Dark Matter: Pilot (parts 1 and 2)
June 21, 2015 11:43 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Six strangers wake up on a derelict ship with no memories. Who they really are will change them forever - and perhaps the universe, too.
posted by rednikki (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I noticed no one had posted about this yet so I thought I'd get it started.

Syfy has premiered two shows over the past 8 days that clearly owe a debt to Firefly: Dark Matter and Killjoys. Dark Matter feels like Firefly via Farscape with a dollop of Stargate Universe and the unfolding mystery of Orphan Black thrown in. That's not a bad thing in my book.

I am intrigued by the mystery and I'm enjoying the chemistry between all the characters. Glad to see the diverse ensemble; glad to see that everyone gets their moment to shine. Looking forward to learning more about the rules of the universe, but I like the politics of playing one conglomerate off another.

So that's enough of what I have to say; what do you think?
posted by rednikki at 11:48 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Hadn't seen this, sounds like that old Hercules in space opera Andromeda (wow that went five seasons) so will there be aliens? A bit of a cynic where it comes to the SyFi network, hope this is good.
posted by sammyo at 12:15 PM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I watched the first ep because Zoie Palmer 4 Lyfe but... I dunno, it just felt weirdly dated (really '90s) with very stock characters. Maybe that's the point, maybe it'll morph into something fresher as time goes on. I have yet to watch the second ep but I will, and I'll give it maybe 2 or 3 more eps to do something that really catches my interest. I was a huge fan of Farscape and this is so far not even hinting at the Scapey vibe for me.
posted by along came the crocodile at 1:46 PM on June 21, 2015

The premise is quite interesting but it didn't seem all that well handled or memorable. A Western-esque miner-vs-corporation dispute? That's the best you got? The question isn't whether we've seen that before but how many times we've seen that before.

It's not a good sign when you get someone like me fast forwarding through parts of your second episode.
posted by Justinian at 7:35 PM on June 21, 2015

I dunno, I keep thinking I'm watching a Mr Show sketch about how to play a robot on a bad scifi show every time the android is on screen.
posted by Catblack at 1:18 AM on June 22, 2015

I'm digging the throwback vibe, and I like the interplay among the characters. I'll stick with it and see where it goes.

I don't think the throwback feeling is an accident. Both this and Killjoys have it. I think Syfy is trying to set these shows apart from the Apple Store aesthetic that's ubiquitous these days. Look at the typefaces they use for the title and credits - I think they've deliberately gone retro here.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:37 AM on June 22, 2015

Oh no, the artificial gravity is out! Time to bust out the wire harnesses!
posted by Catblack at 10:31 AM on June 22, 2015

It seems very Canadian cable to me, but that's partly because of the casting. Even so, it really does overall have the same feel as both Continuum and Lost Girl. There's a very by-the-numbers approach to this, with a lot of unimaginative tropes.

Even so, I found it far from unwatchable and the second episode somewhat of an improvement. So I'm going to continue watching, if only so that I can scratch that oldskool space science fiction itch.

But Killjoys is much better. Which is interesting because it could have been just about exactly as mediocre as this show. I just now watched Killjoys and as I watched I kept asking myself why it seems to work so much better than Dark Matter. It's partly the acting. I think the writing is better, too, but it's not actually that much better. I'd really like to pin down what Killjoys is doing so well that Dark Matter is doing poorly because, honestly, they're both built from familiar genre tropes and at least here at the beginning, they're both pretty much working through a familiar narrative and familiar characters. Killjoys really ought to be just about as "meh" as Dark Matter is.

Per Catblack's comment, I am puzzled by the choices about the android. Everything about her is very clunky, cliched and it's weird. The actor isn't a bad actor, I've seen her in other things. I'm actually slightly hopeful that they're going to do something interesting with the character because she's such a cliche, if that makes sense.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:17 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think the difference between Dark Matter and Killjoys for me was that Killjoys prioritized characterization and relationships between the leads. I came out of Killjoys interested in how John and Dutch met, and what happened to Dutch that made cut ties with his family, and what went wrong between Dutch and John. I was also really interested in Dutch's origin story, and want to know more about where she came from and how she broke away from there.

Dark Matter seems to have gone a more cookie-cutter route. The characters could have been selected from a random-sci-fi-character-generator online. So far, two episodes in, I don't actually care where they came from or what happens to any of them. However, I'm a huge SF fan and I know that shows take a while to get going sometimes... so I'm reserving judgement for a few more episodes.

After Killjoys I wanted to see another episode. After Dark Matter, not so much...
posted by kythuen at 4:30 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I watched the first ep because Zoie Palmer 4 Lyfe

You certainly wouldn't want to miss the acting chops she gets to exercise on the emotional range they offer her, eh? Definately a point to Andromeda that they had a setup that let their ship avatar act like a real person. Though I have now watched an hour more of this show than I ever did that one, so...

I liked it okay. I wonder whether they have gotten themselves into a situation with this "who wiped the memories" thing that isn't going to pay out well. I'm with Justinian on the meg of the conflict, though I'll cut them slack for not wanting to have an overly unusual thing to hang the real meat - who are these people? - onto.

I thought at the end they were going for a "this was totally a pyrrhic victory" vibe and that we'd learn there were now not enough miners to make this venture work anymore. That certainly seemed the case given the body count.
posted by phearlez at 12:05 PM on June 23, 2015

Well, I've watched the second ep now and... I still don't know what to think. If this generic-ness (is that a word?) of character and storyline isn't a deliberate set up that will be drastically flipped over the next eleven episodes, that's a problem. I hope One is supposed to be that annoying because I want him to die horribly already, and I have a feeling they might be setting him up as the hero.

I'm actually slightly hopeful that they're going to do something interesting with the character because she's such a cliche, if that makes sense.

This is my hope for the whole show. I wish I could say I was optimistic, but prior experience with Lost Girl has made me wary of the production team.
posted by along came the crocodile at 1:40 PM on June 23, 2015

It makes perfect sense that they seem like generic characters; each person on Raza is almost entirely a, well, blank slate. The android, too, I suppose.

I thought the first two episodes were fine. I'm not sold but I'd like to see where they're going with this.
posted by mountmccabe at 10:44 PM on November 9, 2015

Just starting on this, but the show blasts past the Bechdel Test at full throttle, just aim thrusters and punch it and it is now a smithereens.

The characters and the actors cast to play them are essential to any "motley crew on a spaceship" trope. The plot and dialog are up to any damn challenge, PK Dick writes Firefly, and the cast usually comes through. The practical effects are kinda cheap, but who cares, the mysteries deepen! I love a shabby, scuffed-up-lived-in SF world, and the series delivers, albeit on the very low-budget-angling-higher level.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:43 PM on September 5, 2016

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