Syfy’s new series, Defiance premieres on Monday, April 15. The cast, including Julie Benz, Grant Bowler, Tony Curran, Mia Kirshner, Stephanie Leonidas, Jaime Murray, as well as executive producer Kevin Murphy, and Syfy’s president of original content Mark Stern were at TCA 2013 to talk about what fans can expect in its first season.
Here are a few highlights from the panel:
It’s an immigrant tale. When asked what attracted her to the show, Mia Kirshner said, “I think what attracted me to Defiance was: it’s an immigrant tale, and it really is a story, for me, about what happens when these cultures, who have never intersected, come together in one place.”
You don’t have to play the game and watch the show to enjoy the experience. Asked if fans will have to play the video game to enjoy the TV show, Kevin Murphy said, “What I always loved about comics was the fact that you could love Batman and read Batman’s adventures, and Batman’s adventures would stand on their own and be a satisfying reading experience. And if you happened to also like Superman, you could read Superman. If you read both titles, it would add this extra layer of coolness to the whole thing. And I think that that’s kind of an analogy of what we’re doing here because the Trion game has its own narrative. But if you choose to partake of both – because we exist in a shared universe with dual portals or entrances – you get a richer, fuller, more nuanced experience.”
Julie Benz is happy that this is not a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story. Some asked if people in the game could control what happens in the TV show and Murphy replied, “It’s not [a] true “Choose Your Own Adventure.” It’s not like the audience gets to vote on whether or not we kill poor Julie or not.” To which Julie Benz replied, “Thank God. I’ve been through so much.”
The past plays an important part of the story. Asked about the tale of the immigrants in the show, Murphy said, “The past plays a really important part [in the story] because in any sort of frontier environment or immigrant environment, we are defined by where we come from.”
There’s a little Charles Dickens in it. Asked about his character Datak, Tony Curran said, “Me and [Datak's wife] Stahma, their planet has been destroyed. They have come to Earth, looking for a new home. And there is a war that begins between the humans and aliens. [Datak is] from a very low caste. He’s from the pages of a Dickens novel. You might say he’d been scraped out of the gutter. On the ship coming to Earth, he ends up meeting Stahma, and she’s a higher caste than Datak. She’s somewhat aristocracy, you might say. And he’s a bit of a silver tongued devil, and he ends up charming her to the point that they actually get married.”
The show is going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Asked if Defiance would be like other sci fi TV shows, Murphy said, “Our goal here is to create a really inspirational world that, even though it’s tough, the audience kind of wants to come maybe live here for a week.”
There is a brothel, but it’s not the kind of place you would expect. A question was raised about the need for yet another brothel on TV and Mia Kirshner (who plays woman who runs the establishment), defended the story by saying, “It’s not that kind of place. It’s actually the opposite of that stereotype. And it was extremely important to me that it wasn’t a place where women were subservient to men. These are women who are empowered by their position. They love sex. They want to be there. It’s a place of exploration, and it’s a place of beauty. So that stereotype of a brothel being something where women are sort of these sexual slaves doesn’t exist there. And I wouldn’t be comfortable with doing something like that. So I’m proud that it turns the stereotype on its heels.”
The storylines are so intricate that the show requires its own “mythology coordinator.” When asked about mixing the mythology of a TV show with that of a video game, Murphy said, “I think you can’t have a unified universe unless you’re really communicating. One of the things that is fascinating about the show to me is that I’ve been doing this more than 20 years and it’s the first show where I’ve ever had the need for a mythology coordinator as a salaried member of my staff.”
Defiance premieres on Monday, April 15 at 9pm on Syfy. What do you think of all the tidbits we’ve learned from the cast and crew? Will you be tuning in?
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