Why You Should be Watching Syfy’s Defiance

By Courtney Rowan
Defiance

Those of you who read this blog know I’m no stranger to Syfy Channel and their many shenanigans. I have a very public love/hate relationship with the network. I love when they employ high level science fiction shows with brilliant, tried and tested writers, producers and directors and I hate when they cancel said shows. (I’m looking at you, Caprica, Eureka and SGU). I also hate wrestling.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with it!)

Based on this relationship, any show they start I approach carefully and that’s how I started with Defiance.  I had a love/hate relationship with this show… at first.  It has since won me over with all its kitsch, clichés and sci-fi rip-offs.

Yes, some episodes were at times barely watchable at first pass (The Serpent’s Egg) and I almost bailed on the show completely, but I had faith in the potential of this series. I fell in love with the characters which drove me back to watch it again On Demand.  I started with the episodes I loved (If I Ever Leave This World Alive) and then watched the whole series all over again. I should also mention that I haven’t played the MMO, but I certainly understand the innovation of bringing the two worlds together as a package. I’m also thankful that you don’t need to play it to enjoy the show or vice-versa. Keeping that in mind, here are five reasons you should be watching Defiance:

  1. Everything I hated at first, I now love. My first reaction to this show was that it was just a wannabe Firefly, Farscape and BSG rolled into one. It had no novel ideas (except the whole game tie-in) and my expectations were set really high. Syfy did a boatload of advertising for this show and it had great names tied to it (Rockne S O’Bannon, Kevin Murphy). I was underwhelmed. There were lines I actually cringed at in the writing. I believe in The Serpent’s Egg Mayor Rosewater (Julie Benz) actually said, “Take her away.” I mean, really? But then I think I started to ‘get it’… That was this show’s charm – they could write lines like that.  Maybe the mayor had waited her whole life to say that classic line. I can see the writers giggling and thinking, I know that’s the ultimate cliché, but damn it just fits so well! On the other hand, the effects are just okay (c’mon, Syfy, you know it!) given the budget this thing claimed, everything looks like the game. But again, I’m pretty sure now, that’s on purpose – tying both worlds together. If it wasn’t on purpose, then it works somehow.The Cast of Defiance
  2. The characters. Despite the show having 7 races of Votans plus humans, we really only focus on a few main folks (who are played by an amazing cast). There’s Nolan (Grant Bowler) and Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas), the Human-Irath duo that we meet first and who really carry the show’s perspective. There’s the newly appointed Mayor Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) and her brothel running sister Kenya (Mia Kirshner), the Castithan Tarrs – Datak (Tony Curran), Stahma (Jaime Murray) and Alak (Jesse Rath) and the mining family – McCawleys – Rafe (Graham Greene) his two sons and daughter.  And you can’t leave out town doctor, Doc Yewell (Trenna Keating). This is the one thing this show does well. You fall for these characters. You hate these characters. You are invested in their stories and outcomes. Datak and Stahma Tarr are by far the standout players. Even the Romeo & Juliet story of Christie McCawley and Alak Tarr, which was ANNOYING for the first few episodes, all made sense because of how it wrapped around Datak & Stahma’s plans for power and more importantly, respect. All the characters have nuance and are not one noted, you have to stick with the show to see this, but it is well worth the reveals.Defiance's Tarr Family
  3. The world of DefianceThe writers took their time explaining little things about this new Earth, apart from an opening narrative from Irisa in the pilot, we haven’t learned much about why Earth is the way it is. I admit, I did some research to figure out all the races, what The Pale Wars were, etc.. but I think it was smart not to focus heavily on these aspects.  The show, although definitely only works in this new environment, really wants you to focus on the characters.  Slowly revealed each episode were hints of what was going on outside of this little town and its inhabitants. Like, there is such a thing as the Earth Republic (E-Reps) and they are pretty much considered an malevolent faction.  But the world does look amazing.  The terraforming concept is applied really well, with cool looking rock-plants and bright huge flowers, not to mention wolf-spiders that are clearly things of nightmares. So even though this is not the focus, without it, you have really no good setting for these people. The town itself looks gritty and third world-ish, yet you have future tech here and there to remind you it’s in the midst of being rebuilt in the future. The language creator has to be recognized as well.   Linguist David J. Peterson (Game of Thrones) has developed two full languages for the different alien races, Castithans and the Irathients, and they are beautiful and sound very natural within this world. The landscape of Defiance
  4. The Score. Bear McCreary. That really is all I need to say about this. He is a musical genius. (Check out his work on BSG if you don’t believe me, not to mention – Eureka, Caprica, The Walking Dead, etc…) Bear has managed to create a sound that really echoes the sci-fi elements and emotion for this world. And he’s not only created orchestral pieces, there are many songs he’s written with his brother, Brendan and their band, Young and Beautiful In A Hurry, that reflect the Votan races and their alien-ness. You can stream the score for both the show and the video game on Spotify.
  5. The Sci-fi Elements. The sci-fi elements on this show are honest to goodness things you would expect from a show on Syfy channel. There are cold fire guns, light-knives (like pocket knife lightsabers?), the terraforming aspects, ark reactors, the Aliens, razor rain and even electric blue drinks. Let me touch on razor rain for a minute, this is basically a storm where shrapnel from Arkfall rains down on earth and it is nasty. One of the best sci-fi concepts they used. As I said earlier, there are good special effects, they definitely pull from the game, but I’m pretty sure this is done on purpose. They are not great, although there are a couple shots that look pretty damn good, but overall, meh. It’s okay though, it all works together. The Alien makeup is done really well and every race is believable.

Look, if you gave up on this show after a few episodes, I don’t blame you. I almost did myself. But I HIGHLY recommend you go back and re-watch and stick it through. When all was said and done, the writers presented a lot of strong story arcs which they completed and at the same time opened up a lot of good questions that will keep you on the edge of your seat until Season 2 hist next summer. Step back, accept the clichés and kitsch, and just enjoy.

Defiance was recently at Comic-Con this month, here is the Comic-Con reel they presented and the full panel:

Defiance airs Monday nights on Syfy Channel and will return for Season 2 in June 2014.

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What’s next for ‘Doctor Who’ after series 7 and new rumors for the 50th Anniversary Special

By Courtney Rowan

Doctor Who Series 7 Part 2

So, yesterday we learned that Doctor Who will return on March 30, 2013 as part of BBC America’s Supernatural Saturday block. We’ll get 8 new episodes penned by the very best in show writing and in Who legacy. But what happens next? What will the 50th Anniversary hold?

Geeks of Doom has some interesting information regarding the latter half of 2013 and of course, the Anniversary special slated to air in Autumn of this year. At the 2013 London Toy Fair a banner was spotted outlining some of the highlights for the rest of 2013, including:

  • 50th Anniversary Special – 60 minute episode in Autumn of 2013
  • An Adventure in Space and Time – 90 minute drama based on the real-life events encompassing the creation of Doctor Who back in 1963 in Autumn 2013
  • Doctor Who Revisited – Eleven 25 minute episodes looking at Classic Doctor Who, and revisiting each Doctor era

2013 truly is the year of WHO. One other observation, however –

What also captivates me about the banner though is that there is NO mention of a Christmas Special for 2013. This has to be erroneous – it just wouldn’t be Christmas without a Doctor Who episode! I mean, Santa I can do without…

Agreed! Christmas just ins’t so without The Doctor.  Hmmmm… they wouldn’t do that, would they?

Head over to Geeks of Doom to read the full details and watch the trailer for the Doctor Who Revisited Specials below:
 


 

50th Anniversary Rumors

I can’t let these slide, and I’m hoping someone will at some time confirm this, but the latest is that all 11 Doctors will be featured in the Anniversary special thanks to some ‘studio trickery’.  Digital Spy posted an article Tuesday that claimed,

An article from the Birmingham Mail claims that current Who star Matt Smith will be joined by his seven surviving predecessors. Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant are all said to be appearing in the November one-off.

In addition, the report claims that the Steven Moffat-penned episode will use “studio trickery” to include appearances from the first three Doctors – played by the late William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee.

The BBC is yet to confirm any official plans for the Doctor Who special, which will mark 50 years since the sci-fi drama’s first transmission on November 23, 1963.

I have a feeling we’ll be getting more and more rumors and no facts until we get really close to the air date. Still, it’s fun to imagine all 11 Doctors solving a crisis. I think the term would be, NERDGASM.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one as more and more info is released.  

What are your thoughts for the Anniversary?  Can you live without The Doctor on Christmas?

Source: Geeks Of Doom, Digital Spy, Fanpop

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‘Doctor Who’ Series 7 Part 2 – Returns to BBC AMERICA March 30

By Courtney Rowan

Doctor Who Series 7 Part 2 returns March 30th

Who is Clara Oswin Oswald?

Well, March doesn’t seem so far away now does it?

BBC America announced today that Part 2 of Doctor Who Season 7 will premiere on Saturday, March 30 in BBC AMERICA’s Supernatural Saturday block, it has been announced, alongside the network’s new original sci-fi series Orphan Black and the comedy-variety chatfest The Nerdist.  And really, who doesn’t just adore  Chris Hardwick? Fingers crossed for more Wil Wheaton!

The upcoming eight Doctor Who episodes will include installments from lead writer Steven Moffat, Neil Cross (creator of Luther), Stephen Thompson, Mark Gatiss, and Neil Gaiman. ALL amazing writers and most of whose work we’ve seen before on Who.

Here’s the latest teaser for Series 7, Part 2:

And just for fun, I absolutely love this picture from filming. She’s going to be a fun one, yeah? MARCH 30th – WOO HOO!
The Doctor and Clara

Source: BBC America

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Doctor Who Series 7 Part 2 – New Trailer

By Courtney Rowan

The Doctor (Matt Smith) and his new companion, Clara Oswin Oswald (Jenna Louise-Coleman) are set to return in April.  On Friday, QMX Online, the company behind a number of Who-themed products, posted a sizzle reel that focuses on the new episodes. Let’s see what we can decipher from the new trailer:

“The woman twice dead…”

We took a look at some facts and theories a few weeks ago about Clara, be sure to check them out and let us know what you think.

April seems so far away. Still.  *le sigh*

Win a Signed ‘Snowmen’ Poster!

While you ponder the impossibilty of Ms. Oswald, head over to BBC America for a chance to win a signed Doctor Who Christmas special ‘The Snowmen’ poster, signed by stars Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman, executive producer Caroline Skinner, and lead writer/executive producer Steven Moffat.

snowmen_poster

Source: ComingSoon.net, BBC America

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Doctor Who: New Companion, New Theories – Who is Clara Oswin Oswald?

By Courtney Rowan

Clara Oswin Oswald

Minutes after ‘The Snowmen” ended and we were all able to gather our jaws off the ground and start to think about what had just occurred, the main question on every Whovian’s mind was the same as The Doctor’s, I presume… Who are you, Clara Oswin Oswald?   I’ve seen some great theories going around and the Houston Press has gathered what they think the top 10.  Meanwhile, Den of Geek has gathered 9 things we know about Ms. Oswald.

I’ve gathered what I think are the best of both here for you, but head over to both to check out the full lists for yourself… and more importantly, what are your theories?  We’ve got until April to discuss this!!!

So first, facts.  Den of Geek has gathered 9 things we know… Here’s a few that I think are key:

8. She lives a double/triple/n-ple life: 

Before we even wade into the multiple era versions, the Clara we meet in The Snowmen already leads a double life. Initially, we meet her as Clara the barmaid from The Rose & Crown, before she dons a higher neckline, clips her vowels, and becomes Miss Montague, the governess of Darkover House (which, incidentally, seem to have about as much luck with governesses as Hogwarts does with Defence Against The Dark Arts teachers).

Asylum of the Daleks saw Coleman’s character similarly split, though this time as a psychological coping mechanism rather than an act of spirited social climbing. First presented as a shipwrecked Junior Entertainments Officer with a taste for Bizet and baking, it was revealed by the end of the episode that Oswin not only hadn’t evaded capture by the Daleks, but had in fact been transformed into one of them. So that’s at least four identities for the new companion – soufflé girl, Dalek, Barmaid, and Governess, to which we can add the modern day ‘Clara’ glimpsed next to her former self’s headstone in the teaser trailer for coming episodes.

2. Clara was born on the 23rd of November:

Which, as eagle-eyed viewers have pointed out, is the date that Doctor Who first premiered on the BBC 49-and-a-bit years ago, back in 1963. What was it that the Doctor tells Amy in The Pandorica Opens? Never ignore a coincidence, unless Steven Moffat put it in, in which case he’s probably just messing with us (not the Doctor’s exact words, but you get the gist).

We’re privy to the date of Clara Oswin Oswald’s birth thanks to her headstone which also bears the inscription “Remember me, for we shall meet again”. This pithy little motto recalls the many appearances of the ‘remember’ motif in this and recent episodes. We saw snow and ice that remembers, and the memory worm in the Christmas Special. The Doctor instructed Amy and Rory in Asylum of the Daleks to “make them remember you”, and Oswin instructed the Doctor (twice) to “run, run you clever boy, and remember”. So here’s another question to add to our growing list: who chipped that cunning, theme-tying-in message on Clara’s headstone?

1. She’s not possible:

But then again, neither was that astronaut.

To quote another character Steven Moffat has taken onto his roster in recent years, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth”. That might work for flappy-coated rationalists, but it certainly doesn’t apply to the world of Doctor Who, a universe where we’re asked to believe at least six impossible things before breakfast.

Read all their facts over and then draw some conclusions…

Onto theories then…

Okay, I feel like I have to include #10, because its what I’ve seen the most, the rest peaked my interest ever so:

10. Oswin is a regenerated River Song. Probably the most standard theory is that Oswin has some sort of connection to River, even possibly being another incarnation of the half-Time Lady. Problems with this include the fact we know River used up all her regeneration energy to restore The Doctor in “Let’s Kill Hitler” and the Daleks are unlikely to have transformed a Time Lord into one of them. Then again, these were insane Daleks, so there’s that.

6. Oswin is the heart of the TARDIS. Her sudden and brazen kissing of The Doctor as Clara, as well as her remarking that the TARDIS is smaller on the outside rather than bigger on the inside could be clues to this. It’s sort of unlikely, though, knowing what we do of the way the TARDIS works. She could be the heart of another TARDIS.

3. Oswin is the new Master of Fiction from the Second Doctor serial “The Mind Robber.” Trapped in a world of fiction being forced to create, Oswin is using her appearances as a recurring character to call The Doctor for help in fictional stories. She mentions being an entertainment manager in the asylum, and the birthday on her tombstone is the same as the television show itself, November 23. Considering that Neil Gaiman, the king of fiction in fiction is coming back to write next season this isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

Read all their theories and let us know what you think!

Souffle Girl

So, there you have it… something to gnaw on until April comes along.  Until then, here’s some other fun Whovian stuff to peruse.

Matt Smith to read poem for Disney Junior’s Series, ‘A Poem Is…’

Smith is among many stars who will be/have read poems for Disney Junior’s series called ‘A Poem Is…’.  Matt Smith will be reading a poem called, “Once They All Believed in Dragons” by Jack Prelutsky.  You can view it now on BBC America’s website along with others read by famous British actors such as Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Kenneth BranaghCatherine Tate, Richard E. Grant and more.  

One more thing for the road

Who better than to interview Steven Moffat that his own son??  Just watch for fun…

April, get here soon, you sow!  

I never know why, I only know who...

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*New* DOCTOR WHO CHRISTMAS SPECIAL CLIP

By Courtney Rowan

Just in time for Christmas Eve here in the states, we have a new Doctor Who Christmas Special clip… Click through to watch!

TheSnowmenClip

There’s also One more clip, this one with Jenny, Vastra, and Doctor Simeon (Richard E. Grant):

And, just in case you wanted to hear the awesomeness of Sir Ian McKellen’s voice of the villains, check out this clip released over the weekend:

 

One more sleep until The Doctor returns, and remember, if it’s snowing and there’s no clouds. Be concerned… very, very concerned.

Source: The Mary Sue

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