Defiance TV premiere draws 2.7 million viewers

First episode in Syfy’s new drama is channel’s most-watched scripted series premiere in seven years; players have logged more than 6 million hours in tie-in game thus far.

Syfy's new TV series Defiance is off to a hot start, though the success of the game tie-in of the same name remains to be seen.

Deadline reports that the premiere episode this week drew 2.7 million total viewers and 1.3 million adults 18-49.

This makes the show's premiere the network’s most-watched scripted series debut for adults in seven years.The previous ratings king for Syfy was the 2006 debut of Eureka

Defiance was developed as a TV series and a game from Trion Worlds. According to Deadline, players have logged more than 6 million hours in the title since it launched on April 2.

The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC game is set in the San Francisco Bay Area in a futuristic time period where Earth been dramatically changed by alien terraforming, whereas the TV series takes place in St. Louis.

Defiance the TV show airs Mondays at 9 p.m.

For more on Defiance the game, check out GameSpot's review-in-progress.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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132 comments
cloud75x
cloud75x

I was a little hesitant during the pilot episode as to how good this show could be. The CG department (guys from BSG yay!) may have gotten away with the space scenes and occasional robots in BSG but mapping out an entire world really strains on the quality of the scenes... but budget is to be considered here.


But these most resent episodes? wow... loving the character development episodes right now. Right now a lot of them feel very real and one specific character I keep finding myself switching between hate and love. This show has potential now.

jellyraine
jellyraine

Well has anyone considered that Defiance is Syfy's best launch of scripted series in 7 years, so perhaps that will inspire the network and the people behind creating the show into spending a little more time and money into developing it. With any luck the people behind the show will take cues from Trion and the games developers and listen to their audience and make some changes. However I wouldn't expect anything dramatic until late in the first season, or season 2 who knows how far ahead they've filmed.

I for one found the show to be good entertainment, sure it had it's cliché's but that was part of the entertainment. However nothing about the premiere struck me as awesome or "must see."  They'll have to work hard if they want to keep those 2.7 million viewers coming back.

sethfrost
sethfrost

If you made it to the second MINUTE of that show, you are hardcore. He starts singing Johnny Cash, then SHE starts singing along ... It was enough to know - this is bad? 

SyFy(!) equals "Canadian Woods" + cheap makeup. Always did. I never liked any of the shows of the past years, except BSG. 

But I am old. I have read the Science Fiction stories from the 30s and 40s all the way to the "New Wave" in the 1970s. Then, the Internet replaced Science Fiction.

BlackSquare
BlackSquare

The whole premise of the show is dumb. The aliens have terra forming tech but instead of going to Mars they go to Earth? Seriously? They spend like 30 years or however long hovering in space. They could of based on Mars. With that tech even without the terraforming they could of lived in domes on Mars. They could of kept the whole ships blowing up. However, it should of been the ships blowing up that screwed up Earth. Not the terraforming tech that did.

Moreover, the "stowaways" on the ship. What?! Did they just kick some sleeping person out of a hibernation pod and take their place? Could of just made the stowaways a cheaper ship that took longer to get to Earth and only a few survived because the ship wasn't as high quality. Something. It's the small things in the show that make it annoying. I might keep watching but the show is littered with deus ex machina.


Otherwise the graphics quality/cgi is not that big a deal. It's the execution of the story and plot that is kind of missing some subtle but key points.

Bhemont
Bhemont

Watched first few minutes, it was overwhelming with cliches that I got a shiver down the spine, couldn't bare anymore of that, also, the quality of what I saw was so bad that it made graphics from games in 90s look phenomenal.  I will rather watch Game of Thrones and maybe Vikings then this, personal opinion of course. 

insanem0nk
insanem0nk

i thought the show was pretty good, not sure why ppl dont like it, complaining it wasnt like BSG or Stargate lol maybe ur expectations are too high, why compare it to some of the greatest shows ull ALWAYS be disappointed

made_u_look
made_u_look

I enjoyed the show, wasn't spectaluar but it was entertaining. I can already see a love triangle between the mayor, her sister, and Nolan.

Verityrant
Verityrant

I enjoyed the premier quite a bit, the effects showed the budget a little, but weren't terrible, certainly not worse than other TV shows I've seen. The story and characters were pretty well fleshed out, and I liked the dialogue.  I look forward to seeing where it goes. 

DarthLod
DarthLod

I watched it. It wasn't bad. However, I get SICK of these "alien" shows that are just people in make-up. I makes me cringe. Nothing looks alien at all, it' just people with prosthetic s and make-up. No, aliens don't look like people in make-up. And might I say. the CGI they used was HORRIBLE! Blurry and looked out of place, it did not blend with the show.

JRLennis
JRLennis

A TV show is only as good as its writers.  This one won't last long.

The best ratings in seven years?  That's only because Sy-Fy has hyped this production for months, and failed to support shows that were far more deserving of such numbers during that seven year period.  Stargate Atlantis?  -dead.  Caprica?  -dead.  Stargate Universe?  -dead.  Blood and Chrome?  -abandoned.  Face it, the only reason Sy-Fy supports this show so strongly is because it's CHEAP.  There are very few notable CGI sequences, and half of them (the driving bits) look worse than what you see on typical video games.  Really, a post-apocalyptic world is among the easiest to create from a production standpoint.  Everything is supposed to look like crap, so no one will mind if it actually looks like crap.  I'm not impressed with the minimalist mindset.  Mad Max was original in its day.  Defiance is merely derivative, and transparently so for the sake of $$.  Trust me, in two months the favorable ratings of the pilot will revert back to Sy-Fy norms, which is a couple of ticks up from non-existent.

Maybe the game will be better, but with far superior MMOs already on the market why should I care?

petsodon
petsodon

Watched the pilot and played the game. IMO the game is better and more fun than the show itself.

bonander
bonander

I'm looking forward to more episodes.  It's hard to judge a show off just one episode.  I had pretty low expectations for the show and the game.  The show had way better special effects than I would have thought for a TV show on Syfy.  And given my distaste for shooters, the game was way more fun than I would have dared hoped for.  I probably wouldn't have even tried it if it wasn't for the free beta weekend I got through my PS account.

colt_a
colt_a

I think the show seems pretty good.  Kids these days don't understand that special effects really don't mean anything if you have a story and good characters.

The game seems pretty 'meh' so far.  MMO Borderlands with less humor and server problems.

CoUGHB
CoUGHB

Awesome! I'm glad to hear that such an ambitious idea had some success. An MMO on Xbox plus a tie in TV Series! Congratulations to everyone involved. I enjoyed the Defiance video game, but have yet to see the show. I'll try to catch the first episode later. Best of luck to the TV series and video game. It'd be nice to see more of these in the future. 

Alex_Masterson
Alex_Masterson

I am curious why SyFy can make decent tv series, but such horrible one-shot movies.  I enjoyed the premiere, though the crashing of the Ark remnant almost got me to turn it off.  There has to be some explanation how it crashed-landed on the surface the way it did, rather than slamming into the ground with the equivalent force of a nuclear bomb.  I also wish there was more background given in the first episode and that the attack by the Volge would have been an episode-ending cliffhanger to be resolved next week.  I know it would have been that way if this had been two one-hour episodes, rather than a two-hour movie debut, but this made the ending feel anticlimactic to me.

cornbredx
cornbredx

The writing so far is a little better in the show than it is in the game (the characters are more interesting) so I am giving it a shot. It actually has a lot of potential and I am enjoying both the show and the game.

Tripwolf
Tripwolf

I enjoyed the show. The game looks meh.

The_Last_Paladi
The_Last_Paladi

Well if nothing else, the marketing for this show/game was outstanding.  This is the first time I saw a game do so well in marketing for a show and I don't think anything like this have really been done before on this level.  Could this be a future trend for TV/video games collaboration?

WafflePrime
WafflePrime

the show has potential, it could be interesting if they go the right direction, the cgi could have been better but for the 1st episode of a new show that's what I expected

bouff
bouff

I really liked the show, and was contemplating on getting the game, now that I know its set in different places and the show was good, I will definitely get the game

hampton2003
hampton2003

So far i like the show, the only flaw is the production value on cgi isnt that great, the fast paced battles and fast camera work made it kinda blurry or hard to see alot of clear detail. but this quality of production value is to be expected on their budget and is still quite good compared to its peers. I already like the main characters, many of which are familar from previous scifi shows (im not calling it syfy).

mike300zxt
mike300zxt

I watched defiance, and I was like "wow, that was crap".  Then I thought back to Battlestar Galactica, and how rough the miniseries was, but how amazing the first episode was.  Maybe Defiance, too, will improve, but even compared to BSG's rough start, Defiance is definitely crap.  The hints of BSG music in Defiance were nostalgic, but the writing was just soooo bad.  I'd rather they bring back Stargate Universe...it was just getting decent.

Rizer
Rizer

I thought the effort involved in the Defiance project was worth investing some of my time in. The results were more "Meh..." than I was hoping for. The game is fun, but very plain and the first episode felt the same. The setting is interesting, but almost everything else has been intentionally overhyped. The characters were cookie cutters of others you've seen before and each one might as well had worn a "I wanna be badass." t-shirt with they way they introduced themselves.

Stiler
Stiler

I wish the Aliens looked more.....alien, I'm so tired of Sci Fi that keeps making Aliens that look like Humans with big brows/ridges or a different skin  color, I mean come on. 

Aliens from another lanet that is likely vastly different from ours would evolve very differently, the chances of other lifeforms in the universe looking exactly like humans, two eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hands/feet with 5 fingers/toes each, etc is so astronoimcally slim, yet almost EVERY alien in this show looks that way.

JRLennis
JRLennis

@insanem0nk Is it unreasonable to at least expect a quality effort?  The cheapening of Sy-Fy's programming in recent years is offensive to me and many others.  The network had developed a great reputation and they threw it all away for a quick buck.

saleama
saleama

@DarthLod I know!  None of the aliens I've met look like this at all!  I mean, putting people in make up to "make" an alien!  WTF?  Come on SyFy, when are you going to pony up and get some real alien actors instead of people made up to "look" like aliens?

Oh, and DarthLoad, you're an idiot!

Redrivar
Redrivar

@DarthLod Falling skies had some bizarre looking aliens but that did not save the show

made_u_look
made_u_look

@DarthLod Honestly I think your jaded. There is only so much you can do when your on a budget. Not sure what you were expecting, real aliens? Genetically create one in a test tube to put on television?

CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

@JRLennis  

Don't forget the culling of Sanctuary & Eureka to make more room for wrestling & "ghost" hunting.

JRLennis
JRLennis

@bonander FYI  The special effects on the Stargate shows were outstanding, and Battlestar Galactica has yet to be topped in that department.  Caprica was also excellent.  These were all Sy-Fy shows (or rather, Sci-Fi), so I know they can do better than what we saw in the Defiance pilot.  The only shot that truly impressed me was the opening scene with the derelict ships in orbit.  It was mostly downhill from there.

colt_a
colt_a

@STrugglingFool For cable TV (which Syfy is) yes its good.  Especially with a high 18-49 demo.  To put it in perspective, The Walking Dead (one of the most watched Cable TV shows right now) had 4 million to start.

 For network TV, its absolute crap.

made_u_look
made_u_look

@The_Last_Paladi Yea I agree, if taken seriously this could be a awesome trend for entertainment. It's always been one sided, movie comes out crappy game follows. Or awesome game comes out crappy movie or show may follow. Having them coincide keeps the subject matter true and the audience more involved. 

Redrivar
Redrivar

@Rizer yeah, I'm feeling a little bit stupid for being so excited for this game and show combo

saleama
saleama

@Stiler Actually, the chance that alien races will evole as we have is very high.  The reason we evolved this way is because the form works.  In a nearly infinite Universe with nearly infinite planets, the possibility of aliens looking like us is, well, nearly infinite...it is also true the other way around.  lol...

Redrivar
Redrivar

@Stiler but for tv's sake, the humans gotta be able to bang aliens and not make us puke bc Nolan is stickin it to some giant grasshopper thorax

batman_is_gaey
batman_is_gaey

@Stiler It's all budget dude. Can't blame them for not wanting to paste heaps of prosthetic's over people or have a badly cgi'd alien. 

Duke_51
Duke_51

@Stiler I remember watching a Bioware dev blog, and they said that the aliens in Mass Effect had to be similar enough to humans to make the combat make sense. If the aliens were too different in some way then the gameplay would be majorly affected and it would be a massive headache for the developers.


But I get what you're saying.

insanem0nk
insanem0nk

@JRLennis @insanem0nk quality is subjective, you say its bad, i say its not. as long as they reach their intended goal of viewers,which theyve surpassed, they could care less about the ppl that dont like it lol maybe you werent part of the intended audience, maybe ur one of 'those' ppl that just re-watch bsg and firefly and knock on any new series

made_u_look
made_u_look

@JRLennis @made_u_look Well reading from your passed comments I can see your cynical about Syfy's shows with good reason. But I never game them money so I'm willing to give them a chance to redeem themselves. For all we know it could be the next Battlestar Galatica. Hell, Stargate Universe was a great show the only reason it was canceled because of ratings whose fault that was that's up for debate. Time slots or just people not interested in what Syfy had to offer. 

bonander
bonander

@JRLennis I appreciate the info.  Though Battlestar Galactica is the only show you listed that I have watched.  I didn't know it was on Syfy.  I watched it on Netflix probably a year or so after it ended.  I think the last shows I watched on Syfy were "The Invisible Man" and "Farscape".

saleama
saleama

@Redrivar @Rizer Why?  You always base your self esteem on what others think of what you like?  Personally, I LOVED the show and the game and I don't really care what others think of me for doing so.  I love the repetative ark fall missions and the cut and paste rescue missions.  I love jumping on my three wheeler and riding around helping people...Are there flaws in both?  Sure.  Doesn't mean I feel stupid for being excited about the possibilities, nor am I feeling stupid for liking both the game and the show.  I will watch every one!  I am also WAY excited for the first show to game mission tie in!  I can't freakin wait! 

Say what you will about this pair, Defiance will set major precedence in the industry and I hope we see many more game/ show tie ins in the future!

Stiler
Stiler

@saleama @Stiler The thing is, people always like to project themselves as a measure of "intelligence."

 As well, why does an Earth-like Planet have to be the only one that supports life? The only one in our known solar system yes, but life could have evolved on othe rplanets, and much differently. 

The only thing we have (as far as evidence goes) is our own planet, the primate and modern man. 

However if another planet evolved within much different constraints, they likely evolved on a very different path, that was different based on their planet and functions. 

 Modern man works best on our planet,but we'd be useless on many others, that could support life of different types, even compared to here on earth. 


Dolphins for exmple, have no legs/hands, yet they have ways of communicating that even humans can't understand or know fully. 

Octopus can use tools and figure out many things better then many other lifeforms on earth, yet they look nothing like us..

Then you have the dinosaurs, pre dating any kind of primate, if they weren't wiped out would they have evolved anything like us?

Stiler
Stiler

@batman_is_gaey@Stiler They already use heaps of prosthetics/make-up (especially the white bald-headed aliens, they are covered in it). Don't see hwy they could get a good well designed suit and throw some people in them a la Alien/Predator style effects.

insanem0nk
insanem0nk

@JRLennis @insanem0nk you keep rambling on about bad quality, i never said quality didnt matter, i actually said i thought it was good quality, you're the one that has it in his head this show is bad and its going to die, a few million viewers might disagree

JRLennis
JRLennis

@insanem0nk @JRLennis Your attitude mirrors that of most TV execs.  It's all about the numbers.  Quality doesn't matter if you hit the right demographic.  The problem is that bad quality usually bites you in the end, and then you have a dead show AND a dead reputation.  Ask NBC.

saleama
saleama

@insanem0nk @JRLennis I loved the show as well,but it is "couldn't care less", not "could care less".

The character developement, which is what the first few shows of any series is about, was very well done.  There are already people I hate and people I love and more than a few I actually identify with.  I can't wait for the game and show to start crossing over.

made_u_look
made_u_look

@JRLennis @made_u_look Well I didn't think Stargate Universe had any faults honestly every actor was top notch. Personally I think Stargate fans wanted more of the same thing like SG-1 or Atlantis where they would go on adventures visting new worlds. SGU was completely different in that aspect which I found refreshing in the drama between them was justified because they had different goals. Only reason the drama sort of calmed down towards the end because they were all on the same goal following the ships current path. But like I said I'm giving the show a chance because I want Syfy to succeed with Science Fiction shows I want them to bring back the glory days. But your skepticism is warranted.

JRLennis
JRLennis

@made_u_look I'm willing to give any science-fiction show a chance, but in my experience my first impressions are usually pretty accurate in whether a show will succeed.  I had a bad feeling after the first few episodes of Terra Nova, and my fears proved justified.

In the case of Stargate Universe, it stumbled a bit in the first season because it was trying too hard to be Battlestar Galactica (in the form of its dysfunctional crew).  In the second season the show found its balance by toning down the internal drama and getting back to its Stargate roots, but the viewership didn't come back.  I blame Sy-Fy for that failure, because they should have had the wherewithal to ramp up the show's marketing going into season two.  When a show is cancelled just when it is getting good, who can you blame but the network?