Defiance: Season 1 (2013)


Season 1

Critics Consensus

Defiance is watchable for its keen loyalty to science fiction and a well-told story.



Critic Ratings: 18


Audience Score

User Ratings: 153

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Air date: Apr 15, 2013

In a future Earth largely devastated after lengthy war with alien invaders, Jeb Nolan and his adopted daughter Irisa live in the badlands, open areas that have no government. After an encounter with Spirit Riders, a roving motorcycle gang, they find themselves in the city of Defiance, formerly St. Louis. They have been at peace now for 15 years and the new mayor, Amanda Rosewater, wants to keep it that way. There are tensions in the community however particularly between the McCawleys and the Tarrs.

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Air date: Apr 15, 2013

After the battle, the residents of Defiance count their dead. A Castithan, Elah Bandik, is to be cleansed - tortured to death - after running away from the fight. Nolan steps in to stop them but the mayor intervenes, continuing a policy of allowing all 8 races to follow their cultural traditions with respect to their own people. Amanda's assistant Ben - who blew up the stasis net - escapes. There's been an explosion at the McCrawley mine and it seems Ben is responsible.

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Air date: Apr 22, 2013

Having helped fend off the attack the spirit riders now have access to the city. They do set people's nerves on edge however. Nolan meanwhile has a murder to solve after they find the remains of Dalton Taggart in the nearby woods. There's not much left of him but after a second citizen. Boyd Bowen, is butchered Nolan believes he was attacked by a particularly vicious creature known as hellbugs. After a second attack on Datak Tarr and his family, Nolan concludes that pheromones are being used to target people.

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Air date: Apr 29, 2013

After the body of Elah Bandik is left on his doorstep, Nolan goes after Datak Tarr with a vengeance. He starts by arresting two of Tarr's drug and gun dealers and seizing their goods. It turns out however the weapons were destined for the town's defenses with some of the councilors having kept that information from Amanda. Meanwhile, Amanda's sister Kenya is taken by Ulysses, who works for Talak, and is destined to be sold to the highest bidder.

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Air date: May 6, 2013

Nolan and Amanda head out on the overland express, a form of bus service that runs through Defiance every few weeks. Nolan is there to deliver Rynn to jail so she can serve her two year sentence. He's also there to protect a suitcase full of cash that Amanda is taking to Las Vegas to pay for the rail connection to Defiance. Once the bus is in the middle of nowhere it's hijacked leading to a standoff.

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Air date: May 13, 2013

Nolan welcomes an old army buddy, Eddie Braddock, who is now working as a bounty hunter. He's tracked Pol Madis, a Castithan weapons developer, to Defiance and now wants to take him to the Earth Republic where Masis will receive his just punishment and he would no doubt get a generous reward. After the Castilian escapes from his jail cell, Nolan and Eddie set out to recapture him.

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Air date: May 20, 2013

Defiance is bombarded with razor rain, metal object falling from the sky as their orbit around the Earth deteriorates. Irisa has a vision and heads off to the badlands when she sees that Sukar is in danger. They arrive seemingly too late to save him but his funeral ceremony is something of a surprise. A resurrected Sukar is on a mission and takes Irisa with him. If he succeeds, it may be the end of the town.

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Air date: Jun 3, 2013

Nolan and Jefferson decide to check out the Voltan ship that crashed just outside of town. They are more than just a bit shocked when they find American astronaut Gordon McClintock in suspended animation. McClintock is a hero of the war with the aliens but was believed to have died 40 years ago. Books have been written and movies have been made about his life. Doc Yewll examines him and he gets a clean bill of health. When McClintock attacks Amanda Rosewater in the middle of the night however, it's clear something is wrong.

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Air date: Jun 10, 2013

The illness infecting Defiance appears to be carried by the Irathient; all Votans appear to be immune. The town council overrules Amanda and imposes a quarantine on the Irathient, holding them in a tunnel at McCawley Mines; one of the Irathient is shot and killed during a scuffle with the miners. Amanda, Nolan and Christie McCawley are all infected. A vaccine for the infection is dropped outside Defiance; Nolan and Connor Lang go to retrieve it, with Lang talking them through the Earth Republic quarantine around Defiance.

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Air date: Jun 17, 2013

The body of a prominent businessman who disappeared nearly six years ago is discovered hidden in the walls of NeedWant, prompting an investigation by Nolan and Tommy that exposes many of the secrets held by the people of Defiance. It also causes unrest on the eve of Alak and Christie's wedding.

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Defiance: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

The series is set in the near future, where aliens known collectively as Votans have come to Earth seeking a new home after their solar system was destroyed. However, when they reached Earth, they discovered despite a prolonged negotiation with the government on Earth, they were not welcome. Rather than turn away, they began a war with the humans as they are determined to make Earth their new home. During the war, the Votans dropped terraformers on the planet and transformed the surface; scorching the earth, opening chasms in the ground and covering the surface of the planet in dust and debris. After decades of war, a ceasefire is declared when both sides realise they must focus on survival on this new almost alien planet.

Cast & Crew

Jaime Murray
Stahma Tarr
Tony Curran
Datak Tarr
Grant Bowler
Joshua Nolan
Graham Greene
Rafe McCawley
Julie Benz
Amanda Rosewater
Michael Taylor
Executive Producer
Rockne O'Bannon
Executive Producer
Kevin Murphy
Executive Producer
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News & Interviews for Defiance: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Defiance Season 1

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (11)

Syfy's Defiance is the Frankenstein of TV series - built from the parts of other shows.

Apr 15, 2013 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Four hours in, I'm guardedly curious enough to play -- make that watch -- along for a little while.

Apr 16, 2013 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

The narrative energy flags, and the characters become less interesting.

Apr 16, 2013 | Full Review…

On a channel dedicated to science-fiction fans, Defiance could certainly attract the core audience it needs.

Apr 15, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

The scripts and story lines tend to be cliche-heavy and sense-dulling predictable. Now, please get to work on the basics.

Apr 11, 2013 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

I am engaged by the show's lively metaphor for a polyglot culture fractured by tribalism and Otherness, for a world that can easily put aside past pain and present differences to tackle a common threat.

May 15, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Defiance's first season was never appointment television like Battlestar Galactica, but it's solid meat-and-potatoes sci-fi that has the potential to get better the longer it remains on the air.

Oct 15, 2013 | Full Review…

With a hefty dose of darkness and some strong character growth on various fronts, this episode really showcased Defiance's storytelling potential.

Jun 26, 2013 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

Overall, I'm very pleased with the pilot; the show has done a good job of telling an engaging story IN the future without it being entirely about the future.

Apr 16, 2013 | Rating: 4.7/5 | Full Review…

It's a promising start for the series and should be a hit with audiences hungry for ambition and scale in a sci-fi show.

Apr 16, 2013 | Rating: 7.9/10 | Full Review…

The new drama doesn't live up to the expectations set by its reportedly $100 million price tag.

Apr 14, 2013 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Defiance the TV show may not break new ground in its two-hour premiere Monday, but it does stand on its own as a watchable sci-fi series.

Apr 15, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Defiance: Season 1

  • Apr 01, 2021
    It was good enough to watch, but there is definately some problem with narration and plot. Characters are likeable.
  • May 22, 2020
    כל כך חבל שסגרו את הסדרה הזאת
  • Aug 28, 2019
    Too many characters, no focus, dialogue is 50% gibberish, Maralyn Manson has his own alien race, sound effects are at deafening volume, & I couldn't even tell you what the plot was.
  • Nov 25, 2018
    This sci Fi series was very creative. A lot of detail went into the back story. The plots were complex. Many intriguing characters including multiple aliens. Likeable leads. However, there was always a little too much violence. Several main characters were nasty psychopaths. Season one is the best of the three seasons and perhaps the only one worth watching. Not for kids.
  • Apr 02, 2018
    Although hampered a bit by budget constraints, Defiance quickly develops its own identity and brings complex and dynamic characters and stories to the table in a very compelling and interesting show that occasionally reminds me of Farscape and the glory days of the Sci Fi channel.
  • Jul 01, 2016
    So far so good. The acting is surprisingly ace for a Sci-Fi, the alien races are really well done and there's nothing too cringey going on (cringe often seems to sneak into Sci-Fi). I also love Graham Greene, he's one of my favourite actors. I'm sticking with it.
  • Oct 14, 2015
    This series has a 90s sci-fi vibe to it, and I mean that in a good way! It's sorta like Stargate SG-1, Farscape, Star Trek TNG, and Firefly all rolled up into one. The series takes place in a post war ravaged earth, where aliens and humans struggle to survive in a world of violence and deadly politics. And it's all set to the great soundtrack of Bear McCreary ( the musical talent behind the BSG reboot soundtrack). If you're a fan of the sci-fi genre this show will probably hit the spot for you. It's HEAVY on the sci-fi. I'm talking alien languages/slang and customs, distinct alien species, and funky costumes. If you're looking for sci-fi, well, this show has it. Overall, the cast is pretty strong, with the weakest performance coming from Julie Benz as Mayor Amanda Rosewater. Grant Bowler (Nolan), Stephanie Leonidas (Irisa), and Tony Curran (Datak) are the standout performances for me. As I heard mixed reviews about this show, I was hesitant to watch it. But, man, am I glad I gave it a chance.
  • Aug 14, 2015
    Defiance is the type of show that I have been waiting on for years. It's a true sci-fi show, that isn't horrible. Although the different species can be hard to remember, or even follow sometimes, it's worth getting into. I watch it religiously!
  • Jul 24, 2015
    It's so kitsch it's giving me shivers. Series like that who take themselves seriously with those crappy cgi effects can only be targeting a stupid auditory. I just can't stand this.
  • Jun 22, 2015
    I just finished Binge-watching both Seasons 1&2 and the first 3 episodes of S3 so that is what this review is based upon. I will start by saying OMG this show is Phenomenal. I had nothing to watch since GOT ended and I decided to watch this and thank God for that bc this show killed it in every area. I will start with the story it takes place on Earth in the year 2046 after multiple alien species landed years prior and centers upon Nolan and Irisa in the Town of Defiance. The story is simple but gets even better as time progresses. I will now talk about the cast which is in my opinion the best part. I will credit the 2 best actors in the show that being Nolan played by Grant Bowler and my favorite character Datak who is played by Tony Curran both are astounding actors. I will also say that all of the actors and actresses did an Amazing job of keeping the story engaging. I will now movie onto the action which I will say is sometimes a tad corny but the majority of the time it's Insanely Epic. I would recommend this show in a heart beat and S3 is so far the Best season yet. F.Y.I one of the main villains in S3 called General Rahm Tak who is played by Lee Tergesen is an absolutely mind blowing villain who is now probably just after 3 episodes my favorite villain of any television show to date. Go and Watch this show Now lolz.

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