TV Review: “Dark Matter” – Stuck in the Shadows

Written by Michelle Young August 24, 2015

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The Canadian network, Space, has produced a new sci-fi show that follows the adventures of a gaggle of mysterious and quirky crew-members aboard a rogue spaceship. Could it be? Have they finally given “Firefly” (the greatest show to ever grace our televisions) its well-deserved continuation? Sadly, no. This new show is called “Dark Matter”, and it is certainly not “Firefly”, even though it tries very hard to be. At its best, “Dark Matter” is actually okay, but plenty of missteps and dribble overshadow those moments to the point that it’s a slightly forgettable show that feels way too played out.

As said before, “Dark Matter” is a fairly typical sci-fi epic that follows the lives of a space ship’s crew; the twist is that none of the characters know who they are or why they are even on the ship, having had all of their minds wiped while in stasis. The six main characters, One (Marc Bendavid), Two (Melissa O’Neil), Three (Anthony Lemke), Four (Alex Mallari Jr.), Five (Jodelle Ferland), and Six (Roger Cross) are named for the order in which they awoke. The main plot of the show is devoted to unraveling the mystery of who these six people are and how they ended up aboard this ship.

“Who are you? I don’t know. Who are you? I’ve got no idea.”

The core issue of the show is its lack of originality; most of the characters rely heavily on tropes or have already been done before. Five, for instance, a quirky female mechanic who has flashbacks and can access other people’s memories, feels like a smushed together version of Kaylee and River from “Firefly”. Other characters, like Three and Four, a raging tough guy and a dishonoured prince, are just too one note and played out. The acting is pretty standard, but gets really rough when paired with some of the awkward, cheesy dialogue. The one character that I actually really liked is The Android (Zoie Palmer). The acting is spot on and her character story, although not highly present, is fairly entertaining.

Dark Matter

The time devoted to the different characters backstories also feels really uneven and misplaced. We get way too much of boring predictable stories and not enough of the goods ones. It feels as though all of the interesting stuff had to get drawn out, because they just don’t have enough of it. The rest of the time that has to gets filled in by silly side stories, like a revenge seeking sex-robot assassin, played unexpectedly (and awkwardly) by Ruby Rose, and an over done, boring plot involving space zombies.

“Whoever wiped our memories did it because they thought we were dangerous.”

Overall, “Dark Matter” just doesn’t have the right formula to break through all that’s come before it. It just ends up being a less charming, poorly constructed pseudo version of “Firefly” that borrows way too much from other sci-fi tropes to feel anything like an fresh, original show.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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