Dark Matter is a brand new American-Canadian series airing on SyFy. The show’s genres include sci-fi, thriller and drama. The story is based on a series of comics with the same name. The show will air during summer and will expand to 13 episodes of 42min each.
NOTE: This article will contain slight spoilers for the first episode.
The premise of the show was attractive from the beginning:
The six-person crew of a derelict spaceship awakens from stasis in the farthest reaches of space. Their memories wiped clean, they have no recollection of who they are or how they got on board. The only clue to their identities is a cargo bay full of weaponry and a destination: a remote mining colony that is about to become a war zone. With no idea whose side they are on, they face a deadly decision. Will these amnesiacs turn their backs on history, or will their pasts catch up with them?
“Sci-fi and mysteries? I’m in!” I made myself a cup of coffee and clicked on the first episode trying to calm myself down and lower my expectations. You see, my relationship with sci-fi is a bit particular: I REALLY like sci-fi but I don’t watch a lot of it. Meaning that it’s very hard for me to find a sci-fi show that I like. But when I find one, I REALLY like it. As I finished the first episode, I still didn’t know whether I REALLY liked it or if I’d just watch it because I have to.
Watching the first episode, the most interesting and exciting parts where the beginning, when they awake and the main mystery appears, and the ending, where we are left with a big revelation and a cliff-hanger. After all, that’s what any pilot should have: an interesting opening that will make you want to give it a chance and an exciting ending that will make you want to keep watching. However, what was in the middle… eh. Let’s say I found myself checking other tabs while listening to it.
Even though the sci-fi formula of having a group of people in a spaceship is nothing new by any means, I couldn’t help but feeling some Firefly vibes. In that sense, Three reminded me of Jayne Cobb, and Five reminded me of River Tam. However, the relationship in the crew is completely different. While Firefly had members recruited over time where different relationships had been formed and where each crewmember had a specific role in the ship (a similar formula to One Piece‘s pirate crews), in Dark Matter the crewmembers are complete strangers (or, at least, they don’t remember each other). Since they don’t even remember their own names, they name themselves after the numbers of the order in which they woke up, making them seem less human and original and more machine-like.
The show did a pretty good job at introducing different personalities and traits to every character so that it’s easy to pick your favourite. But it’s still early to care about the team as a whole.
On the other hand this Pilot was also a bit cliche in the sense that the episode was… well, cliche. Let me elaborate on that one. It usually happens a lot that the first episode of the TV show, in order to appear as attractive and exciting as possible, ends up coming out as too generic and predictable. Hence some of the cheesy lines, typical badass poses and not-so-unexpected turn of events. Like I said, it’s something very frequent that even happened in some old beloved shows like Supernatural. It’s forgivable and we’ll have to wait for the next episodes to see some originality.
In that sense, even though there is a good diversity in the main cast, there was still some unnecessary scenes like the male members of the crew staring at the main female lead’s ass. Not justified but, again, it’s a pilot. What are you gonna do about it. Sigh.
Last but not least, when we talk about diversity in sci-fi, there usually is the addition of a new category: species. And what is a sci-fi show without an Android? At first, and as it usually happens in android literature, the human group don’t like the idea of having a walking machine and are very suspicious of her. However, I can see it changing to the typical scenario in which they end up accepting the android as an equal part of the crew adding some speech on what it means to be human.
You never know what you will get with Syfy shows but experience has told me not to judge an entire series by just its pilot. Yes, I will be reviewing Dark Matter this summer. I’m just crossing my fingers that the show is able to create the atmosphere that Firefly had while adding some Doctor Who paranoia. But, for now, I’ll lower my expectations.