Defiance is Syfy's latest science fiction show for the sort who love aliens with vaguely British accents (why is that a thing?). The eponymous "New Earth" town is populated by seven races of aliens, and each one must fight hard to even coexist with one another. It takes a tough breed to make it in their world. No wonder the producers cast unarguably kickass actresses Julie Benz and Mia Kirshner in two of the several female roles.
Amanda, played by Julie Benz (of Buffy and Dexter), is the newly appointed mayor of Defiance. Born in 2011, she spent the years of political strife and war following the arrival of the alien Votans as a surrogate mother for her sister Kenya. Sometime before the series' start, she heard about a city that was attempting to foster relations between the refugee aliens and humans, so she packed her and her sister's bags, and set off for Defiance. She got a job cleaning the sitting mayor's office, and did such a stellar job that she was bequeathed the job upon the mayor's retirement. Talk about a feel-good, meteoric rise to the top!
Kenya, played by Mia Kirshner of The L Word and 24, runs the NeedWant. (Picture an old-fashioned brothel, throw it into a future just shy of dystopian, and add a few aliens, and you'll get the general idea of how the NeedWant operates.) A striver like her sister, she worked her way up the ranks. She's good at reading the needs of the people around her, but not so adept at reading her own.
Stahma Tarr, played by Jaime Murray of Ringer and Spartacus, among others, is a highborn lady among the Castithans, and the wife of one of the most powerful men in Defiance's underworld, Datak Tarr. And she definitely has a Lady MacBeth streak going on. Castithan culture is rigidly segregated, and Stahma was born into noble caste that came to Earth. Datak, on the other hand, is lowborn. But as husband and wife, she is relegated to the role of dutiful wife. So it's from behind the scenes that she pushes Datak to grab more power in Defiance, all to satisfy her own ambitions.
Irisa, played by Stephanie Leonidas, is the surrogate daughter of Defiance lawman Joshua Nolan, played by Grant Bowler of Liz & Dick. She's an Irathient, one of the Votan races that brought all sorts of unholy CG chaos to Earth. She's kind of an Earthling, though, since she was born here, and only knows about her homeworld from stories. Nolan rescued her from an Irathient criminal, and has raised her ever since. Now she's Nolan's companion and right hand when it comes to defending the city. Headstrong and self-reliant, Nolan's really the only reason she's staying put.
Doc Yewll, played by Trenna Keating, is all about her job as the scientist-cum-doctor on whom just about everyone in Defiance relies. She, like any Indogene, is completely devoted to science and her profession, and she's got the brain and the cybernetic implants to get the job done. Her bedside manner needs a little work.
There's just something about star-crossed lovers that everyone, well, loves. In Defiance, it's a little more complicated when one of the lovers is an alien. (Insert star pun here.)
Christie, played by Nicole Munoz, is the daughter of the rich and powerful Rafe McCawley. She's your average rebellious adolescent, but things come to a head when she falls for Alak Tarr, Datak Tarr's son. Pretty soon there's a whole Romeo and Juliet situation happening, with rival families and threats of violence. But you have to hand it to her for going for it.