Defiance: Why is it so painful to watch?
I am now a third season into this show and still have an empty feeling after watching it. It has given me only the minimal satisfaction at times, and I have yet to invest myself in the characters, the setting or the show in general. I am huge fan of Rockne S. O’Bannon work, especially Farscape but this show is just killing me. It has gotten to the point that it is painful to watch. It is almost the same feeling I had after watching the new Battlestar Galactica series, where I just want a refund on my time spent watching it.
I think my biggest problem with the show is the concept behind it. I just do not like the idea of not just one race but 7 collectively called the Votans. That just does not grab me at all. They all come from ONE SYSTEM? That stretches my suspension of disbelief. I mean, I get the idea. They want to make some social statements on racism, xeno-phobia and present fresh new ideas on alien cultures. However, by the time we meet them in the show, they are less alien and just seem like humans with extra make up.
The setting itself as so much potential and all we do is stay in the boring town of Defiance. YAWN! Some of my favorite episodes deal with things outside of Defiance. I think they bit off more than they can chew though because the Earth surface is supposed to have been transformed after “Ark Fall” but it costs so much to make those changes in the show. I am far more interested in seeing the changes made to the rest of the work than just hanging out in this boring town.
One of the central aliens to the show – the Castithans – are just albino humans with very little else about them. There is apparently some kind of aristocracy in their society but they hardly ever explore that. They simply bore me to no end. They desperately try to inject sexuality into the show – ambiguous sexuality, even – but I just don’t find them engaging or sexy. The white paint on them just looks fake and I just can’t buy into them. The only interesting race is the Irathients – a cross between the Native Americans and Klingons – they never really explored them enough.
The characters are gloomy and boring. I have a hard time caring about them at all. Joshua Nolan is just a Mad Max wanna-be. I just don’t sympathize with him. The show occupies itself too much with making strong characters that the males fall in the background and bore me. There is nothing wrong with strong female characters but the male characters can’t be sacrificed to them. But I really do not respect the female characters in this show either. There is not one single character that I relate to or pull for in each show.
Also, this father-daughter relationship between Joshua Nolan and this alien chick is just plain weird. That whole plot-line behind the alien AI taking her over was so badly presented that I just about gave up on the show. It was a pretty cool concept but I seriously did not get it until the end. And then they destroyed New York city, really? Like it was nothing and then the next season it’s like nothing really happened. Yea they make a veiled attempt to reference it but it was just kind of brushed over. I would think it was a much bigger deal than they made it.
What pulls me back to a show is the potential for story and good characters. So far, this show as been nothing but a disappointment. There is a lot of potential but they always seem to fall short. The stories are weak. The characters are weak. The overall execution is weak. I may be done with this show after this season.
What I want to see is more exploration into the alien world, why they had to leave, what lead them to earth, explore the alien societies a little more and the alien technology. Do more sci-fi than stupid soap opera stuff. This was my problem with the new BSG.