It’s hard to keep up with the series that the SyFy Channel churns out. Some of them fade away into obscurity as quickly as they arrive, a few of them build respectable followings (‘Defiance’), and even fewer become cultural phenomenons (‘Battlestar Galactica’). We will only find out where to categorize ‘Dark Matter’ after sitting down and watching the whole first season.
Six people awaken on a spaceship with no memories of who they are and how they got there. They are joined by an android who begins as an adversary but reveals itself to be their greatest ally. After some exploration, they discover that (most of them) have violent pasts. This is further reinforced when some less than desirable people come knocking demanding that they do jobs for them. Will danger arise from one of the group member’s pasts or will the duplicitous nature of some be their undoing?
This attempts to recreate the formula and dynamic of other science fiction series. You know, a mismatched group of ne’er-do-wells, each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses combining to compliment each others’ skills and form a strong team. As with some other groups, there is a constant power struggle at work. That, and the attempt at unraveling the mystery of their origins drive things along.
Given the title, this isn’t nearly as ‘dark’ could be led to believe. One highlight of the season for its intensity is an episode featuring zombie-like infected inhabitants of a thought-to-be-abandoned ship. The series could have used a little more of this as too much time is spent unpacking the characters, something that is necessary but not as entertaining as it should be. Another highlight is an episode with a rival android (played by Ruby Rose). Overall, things are most exciting when the group is forced to work together to overcome an external force.
By the end of the season, we get some clarity about what is going on. So much so, in fact, that it’s hard to see where the second season will go and what the purpose will be. A huge is given to us in the season’s final seconds that seem to resolve the main conflict/question. There are some loose ends such as certain characters’ backstory and purpose for inclusion in this crew which will hopefully be explored, but it remains to be seen what direction will be taken.
‘Dark Matters: Season 1’ is an enjoyable collection of episodes. It ultimately doesn’t quite add up to the sum of its parts or the intrigue of the premise, but it could be a good introduction to something greater.
Not Rated 546 minutes 2015