Crossing Over: “DEFIANCE”Fearful Features,Movies/TV,News Lexi Harrington
Welcome, FANGORIA Readers, to CROSSING OVER, a column that highlights the films, series and content out there outside of horror that is fashioned towards or pays tribute to our beloved genre. By shining a light onto these projects, FANGORIA hopes to open a world of entertainment perfect for fright fans that lies just beyond the borders of the horror community. So without further ado…
The three season phenomenon that was DEFIANCE is, as its network suggests, a science fiction series. But the show is so heavily laced with violence, villains, and the not-so-occasional grotesquerie that horror fans may find themselves falling for the alien featuring series. Immaculately imagined and conceived, the show transports the viewer to Earth’s future in the year 2048. DEFIANCE, which premiered in 2013, also boasts incredible acting and suspenseful plot twists that makes the series surprisingly addicting.
The show is named for a young town trying to establish itself in a futuristic version of the undeveloped western frontier. Defiance is home to several different species of aliens as well to humans, all trying to productively coexist. Unfortunately, the drastically different cultures of the species tend to clash, leading to hostile conflicts. The town is constantly under the stress of one death threat or another, whether it’s being attacked from within or about to be invaded by a brutal crew of outsiders. There’s a lot of fighting and a lot of startlingly potent tension between characters and cultural groups. The constant presence of danger causes the show to unfold in the same fast paced, high thrill style of many horror productions. There’s also enough death to keep viewers fearing that their favorite character will be the next one offed.
DEFIANCE is set apart from other futuristic shows by its sheer intelligence. While distinctly unique in custom and behavior, each alien species is at the same time humanlike in its physical appearance and mental capacity. Physically, the main differences are skin, eye, and hair color (not to mention the incredibly intricate costumes). The main characters, despite their different home planets, are all driven by their human like desires. With humanlike motives come humanlike flaws. Most characters aren’t above manipulating others to get what they want, whether their cause is noble or self centered. There’s also quite a few key players who don’t hesitate to slit throats here and there- or on a regular basis. When the lethal fighting happens, the show is generous with its gore. In the gloriously bloody scenes, DEFIANCE approaches a state more akin to horror than science fiction.
Since all the species are almost human, when one species starts eating the others, it’s almost cannibalism. While the Omec species is not animalistic in appearance, it is most certainly predatory. One of the shows most memorable villains is Kindzi, the striking but vicious alpha female of the Omecs. She instigates quite a few scenes where other species are hunted down and eaten by her clan. Horror minded viewers get treated to thrillingly savage scenes, complete with dismemberment and spilled intestines. More politically oriented than Kindzi but no less brutal is the charismatic and mentally unstable Rahm Tak. A war figure and an idealist, Rahm Tak is hell bent on slaughtering the Defiance residents because of the town’s interspecies relationships. Echoing the real life prejudice of racially mixed couples existent today, Rahm Tak and his thuggish followers believe inter-species marriages to be punishable by butchery. Rahm Tak is sometimes comically but always convincingly played by Lee Tergeson, who also appeared in AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAKSHOW.
The hero is sarcastic, wise cracking and alcoholic human sheriff Nolan, amusingly played by Grant Bowler. And the stunning, conniving Stahma is portrayed in a show stealing role by Jaime Murray. Beautifully porcelain skinned and purple eyed, Stahma’s mischievous nature regularly darkens into something more wicked. A dedicated wife and mother, she wants survival and prestige for her family- and she’s willing to step over some bodies to get it. With characters like Stahma, Kindzi, and Rahm Tak, DEFIANCE transports viewers to a more primal era, one that interestingly lies in Earth’s future instead of its past. When many cultural groups use killing to resolve conflicts, cold blooded scheming may be the only way to stay alive. Defiance is where tensions lead to murder and blood flow is a common occurrence, ensuring that horror fans will very much enjoy their stay.