Syfy Cancels ‘Defiance’ After Three Seasons

Defiance cancelled
Joe Pugliese/Syfy

Syfy has opted not to go forth with a fourth season of “Defiance,” Variety has learned.

The show’s cancellation comes just days after the cable network axed fantasy drama “Dominion.”

“Defiance” was Syfy’s big experiment with transmedia storytelling as the series’ storylines were specifically designed to mesh with the narrative of the video game of the same name, produced by Trion Worlds. The TV series revolved around the battles of seven alien races existing on a much-changed planet Earth.

Drama vet Kevin Murphy served as exec producer and showrunner of of “Defiance,” which wrapped its 13-episode third season late this summer.

“I got to collaborate with a group of stunning artists operating at the top of their game, and together we built a world. Because of that, there is no room for anything other than joy in my heart,” Murphy said.

In a statement, Syfy commented: “‘Defiance’ was a truly groundbreaking series, delivering an immersive, cross-platform experience that transcended the television screen in a way that viewers had never seen before. We are incredibly proud of the work of the extraordinary cast, writers, artists and designers — and especially showrunner Kevin Murphy — who together brought the rich world of ‘Defiance’ to life over its three season arc.”

After delivering good ratings on Mondays during its first season in 2013, “Defiance” fell off sharply in its move to Thursdays in 2014 and then again when it shifted to Fridays this summer. Its Aug. 28 finale averaged a 0.51 rating in adults 18-49 and 1.925 million viewers overall in Nielsen’s “live plus-3” estimates.

Despite “Defiance” and “Dominion” being pulled off Syfy’s slate, the NBCUniversal cable network has a slew of high-priority projects coming up, including “The Expanse” and “Childhood’s End,” which are both set to bow on Dec. 14. Hotly anticipated series “The Magicians,” based on Lev Grossman’s novels, is set for a 2016 premiere, along with “Hunters, a thriller from “The Walking Dead’s” Gale Anne Hurd. Current series “12 Monkeys,” “Killjoys,” “Dark Matter” and “Face Off” have all been renewed, and in the works at the net is the Matt Damon-Ben Affleck produced pilot “Incorporated,” David Goyer’s Superman prequel “Krypton” and miniseries “Brave New World” from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV.

Rick Kissell contributed to this report.

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  1. I WANT Defiance TV sHOW BACK !!!

  2. jean says:

    Bitten, Dominion and Defiance – my favorites, to good to be true. Very time i find a good show to watch it gets cancelled. This other crap that is on, uh makes me watch other channels. Like FX’s the Strain. Or AMC Even TCM . Stop Cancelling shows that are good, worth watching.

  3. Shane Beeler says:

    Well hell, you change the air time like that and of course it will lose viewership! Was a damn good show, shame who ever was in charge couldn’t pull their head out of their ass.

  4. I am so disappointed, I just figgured that it was playing soon,,How could you take it away, it was by far the best series you had, you just kept waiting longer to do it and kept switching what day to play, people get set in what shows they want to watch then you expect us to change, I kept taping to watch different ones,, Syfy has lately dropped the ball.No new movies I have seen which I love ones with the different nature causing problems and doing ones about emp’s and prepping and all, I’m tired of reality shows, a couple is not bad, but its getting boring..Please bring back Defiance and drop something else..

  5. Robert Stracquadaine says:

    How do you guys shut down a show like this one?! Scifi at its finest and you shut it down and keep the junk? I’m 54 years old…sci-fi?…I was there for the coining of the abbreviation! I’ve watched big budget, b movies, and worse. If it’s good, it’s good…and this, people, was great! It has everything, INCLUDING A GREAT AND LOYAL FOLLOWING! It’s cast was fantastic! On par with the likes of Star Trek, Mash, Big Bang Theory, Harry Potter, Friends…you get the picture, don’t you? Performing art chemistry! You don’t get that in every show. I really shouldn’t have to tell you that that doesn’t grow on chiller theater trees! Face it…you guys really screwed up! You cut the head off a leading show with almost limitless possibilities. Again…WITH A HUGE FAN FOLLOWING! You should’ve at least did one more season, or yes..a movie (if ya did that …don’t be surprised if it becomes a huge box office hit! Sequel? Get the idea?) to give your loyal fans, viewers, customers some sort of closure. When you create thousands of fans with your presentation, and they all follow your show for 3 seasons…a good show, these thousand of people all look forward to what’s coming next. You took that away….and kept junk that should’ve went first because it was beneath Defiance… Not fair. We are highly disappointed in you, the producers and presenters of sci-fi. Yeah…shame on you! Just remember… Karma happens, and that “ain’t” no science fiction, double feature… Just pure non-fictional power of the universe! Bring it back….it’ll make loads of people happy!

  6. Erica says:

    Noooo… Season 3 was the best so far. My inerest has been rekindled. I want more!

  7. Scott says:

    Defiance was easily the best series Syfy aired in ten years! I would even go as far as saying that in the past twenty years there was Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, BSG and Defiance as the best shows in the sci-fi genre!! Syfy blew it because they were too cheap to sink money into this show. Defiance could have went 5 seasons easy. So much to explore in the world of Defiance with the depth of the characters and beautiful sets. Shame on you Syfy.

  8. kevin says:

    Defiance was truly epic no lie the OST the 7 alien races the arts this show move me an was worth watching it sucks that it dont have a season 4 oh well such is life thank you scifi

  9. LeAnn says:

    I am deeply saddened by the discontinuance of Defiance. It moved my soul. I loved the cast and the storyline all together. I felt so connected. My heart goes out to Alak and Luke. I wish I could know more of their lives. And it pains me that I will never know. I’d love for it to continue. But I guess it will not. So thank you for blessing me and letting me be humbled before your great art. Thank you for the privilege to be moved greatly by your work.

  10. Olga says:

    The Expanse and Dark Matter I have watched them and Defiance was so much better. It never fails I get involved in a tv show and it gets the ax. SyFy messed up this time.

  11. Betty Britt says:

    After anxiously awaiting the new season of Defiance, I am extremely disappointed to learn it has been cancelled. This show was “different” from the other SciFi shows, and deserves to be revived. SciFi fans seek the unusual in entertainment, not more of the same hackneyed subjects that seem to be overrunning the SciFi world these days. Shame on you for tossing out the unique with the junk!!

  12. Melanie Aguiar says:

    VERY disappointed that Defiance has been cancelled

  13. Defiance was a top quality series… why “can” a show of this calibre, and leave die –hard followers hanging … I would like an ending to this awesome show.. perhaps a movie length finale…

  14. william says:

    unbelievable 1st the show Revolution after 2 season was cancel now your canceling Defiance after 3 season if your not going to finish the shows out don’t show them at all !!$*&#$$**

    • Rick says:

      Cant believe this was cancelled. I agree, #$%^& you if you cannot finish a story line. Done watching anything form ScyFi for any reason ever. Bring it back !!!

  15. lisa says:

    truly a shame that this series is not going to be renewed – bad decision. This was a great show! I urge the producers to reconsider

  16. Linda Robertson says:

    I have watched most of the new shows offered and at least 6 of them could go away now and no one would care. Defiance beat the heck out of at least six of these. Why does this make sense to you?

  17. Ariana says:

    but is the season 4 arriving anyway? like I beg you! :(

  18. I can’t believe they canceled this series. I recently began watching it on Amazon and got addicted by the end of the first season. I don’t even like science fiction and found myself drawn to this show. It is truly a shame they canceled.

  19. CWoo says:

    Gone the way of Firefly. So upset!!

  20. harambeforever says:

    This show was such PC PAUSED crap, good riddance.

  21. Kyle says:

    Seems like all the Good shows get cancelled on SyFy. This show should have been prime time, that is how good it is.

  22. DALE says:

    WHAT A BUMMER I LOVED THIS SHOW

  23. caroline says:

    Another show I really enjoyed and got hooked on is cancelled!!!! Please, please bring it back!!!!!

  24. Briza Ac says:

    Defiance was a great show; one of my favorites on Syfy. It had such a terrific and varied cast of actors who played characters that I could appreciate. Probably my favorite chauvinist bad-guy was Datak Tarr, played by Tony Curran. The many on-going plots were intriguing and the visuals were well-done and fun to watch. It reminded me of the original Star Trek when it came out in the mid 60’s, which unfortunately, lasted for only three years on tv, just like this show. It was a short-sighted decision back then and is a short-sighted decision now with Defiance.

  25. Anthony Cardenas says:

    This show is more important than xfiles. This needs an ending

    • Bill says:

      You bunch of political idiots. You can’t say the show is so great, yet cancelled, all in the same paragraph without smart people realizing how dumb, and what a lie, your statements really are! Not to mention your excuses for the going “down” in ratings is entirely YOUR fault (as in you deciced to change the days). Get your acttogether!

  26. heather clemon says:

    Man I wish there was a season 4

  27. Becca says:

    What a joke at least end it with a 2 hour finale. How many spider man and superman do we need and same with crime shows. Defiance was something different and exciting. BRING IT BACK!!!!

  28. Selena says:

    Just one more screw up like ending Firefly.

  29. Lee Dreyer says:

    Read the viewer’s comments and respond, Syfi.

  30. Lee Dreyer says:

    I am sorely disappointed that this program was canceled. Put it back to its original time slot and continue the story. Or sell it to someone who will will. This is very disappointing.

  31. leeuniverse says:

    I honestly don’t know what is wrong with people…. Syfy yes, has some good new shows, and some suck shows, and they cancel their likely BEST show of them all???

    God I hate these company’s….. Always canceling good shows, and giving us crap or less than.

  32. danny says:

    the show was great bummer it will be missed

  33. Mark says:

    Syfy needs to clean house. The people making decisions have no idea what they are doing and have no idea what a sci-fi program really is! I get the fact that it’s all about the $$$, but you gotta have more sense to understand what you have. Defiance was an outstanding series that had marketable potential to be around for a long time. Plus, you had the game that went along with it too. Defiance created a world which could be expanded upon. Did it cost a lot to produce? I’m sure it did. Wake up Syfy… that’s just how it is when you have a top rated series. You need to support it. Take a look at Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, do you think they’re going to axe these shows because they are expensive to produce? Defiance was just as good as either of those shows and deserved a lot better.

  34. Crystal says:

    I am so sick of Syfy cancelling good, no great shows. Eureka, Warehouse 13, Defiance, Dominion….etc….etc…. Most tv shows are ridiculous fake reality bullshit. Some people do not enjoy reality tv and extremely enjoy fantasy shows. Real life is reality enough for me and I don’t need to watch it on tv. This is so disappointing.

  35. Chariti Canny says:

    This is so stupid to base a show’s success on regular tv airings. So stupid. This show has the makings of a Dr. Who. These people should be fired.

  36. katastr0phik says:

    well I guess that explains why it never aired over the summer. I didn’t think it was even close to being cancelled so never thought to look it up. I’m to the point now where I almost don’t wanna put my time into watching anymore shows on syfy because they keep canceling them. they move good shows into horrible time slots and then can’t figure out why the ratings went down. it’s so frustrating and super annoying…they need a lesson on following things through.

  37. V.Dunn says:

    Well from my 17 year old and me a 47 year old gee thanks a whole lot for taking a show away that we really loved watching. You people really need to get your act together stop changing the time slots and jacking with our shows your the ones that cause shows to fail.. Now put our shows back on.

  38. William BELLO says:

    I cant never understand Why this show was cancelled I hate when you are so into a miniseries with out good explanation a show cancelled CAN YOU BRING THE SHOW BACK YOU WONT REGRET it

  39. Luke says:

    I admit I am totally disappointed to learn that Defiance was canceled after season 3. I just finished watching season 3 on Amazon and quite frankly, thought it was one of the BEST seasons of scifi television I have EVER seen.

    There was not one single scene that did not move the series forward in a significant manner that build this magnificent world into something unique that the genre of science fiction could be proud of.

    There have been a few series throughout the past generation that had that creative spark that Defiance had.

    1. Firefly – canceled by FOX who never really gave the series a chance nor promoted it properly. I cannot express how very, very stupidly FOX handled this series which was essentially Startrek in the wild west.

    2. Babylon 5 – At least there was closure with this series. It is my opinion that Babylon 5 was likely too cerebral for many viewers and I consider it one of the most classy examples of science fiction that has ever graced the screens of American television.

    3. Revolution – Fantastic series that again was likely too cerebral for the average viewer, using technology that is not that far off in terms of future years.

    I guess I expect more out of humanity but then again I live on a world where over 25% of the sentient species still insist the world is flat and the sun revolves around us rather than the other way around. I live on a planet where it is predicted that 90% of the inhabitants if offered immortality technology would decline for a variety of irrational reasons. Perhaps it is not hard to understand why such series as the ones listed above as well as Defiance do not attract a economically viable viewership.

    I would leave SyFy with one suggestion. Don’t put anything on Friday or Saturday night that you want to thrive. Those are PARTY nights. Those are get out of the house and do stuff nights. I can’t remember a Friday or Saturday night where I stayed home to watch TV no matter WHAT was one. Its just plain stupid to move a show to one of those nights expecting it to thrive.

    Defiance was doing well on Monday night….and it starting going down hill when you moved it. If the common viewer can see this theme happening over and over again and again..,.why do the people working in the industry not see it…

    As I said at the beginning of this comment, Defiance was one of the best science fiction series and had the BEST world building, character building seasons of any series I have ever seen. And season 3 was likely the best series of scifi television EVER. Every episode stunned me with its quality and plot twists. Seriously it was like watching a theatrical movie each and every episode.

    I won’t quit supporting SyFy because of this, but I am disappointed. I will say that the time is ripe for an alternative network to compete against SyFy in this genre because they obviously cannot see the forest for the dollar bills.

    Media consumption and brand building is getting harder and harder to do because of how people live now-a-days. And I just don’t think the old networks understand the new economy.

    • Scott says:

      Luke, I believe the reason it was moved to the “dead zone” time slot was because Syfy wanted it to fail so they would have an excuse to cancel it. Syfy is too cheap and they didn’t want to cover the production costs. They even admitted to this by saying the cancellation was due to financial considerations. It’s a shame. Defiance could have been one of the best sci-fi series ever (and imo already is), but the people at Syfy could not see this.

  40. shanIy says:

    It is just so sad to see that NETWORKS are cancelling shows that viewers are consistently watching and anxiously awaiting their return….first 24, then The Borgias, now Defiance. I mean what is next …It would have been bittersweet, if they were replacing these shows with ones equally exciting but that…clearly is not happening.

    This trend seriously needs to STOP!!!!

  41. westexan says:

    All TV shows run strictly by the ratings — the number of viewers. For me, Defiance is right up there with SGU, Firefly, Babylon 5, Farscape and a slew of others. I always hope that they would at least tie up loose ends before ending any show — but it seldom happens.

    “After delivering good ratings on Mondays during its first season in 2013, “Defiance” fell off sharply in its move to Thursdays in 2014 and then again when it shifted to Fridays this summer. Its Aug. 28 finale averaged a 0.51 rating in adults 18-49 and 1.925 million viewers overall in Nielsen’s “live plus-3” estimates.”

    Why did they move it to Thursdays? Ratings fell off — so they moved it to Fridays — and the ratings fell off. Why did they move it at all? Syfy seems to be especially blind and callous toward their viewers. However, they really are the same as any other TV network. If you think they would ever have any kind of loyalty toward their viewers, you’ve not been paying attention. It’s all about the numbers.

  42. Drew YK says:

    SYFY is an acronym, it stands for “Screw You, F___ You”.

    That is how they feel about their viewers. That is all the energy they will “waste” on you. They do not care about their viewing audience. Public outcry, signature campaigns and the rest are a complete waste of time. If they cared about Science Fiction or Fantasy (other than wrestling, that is) then more than 11 episodes of Firefly would exist today, they would have captured and saved “Defying Gravity”, “Stargate Universe” would have lived on, Defiance would not be canceled… and the list goes on.

    Smart money says not to waste your time with series on S.Y.F.Y.

    You have started watching that new series, it’s starting to get deep into the story arc? It even looks like it is possible one or more of the main characters might have just died or been lost forever? Kiss it goodbye – you will never see that show again.

    That IS what S.Y.F.Y. does.

    S.Y.F.Y thinks that a time traveling, trans-dimensional, swamp dwelling, ghost like, carnivorous woolly Monmouth makes GOOD science fiction. Think about it, compare it to what you are watching. If what you are watching is better than that then a big S.Y. is headed your way.

  43. Scott says:

    My wife and I really liked the show and was and couldn’t wait for the next season.

  44. Jeb says:

    IMO Syfy is putting themselves out of business. To cancel a series as exceptional as Defiance shows me they have no concern for their viewers and really don’t know what they are doing. Mostly everything they put out is made on the cheap and it shows. On occaision they will air something good like Defiance or SGU only to cancel them because they are too cheap to sink the money into them. It’s like having a pizza business and serving frozen pizza to your customers. Terrible way to run things. Anyway, Dumping Defiance was the final straw for me. I will not watch another series on that sad network again. Unless, of course, they bring Defiance back. Which I know they won’t.

  45. Jay says:

    Lets face it Syfy… you screwed up on this one!!!! there has been a lot of upset fans on your decision to cancel what I believe was your best series. Actually, it was the best scifi series on tv!! Just own up to it and bring back Defiance! Pretty much 90% of the comments on this page say they are done with your network ( I haven’t tuned in since the final episode of Defiance). So think of the viewers that will come back if Defiance comes back. Otherwise what are we suppose to think? That you could care less about us as watchers of your network? That’s the message you’re giving us!!

  46. Sally says:

    I have stopped watching anything on the syfy channel. They have canceled so many fantastic shows while keeping the crap such as wrestling and other stupid programs (Sharknado 4 anyone?) for instance. Now I hear Ghost Hunters last season is coming up. I will not watch the channel any longer. It is kind of sad when I first got Directv the channel was great now all they show is crap and repeats of the same movies shown week after week.

  47. Bob says:

    I am here to say good by. through the years and the cancellation of many good shows and putting garbage on. I cant figure why companys want to run commericals on syfy. Who is watching the crap you are putting? Defiance was a hit you geeks. bye

  48. Rusty says:

    First Warehouse 13, at least got closure on that one, second Defiance? Does SyFy NOT want viewers or success? I am done with sillyfi…

  49. The show had the potential of being the next Star Trek and for some reason or other the writers just seem to lost their seal and creativity you got to start making some shows that stay on to have steady following all the new shoes you have on right now are awesome dark Matter’s great lot of a lot of subjects addressed that are awesome

  50. TomC says:

    Too bad was a good show I do not what as much on syfy as I used to because of this

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