Dark Matter is cool sci-fi space opera/drama that’s been airing on Syfy, just finishing its first season last week and it’s been some great sci-fi, the tone is fun and lighthearted with an element of ongoing mystery to it, as the crew of the Raza (the ship) wake up in separate hypersleep pods, unaware of who they are, what they’re doing on the ship and where they’re going. An awesome premise to start off with and it has been done a few times before in space dramas, but the premise taken the show in some interesting directions.
That level of mystery it feel like Battlestar Galactica in a sense, though it also has the distinct spaceship drama feel of Firefly to it with a mixed crew, an optimist with a strong sense of morality, (One) a cocky loudmouth (Three), a loyal, noble fighter (Four), a level headed calming influence (Six), a possibly psychic teenage girl (Five) and a strong moral leader (Two) though these archetypes aren’t exclusive to Firefly and are present in quite a few space operas. And by the way the crew decided to give themselves numbers, not knowing their names and as a way of easily remembering each other.
The show turned out really well though, it looks great and has some creative set designs, the inside of the Raza looks pretty nice and the action so far has been solid with some great fight sequences often involving Two and Four. The plot for the show is a mix of procedural, in a mission of the week type setting but there’s also a serialized element to things as characters regain their memories and things progress and develop in interesting ways. The set of characters included are great and they work well off of each other, as they’re provided with some pretty good dialogue, Dark Matter is a show well aware of the genre it occupies and isn’t afraid for characters to ask questions about what they’re supposed to be doing or why things happen, which is refreshing and makes for some pretty funny dialogue as well.
There’s been some interesting expansion on the world that Dark Matter inhabits as well with the inclusion of corporations, mercenaries and different types of technology that gives you a hint at what things are like in this future setting and so far things have been creatively done, you have your futuristic evil corporations of course, but we’re yet to see things like aliens or super powerful weapons. And for a set of mostly unknown actors aside Jodelle Ferland (Five) and Roger R Cross (Six), the performances are really solid and everyone puts in a great shift, especially the android played by Zoie Palmer, the crew is a set of distinct, vibrant personalities and each actor does a great job of presenting their characters traits and quirks.
And like shows that have come before it, Dark Matter is riding on its’ strong set of characters who in this case sort of are the story, it’s great watching them all interact with each other and react to different situations and work through them and that feeling of watching a diverse space crew go on adventures just never gets old. If you’ve remembered shows like Stargate SG1 and Farscape, so did I as this show definitely feels reminiscent of that type of space drama.
The show has a lot of promise and I hope Syfy lets it develop naturally as I can see it just getting from here on out, hopefully with the show not getting bogged down in weird new age mysticism like Ascension did and even Battlestar Galactica did eventually. There’s a lot of room for storytelling and expansion of the story itself for what has been a great watch and intriguing first season, hold onto this one Syfy, you could have yourselves a hit.