Off Book is a new weekend event started here by yours truly to give us a chance to review things from the wider world of pop culture (movies, TV shows, podcasts, video games, etc.), outside of books. If you want to participate, please do! Just link back to here, and make sure to leave a link to your post in the comments. Feel free to grab the graphic as well.
This week, I’m turning to TV to review my newest favorite currently airing sci-fi show: Dark Matter. Dark Matter follows the crew of a ship who awake from stasis to discover they have no idea who they are, why they’re on a ship together, or any memories at all. They choose to christen themselves with numbers as names, with One being the first to awake and Six being the last to awake. By the end of the first episode, some of them know who they are, but the adventure is just beginning.
The fact that at least some of them discover their names by the end of the first episode really hooked me into this show. I don’t love long-drawn out plots, and I felt like having a reveal like that so early on cut down on the amount of dragging out over that particular plot point. The personalities of all of the characters are well-defined, and very different from one another, even from episode one, though the personalities continue to grow and change throughout the show. One seems to be a bit of a bleeding heart. Two is a confident, strong woman, who puts herself in charge of everyone else (and really is the best option for the job). Three is a loud-mouth, arrogant jerk, who wants everyone to do what he wants to do. He’s brash and unrefined, and has become one of my favorite characters over time. Four is quiet, but can handle a sword pretty well. Five is a teenager with green hair, and a very unique sense of style…and is the odd duck in the pond (also one of my favorites). Six is a little nondescript at first. He’s kind and gentle…and bonds quickly with Five. He’s kind of like the crew’s big brother. While they’re all in this together, the amount of secrets they begin to keep from each other almost instantly heightens the tension and suspense on the show.
It took me awhile to watch the first season on Netflix (it’s still there!), but I was all in by episode 5, which is one of my favorites in season one. It really does a lot in terms of character development. The season finale is also heartwrenchingly good, and full of betrayal. As soon as I finished season one, I went straight into season two, which just ended last night.
By the end of season one, the characters, who were a little difficult to pin down at first when only having a number to go by, are firmly ensconced in your mind as individuals with their own set of experiences and stories. Season one also makes a great lead-in to season two, which involves jail breaks, heists, and some of the most emotional episodes I’ve seen in a sci-fi show. The show really came into its own in season two, and each tragedy struck super close to home for me, and I celebrated each triumph, no matter how minor. I can’t stop thinking about the turns the characters have taken, and while all of the arcs make for compelling television, they definitely didn’t pull punches, and it’s a show where anything can happen (and anyone can die) at any minute.
I feel like this review is not doing the show justice, but saying anything more specific would totally ruin the surprise at the end of episode one and I’m not going to do that to potential audience members. Here’s what I can tell you (and hopefully it appeals to you). It’s a show set on a spaceship with a crew forging ahead, no memories, not much to go on, but who have each other. There are heists, kick-ass fights, strong female characters (amazing in sci-fi), the best android on television ever, emotional intimate moments, high-speed action moments, and a storyline that pits the crew against corporations who rule the world. It’s television science fiction at its finest. Season 3 won’t start until next summer, so you have time to get caught up! Also, the actors on the show are amazing people in their own right. They were fantastic at DragonCon (see my review of that here).
Recommend: Yes! Especially for fans of science-fiction shows like Firefly and Continuum.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Do you think you’ll watch Dark Matter? Have you watched it and love it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments!