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Last Monday, the SyFy Channel released their much anticipated new series Defiance. Geeking Cool was right there to review the pilot. Our review was fairly generous and other reviews have been fairly up and down. Some complained that the show was not at all what SyFy touted. Others slandered Nolan as a ripoff of Star Wars’ Hans Solo. We remain optimistic about the show though. Can Defiance convince everyone else? Can it keep us optimistic? SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!

In the wake of a Volge attack on the town, Datak Tarr has a special punishment reserved for one of his Castithan companions that fled the battle. The ritual torture of the coward seems to owe itself partially to the medieval rack and partially to the Jewish funerary custom of placing rocks on the grave. It is a testament to SyFy’s work at creating detailed cultures for the races of this show. Nolan, the town’s new human lawkeeper, is not pleased with the fair-skinned, white haired race’s custom. Nor is Irisa, his adopted Irathient daughter who came from a rough background, or the town’s mayor, Amanda Rosewater. However, fearing an eruption of civil disorder from the Castithan people of Defiance, Amanda promises not to intervene.

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Meanwhile, the conflict between the Datak and Rafe McCawley has deepened as Datak’s son, Alak, and Rafe’s daughter, Christie, have become engaged. Rafe harbors deep hatred for all aliens while Datak has his eyes set on the McCawley mines. His plans may be thwarted though when Christie wanting to slow things down with Alak in order to smooth things over with her father. Stamha Tarr, Datak’s wife, sweeps in to save the day with her off-putting charm. Her character is a favorite of ours as we are not sure whether she genuinely cares about her son and his love interest or if she is just as ambitious as her husband.

Ben, Mayor Rosewater’s former assistant that allowed the Volge into Defiance, is in a coma and under guard. Yet, the former mayor’s mysterious companion has woken the traitor. Ben’s family is under threat from this man, it would seem, if he doe not help them destroy the town. Sneaking out of the compound he is being held in, Ben steals some explosives and heads into the McCawley mines. When he blows the tunnel closed behind him.

Needing information, Nolan heads underground after him. The problem is that Rafe is going too, still kind of pissed about Ben killing his eldest son, and Nolan needs to take the Indogene Votan alive. Their journey leads them into the heart of Old St. Louis, long since covered over by alien terra forming. It is here that they uncover Ben’s plan – an old nuclear power plant. If Ben sets the explosives off inside, the leaked radiation will kill everyone in the town above. The team manages to stop him, but they are unable to take him alive as he rushes onto Rafe’s gun, forcing the mine owner to shoot him.

Topside, Irisa has decided to save the Castithan currently being stretched to within an inch of his life. She is about to become the target of a lynch mob when she is saved by deputy lawkeeper Tommy Lasalle. He places the tortured coward under arrest for loitering, prompting Datak to attempt a raid on the lawkeeper’s station. Before the situation can turn ugly though, Nolan and Mayor Rosewater show up and diffuse the situation. It is short lived though as the rescued Castithan ends up laying in the street with his throat slit.

The writing and acting on this show has, so far, been much better than many SyFy channel originals. We think Grant Bowler was an excellent choice for Nolan. He brings a rough and tumble element to the show. Do we view him as a Hans Solo ripoff? Not really. He lacks the cockiness and, at times, dim-wittedness that we loved in the Star Wars gunslinger. I mean really, would Han actually worry about taking Ben alive; or would he just blast the heck out of him and radio back to Amanda that “Everything’s fine here. Just a weapons malfunction”? The time taken to develop languages, traditions, and cultures for each race also gains the show some points. Too many science fiction shows just toss some cookie cutter aliens in front of the camera and call it a day. Not this one though. We do wish a little more progress made with whatever the former mayor and her mysterious companion are looking for under Defiance. In the end, we remain optimistic. This episode gets 