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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Warehouse 13 Renewed for Season 4

By Courtney Rowan



Now for something completely different… SyFy has renewed Warehouse 13 for a fourth season.

Syfy has ordered another 13 episodes in 2012. The renewal isn’t at all surprising considering the ratings have been really strong and increasing each season. Warehouse was  up 15 percent during the third season among adults 18-49 for its first couple episodes this summer, with the first five episodes averaging 3.2 million viewers once you include DVR data.

SyFy’s  president of original content, Mark Stern, stated:

“Under executive producer Jack Kenny’s leadership, this superlative team of writers, cast, and crew continue to turn out a series that only gets better and better with every episode.  Warehouse 13 is deservedly the most popular series in our history and we’re delighted to renew it for a fourth season.”

Too bad Mr. Stern didn’t feel as strongly for Eureka, huh?  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Warehouse has also added Aaron Ashmore this season as new agent Steve Jinks, a welcomed addition to the cast.  They’ve been balancing his involvement nicely, I don’t feel like he’s out of place at all.  What I don’t understand in why Leena is still on the show… Waste of storyline.


In other exciting Warehouse news from Comic Con, Kate Mulgrew will be joining the cast as a regent.  Which is simply put – awesomesauce.  TV Guide has your first look and some details on her storyline.

More information from Comic Con was:

  • Next week’s episode featuring Neil Grayston (Douglas Fargo from Eureka) will take place inside a video game.  Saul will portray a Monty Python version of Artie, while Eddie will be playing a gladiator. It will be titled “Don’t Hate the Player.”
  • Christmas Episode!!  Full of easter eggs too… last year’s was brilliant.
  • Possible interest in an HG Wells spinoff series.  Talks are in ‘very early stages’.  Not sure how this one will work, but after this week’s episode and her Sherlock like character, perhaps Jaime Murray is strong enough for a show of her own.
Here’s a sneak peek at next week’s video game episode with Fargo – “Dont’ Hate The Player”:

Source: EW.com

SyFy Orders One More Episode – Eureka to get a proper goodbye

By Courtney Rowan

I’ve got to follow up with this now.  SyFy has so graciously ordered one more final episode for Eureka to ensure a proper goodbye.  Just days after they announced the cancellation of the series, and just a week after they ordered a sixth season (confused yet?), they announced they will produce one more episode for a proper series sendoff.  Sounds like the fans have been heard. 

E! Online spoke with showrunner Jaime Paglia on set in Vancouver.  Despite the sad ambiance surrounding the recent cancellation, Paglia confirmed that executives  at SyFy are allowing production of a single episode, serving  as a finale  for the five year show.   Awww, how sweet of them.  (sorry, my cynicism is at high level with these frakkers).

Erica Cera, who plays Jo Lupo on the show stated:

[The writers] have the opportunity to give us and the viewers closure—they’ve been loyal, loyal fans for years.

Nial Matter, who plays Zane Donovan had earlier stated:

There’s just not enough time to button everything up. They’re going to work really hard to tie things up, but I read the episode and it’s not how I would want to end this series, that’s for sure.

So, I guess SyFy feels one more will give the writers what they need to wrap up the full story of America’s Smartest Little Town.  I still don’t understand the need for the cancellation, again, other than BOREDOM.  Especially since producer, Amy Berg, stated herself via Twitter on Tuesday- and I quote:

Ratings in for last night’s show. They are excellent, and continue to rise with each new episode. The definition of bittersweet, I guess.

*Sigh*  Oh well, i can’t keep dwelling on this, I’m just going to get more and more pissed.  But, I felt you all should know that one more episode will hopefully give us the wrap up we deserve.

Eureka Season 5 is currently filming and is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2012. Depending on the network’s decision, it may be split across two summers (as Seasons 3 and 4 have been) or air in a single four month run. The thirteenth episode will be the add-on finale.

Source: ScreenRant


			

SyFy Cancels Eureka

By Courtney Rowan

They went and done it again… Took a beloved fan favorite show and pulled the plug for the only reason I can tell, they were bored. After 2012, we will have to say our final goodbye to America’s Smartest Little Town. 

Only three words really come to mind.. WTF!  A spokesperson for SyFy had this to say in an official statement:

After painstaking consideration, we have had to make the difficult business decision to not order a season six of Eureka. But Eureka is not over yet. There is a new holiday episode this December and 12 stellar episodes set to debut next year, marking its fifth season and six memorable years on Syfy. The 2012 episodes are some of the best we’ve seen, and will bring this great series to a satisfying end. We are very grateful to Bruce Miller and Jaime Paglia, their team of incredible writers, and an amazing cast and crew who have consistently delivered a series we continue to be very proud of. We thank the fans for their support of this show and know they will enjoy its final season in 2012.

What the spokesperson failed to leave out was a little detail about just renewing the show LAST WEEK for season six, only to have it yanked out from under them today.  I mean, that’s seriously just frakkin’ wrong.  Take a look at the Twitter feeds on some of the show’s folk to feel their surprise.   To quote Colin Ferguson (@colinferg), ” BOOM”.  Good job, SyFy. Once again.

But haven’t we been here before, fanboys and fangirls?  Let’s take a quick painful trip down recent ‘SyFy Cancels…’ memory lane…

Syfy Cancels Stargate Universe

I guess I shouldn’t be so mad about this one since they did actually give us two seasons, BUT, just when the writing was stronger than ever and you had absolutely fallen in love with the characters, they can it.  Look, I know it wasn’t like the traditional Stargate franchises, but in lies the beauty (IMHO).  Communication stones, bastard aliens out to kill (we think?), dreaded mindless drones set to destroy and characters you loved to hate and hated to love – all the makings of a classic scifi series.  Again, BOOM.  Oh, but I can think of another one…

SyFy Cancels Caprica

OK, so I know that there was definitely a niche audience for this show at first, BUT (notice  a pattern here),   the writing proved it was so much more than that.  Battlestar fans may or may not have clung to the show, but the writing was so good, that anyone could lock on and enjoy.  The nuanced characters, the film noir look and feel despite the technologically enhanced society, the overall intrigue around the ultimate demise of the human race.. this was brilliant stuff, people!  Well, they rushed that story line, huh?  Now we’re just left with more and more questions about our ‘ancestors’.  Granted, the ratings were pretty small, but being as that they are SyFy, what do you want? SGU lasted two seasons on a million per show, this was averaging around that.  Now we’ll never really know how Cylons came to be so human-like.  (One minute epilogues on series finales do not count.)

Why am I so mad?

I don’t know why I’m so pissed or surprised for that matter, I mean look at the track record.  I think I’m just hurt.  Do you hear that, Syfy? You hurt me… again!  I’m starting to feel like an unwanted fan, or worse yet a used girlfriend.  I mean you go and support an outing at Comic Con, you promote the hell out of SyFy summers and it’s all a big damn tease!  Not to mention a heaping scoop of douchebagery.  Then again,  I’ve got Being Human, which I’m trying not get attached to.  Getting dumped sucks.

Of course, there’s always wrestling, right?  Right, SyFy?  Oh, bloody hell.

New Star Wars deleted scene! (and more)

By Courtney Rowan

It’s Friday, fanboys and fangirls, and you know what that means, right?  Time to see what cool news dropped this week. Perhaps the coolest was the new Star Wars deleted scene shared at Celebration V, at which George Lucas had Mark Hamill introduce the clip.  Read on to see the clip (if you haven’t already) and more news in geekdom…

Star Wars Deleted Scene

So, Celebration V (the seventh Celebration of the Star Wars saga, the fifth in the United States), kicked off this week and finally gave us some new footage of Star Wars.  It’s pretty epic – a never-before-screened scene cut from Return of the Jedi in which Darth Vader tempts Luke Skywalker to join the dark side, paired with footage of Luke constructing/activating his green lightsaber and officially becoming a Jedi Knight. Awesomeness.

Eureka News – STAN LEE!!

Guess who’s coming to America’s smartest little town… STAN LEE!  Yes, that’s right, Lee has been tapped to guest star on Eureka and has been shooting his work this week.  He’s been tweeting updates from the set and I seriously cannot wait to see this episode.  No word yet on what he will play in the clever show. Follow Mr. Lee on twitter @TheRealStanLee. We also learned this week that Ming Na has will be guest starring on Eureka as well. You’ve recently seen Na on SGU. She will reportedly play Senator Alice Wen, who has come to deal with a sensitive issue at Global Dynamics. She also might make multiple appearances. Check out a sneak peek of tonight’s Eureka:

Stoned – Sneak Peek – Eureka.

PS.  Anyone else picking up on Fargo’s Terminator references each week??!!  LOVE it. 

SHARKTOPUS!!

Okay, speaking of SyFy, I can’t go any further without mentioned this gem.  I don’t know if it will come close to Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus, but with Roger Corman and Eric Roberts involved, it will sure as hell be fun.  Check out the trailer for this classic to be:

Warehouse 13

Another solid episode this week from the Warehouse gang.  Some killer girl power going on and t he return of H.G. Wells.  I’m not sure if I buy Myka accepting HG so easily, but it did work well for the episode.  The plotline about her daughter kind of struck me, I think I did see some genuine sadness about not being able to see her anymore.  Her motives are definitely her own and Myka must realize this.  The grappling gun was a nice touch at the end, but I’m not sure if that was an artifact or just a cool invention.  Does it have any ‘powers’ or is it just cool?  Isn’t that what defines an artifact, the powers?? I do hope we see much more of her in the future.  

Is anyone else having as much fun as I am about guessing Claudia’s hair streak color each week.  I think it’s a great subtle touch to her character as well as clever on the writer’s side.  Pete and Artie were awesome this week.  First off, I love that they finally admitted that there are artifacts being played with at the Warehouse.  I almost fell off the couch when I saw the Tim Leary glasses reappear and Artie’s new look through them.  I think Pete’s comedy is absolutely genius.  A fact that played into how well acted “Around The Bend” was as we see Pete in a serious tone, which kind of freaked me out.  Lindsay Wagner was cool and the appendix gag of growing back each year was pretty funny.  Especially since he’s using Barnum’s Top to do it.  I’m glad they have a little love interest for Artie (who is the Walrus??). 

Here’s a sneak peek of  nest week’s Warehouse 13 – “Merge With Caution” :

Merge with Caution – Sneak Peek – Warehouse 13.

Smallville

Some news from the world of Clark Kent is the announcement of the baddies in season 10.  At Comic Con this year, it was confirmed that Darkseid and the evil New Gods of Apokolips would feature as some of season ten’s villains. While Darkseid has yet to be cast, some of his entourage have!  Actor Steve Byers for you.  He’ll be Desaad, Darkseid’s master torturer who is often depicted in the comics wearing a cloak.  

According to Kryptonsite, Michael Daingerfield will begin portraying Gordon Godfrey in the third episode of the upcoming season. “The episode is entitled ‘Supergirl’ and also features the previously announced return of Laura Vandervoort as Kara.” Godfrey, sometimes called Glorious Godfrey, appeared in comics from the 70’s with red hair. A member of the Apokoliptian Gods, he enjoys the power of persuasion. I’m super stoked for this final chapter.

Fall TV Lineup Announced!

It’s getting to be that time again.  I’m excited, I can’t lie.  I’m kind of over summer and ready for the fall and of course that means the return of Fall TV.  Since LOST is over and Flashforward was cancelled and 24 is done, I’m looking for something new to fill the emptiness.  So far the show I’m most intrigued by is The Event.  The trailers look pretty good so I’m hoping it lives up to my expectations.  Shows I’m most excited about returning are Fringe, Smallville, SGU and Chuck.  Check out all the full lineup from Fancast.com here:

http://www.fancast.com/blogs/2010/tv-news/fall-tv-premiere-dates-mark-your-calendar/

Doctor Who

Since I have nothing exciting to share about The Doctor, I’ll leave you with this fun montage of fun stuff from “The Eleventh Hour”:

So that’s all for me  this week.  What’s your thoughts on the Fall TV shows?  How about Stan Lee on Eureka?  Comment your thoughts!

SyFy Summers

By Courtney Rowan

I’ve been waiting all year to take my summer vacation to Eureka. America’s smartest little town is such an awesome place to visit each week. It’s a place I can go each year to see all my old friends and meet new ones. Maybe I can stay and get a job at Warehouse 13… hmmmm.

Okay, seriously, these shows are awesome. SyFy can sometimes pump out the serious cheese, but these two shows are gems that they’ve let breathe and thankfully so. Granted, SyFy hasn’t always given us B level shows and flicks, they did produce BSG and Farscape, among my top 5 SciFi genre shows ever, but you never what you’re gonna get when they create something on their own.

*Some SPOILERS Ahead*

Eureka
Let’s talk Eureka for a moment. They really flipped this season upside down already. And how stoked am I that we get James Callis every week again?! I know he’s been a few places since the end of BSG, but he really fits well with this cast (IMO). Although, I’m not sure what to make of his American accent…

What I love most about Eureka is the brilliant dialogue. They manage to work intelligence and comedy into every outing, and I think that is a huge task, kudos to the writers. The level of science that is played into each script is amazing and for the most part accurate (although I’m not a physicist). Yet, I know plenty of people who watch and are in no way intimidated by the concepts and seem to totally get it. I guess having Carter there to ‘be’ the average viewer so they get to dumb it down for a reason helps too. I love that they’ve brought Allison’s son back after he mysteriously disappeared over the last two seasons. Is it me or did they just randomly not mention him over the last couple seasons after Nathan died? I think. Anyway, I felt they had left that plot line sort of hanging in the wind, so the new twist should be interesting. I’ll admit I’m not so enthused about Tess being back, she worked for last season, but I guess since her show failed on ABC, she was re-written in, how nice. (Maybe my hots for the Sheriff are making me a little biased.) With the changes this season, I thought for sure they’d figure out a way rather quickly to go back to ‘normal’, but from what I’ve read they are going to stick with the major changes put into play. That is so very cool and a bold move on the writer’s/producer’s part. Poor Lupo. Poor Carter and Allison. Good luck, Henry. And welcome, Dr. Charles Grant!

Overall, the whole cast is quite brilliant; from Joe Morton (Henry) to Erica Cerra (Lupo) to Chris Gauthier (Vincent). (Gauthier, by the way, is forever Toyman, in my eyes, thanks to his kick-ass performance on Smallville recently.) They all bring something really special to their performance each week and together just pull off one of the best sci-comedies ever written. I wonder if I could get Fargo to sneak me into GD? Or like I said earlier, I could just head over to Warehouse 13…

Warehouse 13
Warehouse 13 is an amazing concept. Again, casting seems to be key for this show and the writing is equally fun. Season One had its ups and downs but overall I was sucked in each week. I think Eddie McClintock is the perfect every geek. This plays nicely off of straight edge Myka. And Saul Rubinek… what an awesome actor. He’s been one of my favorite character actors over the years and this part just seems to be so ideal for him. He’s the lovable curmudgeon. When they introduced Claudia last year I wasn’t sure what to think. But after a couple episodes, I found myself hoping she would stick around and so glad she has. I absolutely love her character. She pulls it all together for me, not to mention I kind of want to be her. The season opener this year was really well done; I’m loving the HG Wells thing, even though I’m sad to see the amazing nemesis of Robin Colcord, I mean James McPherson, go. I thought he made an excellent villain. That being said, the chic playing HG Wells was an absolute looney on Dexter and I hope she brings some of that zeal to this show. Everyone loves a good looney, right? Especially when they are smart… like, scary smart.

So, basically I am super stoked for the return of these shows. It sucks that they have shorter seasons, but it does make you appreciate them a little more. They really are the best thing to happen to summer TV in a long time. The climax for me will def be seeing the crossover epis where Claudia makes it over to Eureka and Fargo visits the Warehouse gang. Awesomeness.

Briefly, I watched Haven as I am an avid Stephen King fan and although the first show intrigued me, I wasn’t blown away. I’m going to give it some time and hope that it goes somewhere special, but they can’t possibly except to hit it out of the park every time.

So what do you think? Are you loving these shows as much as I am? I wanna hear from you guys… Comment!