So when Defiance first premiered, I "watched" it in my usual way. The show did little to nothing for me (unsurprisingly). But the music caught my ear, and when I googled to find out more, I encountered a lot of positive reviews. The reviews mentioned themes and characters that seemed really interesting, so I rewatched the series thus far. And by that I mean I really watched it, trying not to multitask during it, pausing it when I had to look away.
Wow. Defiance is one good show. On the surface, it's syfy -- er, scifi. It shows on the Syfy channel. But not far under the surface at all, it's a western. At risk of building it up too much for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, it reminds me a lot of Firefly. It is NOT as great at that, but it has the same feel to it.
But it doesn't really matter what it is. Scifi show, western show, neither alone would make me love it. It's the characters. The people. The aliens are really (really really) interesting. A bunch of alien species in a single town leads to lots of interesting conflicts big and small. The characters have such layers!
I don't know if this is on purpose or not, but it's the female characters who are the smartest, strongest (not necessarily physically) ones who do the most things (moving the plot along, good and bad). The main character is male, but all he does so far is action-y things. The government official is female, the "seer" is female, a woman runs the whorehouse (which is an interestingly different place), and there are some other major important roles being filled by female characters, but I don't want to list them because it would be spoilery.
I only meant to rewatch the pilot today, saving the other eps for later, but somehow I just kept watching on and on. I have only the latest ep left to rewatch.
If the pilot doesn't hook you, don't give up. The pilot was the most action-y of the series thus far. From the first ep after that and on, it gets more character-oriented.