Category Archives: TV Shows

Manhattan

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manhattan-poster Summary: Set against the backdrop of the greatest clandestine race against time in the history of science with the mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Flawed scientists and their families attempt to co-exist in a world where secrets and lies infiltrate every aspect of their lives.

Creators: Sam Shaw

Starring: John Benjamin Hickey, Michael Chernus, Rachel Brosnahan, Christopher Denham, Katja Herbers, Alexia Fast, Harry Lloyd, Daniel Stern, Olivia Williams, Ashley Zukerman, David Harbour, Mark Moses, Carole Weyers

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The Strain

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thestrain-poster Summary: A thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph, his team, and an assembly of everyday New Yorkers, wage war for the fate of humanity itself.
Creators: Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Starring: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Mía Maestro, Kevin Durand, Richard Sammel, Jack Kesy, Jonathan Hyde, Natalie Brown, Ben Hyland, Sean Astin, Robin Atkin Downes, Drew Nelson
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PREMISE – SPOILER WARNING:
A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac when it suddenly stops. All window shades are pulled down except one, the lights are out, and communication channels have gone silent. Ground crews are puzzled and an alert is sent to the CDC. Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather, head of the CDC Canary project, a rapid-response team that handles biological threats, is assigned and sent to investigate. He and Dr. Nora Martinez board the plane, finding everyone except four people are dead.
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In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former history professor and Holocaust survivor named Abraham Setrakian knows something terrible has happened and that an unnatural war is brewing.
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So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected the passengers begins spilling out onto New York City’s streets. Dr. Goodweather, who is joined by Setrakian and a small band of fighters, desperately tries to stop the contagion to save the city, and also his wife and son.
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Extant

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extant-poster Summary: Extant is an American science fiction television dramatic series created by Mickey Fisher and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. The story revolves around astronaut Molly Woods (Halle Berry) who returns home to her family inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.
Creator: Mickey Fisher
Starring: Halle Berry, Hiroyuki Sanada, Goran Visnjic, Pierce Gagnon, Michael O’Neill, Grace Gummer, Camryn Manheim, Maury Sterling, Brad Beyer, Sergio Harford, Annie Wersching, Tyler Hilton, Jeannetta Arnette, Tessa Ferrer, Charlie Bewley
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PREMISE – SPOILER WARNING:
Molly Woods, an astronaut with ISEA (International Space Exploration Agency) is assigned a 13-month-long solo mission aboard space station Seraphim. She returns home to her husband John, a robotics engineer who created their son Ethan, a prototype android called a “humanich”. When she finds herself mysteriously pregnant, she begins a search for answers.

On August 7, 2013, CBS announced that it had placed a 13-episode straight-to-series order, bypassing the traditional pilot stage.[4] Steven Spielberg served as one of the executive producers. Production began in Los Angeles on February 10, 2014.

The series is broadcast in the United States on the CBS television network, and is a production of Amblin Entertainment. It premiered on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, at 9:00 pm Eastern/8:00 pm Central.
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Falling Skies

Falling Skies

Falling Skies Summary: The chaotic aftermath of an alien attack has left most of the world completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, the few survivors have banded together outside major cities to begin the difficult task of fighting back. Each day is a test of survival as citizen soldiers work to protect the people in their care while also engaging in an insurgency campaign against the occupying alien force.
Creators: Robert Rodat
Starring: Noah Wyle, Maxim Knight, Drew Roy, Will Patton, Moon Bloodgood, Seychelle Gabriel, Sarah Carter, Connor Jessup, Colin Cunningham, Mpho Koaho, Peter Shinkoda, Ryan Robbins, Brad Kelly
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Falling Skies
PREMISE – SPOILER WARNING:
Falling Skies is an American science fiction post-apocalyptic dramatic television series created by Robert Rodat and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. The series stars Noah Wyle as Tom Mason, a former Boston University history professor who becomes the second-in-command of the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment, a group of civilians and fighters fleeing post-apocalyptic Boston following an alien invasion that devastated the planet six months before the events of season one.
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The series is broadcast in the United States on the cable channel TNT, and is a production of DreamWorks Television. The series premiered on June 19, 2011.
On July 18, 2014, TNT renewed the show for a 10-episode fifth and final season.
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Falling Skies tells the story of the aftermath of a global invasion by extraterrestrials (including mechanical attack drones called “mechs”, a species of green-skinned six-legged beings known as “Skitters” that appear to control the mechs, and a third mysterious species known as the Overlords, or “Espheni”, presumably the actual engineers of the invasion and the masters of the Skitters). Within a few days the invaders neutralized the world’s power grid and technology, destroyed the militaries of all the world’s countries, and killed over 90% of the human population. The aliens’ objectives are not explained, though the aliens try to round up children between the ages of 8 and 18 and attach a biomechanical obedience device onto (and into) their spines, referred to as a “harness”. The harness controls the child’s mind, and forcibly removing it generally kills the child. The story begins six months after the invasion and follows a group of survivors who band together to fight back. The group, known as the Second Massachusetts (an allusion to a historical regiment from the Continental Army), is led by retired U.S. Army Captain Dan Weaver and Boston University history professor Tom Mason who, while in search of his son Ben, must put his extensive knowledge of military history into practice as one of the leaders of the resistance movement.

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Halt And Catch Fire

Halt And Catch Fire

Halt And Catch Fire Summary: Set in the early 1980s, series dramatizes the personal computing boom through the eyes of a visionary, an engineer and a prodigy whose innovations directly confront the corporate behemoths of the time. Their personal and professional partnership will be challenged by greed and ego while charting the changing culture in Texas’ Silicon Prairie.
Creators: Christopher Cantwell, Christopher C. Rogers
Starring: Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishé, Toby Huss, Morgan Hinkleman, Alana Cavanaugh, Bianca Malinowski, Scott Michael Foster, Eric Goins, Graham Beckel, Cooper Andrews
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Halt And Catch Fire
PREMISE – SPOILER WARNING:
Halt and Catch Fire takes a small group of people who are all profoundly driven, obsessed, and passionate about the future potential of computers, and sets them about the task of creating a machine from scratch – a goal, which, at the time, (early 80’s) seemed impossible next to the market control of corporate giants like IBM.
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This setting is unusual for a television drama, and is engaging enough in its own terms, but its actually not the unusual setting that make this show so watchable; its the deeply interesting characters and the rich dynamics between them that really makes it great viewing.
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The core character is ‘visionary’, Joe, a man with absolutely no moral or ethical compass – only an unstoppable drive to succeed at any cost. The people unlucky enough to be caught up with him in his mission to make a new pc are consistently at various stages of dissolution, coping with the ongoing aftermath of his wholly egotistical and single-minded goal.
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The interplay between the people caught up as staff working under Joe is often subtle, but riveting viewing. Definitely worth a look, not only for its unique setting, but for the rich interplay between its dark, complex, and intriguing characters.

The Last Ship

The Last Ship

The Last Ship Summary: The crew of a naval destroyer is forced to confront the reality of a new existence when a pandemic kills off most of the earth’s population.
Creator: William Brinkley
Starring: Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra, Adam Baldwin, Charles Parnell, Sam Spruell, Travis Van Winkle, Marissa Neitling, Christina Elmore, Jocko Sims, Andy T. Tran, John Pyper-Ferguson, Fay Masterson
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Orphan Black

Orphan Black

Orphan Black Summary: A streetwise hustler is pulled into a compelling conspiracy after witnessing the suicide of a girl who looks just like her.
Creators: John Fawcett, Graeme Manson
Starring: Tatiana Maslany, Dylan Bruce, Jordan Gavaris, Kevin Hanchard, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Evelyne Brochu, Skyler Wexler, Inga Cadranel, Michael Mando, Kristian Bruun, Matt Frewer
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Orphan Black
PREMISE – SPOILER WARNING:
The series begins with Sarah Manning, a con artist by trade, witnessing the suicide of a woman, Beth Childs, who appears to be her doppelgänger and, with Sarah, is one of many clones. Sarah takes on Beth’s identity and occupation as a police detective after Beth’s death. During the first season, Sarah discovers that she is a clone, that she has many ‘sister’ clones spread throughout North America and Europe, and that someone is plotting to kill them and her. Orphan BlackAlongside her foster brother, Felix Dawkins, and two of her fellow clones, Alison Hendrix and Cosima Niehaus, Sarah discovers the origin of the clones: a scientific movement called Neolution. The movement believes that human beings can use scientific knowledge to direct their evolution as a species. The Neolutionists thus advocate eugenics.Orphan Black The movement has an institutional base within the large, influential, and wealthy biotech corporation, the Dyad Institute. The Dyad Institute conducts basic research, lobbies political institutions, and promotes its eugenics program, aided by the clone Rachel Duncan. But it also seeks to profit from the technology the clones embody. It has thus placed “monitors” into the clones’ personal lives, allegedly to study them scientifically but also to keep them under surveillance. Sarah eventually discovers that she’s also wanted by the police and by a secret religious group, the Proletheans. A faction of the Proletheans carries out the clone assassinations. Orphan BlackThey use a clone, Helena, to kill the other clones. Yet Sarah and Helena share a surrogate birth mother and are twins both genetically and with respect to their early maternal environment. The Proletheans assassinate clones because they believe them to be abominations. Eventually, the Dyad Institute and the Proletheans discover Kira, Sarah’s daughter. Kira’s importance issues from the fact that she is the only-known biological offspring of a clone, all other clones being presumed sterile because they are childless. The plot lines of the series revolve around Sarah and Kira’s efforts to avoid capture by the clearly sinister Neolutionists and Proletheans as well as around the efforts made by each clone to give sense to her life and origin.Orphan Black The attempt to control the creation of human life provides the key or dominant theme which drives the various story lines. A second key theme forms around the intrigues made by the Dyad Group and the Proletheans along with the earlier intrigues made by the authors of Project Leda (see the Greek myth Leda and the Swan) and Mrs. S., Sarah’s foster mother, and her leftwing political network. Both themes intersect in the effort to control the creation of human life. Sarah, who matures because of her struggles, defends the bond which exists between parent and child against the Neolutionists and Proletheans.
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Almost Human

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Summary: In a not-so-distant future, human cops and androids partner up to protect and serve.
Creator: J.H. Wyman
Starring: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Minka Kelly, Mackenzie Crook, Michael Irby, Lili Taylor, Darren E. Scott, Garfield Wilson, Anthony Konechny
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Almost Human
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PREMISE SPOILER WARNING:
In 2048, the uncontrollable evolution of science and technology has caused crime rates to rise an astounding 400%. To combat this, the overwhelmed police force has implemented a new policy: every human police officer is paired with a lifelike combat-model android.

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John Kennex (Karl Urban), a troubled detective, has a reason to hate these new robot partners. Almost two years previously, Kennex and his squad were raiding the hideout of a violent gang known as the Insyndicate, but ended up being ambushed and outgunned. Kennex tried to save his badly injured partner, but the accompanying logic-based android officer abandoned them both because the wounded man’s chances of survival were low and it wouldn’t have been “logical” to save him. An explosion then took off Kennex’s leg and killed his partner.

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After waking up from a 17-month coma, Kennex has to deal with a cybernetic prosthetic leg and huge gaps in his memory, which he tries to recover through visits to a black market memory-recovery doctor called a Recollectionist, in the city slums. Besides trying to remember as much as he can about the raid and the Insyndicate, he is also coming to terms with being abandoned by his girlfriend Anna.

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Kennex is then recalled to the force by Captain Sandra Maldonado (Lili Taylor), and partnered with a standard-issue MX-43 android, which he soon throws from a moving vehicle, when it threatens to report his unusual behavior. He is assigned a replacement android, an older DRN model originally decommissioned for police work and about to be transferred to the Space Station. Created to be as close to human as possible, the DRN androids have trouble dealing with some of their own emotional responses, which was the reason they were replaced by the logic-based MX units. Kennex’s unit, known as Dorian (Michael Ealy), immediately proves himself unique, with a clear dislike of being referred to as a “synthetic”, and a dry, friendly sarcasm-oriented wit. Key to the story arc is the growth and development of Kennex and Dorian’s relationship.

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The 100

The 100

The 100 Summary: Based on the Alloy books by Kass Morgan, 97 years after a nuclear war destroyed Earth and forced survivors to flee to space stations, a secret project by leaders of the group sends 100 juvenile prisoners back to Earth to see if it is viable once again.
Creator: Jason Rothenberg
Starring: Eliza Taylor, Marie Avgeropoulos, Bob Morley, Devon Bostick, Paige Turco, Thomas McDonell, Christopher Larkin, Isaiah Washington, Henry Ian Cusick, Lindsey Morgan, Richard Harmon, Ricky Whittle, Sachin Sahel, Alessandro Juliani
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The 100

PREMISE – SPOILER ALERT
The series is set 97 years after a devastating nuclear war wiped out almost all life on Earth. The only known survivors are the residents of twelve space stations in Earth’s orbit prior to the war. The space stations banded together to form a single massive station named “The Ark”, where about 2,400 people live. Resources are scarce and all crimes no matter their nature or severity are punishable by death (“floating”) unless the perpetrator is under 18 years of age. After the Ark’s life support systems are found to be critically failing, one hundred juvenile prisoners are declared “expendable” and sent to the surface in a last ditch attempt to determine if Earth is habitable again. They discover that not all humanity was wiped out. There are people on earth who survived the war, called “grounders” by the 100. The ark consist of the space stations previously representing the nations of the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, India, Russia, Venezuela, France, Brazil, and Uganda.

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Defiance

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Defiance poster Summary: In the year 2046, it’s a new Earth – with new rules. Over thirty years after various alien races arrived on Earth, the landscape is completely altered, terraformed nearly beyond recognition. To the town of Defiance, on what used to be St. Louis, comes the mysterious Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his charge, Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas). As they settle into town – overseen by the mayor, Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) and filled with residents like the powerful Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene), enterprising lounge owner Kenya (Mia Kirshner) and the ambitious, alien Tarrs (Tony Curran and Jaime Murray) – events begin to unfold that threaten the fragile peace this border town has fought for.
Creators: Rockne S. O’Bannon, Kevin Murphy, and Michael Taylor
Starring: Grant Bowler, Stephanie Leonidas, Graham Greene, Dewshane Williams, Julie Benz, Jessica Nichols, Tony Curran, Nicole Muñoz, Jaime Murray, Mia Kirshner, Justin Rain, Jesse Rath, Trenna Keating, Noah Danby
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DefianceDefianceDefianceSETTING – SPOILER ALERT
The series is set in the near future, where aliens, known collectively as Votans, have come to Earth seeking a new home after their star system was destroyed in a stellar collision. When the Votans left their solar system 5,000 years ago, their instruments detected no signs of technology on Earth, so they thought Earth was uninhabited. Upon their arrival in 2013, they discovered otherwise. The humans responded to them with hostility and suspicion.DefianceDefianceDefiance

A limited number of Votans were allowed to settle in a colony in Brazil, and eventually in three other colonies, but millions of Votans remained in hypersleep aboard their ships in orbit around the Earth, as negotiations dragged on with Earth governments to establish a full-scale settlement.DefianceDefianceDefiance

Tensions rose for ten years, but the Votan and human governments were on the verge of negotiating a peaceful settlement, when in 2023 the Votan ambassador to the United Nations was assassinated by a disgruntled human supremacist on live television outside of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. This sparked a disastrous global conflict between humans and the aliens, known as the Pale Wars.DefianceDefianceDefiance

The wars tore apart the planet for seven years, until their culmination in 2030 in the apocalyptic “Arkfall” event, when the Ark fleet in orbit mysteriously exploded. The aliens think a rogue human commander was responsible, while humans suspect it was an alien weapons experiment gone wrong. Millions of Votans died. During the Arkfall, destroyed Arks rained down on Earth and accidentally released terraformer technology.DefianceDefianceDefiance

While the Votans had intended to use their terraforming technology in a carefully planned manner, the Arkfall haphazardly unleashed chaotic and radical changes to the biosphere and even the geology of Earth, making the planet dangerous to both humans and the aliens. The earth was scorched, chasms opened in the ground, new mountain ranges were raised, and the surface of the planet was covered with dust and debris.Defiance

Animal and plant species from the Votan star system were introduced to Earth, and both native and alien animal species were horribly mutated by the uncontrolled terraforming technology, creating bizarre and dangerous hybrids and new species.DefianceDefianceDefiance

Within a few months, the Pale Wars wound down as both sides had fought to the point of mutual exhaustion, and a ceasefire was declared. Few organized governments remained for either the humans or the aliens, and both sides factionalized as their respective members began looking out for themselves. In several areas, local human and Votan militias began to band together when they realized that they had to cooperate if they hoped to survive on this new, almost alien planet.DefianceDefiance

The debris from the destroyed Ark fleet now forms an artificial “Ark belt” in Earth orbit, which periodically rains down in small-scale “Arkfalls”, which present a hazard for survivors on the surface, but also provide valuable opportunities to salvage advanced technology aboard the Arks. More frequently, most of the debris breaks up on re-entry into shards of metal shrapnel, a dangerous phenomenon known as “razor rain”. Electromagnetic distortion created by the malfunctioning terraformers have rendered most long-distance communication and air transit impossible, isolating far-flung regions much as they would have been isolated in the 19th century. Low-flying aircraft such as helicopters are still safe to fly, and will still function, but high-altitude long-distance flights are too dangerous; neither the humans nor the Votans are capable of launching vehicles into Earth’s orbit any more, as it is not only dangerous, but prohibitively expensive for societies that only just managed to pull themselves back from complete collapse. Fifteen years after the armistice, a new proposed maglev train line is being built with the goal of re-establishing regular transit between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America. Short-range radio stations will still function within the localized area of a town, as will personal smartphone-like devices known as hailers, but otherwise, the disruption of long-range telecommunications means that information must be sent between different regions by courier. At best, an unreliable method known as “text relay” can be used, in which local radio-stations rebroadcast a message received from a neighboring station to reach other regions of the continent, but this can take days or weeks.DefianceDefianceDefiance

In 2046, fifteen years after the armistice, both humans and Votans struggle to rebuild on this shattered world. In the western hemisphere, the Votanis Collective controls much of Central and South America, while the new unified Earth Republic has a major foothold in the populous cities of northeastern North America, now reorganized as a territorial unit known as “Columbia” (a combination of the United States’ Boston-to-Washington megalopolis and Canada’s Quebec City–Windsor Corridor, along with the Canadian Maritime Provinces), with its capital being in New York City. Otherwise, much of North America remains a badlands region, a “New Frontier” slowly being recolonized by several small independent republics and city-states. One such community is the independent city-state of Defiance, located in the heart of the continent, built over the ruins of St. Louis, Missouri.

Alien races:
CastithansDefianceThe Castithans are an aristocratic and ethereal race from the planet Daribo. Known for their pale skin and beautiful features, they’ve a cunning intelligence and unbridled ambition that helped them adapt to life on Earth. Very conservative in many aspects of life, including politics and a rigid caste system, Castithans are very liberal with sexuality. In season 2 it was confirmed that they can reproduce with humans.

IrathientsDefianceIrathients are the most common Votan race living on Earth, hailing from the planet Irath. Other races, including Humans, often view them as feral due to their tribal nature and love of the natural world. Irathients have deep red hair, highly athletic builds and bronze skin covered in naturally occurring contrasting patterns. While they’re quite able to succeed at any occupation, most Irathients prefer to be farmers in order to honor their forefathers. Irathients are able to produce viable offspring with humans.

IndogenesDefianceIndogenes tend to be slender, bald, with hexagonal-patterned skin of a solid color (most often pure white) who augment their bodies with a variety of cybernetic implants specifically designed for their chosen profession. They revere science and knowledge above all, allowing them to have invented most of the technology used by the other alien races.

SensothDefianceThe Sensoth physically resemble apes and giant sloths, being fur covered, and originated in a specific region of Irath. They have many of the Earth’s sloth-like characteristics, speaking and acting quite slowly. They have great physical strength and imposing presence, they can be intimidating to many, despite almost always having kind personalities. This strength of body leads to many of them being hard laborers, more often than not in the employ of a Castithan.

LiberataDefianceThe Liberata are physically short and stocky with thick hair around their head and face. They often fill the role of servants for the other races, performing menial tasks and labor. The other Votan races look down on them due to their past history of greed and avarice. They breathe nitrogen instead of oxygen.

GulaneeDefianceThe Gulanee are the biggest mystery of the Votan races. It is believed they are beings of pure energy, appearing as large balls of light; however this is just an image projected by their “encapsulation suits”, required to sustain Gulanee life. There are very few Gulanee on Terraformed Earth as most Gulanee stayed on their home Gula, confident they’d survive the destruction of the Votanis system. Most other races know very little about the Gulanee, as they have only recently established relationships with the other races.

VolgeDefianceThe Volge are feared by humans and Votans alike for their warmongering attitude. Originating from a different system than the Votans, the Volge conquered the Votan planet Omec. Volge stand over eight feet tall and always wear armor, which sustains them on Earth because they cannot breathe oxygen. During the Votan exodus, the other races chose to leave the Volge behind – their appearance during the Pale Wars was a surprise to all. They are seldom seen since the Armistice, having retreated to underground caves.

HellbugsDefianceThe Hellbugs are a once harmless crustacean race from the Votanis system that were mutated with Butterly DNA during the Terraforming. They are vicious predators who live in large collectives. They’ve a very similar hierarchy to ants or bees, headed by a Matron who commands Warriors, Archers, Skitterlings, and Monarchs. While very dangerous and always posing a threat to sentient life, they are not eradicated as they produce a valuable energy source: Petrohol.

BiomenDefianceWhile technically not alien, the Biomen are often considered such due to their inability to integrate effectively into communities – stigmatized by both humans and Votan. They originated from old Earth during the early Votan Wars, commissioned by a military project to combat potential Alien threats. Biomen are tall and very well muscled, coming in a range of colors and skin tones, but always with a batch number branded across their chest. All Biomen have an off switch somewhere in their bodies. If hit with enough force, they will be rendered unconscious. Several thousand volts of electricity will wake them up. Now effectively useless since the Armistice, they still suffer from the rage built in to their personae and need to be given a focused outlet.