Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Dark Matter Season 1 Review

Dark Matter (2015-) 
Season 1 - 13 episodes (2015)
Buy Dark Matter Season 1 on Amazon
Watch Dark Matter on Netflix
Created by:  Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie
Starring:  Melissa O'Neil, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari Jr., Jodelle Ferland, Roger Cross, Marc Bendavid, Zoie Palmer
Rated: TV-14

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous television reviews!

Six people wake up on a deserted spaceship. They can't remember who they are or what they're doing there.

This is standard sci-fi with a pretty good hook. These people think they're good, but while they don't remember their past, facts state otherwise - they're criminals.  The season shows us how 'good' people can commit horrible crimes. The show doesn't delve deep into characters, thoguh there is plenty of drama and backstabbing with a group of people that don't trust each other as suspicions waver during the season. The story lines are often less than subtle, but being a fan of sci-fi makes this more bearable.
It depends.

Every episode reveals more about the characters and the crew's purpose. The facts state they are a band of outlaws, but none of them can believe that about themselves. They start as pretty standard characters. The noble hero, the tough female leader, the selfish jerk, the young hacker, etc.
Each episode continues to build on the characters as we learn more about them. Secrets abound, and at times this feels like a sci-fi soap opera. These characters did commit the crimes alleged, but it's not always quite like it seems on the police report.
The show builds their backstory to provide a bit of depth. Despite the criminal charges, each of the characters can be somewhat noble, or have been in the past.
Trust is a big issue. Since they are outlaws, they don't know or remember their enemies. They are constantly on guard for the next threat. They tell each other honesty is the only way they can remain a crew, but all of them are hiding secrets.

It gets better as it continues, each episode adding to the backstory and playing with sci-fi conventions. There is an android that controls the ship, that struggles with being manufactured while trying to relate to humans.
This has an Altered Carbon type transport where a human body can be printed and inhabited remotely for a limited period of time. There's an entertainment droid, played by Ruby Rose, that illicits all the typical jokes, but it's her cooking that becomes the most valuable asset.
This is hard to recommend with the abundance of quality television. It's fun for a sci-fi show and it isn't bad by any stretch. At times it feels like it's a copy of Firefly (2002-03), and while Firefly is great, this is a serviceable replacement since Firefly has long gone off the air.
Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Big Bang Theory) guest stars in episode twelve, and the season ends with a betrayal and a big cliff hanger. Thankfully there is a season two.

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