Tonight on Syfy is the much anticipated series premiere of Defiance.Â The channel’s considering the show a transmedia event. Why? According to a press release, the reason is it’s “the first-ever convergence of television and online gaming featuring an interconnected world between the two mediums as they evolve together into one overall story.”
While a portion of Syfy’s Canadian import, Continuum, takes place in 2077, Defiance is set in the year 2046.
Defiance Synopsis: In the year 2046, itâ€™s a new Earth â€“ with new rules. Over thirty years after various alien races arrived on Earth, the landscape is completely altered, terraformed nearly beyond recognition. To the town of Defiance, on what used to be St. Louis, comes the mysterious Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his charge, Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas). As they settle into town â€“ overseen by the mayor, Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) and filled with residents like the powerful Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene), enterprising lounge owner Kenya (Mia Kirshner) and the ambitious, alien Tarrs (Tony Curran and Jaime Murray) – events begin to unfold that threaten the fragile peace this border town has fought for.
My reasons to tune into the pilot:
1. I like the fact that the action goes on in what used to be St. Louis. That’s where I’m originally from and even though the show is shot in Canada, I love seeing the image of the Arch. And when I chatted with Defiance star Julie Benz in a recent press call, she assured me the Arch remains a fixture in this brave new world.
2. The cast. I’m especially excited for the presence of Grant Bowler (Lost, Ugly Betty, True Blood), Julie Benz (Angel, Dexter, No Ordinary Family), Mia Kirshner (The Vampire Diaries, The L Word) and Jaime Murray (Warehouse 13, NCIS, Ringer). They all have street cred on the genre side of things. And, I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else has to offer too.
TV Goodness asked Benz whether viewers were going to get hooked right away or down the road:
BENZ:Â I think through every episode we learn more and more and more about what the town stands for and what the name stands for. And, you know, there’s so many elements going on in the show because [you’re] trying to see if aliens and humans can live peacefully together in this one town.Â But then there’s also these outside factions trying to take over the town. So they don’t believe aliens and humans can live peacefully and they want either a pure human race or all-alien race. Like they don’t want to mix it. So Defiance is about the struggle to keep your independence and then, you know, every episode reveals another element of that.
3. The concept intrigues me. It’s going to be cool to see how this show will differentiate itself from every other show that exhibits a post apocalyptic vibe. I’m not a gamer so I don’t know if I’ll end up getting the true Defiance experience but the whole way the game ties in with the series intrigues me as well.
Here’s where the gaming experience comes in (according to Syfy.com):
As the events ofÂ DefianceÂ unfold weekly on your TV screen, you can see how the residentsâ€™ struggles impact the game ofÂ Defiance,Â a high-octane, multi-platform experience from Trion Worlds! For the first time in history, a TV show and a game will exist concurrently in a shared universe, influencing and impacting the other!
In the game ofÂ Defiance, players take on the role of Ark Hunters, specialists in survival, combat and tracking who brave dangerous frontiers to retrieve lost relics of advanced or alien origin in return for great financial rewards (The Arks are the ships that brought the aliens to Earth). Players can search for Arks on their own, simultaneously join tens of thousands of other players for missions or just explore the fully realized, future world ofÂ DefianceÂ (it’s really, really big). Custom character creation allows players to adopt a human or alien appearance for their Ark Hunter. With weapons, armor and special abilities that evolve with experience,Â DefianceÂ is a gaming experience that must be played to be believed.
Defiance‘s Bowler had a great time making the whole world come to life:
BOWLER: The studio itself has something like 400, 500 cameras surrounding the space that you’re working in so when you do a scene I’d say to them ‘what’s your frame’ and they’d say ‘oh we don’t know what the frame is,’ you act the scene and then we’ll create frames around what you’re doing.Â And that was completely new to me. The idea of being able to have a complete and utter sandbox where you just do whatever performance comes into your mind and then they’ll punch in for a close up here, they’ll cut there, they’ll go into a two-shot there and they’ll decide all of that after seeing what you do, is completely counter to the film-making process. So it’s exactly the opposite. And again a bit nerve-wracking and new because you actually don’t know how they’re going to cut it. You have no idea as an actor how it’s going to cut which is quite intimidating at times unless you trust them of course and then it’s incredibly freeing.
TheÂ DefianceÂ series premiere is tonight at 9/8c on Syfy.
Behind the Scenes clips:
Grant Bowler on the Conflicted Hero
Dewshane Williams on the Society in Defiance
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