Defiance
Pilot, Part 1

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 6 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
Ever Since The Fire Went Out
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

CAN'T STOP (TALKING ABOUT) THE SIGNAL

One thing I like about this pilot is that it doesn't spend a lot of time explaining things. I can imagine it sending you to your tablet from moment one, but that's just background color: If you had no access to the internet, it would be enjoyable nonetheless. Maybe (I'd say indubitably) moreso.

Now, the downside is that all you have left to navigate the story is the stuff it presents to you in trope form, which is pretty intense, because for a certain kind of person -- reliably, a science-fiction-fan kind of person -- noting those tropes as existing is a shortstop ticket to writing something off as a copycat pastiche. I am really turned off by this quality in people, but I also do it, and this pilot -- in the absence of exposition -- offers very little else in the way of world-building beyond "That thing you remember from another story? Yeah, it's like that. Don't worry about it."

On balance I'll take it. For me, they accreted so fast that I felt no other option than to settle in and watch them whiz by, which they do, throughout the whole thing. I'm not a person who enjoys having the same conversation more than once -- and the internet seems uninterested in talking about anything else, beyond the game tie-in which is also a pretty boring topic to me -- so I'm not really going to get into that beyond footnoting it, but by the same token it can get a little ADD: Scenes that are not really that long seem occasionally to stretch out into infinity, when it's a scene you've seen (or think you've seen) before.

But as a rule, it works well with my tendency to associate and go with my gut when I'm talking about this stuff: If it reminds you of something, the interesting part isn't that you're a better or smarter person for having caught them, the interesting part is why it hit you, what it reminded you of, what parts are isometric, why the differences matter, and the connections you can make using the other thing as a template. Which is why this first hour recap is gonna be -- just guessing -- eleventy-thousand pages long.

However. I can tell you that grizzled Browncoats looking for methadone will be disappointed, if that's why you came to the party. The Seven Samurai storyline from a million Westerns and from Firefly isn't really the point here: This is a mining town, a whole other kind of Western and one that your casual SF/Westerns don't really explore beyond the occasional away mission. (Because TV shows are budgeted around standing sets, I'd imagine, is why those frontier-town shows were such a big deal in the first place.) So the intersection of those things is actually coming from one of those planets in the Firefly universe, or more directly among space shows, from central-depot stories like Deep Space Nine and smalltown-justice shows like Eureka (which is by far the most resonant comparison, given the cuteness and heart of so much that goes down, the focus on family, and the characters at the center of the series).

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Defiance

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