Does It Matter?
The world is in desperate need of a new space opera! With real scifi shows being to risky for mainstream networks, not sophisticated enough for premium channels and streaming, Syfy making all its scifi shows earth-bound, even those which apparently take place in space (hello Ascension!), and tv cult Star Trek reinvented for theater, refusing to go back to its tv roots there’s not so much light at the end of the tunnel. There’s not even an end of the tunnel, or is there?
And then there’s Canada. Scifi spirits are high, but the budgets and concepts always low. And new space opera Dark Matter doesn’t seem to make an exception. This is a show about five apparently well-trained and very talented people who wake up on a space ship with no memory of who they are and why they are here. Later they find out they are a bunch of criminals and mercenaries hired to wipe out a miners colony, but they decide to turn on their employer and fight for those who are in need.
As you can already read between the lines: This is far from being a redefinition of the genre. It’s a classic theme about antiheroes of a dark past struggling with becoming the good guys. In the same way the look and feel is very familiar: The interior of the space ship looks pretty standard (and again way to dark considering there are people living there for months), the exterior looks like it just came back from the 90s, the dialogues are solid at best as are the actors. And because it’s scifi there’s an android. And because it’s from Canada there’s Rob Stewart. And because everything has to be mysterious since Lost there’s a girl of unknown origin who undeliberately can read dreams and also a hatch, I mean a door that supposedly hides some crazy scifi shit. Maybe it’ll open in the season finale. Maybe later. Maybe never.
The two-part pilot gets a lot better in its second half when the story shifts away from “nobody knows what’s happing but everyone distrusts everybody” and take some form. I absolutely see potential in Dark Matter’s background story about the some conflicting routhless mining corporations and about some strangers who want to revide their own past but still have to pose as gun’s for hire in order to survive. But they need work out this matter really good considering there’s not much else to impress with.