I’m still watching Defiance. It’s perpetually a show on the cusp of being cut from my rotation. Too much run-of-the-mill sci-fi “action” that’s supposed to be exciting but is really just boring.
But every time I think I’m ready to cut bait, the show reels me back in with something. And it’s usually having something to do with character, worldbuilding or good old fashioned cross-cultural melodrama.
The more the de-emphasize Nolan and his lawkeeper shtick, the better. I’ve enjoyed Stephanie Leondias’s work ever since MirrorMask, but I feel like the show doesn’t give her enough to do. Last season mayoral shenanigans and mine dramas mixed with weird alien killer bugs = big yawns.
But then Tony Curran and Jamie Murray come on the screen, and it’s like it becomes a completely different show. It reminds me of old episodes of Next Generation, where the Federation would be plodding along after something noble and good, and then all of the sudden we’d be in a Klingon story and its like we’d wandered into Shakespeare.
So far, this season, they seemed to have upped the ante on the Castithan stories, and they’re popping like mad. Even Alak and and Christy, who were fairly paint-by-numbers last year, are so much more compelling as they evolve from gee-shucks young lovers to something more adult and complicated.
I almost cut the show from my rotation a few episodes back, until yet another crackling Datak/Stahma scene hooked me back. But over the past two episodes, Defiance has rolled out the single most fascinating thing that they’ve come up with: William Atherton - during the day, E-Rep’s ruthless Viceroy Mercado, but by night, a passionate Castithan cross-dresser – and crooner!
The underground Votan crossdressing club is enough to get me in on Defiance for the rest of the year, if not more. I am so much more interested in this kind of story than some of the other paint-by-number procedural things they spend most of their time on.
The yearning, joy, shame, pride and lust all mixed up in Mercado, Christy and the other denizens of their cultural appropriation club - that felt real and compelling, even under all the makeup and prosthetics. That’s the show I want to watch.
And to close with Mercado singing was just perfect. And holy cow does William Atherton look like he’s having a blast. A great part for a great actor, and he’s crushing it.
I definitely agree that Jaime Murray and Tony Curran are the reason I was able to get through season one. Defiance is definitely a really uneven show.
As we can see in this scene, they are around Yekaterina (or Ekaterina) in Russia.
Yep, New Year’s Day is in Russia. And we discussed it a little bit here, there’s no doubt it’s set in Russia. ;)