their mother. Later, Kenya and one of her girls are kidnapped by Ulysses, the bioman employed by Datak as a prizefighter; he is kidnapping street people and taking them to a human lab technician, Miko (guest star Robin Dunne), who is harvesting their adrenalin to use as an illegal drug. Nolan and Amanda clash with Datak to get her back, but he refuses to help; Stahma Tarr suggests to Amanda that she show respect to Datak by making him a member of the town council. With grudging help from Datak, Nolan locates the lab; meanwhile Kenya realizes that her wanderings in a maze, pursued by a Volge, are a virtual reality, escapes and kills Miko. Nolan, Irisa and Amanda arrive in time to save Kenya from Ulysses. Rafe and Quentin descend into the sealed shaft where Luke had found the strange object, and discover a set of disturbing cave paintings featuring the object. After her rescue, Kenya confronts Amanda and learns that their mother did not die during the Pale Wars, but instead abandoned Kenya; Amanda refused to leave her sister behind and their mother abandoned them both. Amanda chose to save her sister and told her their mother was dead to spare Kenya's feelings. Datak takes his seat on the council and Nolan realizes that Stahma is the more dangerous of the two.|
|5||"The Serpent's Egg"||Omar Madha||David Weddle & Bradley Thompson||May 13, 2013||1.98|
|The Land Coach arrives in Defiance, bringing mail and visitors. Nolan and Amanda board the coach; Nolan is escorting Rynn to prison and Amanda is carrying investment money raised by the town to pay for a new rail spur to Defiance. Other passengers include an Earth Republic representative (whom Amanda has been avoiding), her two husbands, and a preacher. Irisa remains behind, and expresses an uncomfortable curiosity regarding a Castithan visitor who arrived on the land coach. Rynn attempts to escape from the coach but is foiled by Nolan; the coach driver is killed by a bomb planted in the cockpit by the preacher, who is actually an inside man for a party of hijackers. The ambush goes wrong; one of the hijackers is killed, as is one of the Earth Rep's husbands, and Rynn escapes. Nolan manages to force a standoff but the Earth representative is taken hostage. Nolan and Amanda manage to kill both the preacher and the remaining hijacker, only to discover that the Earth representative is also part of the plan; she wants to force Defiance to take Earth Republic funding to pay for the spur. Rynn returns and overpowers her, then leaves with the remaining husband; Amanda and Nolan let them leave. Meanwhile, Irisa kidnaps the Castithan, whom she believes is the one who tortured her as a child; she begins to torture him in return, to force him to confess. Deputy Lasalle tries to stop her until the Castithan confesses; he did indeed torture her, believing her to be some form of "destroyer goddess". Amanda and Nolan return to Defiance with the Earth representative under arrest; she is put on board the land coach in handcuffs but immediately released by her supposed police escort. Irisa releases the Castithan and puts him on the land coach; she and Deputy Lasalle, spurred by their shared encounter and difficult pasts, begin a sexual relationship.|
|6||"Brothers In Arms"||Andy Wolk||Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer||May 20, 2013||1.95|
|A human bounty hunter chases a Castithan through the Defiance marketplace; the Castithan drops a locket, which explodes, knocking him and the bounty hunter to the ground and injuring several other people. Nolan arrests the Castithan, and the bounty hunter turns out to be his friend and former comrade in arms Eddie; Lasalle identifies the Castithan as Pol Madis, a notorious war criminal. Yewll examines Madis, who makes a vague threat to reveal details of her involvement in the Pale Wars unless she helps him escape. Nolan refuses to release Madis to Eddie but pays him off. Eddie meets Kenya and pays for her services but she is unable to go through with the transaction; this makes her question her relationship with Nolan. Amanda attempts to negotiate extradition of Madis with the new Earth Republic representative, Connor Lang (Gale Harold), with whom she has something of a past; he tells her the Earth Republic will tear Defiance apart to get Madis. Quentin McCawley examines the book and artifacts left by his brother; Nicky Riordan expresses interest in his findings. Rafe advises Quentin to destroy the book and artifact; Quentin attempts to do so but has second thoughts after a vision of his brother Luke. Madis escapes using an explosive powder dropped through the cell window by an unknown benefactor; Nolan suspects Eddie. Eddie convinces Nolan he was not involved and they join forces to find Madis. Meanwhile, Madis forces Datak to assist in his escape; Datak drives him out of Defiance but they are intercepted and stopped by the lawkeepers and Eddie. Irisa and Lasalle return to Defiance with Datak; Eddie and Nolan argue over Madis. Nolan realizes that Madis is wanted for his technical skills and not for war crimes, and kills him. Eddie, furious, reveals that there is a bounty for Nolan and attempts to take him in; however, when the Earth Representative and troops arrive Eddie takes the blame for Madis' death and is arrested, telling Nolan he has a daughter to raise. Birch breaks into McCawley’s house looking for the artifact; he and Quentin struggle and Quentin kills him, egged by another vision of Luke, and disposes of the body in the mine. Kenya ends her relationship with Nolan. As Eddie is transported by the Earth Republic forces, he removes another package of explosive powder from his boot, implying that he had helped Madis escape and is about to do so himself.|
|7||"Goodbye, Blue Sky"||Andy Wolk||Anupam Nigam & Amanda Alpert Muscat||June 3, 2013||1.69|
|Irisa has another vision in which she sees Sukar killed by an object falling from the sky; she and Nolan seek out the Spirit Riders to investigate. Her vision is confirmed and they determine that the object was part of a storm of "razor rain" - small Arkfall objects - approaching Defiance. Nolan returns to warn the town while Irisa attends Sukar's "sinking" ritual, where his remains will be consumed in an acid bath. Sukar rises fully healed from the bath, throwing the Spirit Riders into confusion; he and Irisa return to Defiance where he starts to collect numerous objects for an unknown purpose. Nicky arrives at the McCawley home, looking for Birch; Quentin admits to Rafe that he killed Birch but does not tell him he kept the artifact. Nicky tricks Rafe into admitting he killed Birch, knowing that he would do so quickly to cover for a member of his family. Luke appears to Quentin and suggests that Quentin kill Nicky, but he refuses. Stahma attempts to hire Kenya to "initiate" Alak sexually before his marriage to Christie; Kenya politely refuses and the two have a conversation over drinks which ends in a lesbian encounter. Alak and Christie have an argument over a proposed bathing ceremony in relation to the marriage; he agrees to approach his parents and cancel it. Sukar and Irisa take over the radio station and broadcast a message at a falling Ark; Nolan attempts to stop them, shooting Sukar and throwing him from the Gateway Arch. Irisa broadcasts the message, enabling the Ark engines which changes the course of the falling object and saves Defiance. Sukar's miraculous healing is revealed to have been the result of nanites injected by the razor rain object which initially killed him; he survives the fall from the Arch but is paralyzed.|
|8||"I Just Wasn't Made for These Times"||Allan Kroeker||Clark Perry||June 10, 2013||1.91|
|Nolan and Lasalle investigate the Arkfall object, and discover a human in hypersleep; they awaken him and discover he is Gordon McClintock (Brian J. Smith), an American astronaut whose space station was supposedly destroyed in 2013. They return with him to Defiance, where Yewll examines him and pronounces him normal; however McClintock suffers a vision incorporating Indogenes and reacts with some discomfort. Amanda and the new Earth Republic representative, Connor Lang, meet again; he offers her a position with the Earth Government in New York and it is revealed that they had a previous relationship. Stahma and Kenya continue their relationship; Kenya tries to avoid Datak as a client, but Stahma counsels her not to refuse him. Nolan, Amanda and McClintock visit Rafe McCawley, attempting to acclimate the astronaut to the terraformed Earth; McClintock suffers another vision and attacks Amanda. While locked in the cell at the Lawkeeper's station, he begins to harm himself and bleeds silver; Nolan realizes something is wrong and confronts Yewll, who reveals that McClintock is actually an Indogene modified to appear human and implanted with the original McClintock's memories, intended to serve as a spy and an assassin by the Votans before their arrival. The McClintock Indogene seizes Nolan's gun and escapes; he meets McCawley in the mines and apparently commits suicide, although it is later revealed that he leaves Defiance to reunite with McClintock's widow. Lang warns Amanda that she is in danger; the Earth Republic wants her out of Defiance and will use any means necessary to remove her. Nolan confronts Yewll about her involvement in the Indogene spy program, but they are interrupted by the arrival of multiple humans suffering from a hemorrhagic fever.|
|9||"If I Ever Leave This World Alive"||June 17, 2013|
|10||"The Bride Wore Black"||June 24, 2013|
|11||"Past is Prologue"||July 1, 2013|
|12||"Everything Is Broken"||July 8, 2013|
In June 2011, Syfy announced that they would be producing a television series which was being developed by Rockne S. O'Bannon and would be produced by Universal Cable Productions. It was also announced that the TV series would be connected to a video game being produced by Trion Worlds. It was later confirmed that Syfy had ordered thirteen episodes for the show's first season, which would premiere in either late 2012 or the summer of 2013. In July 2012, the network announced that the series and game would debut in April 2013.
Casting announcements began in January 2012, with Grant Bowler first to be cast. Bowler plays Joshua Nolan, "the law keeper in a bustling frontier boomtown that is one of the new world's few oasis of civility and inclusion." On February 8, TVWise revealed profiles of five of the main characters. It was later reported that Gillian Anderson had been briefly considered by the show's producers to play either Amanda or Stahma. However, that casting did not move forward as they assumed she would not be interested in returning to episodic television. On March 8, 2012 it was announced that Julie Benz, Stephanie Leonidas, Tony Curran and Jaime Murray had been cast in the series. Julie Benz plays Amanda Rosewater, the mayor of Defiance; Stephanie Leonidas plays Irisa, "a beautiful warrior who is part of an alien race called the Irathients"; Tony Curran plays Datak Tarr, "the right hand to Amanda"; and Jaime Murray plays Stahma Tarr, "Datak’s beautiful and proper wife".
As of Season 1, linguist David J. Peterson has developed two full languages for the different alien races, for the Castithans and the Irathients. Basic language sketches also exist for two of the other races, the Indogenes and the Liberata.
Defiance premiered in Canada on April 15, 2013, the same night as the US premier, on Showcase. On April 16, 2013, the show premiered in the UK & Ireland on Syfy. In Australia the premier was on April 18, 2013, on SF.
Critical reception of Defiance has been "mixed or average" according to Metacritic, with a 57% rating according to 17 reviews. Maureen Ryan of The Huffington Post called it "a smart, well-crafted TV show with a good cast and an adventurous flavor" and added "it's also indisputably science fiction, which is a relief," saying that she felt too many science fiction shows were "watered-down... genre-lite dramas". She also praised the casting, performances and the production design. Ellen Gray of the Philadelphia Daily News noted that "the TV show may not break new ground... but it does stand on its own as a watchable sci-fi series, with a Wild West vibe mixed with a bit of 'Farscape'-meets-'West Side Story.'" Other reviewers gave Defiance average reviews and noted its similarity to previous television series, while at the same time praising its "breathtaking" landscapes and "impressively rendered" monsters; its "intriguing" cast and setting; its digital effects and performances; and its mythology and "interesting" story. Conversely, David Hinckley of the New York Daily News gave it one star out of five and found it to be "incomprehensible", but said "if you’re a sci-fi fan for whom this stuff can never be too complex, have at it."