Tv Shows

TV Review: Defiance (2013-2015)


Summary: Life in the city of Defiance, in a near future after the arrival of different alien lifeforms to Earth.

Not gonna lie, I only came across this show and watched it because of Jesse Rath who is AMAZING in Supergirl as Querl Dox or Brainiac 5. He quickly became my favorite character in the entire Arrowverse, and I need him to be on the show forever lol.

Spoilers ahead. 

Cast and Characters. I didn’t particularly have a favorite character in the show. I think everyone is likable in ways but also very annoying a lot of the times too. I think a lot of it mostly has to do with the actors.

  • Grant Bowler as Joshua Nolan. Nolan is known for his role in some previous wars. He even has this name, I think “the butcher” or something like that. Nolan is that devil may care kind of guy, who is very rough around the edges and doesn’t like to follow rules. He’s obviously the hero because his world is very much a grey area, more than it it black or white. He saved Irisa when she was a child and basically raised her. His relationship with her is nice but also very complicated and at other times really annoying. Throughout the show, Nolan does grow a lot in how he treats people and especially Irisa. Most of the choices he makes he does with good intentions for him and Irisa but as the show goes on, he begins to make choices that would benefit Defiance as he comes to care for the town and most of the people in it. He’s still a bit of a wildcard but he does try to do what’s right most times. I’ve never seen Grant Bowler in anything and he can be very endearing sometimes, particularly in the emotional moments with Irisa and Amanda. There are also times when he’s really annoying instead of “cool” the way he’s supposed to be. I think there is a fine line for characters who are “cool” and kind of a “bad boy type” and then being a smug jerk. He doesn’t quite find that balance for me consistently. 
  • Julie Benz as Amanda Rosewater. Amanda starts out as the new mayor of Defiance after her mentor and boss steps down and retires. She is becomes the interim Mayor and Amanda handles herself and the things that happen in this town pretty well. She’s very strong-willed and she can stand up to many people, even those she might be a bit afraid of. In the second season, we probably see her at her lowest because so much has happened, and she’s fallen off a bit in terms of how she handles herself. She manages to get herself together more in the third season, so it was a journey to see how well Amanda handles being a leader and how she shows how she cares and loves the people of Defiance. I’ve seen Julie Benz in a few things but her character was pretty passive in both, she was a bit sassy but nowhere near as sassy as she is in this show. I quite enjoyed how she never backed down from anything as Nolan was so straight-forward, it was nice that she was as well. 
  • Stephanie Leonidas as Irisa Nyira. Irisa is a young Irathient who Nolan saved as a child and has been raised as his daughter. They have a nice relationship as father/daughter but it’s also antagonistic in ways because she has a bit of an identity crisis because he’s human and she’s an alien and she says he raised her as a human which she isn’t. We see her struggles with her identity and then later with who she was raised as and who she is, especially with all that happened in season 2. She had a lot to do in season 2 but I think I liked her the most in season 3 just because she wasn’t so angry and she seemed to be coming into herself more. Stephanie Leonidas was really good as Irisa, she was relatable in a lot of ways. I’m not quite sure how old she was but I would assume, late teenager, young adult type and her battles with herself made sense and she acted it all very well. I think her emotional moments are quite powerful. 
  • Tony Curran as Datak Tarr. He’s like a mafia type of guy. His family is probably one of the most feared in Defiance, mostly because of Datak. He collects his debts from people who owe him and he does whatever he wants for the most part. He’s an intimidating guy, even how he talks to his wife and son even though he clearly loves them. In season one, he’s really trying to not only take down Rafe but he has it out for Amanda and then Nolan because Nolan seems to have it out for him. Datak takes no prisoners and he’s smart, in a ruthless way. In season 2, he’s in prison for what he did at the end of season and he spends most of that season trying to get back home, especially once he finds out his wife has taken over his role in the family business and in their Casti ways, that’s not appropriate. I think I liked him best in season 3 because, I really liked when he and Stahma worked together and they were doing it for their son. He still remains ruthless but he does have his great moments of sympathy and I love the moments when he thinks his family is in danger or when they are in danger and he becomes a different animal. I saw Tony Curran in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman and he was one of my favorites in that film and he’s great in this too, like he’s really good. He’s intimidating, and even when he’s being nice, I never quite know if I should trust him or not. That’s great stuff. 
  • Jaime Murray as Stahma Tarr. I’m not sure if I think she’s my favorite overall or not but I really enjoyed her because in the first season, she plays this timid and conservative wife role and she’s really good at it. She threatens people by whispering in their ear with a smile on her face and it’s so great. She makes me laugh so much because of how she handles situations and people. Stahma loves her son and will do anything for him and it’s clear she loves Datak but she wants to be treated as an equal as they are now living on earth and humans have their ways of men and women. She really gets to shine in season 2 and 3 because she has come into her own of being more independent and more in the forefront. I like how she talks and how she’s always smiling a little whenever she’s speaking and then when she doesn’t get her way, her smile slightly falters. I think a lot of this though, has to do with Jamie Murray who is fantastic as Stahma and how she plays the character. She has a lot more at stake in season 3 which I enjoy because it allows us to see her come undone and be less put together as she usually seems. 
  • Graham Greene as Rafe McCawley. Rafe is the richest man in Defiance. He’s very much a pro-human type person and he also owns the mines. He’s usually always on Amanda’s side and ready to back her and Nolan if he needs to. However, he gets angry really fast, especially if his family is involved. He’s very against his daughter Christy being with Alak Tarr but he really learns to be accepting and even though he threatens Alak on the regular. Rafe is a strong father figure and though he’s really like… harsh at times, like really harsh, I think he’s easy to understand. He isn’t complicated like like Datak is. Graham Greene plays Rafe like a stoic father and man which is what he is so it works. He’s also a likable yet unlikable guy lol but I also think that’s the point.
  • Jesse Rath as Alak Tarr. Alak is a young man, I would assume he’s like 18 in the first season because he comes off very teenager like. He’s into music, especially old-world music. He seems to want to be a Deejay in particular. He’s in love with a human girl which goes against his culture as he is an alien, but he was born on Earth, so he has a bit of an identity crisis in ways. He clearly loves his parents, but I think he also fears them and the things they can do to him and others. In season two, he takes on the role left by his father as the “mob boss” but it turns out his mother pretty much takes over and he is a bit relieved by this. But he gets into some trouble and has some marriage spats with Christie but a lot of it helps with his character growth. In season 3, we really get to see him come into his own. He starts off the season a prisoner but he manages to get back home and then he really takes a stand against his parents. I like Jesse Rath a lot and I think he does a really good job of being an earnest and likable character because I think that’s what Alak is even though he can come off as a dick at times. He’s a young man, it’s inevitable lol. But I like Alak because he’s not corrupted the way all the adults in this show is but he gets involved or chooses to get involved because he feels its what he needs to do BUT he also has traits of his parents which they underestimate quite a bit. I just think they should have allowed him to fight or something more because he got his ass kicked a lot lol and it seemed like he should have some kind of fighting spirit like his father and even his mother. He gets to fight sometimes but it seems like he’s not the best at it lol which I guess comes from him not having to ever with because his parents work for a better life but in the first episode it really seemed like he was going to kick some butt. But anyways, I really like Jesse Rath and I’m so into watching him play all the sci-fi characters lol. 

Supporting Characters. 

  • Trenna Keating as Doc Yewll. She has some of the best lines in the show. She is an Indogene which I gather is a race that was created to be in subservient roles, sure. It seems that in the war, she did things that really were bad, she’s a scientist so she’s done a lot of weird stuff. However, she’s come to care about the people in Defiance and so she often ends up making decisions that would put her at risk but save others. She was probably one of the most interesting characters. I don’t particularly like the design of these aliens but the actress did her thing with working around those prosthetics and her line delivery was great. 
  • Dewshane Williams as Tommy LaSalle. I liked Tommy, he was like an earnest kid who looked up to Nolan in the first season, because Nolan’s ways got results. He also really liked Irisa and I thought it was cute. In the second season, he was angry at both Nolan and Irisa because they left. He was now the lawkeeper and then suddenly they both returned and Nolan took over and Tommy was like “bruh, I’ve been handling stuff because you left, don’t come back here and take over” and I understood him for that. It was annoying after a while but I understood it. He ended up dating Berlin but I didn’t really like them together. He had way more chemistry with Irisa. I thought the actor was okay for the most part, he didn’t do a lot with his facial expressions but he’s cute and likable. 
  • Nicole Muñoz as Christie McCawley Tarr. I thought this actress was super miscast, she looked nothing like her family and thought her acting was really weak and it made me dislike her often. Whenever she talks I’m like mehhhh. I ended up liking her a bit more in season two and way more in season three buttt… I mean yeah lol. She did have nice chemistry with Jesse Rath and their storyline was interesting, we just didn’t see enough of it honestly. 

Interesting Overall Story. So, season 1 is probably the weakest of the three seasons but it does start us off. We have Nolan and Irisa who come to Defiance and they get involved in all the shenanigans of this town. We spend the first season really establishing the town and the characters. To be honest, I don’t really remember the plot of the first season, but I remember character moments more than an overarching plot. The biggest things I remember was the whole thing with Alak and Christie since their dads hate each other and he’s an alien and she’s human. Oh! I remember now lol, the previous Mayor and some other people from the town were trying to find something in the mines and they let the Volge in with the hopes they were gonna destroy the town so they could get into the mines. lol Season 2 is absolutely fantastic and Season 3 was really good too but I think Season 2 was probably the best one.

Really Nice Makeup. One of the best things about the show is how the aliens look. They’re so different from what I’ve seen in the past, but they are very different from other alien families in the show itself. The aliens are called “Votans”. But we have about seven races we see in the show in general.

  • Castithans. They are one of the main aliens we see in the show. The Tarr family being a prominent family are part of this race. On the left is Datak and Stahma and Alak is on the right. I don’t like the family picture where Alak has the blue hair, I think his facial expression is weird, so I chose this one which I prefer lol. But they are these beautiful creatures, with pale white skin, white or silver hair, either straight or curly. They have either pale blue, orange or sometimes lavender eyes. They are like aristocrats and other races see them as arrogant because of their views.
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Indogenes. They have bright white skin covered in scales and no hair. They are probably the smartest race and have many numerous genetic and technological implants. Their brains can be downloaded by copying their genetic code and their store memories can be replicated.

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Irathients. They have broad and flat nasal bridges, reddish skin and usually have red hair, they can be perceived as attractive. They are naturally athletic and have intense combat skills. They are a proud, tribal people with a deep love of the natural world and aggressive demeanor. They are often perceived as feral by others.

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Omec. They have purple skin, white or grey hair and long eyebrow hairs. They have a second skin, or zekbatsin, which is a vestige from their past where they open their mouths wide and produce a second set of teeth in order to feed. They are very strong and resilient, capable of receiving injuries that would be fatal to other races such as damage to their brains. Omec are immune to most poisons and with age they develop a greater immunity to lethal substances. 



  • Liberata. They’re the shortest alien race and everyone, including females, can grow tons of hair.
  • Gulanee. We don’t really see them, I think we saw one of them one time but sure.
  • Sensoth. They’re basically like wookies and we see maybe two that are actual characters and not extras.
  • Volge. They look like robots, but I guess that’s part of the alien skin.

Sci-Fi Things. I am not a huge sci-fi person, there are some shows I can get into, but I’m more into the fantasy part when the two genres are combined. But I do know a lot of the “isms” of the genre and this show has a lot of classic sci-fi ‘isms. You have aliens, updated but also outdated technology, space lol but it is grounded in humanity. I liked that.

Season 2 and 3. These two are the best of the show, particularly season 2 though I did really like 3 as well. Two just had a lot of emotional and human aspects of it and I was so into it compared to show it was a bit fleeting in season one. Season two hits you hard with the punches, especially with what was happening with Irisa and Nolan and particularly the Tarrs with Datak being in jail and Alak having to deal with what’s happening, what’s expected of him, with Stahma trying to have a more forward role and then of course the stuff with Alak and Christie. Oh also, Amanda’s entire plot with that weird dude who was the mayor, I never trusted that guy lol. Season 2 is so good. I won’t get into season 3 again but also great, especially with the high stakes and tension they maintained from season 2. I prefer the first half more than the second half of season 3 and I wish they kept that as a through line but sure.

Character Complexity. One of the best aspects of this show is how complex these characters are because through each season, each one has grown in ways that gives them a nice ending in season three. Irisa, Amanda and Nolan have this most notably. We get it with Datak, Stahma and Alak respectively and it’s handled well for them as well. I think that helps with finding these characters interesting and likable. It would be annoying if no one changed in this show

Character Chemistry/Relationships. I really love how the relationships is handled in the show. I was going to pull out some of the most notable ones but I changed my mind lol. But Nolan & Irisa is one of the main relationship in the show and they have a lot of ups and downs, a lot to the point where it’s annoying but it’s relatable and understandable. It’s like Irisa loves and hates Nolan and he’s always so shocked whenever she disagrees with him but I think she’s very clear about her feelings. The Tarr family is a very interesting, probably the most interesting relationship in the show because they’re just too interesting! Datak and Stahma are married and they clearly follow the traditions of their people, but as the show goes on, Stahma starts to go against that and Datak is against it at first, he even tries to kill her, but he eventually gets on board with it and she’s able to do her thing. Then both of them with their son, Alak gets way more interesting as it goes on because at first, he’s just their young son who they both love but also kind of dismiss, to where it becomes, they’ll do anything for him but he has his own family he’s creating and that’s more important to him then whatever they’re trying to do. He still loves them but still. Nolan and Amanda started out with a little romantic energy but he ends up having a thing with her sister Kenya, which I didn’t like lol, but they get a lot of interactions. She believes and trusts him and vice versa and in season 3 they really get to lean on each other. 

Later in season 3, there are very few moments, but they were there that I noticed some chemistry between Irisa and Alak. I don’t know if there was ever going to be a friendship that bloomed between them in the show or not, but I was like “oooo what’s this?” and I was really hoping for something.


Annoying Characters Sometimes. Jeez these people can be stupid sometimes. I was super mad at how flaky Kenya was in how she reacted to people. I’m sure a lot of people in this show were fluid in who they were attracted to and in love with, which I guess makes sense since there are aliens, but Kenya thinking she was going to OUTSMART Stahma… girl lol sit down. Or Amanda falling into whatever thing she fell into with the Mayor. I mean what? GIRL! He is clearly weird, and HE IS CLEARLY the guy who attacked you those years ago! The man was WILLINGLY giving you DRUGS! GIRL! Then literally EVERY TIME Nolan and Irisa got into an argument. Listen, Irisa is legit in how she feels about things, but I want to slap both her and Nolan many many times. STOP ARGUING! SHUT UP! Why can’t y’all just talk and understand each other? I know y’all love each other BUT DAMN! Man, I want to punch them lol. Christie also had plenty of times where I wanted to punch her in the face, a lot that might have been because the actress was just okay. Oh, and QUENTIN! Disliked him so much! Stupid head.

Not Enough Plot for Characters. This is an ensemble show, so everyone should generally have some time to shine but I think the show doesn’t quite manage to make that happen for everyone. Nolan, Irisa and Amanda are clearly the leads of the show so we spend a TON of time with them and that’s fine, but I wanted to go back to things that were happening with the Tarrs or even at times the McCawleys and I think Alak and Christie should have gotten more time to have their relationship develop. It almost reminds me of a soap opera where you have your leads stories but the storyline you might be more interested in, is very not in the forefront lol. I was really into the beginning storyline with the Tarrs, in how Favi Tank kidnapped Alak to make Datak and Stahma do what he wants, I loved that Alak escaped on his own, but I wish we got to see him more in the camp with Favi Tak because that guy was funny and I liked the banter between them. Also, the opening storyline for Alak and Christie where Pilar (Christie’s mother) KIDNAPPED a pregnant Christie and Alak because she wanted to be with them… I mean WHAT!? Then six months later and Christie had her baby and Pilar keeps Christie and Alak CHAINED TO THE TABLE! I MEAN WHAT!? I don’t care about this other stuff! I want to see the craziness with PILAR, ALAK AND CHRISTIE! I mean, what happened when she had the baby!? I NEED TO KNOW! GAH!

The Omec Storyline. They are clearly the “black people” of the Votans lol but Kindzi and T’evgin show up early and they have some importance throughout the season, but their real story doesn’t really start until later. It could have been waaaaay interesting overall and it wasn’t horrible, but it was rushed. I know the show got cancelled after season 3 and I don’t know if they knew that beforehand and wanted to throw everything they could in before it ended, but I really think having the Omec storyline brought the quality of season 3 down compared to how it was in the beginning. Kindzi and T’evgin were interesting but I didn’t find myself interested in watching anything with them because it was just thrown in there.

Super Cheesy and Cringe. This show is super cheesy and really cringe at times. Some of the dialogue and delivery is just bad. Sometimes the interactions or even the stories don’t always hit the way they should. The first season and part of the third season has this issue. Season one is super boring. It gets interesting towards the end but super boring. Then in season 3, the entire Omec plot was just blah and I didn’t particularly like Kindzi and T’evgin enough to care for that at all. It felt tacked on and they were made out to be this terrifying presence but the effects for when they eat was bad and I just was like meh whatever. 

Overall, I started watching this show for an actor and I ended up really enjoying the show overall. I think all the acting is good for the most part, some are better than others. Same with the characters. There’s no one I out right dislike, but there also isn’t anyone I outright really like either, maybe Stahma lol. Seasons 2 and 3 were good and I think they’re the most interesting overall. The look of the aliens is so cool and unique that I was really into being introduced to each species. The character complexity is handled well, and I really enjoyed the character relationships explored in the show. Now, I think the show is really cringe and cheesy at times, most of that is dialogue and acting but still, this is also playing into the characters being annoying a lot of the time. Very frustrating when you want to smack everyone in the face. I think there was a disservice to some characters by not giving them proper or enough plot to take on, especially when they had the potential to be interesting. Also, I did not quite care for the Omec story line. It had potential and it was a tad interesting but I’d rather an entire season dedicated to the rogue group of the Votanis Collective and then if we got a season four, do the Omec thing. But ya know whatever, the show got cancelled which is sad lol but also good for me because I prefer Jesse Rath as Brainiac 5 on Supergirl

Rating: 4 out 5 stars. I’m basing this rating on my enjoyment of the last two seasons and the stories that were going on, otherwise it might have been a tad lower.

Have you seen Defiance? Who is your favorite character? What do you think of the show? Best season?

What is your favorite sci-fi television show? I also really enjoyed Stargate: Universe. 


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