I don't expect much from Syfy these days, so I was really surprised at how much I loved this show. Killjoys is the type of character-driven adventure sci-fi that you don't often find anymore (comparisons to Firefly are justified, in my opinion). All three leads are perfectly cast and have phenomenal chemistry with each other. From the very first episode, you get to know Dutch, Johnny and D'avin and care about them (and their relationships with each other) through the course of the series. Like Firefly, the show can turn on a dime between humor and horror, with plenty of drama and emotional depth in between. There is also a fairly-extensive amount of world-building and political intrigue that also helps to drive the story. My only gripe with this show, oddly enough, is the music. It has what I think might be the worst opening credit music ever, and the choice of songs playing during the episodes are somewhat questionable. But that's a minor point given that, unlike Syfy's darker offerings (no pun intended!) this show is FUN. I am so happy to hear this is coming back for a second season. I expect great things.
This show seems to straddle the line between the space-western approach of Firefly and the slightly more throwback general feel of a late-90s/early-00s era science fiction show. There is a certain generic quality, but the premise is solid and certain elements of the art direction give me cause to hope that Killjoys can grown into itself and become a real keeper of a show. Hannah John-Kamen is a good lead and hey, it's a spaceship show! There aren't enough of those on the air anymore. This one is accessible, fun and shows signs of being stylish. Here's hoping.
SyFy isn't skimping on spacefaring sci-fi this summer, with Dark Matter and Defiance having begun a week prior to this, and The Expanse (based on an excellent series of books) set to start in December.
Killjoys is an action-oriented space opera with a political backdrop; it holds promise in delivering an expansive story, with the season premiere just barely setting the stage. Hannah John-Kamen is easy to like as Dutch, a mysterious woman in a trio that includes two brothers. Dutch has a complex backstory, as shown in a flashback slightly reminiscent of Kung Fu (if Master Po had been a white dude teaching Grasshopper how to use a blade for torture). Staying on the topic of comparing with old shows, it'd be irresponsible to not mention that at least to some degree, the odd Toronto-produced serial Starhunter /Starhunter 2300 may have been used as a template for the Toronto-produced Killjoys. In addition to the bounty hunter angle, parallels between Dutch from Killjoys and Lucretia from Starhunter are more than skin deep. "As I search, there are signs that something is happening..."
One negative, although it may not bother you: too often the music is inappropriate. Do we really need rock/pop music *with vocals* during episodes? This trend is becoming endemic in sci-fi serials aired by SyFy, and more often than not these sonic assaults come across as pandering that detracts from the atmosphere rather than enhancing it.
Killjoys looks to be a winner. I bought a Season Pass for both it and Dark Matter... studio execs watch the numbers since sci-fi is an expensive genre to produce; hopefully enough people will show their support to ensure more than one season of both.
Science fiction has been a television staple since... well, almost since television began. Shows like "Space Rangers" and "Tom Corbett: Space Cadet" gave way to "Flash Gordon," which, in turn, gave way to "Star Trek" and its many incarnations followed by a host of others. Sadly, the genre was overrun in the late 90s and the early part of this century with also-ran productions featuring unknown (and often unskilled) actors, cheesy special effects, and bad writing. Lately, however, that's changed. Shows such as "Orphan Black" and "The Expanse" have introduced new story lines, intriguing characters, and some extremely interesting villains into the mix. "Killjoys" ranks high on this list of "new" science fiction programming in my opinion. The premise - bounty hunters who hunt a wide assortment of interstellar criminals - isn't terribly new but the writing is fresh, the special effects are good (not great, but good), and the characters are interesting. Oh, and these actors are very good. Hannah John-Kamen stars as "Dutch," the leader of a trio of bounty hunters. She is beautiful, smart, and knows how to fight. Her partners are a pair of brothers played by Aaron Ashmore as John Jaqobis and Luke MacFarlane as D'avin Jaqobis. Although they are nominally secondary characters, I have to say that they are as interesting as Dutch, with well-thought-out back stories. The writers have also taken pains to provide some interesting recurring characters ranging from the mysterious Khlyen - Dutch's mentor, who may or may not be a really bad guy - to Pawter Simms, a disgraced doctor who runs her practice from the back room of a bar. The settings are also interesting, ranging from the slums of "Old Town" to the gracious estates of "The Nine," a group of families that runs the four inhabited planets where the action takes place. It's a setting we are familiar with here on 21st Century Earth where the uber-wealthy live lives of excess while the working class has trouble paying its bills. That parallel makes "Killjoys" a very accessible series. The verdict: A really interesting series with dynamic story lines, intriguing characters, and just enough levity to lighten the tone without spoiling the drama. I give it 4.5 stars and can't wait to see the second season.