Yesterday, I watched the premiere episode of the ScyFy’s (I hate that spelling of their channel name, by the way) new show: Dark Matter. I am cautiously optimistic. It was actually quite good, although a lot of the tension comes from the initial concept of the show (that they seemingly answer at the end of the first episode.)
Before I begin with my impressions, I should note that there will be slight spoilers. If you’re sensitive to any spoilers, you may want to wait, watch the show, and come back later.
Now, back to the show:
So, the premise of the Dark Matter is that several people awake without memories on a space ship that is floating unpowered in space. The tension comes from the fact that no one remembers anything about themselves, the others, or why they are on the space ship. The episode establishes character building, character relationships, and tries to solve the mystery of who they are and why they are here. Whatever has effected their memories has left their abilities intact (and the show’s creators go through several scenes and a good bit of screen time to show you that several characters possess extreme abilities that they still possess even without their complete memories.
The episode reminds me of two different other pieces of media: The Bourne Identity and Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “Conundrum.” In each one, there is a mystery of identity to be solved, along with the idea of skills left intact and able to be used. It also has a dash of Farscape mixed in as well, where there promises to be character clashes and conflicts based on the various personalities and character drives of the crew. These are definitely not members of the United Federation of Planets (or any other Federation for that matter). These crew members are portrayed as pretty tough–when one character can spin katanas like Darth Maul, you know that’s a guy who’s use to getting his own way.
My hope was that they would spend most of the 1st season figuring out who they were and that it would be revealed for each of the crew by the time the first season wrapped up, but they actually (again, seemingly) gave a crew biography at the end of the episode. I say seemingly, because they do it in the last 5 minutes and they rely on the computer finding and repairing “corrupted data” to tell us who the characters are and the name of the ship–which is important as we learned from secondary characters slightly earlier in the episode.
[spoiler] Slight Spoiler Warning: The Farscape idea comes back again with the reveal of the characters identities at the end, but to say more would be a major spoiler. [/spoiler]
I’m not sure that I like that reveal, but I need to see more before I decide one way or the other. I can already tell that I’m probably not going to enjoy ScyFy’s next new show which debuts next week–Killjoys (space bounty hunters) because of its irreverent tone, although I am planning to watch it (unless I forget). Dark Matter, on the other hand, might be a keeper. If you like Sci-Fi (ah, I finally get to spell it the CORRECT way!) then give it a try. If nothing else, it has spaceships–which never fails to pique my interest. Here’s hoping the show goes in the right direction.
Final Overall Episode Grade: B