Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Advent 2014: Favourite Characters – Day #3: Nolan & Irisa (Defiance)

I focus on Joshua Nolan (Grant Bowler) and Irisa (Stephanie Leonaidas), the two main protagonists of Syfy’s TV Defiance series, as we enter Day 3 of my list of favourite fictional characters.

First off, let’s get the standard normal stuff out of the way that you’ve probably seen before:

As you’ve probably noticed from above, this is a new blog series dedicated to showcasing my favourite characters from 2014. I will draw from a wide variety of sources but the conditions are simple – I have to have either first encountered that character in 2014, (or a different iteration of that character in 2014, for example, If I were to use, Steven Moffat’s Sherlock Holmes, I would be allowed to as even though I discovered the character before the year of me writing the Advent list, I did not discover Moffat’s take on the character until 2014. Of course, I watched BBC’s Sherlock before 2014, but that’s just a standard example). I can also refer to groups of characters, for example, on a variation of a list last year, I used the Clone Club from Orphan Black, and the main cast from Stargate Atlantis. This will be used multiple times this year when talking about TV show characters – as they are generally better as an ensemble piece as opposed to an individual group.

And also, as is evident from the first character that I have used this year, Raylan Givens, I am allowed to pick characters from previous years as long as I have discovered them in this year. By discovered, that obviously means I have to have watched the first episode of the TV series in 2014, or alternatively, I am also allowed to include characters who I have become more attached to in this year that I weren’t necessarily so keen on before, for example, If a character did something awesome this year to raise their game and turn him or her into a new fan favourite than these characters would be allowed to be included.

Now let’s get on with today’s post:

This selection is a good example of characters who I have selected who I have become more attached to in 2014. When I watched the Defiance pilot back in 2013, I wasn’t that taken with it. I did end up checking out the second episode but it didn’t really do anything to grab me and I wasn’t really hooked, but after consistent recommendations from friends telling me that it was actually a fun series, decided to play catch up. And as it turns out, Defiance got better. Whilst there were some weak parts in Season 1, the episodes that were good, were fun enough to keep me watching. And more importantly, this was enough to get me behind the two lead characters and enough to care about them, to the point where I’m now trying my best to catch up before Season 3 premieres next year (currently I’m a couple of episodes into Season 2). So what makes these characters so awesome? Let’s find out.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t the greatest fan of Nolan in the pilot for being too much of a Han Solo clone, and whilst he was kind of likable he wasn’t really memorable and original. That hasn’t really changed, but the difference is here that I’ve got to spend more time with the character. He’s fun, and a good lead character for the dark times that Defiance presents us. As suggested by another character, Nolan is someone who actually prefers life in the post apocalyptic nature to what it was like before, and Grant Bowler pulls off the character well. It’s safe to say that he looks the part.

The second character is Nolan’s adopted daughter, the alien Irisa. Played by Stephanie Leonaidas, she’s an awesome female protagonist and one of the best parts about this show. Too many female characters on science fiction shows fall into the trap of being annoying and useless, and just love interests for the main character (Arrow’s Laurel Lance and Sleepy Hollow’s Katrina, and we’re looking at you),  but Irisa avoids that. Like Nolan she’s a fun character to watch and Leonaidas plays her part well.

The father-daughter relationship between the two characters is great to watch, and both actors have some good chemistry, making these characters good to get behind and fun to watch. Whilst Defiance may not be the greatest show on television it is certainly very fun and enjoyable, and you could do with a lot worse (I’m looking at you, Helix), and with the fact that it may be the closest thing that we’re ever going to come to getting Firefly Season 2, it’s always great to see that it’s got some great central characters at the heart of the series.

Here’s the trailer.

(Note, not all of these characters here will be chosen from TV series. Just bear in mind TV the medium that I’ve had the most experience with in 2014, so as a result Nolan and Irisa are far from the last TV characters that you’ll see on this list)

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