In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, SyFy. Starts April 15th
In the UK: Tuesdays, 9pm, SyFy UK. Starts April 16th
In Canada: Mondays, 10pm, Showcase. Starts April 15th
When a new show hits the airwaves and becomes a cultural phenomenon, it can take a little time for the copy-cats to appear. Case in point is HBO's Game of Thrones, now starting its third season, which until now has had few imitators. Now comes SyFy's Defiance, which although limited by its basic cable licence and family audience, features all the culture- and world-building, tribes, fights and weird sex of Game of Thrones, albeit in a sci-fi rather than fantasy setting.
Developed by Farscape, seaQuest DSV, Cult and Alien Nation creator Rockne S O'Bannon, Defiance is set a few decades from now on a radically transformed Earth that has seen the arrival of not just one but seven alien races who had come to what they thought was the uninhabited Earth in order to settle on it. Initially willing to co-exist, things go a bit pear-shaped and a war breaks out. The terra-reformer technology the aliens were going to use in a controlled manner gets unleashed accidentally and haphazardly, remaking the Earth in unpredictable ways. After the war winds down, both sides exhausted, the world becomes more like the wild west, with gangs of humans and aliens roaming around in a relatively lawless society.
Against this backdrop, we follow two scavengers - Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his adopted alien daughter Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas) - as they try to get rich by selling parts of old spaceships that they find, broken bits of which continue to fall from orbit. Eventually, they find themselves in St Louis, now a frontier town that has been renamed Defiance. There they have to get to grips with all the different alien communities, the tensions, the politics and more - including this Earth-thing called love.
And while the show is certainly ambitious, surprising and involves plenty of hard SF - even simultaneously having a tie-in online multi-user game that you can play set in the same world - it's also depressingly conventional in exactly the same way Terra Nova was.
Here's a trailer.