SPACE IN­VADERS

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FEATURE - Lina Das

While the aim of most sci-fi se­ries is to boldly go where no man has gone be­fore, Syfy chan­nel’s new show De­fi­ance man­ages to go one step fur­ther. Hailed as a kind of fu­tur­is­tic West­ern, De­fi­ance is the first ever in­te­grated TV se­ries and video game, mean­ing when gamers go on­line to play, what’s hap­pen­ing in the show will be re­flected in the sce­nar­ios in the game. ‘You don’t need to know any­thing about one to en­joy the other,’ says Mark Stern, the chan­nel’s pres­i­dent of orig­i­nal con­tent, ‘but if you know about both, it def­i­nitely adds to the ex­pe­ri­ence.’

Set in 2046, the show de­picts a time when aliens walk the Earth along­side hu­mans. The aliens landed on Earth in 2013, hav­ing fled their dy­ing so­lar sys­tem, but af­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions failed, a war en­sued, rav­aging the earth’s land­scape. The ac­tion takes place 16 years af­ter the war has ended, though the truce is still an un­easy one. The hu­mans don’t al­ways get on with the aliens, while the aliens them­selves, di­vided into seven species but col­lec­tively known as the Votans, aren’t al­ways en­am­oured of each other ei­ther.

Against this back­drop, we meet Joshua Nolan (Grant Bowler), a sol­dier who fought in the war and who re­turns to his home­town of St Louis, Mis­souri, with his adopted daugh­ter Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas), a Votan war­rior with a trau­matic past. Find­ing the place lit­tle more than a bor­der town which has been re­named De­fi­ance, he be­comes the town’s chief po­lice­man and tries to keep the peace be­tween hu­mans and aliens. But some De­fi­ance res­i­dents are more amenable to his law­mak­ing ef­forts than oth­ers.

There’s the Votan Doc Yewll, who ar­rived in De­fi­ance to help the war wounded and ended up stay­ing. Then there’s Datak Tarr (played by This Life’s Tony Cur­ran), the alien king­pin of the town’s un­der­world. His am­bi­tious Lady Macbeth-like wife, Stahma, is played by Jaime Mur­ray, star of an­other pop­u­lar sci-fi show, Ware­house 13, who says the show isn’t sim­ply for geeks: ‘It’s a char­ac­ter­driven piece. There’s al­ways go­ing to be some­thing to play as long as hu­man be­ings and aliens keep on grow­ing and learn­ing from each other.’

Grant Bowler — whose last TV role was op­po­site Lindsay Lo­han in the Elizabeth Tay­lor biopic Liz & Dick — says, ‘Nolan is one of the few peo­ple in De­fi­ance who can re­mem­ber the world be­fore all this hap­pened and he’s emo­tion­ally scarred by that me­mory. Some­where along the line he’s de­cided to latch onto this child who’s as scarred as he is. And maybe by sav­ing her, he can save him­self.’

De­fi­ance, Tues­day, 9pm, Syfy

New sci-fi se­ries De­fi­ance is the first TV show to air in tan­dem with an on­line game: what hap­pens in one af­fects

the other...

DATAK TARR (Tony Cur­ran) A Castithan and chief ad­viser to the town’s mayor. ‘Th­ese characters are very com­plex with a lot of depth,’ says Scot­tish ac­tor Cur­ran DOC YEWLL (Trenna Keat­ing) A fiercely smart mem­ber of the In­do­gene race who are the most sci­en­tif­i­cally ad­vanced of all the Votans JOSHUA NOLAN (Grant Bowler) A former sol­dier, born be­fore the aliens’ ar­rival on Earth. Af­ter the war he finds him­self des­ti­tute and re­turns to his home­town to be­come chief lawkeeper IRISA NYIRA (STEPHANIE LEONIDAS) Adopted by Nolan when she was 10, Irisa serves as his deputy. She and Nolan ‘have a fiery re­la­tion­ship … but would do any­thing for each other,’ says Stephanie

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