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5 Shows like Defiance: Dingy Future

James Thomas itcherIf you were lucky enough to have played space adventurer as a kid then you probably wanted to be the bounty hunter. Everyone loves to be a space cowboy or a rascal and these characters were the perfect blend of the Wild West and sci-fi. TV shows like ‘Defiance’ keep this tradition alive, with versions of the future inhabited by aliens, set in Western-style dystopias where these rogues come to life. If you’re like me and enjoy intergalactic frontier showdowns, check out ‘Firefly’, ‘Killjoys’, and ‘Earth Final Conflict’. ~ James Thomas

The Aftermath

The setting of ‘Defiance’ is part of its charm. Seeing the world I once knew destroyed after the global reset button had been pressed by a collection of colonizing aliens was something that made this particular post-apocalyptic series original and appealing.

Adding the element of interglacial adventure and the frontier bounty hunter trope into a hodge-podge of post-apocalyptic insanity definitely helped this show succeed.

Also, I’m a big fan of monster make-up and this show is filled with a variety of creatures that are either the most enchanting works of life-like art I’ve ever seen, or nightmares born from the mind of Jim Henson and HR Geiger.


Shows Similar to ‘Defiance’…

‘KillJoys’ (Space, 2015- )

If there was ever a show that evidenced the possibility of Han Solo’s illegitimate children floating around in alternate dimensions, I think ‘Killjoys’ would fit the bill.

Similar to the tone of TV shows like ‘Defiance’ the world of the Killjoys is all about people playing dirty tricks in soiled clothing and a futuristic setting, while avoiding a dominating governing body that seems to think diplomacy is the art of culling the least amount of people.

The Killjoys, Dutch, John, and D’avin, are the bounty hunters of this universe – which means that they get to actually traverse the stars, unlike the plebs that live under the thumb of the controllers of the Quad. That’s right, even in the infinite expanse of space bureaucracy manages to find a way to make day trips potentially life threatening.

Similarity Match: 90%
‘Killjoys’ makes the future seem like the same sort of murder fest you would expect from a western like ‘Defiance’, but in this show, the action is as much an intergalactic affair as a high plains adventure.

‘Firefly’ (Fox, 2002-2003)

It really doesn’t surprise me that even in a world where we have apparently mastered intergalactic travel and consequently faster than light travel, humanity can’t get past its innate impulse to screw itself over.

The show ‘Firefly’ proves that even though people want their science fiction to be “realistic”, they like the world in a state of chaos, and their heroes ambiguous. Unlike series similar to ‘Defiance’, this show takes place off-world aboard the Serenity, a ship piloted by captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, who I am pretty sure has a little bit of that Han Solo DNA in his blood.

Many of the people that make up the Serenity crew fought in an intergalactic civil war, and consequently they have a bit of a problem with authority and keeping their murder rage in check.

Similarity Match: 90%
The crew of the Serenity doesn’t have to worry about the presence of alien species like the people living in Defiance. However, they do deal with similar double dealers as the characters in ‘Defiance’ and follow the same rule of shoot first and scavenge later.

‘Earth Final Conflict’ (CTV, 1997-2002)

I think that ‘Earth Final Conflict’ proves that even in the best of all possible circumstances when humanity meets an alien species, we will still need to have the occasional shootout for the sake of normalcy. And renegade bounty hunter types will get the dirty work done.

The aliens in question, the Taelons, otherwise known as the Companions, are an androgynous, highly evolved species that has the ability to cure pretty much any disease and travel through space and apparently time.

So, of course, when they needed body guards they decided to weaponize an alien symbiote capable of firing giant, over-powered pulse blasts that can level buildings. Then the Taelons decided to attach this weapon to one of the most unstable species in the universe, namely Homo sapiens. Of course, one of these humans went rogue and proceed to dole out brutal justice on a global scale. And this is our hero!

Similarity Match: 85%
In ‘Earth Final Conflict’ the Taelons kept humanity happy with the occasional treat and cure for cancer, creating a beneficial relationship. However, unlike ‘Defiance’ they didn’t come in guns blazing.


If You Like ‘Defiance’, You Will Like…

The world of ‘Defiance’ has a dirty rustic feel, with the modern world turned into a charming bombed out hell-scape perfect for Wild West nostalgia buffs out there.

The next two shows are set at times leading up to this type of world, with the first involving people scraping out a living in the decimated husk of an invaded world and the second taking place during a much sneakier kind of alien incursion.

‘Falling Skies’ (TNT, 2011-2015)

I think what sets this show apart from the other shows on the list is that the world of ‘Falling Skies’ is essentially where hope goes to die.

The world has been ravaged beyond any semblance of what it was and, of course, some of the worst people in the world have survived and they have started looting and scavenging with the best of them, similar to many of the folks you would find in TV series like ‘Defiance’.

However, in ‘Falling Skies’, these scavengers find themselves united with the nobler souls that avoided the mass extermination, such as the people in the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment, out of necessity, because when you are fighting to survive your best friend is the guy who knows how to fight dirty.

The world of ‘Falling Skies’ was created by similar circumstances that made the town in ‘Defiance’ the charming little burg it is today, but for the most part, the human characters in this show have annihilation on the brain rather than coexistence.

‘V’ (NBC, 1984-1985)

The world of ‘V’ is not yet the blistered garbage fire it is in ‘Defiance’. The show starts with an invasion in the mundane world we live in today and I am sorry to say we were as prepared for the incursion as a dog on its way to get fixed.

Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised with the bravado of the main characters. They sorted out the reptilian nature of the Visitors and decided that the best method for dealing with them required as many explosions and as much as artillery as possible.

I think this show is so appealing because its heroes, like heroes in some of my favorite shows on this list, argue that when your enemy is a massive government or an invading force, or if you happen to be involved in any form of asymmetrical warfare, a little cheating never hurts.

The show ‘V’ offers a more subtle version of the human vs alien conflict where the invaders try to politely convince their human meat sacks onto the plate, while in ‘Defiance’ the threat to humanity comes in the form of high-noon showdowns and ambushes in the badlands.


Wild West Invasion

There is something exotic and fun about a world where humanity is forced to live side by side with a colonizing species in a setting where Wild Bill Hickok might be more at home.

How do you think you might fair in the town of Defiance?

Let me know in the comments down below.

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