So that title made this post sound a whole lot more exciting than it'll probably end up being. But what the hey! Let's throw down SyFy's two new shows, and I'll give you my verdict.
There are already more than a few posts floating around the interwebs of people declaring one or the other better. What is very interesting, is that there's very few fans of both shows. People either really like Killjoys and don't much like Dark Matter, or love Dark Matter and think Killjoys is rubbish. This has result in some serious discussion, for example, this lengthy thread on reddit.
Thankfully, as of a few days ago, these discussions can continue for at least another year, as both shows were confirmed as going into production for season 2.
So, let's get down to the nitty gritty. What works, what doesn't, which I think is better and why.
As I said in a previous post, this show was put together by the people behind the Stargate TV series, so I was probably expecting waaay too much. I thought Dark Matter had the more interesting premise (6 people waking up on a spacehip with no idea who they are or how they got there), and more potential for edge-of-your-seat, can't-wait-until-next-week tension, but the execution was lacking.
First off, I was a little disappointed by the set, especially the ship. While it was obviously meant to be grittier, I felt like I was seeing a spaceship that could ave easily been slotted into a Stargate episode, especially the later seasons. Okay, maybe there's only so many ways you can design a spaceship, but I was expecting some kind of wow factor I never found. The crew often visited stations and planets, but it wasn't anything you wouldn't find in any other science fiction show.
Anyhoo, then there's Five, who is part Kaylee, part River. The character of One was obviously meant to be the hot guy and has the added mystery of not being who he's meant to be, and then we have the two remaining characters who kind of fill the multicultural aspect.
Out of the two shows, I enjoyed Killjoys heaps more, and actually became invested in the characters; a team of bounty hunters. While it was better, it still wasn't epic, which is what we all really want in a sci-fi space opera. Its going to be a long time before anything reaches the heights of Stargate, Farscape, Firefly or Battlestar Galactica.
Anyway, while the Killjoys also didn't have really great execution, I thought they did a better job than Dark Matter. For a start, their spaceship was waaaay cooler, and was obviously partial to John, which annoyed Dutch and was a point of comic relief in a few tense situations. I think it was also really great that it was focused around a couple of key locations, which made it much easier to understand how the universe worked. I really liked the gritty, poor working class set of Westerly, often portrayed against the more affluent planet of Qresh and the farming planet of Leith, particularly the Leith Bazaar.
Her partner, John, is the typical in-love-with-the-girl-but-stuck-in-the-friends-zone. Things go a bit haywire for him when he discovers there's a kill warrant on his brother, and goes to rescue him on what amounts to a slave ship. The brother, D'Avin, is a soldier on the run, and it later comes out that he killed his own men and had his memory wiped.
Unfortunately, I felt that Luke Macfarlane took a little while to really settle into his character of D'Avin. While most of his scenes were pretty good early on, there were a few that felt a bit forced. But this was also a little true of the whole team. The cohesion just wasn't quite there at first. However, by the end of the season, they'd all hit their stride and this wasn't an issue any longer.
Either way, its great to see sci-fi space opera on our TV screens again. It was long overdue, and I'm hoping this means we'll see a new surge in popularity for the genre.