Dark Matter

This is a fun show once you get into it. Like any show, the first few episodes are as wobbly as a new fawn but this one carries the extra baggage of being easily and unfairly compared to that beloved child murdered in its crib, Firefly.

I say that it’s easy to draw comparisons between the two shows because of some glaring similarities: a group of people stuck together on a space freighter who are either reluctant or unable to reveal their pasts. In the case of Firefly, the crew were criminals and ex-rebels who craved the privacy space affords. In the case of Dark Matter, they are a group of criminals who have had their memories wiped.

It does sometimes feel like a bunch of frustrated Browncoats got into a room after Firefly was cancelled and said to themselves, “How can we bring that back without having to pay for the IP rights?”

But I won’t go into further comparisons here. Either you will get over the similarities and like the show for what it is or you won’t.

I do like it. Once the characters differentiated themselves (a process that seems to happen in all non-Whedon shows where the writers allow the actors to flesh out the 2D characters) it’s a quite engaging story.

There are a few tropes that fall flat. Four’s character seeming to be transported directly from feudal Japan, swordplay included, seems like a wasted chance to do something new. Even though they tried to flesh out Six’s hardcore military type with a nice back story, he remains two dimensional (if well acted).

But the high points really allow you to gloss over the TV tropes. The constantly shifting interplay between the six crew members, disturbed and reinvigorated by new information about their pasts, keeps the show from getting bogged down in an emotional stalemate and Melissa O’Neil does a great job bringing humor and life to a character that could have been overly grim.

It’s fun and the first season cliff hanger seems organic rather than tacked on. I’m looking forward to season two.

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