Syfy's 'Killjoys' tries to be more than pulp but doesn't quite make it

Thursday, 18 June 2015 09:57 AM Written by 

killjoys

It's nice to see a Syfy TV series set in space again and Canadian import "Killjoys" (9 p.m. Friday) tries to build a mythology, but both the low-rent look -- a red filter for this scene! a green filter for this scene! -- and the emphasis on fights over character development dooms the show to medocrity.

Read more after the jump. ...

Still, at least it tries to be science-fiction, which is more than can be said for a lot of Syfy efforts in recent years. If anything, "Killjoys" is a little too similar to last week's Syfy premiere, "Dark Matter." Their universes have a lot of similarities, most notably corporations that appear to control everything. It's a little surprising that Syfy would introduce two shows that feel so similar in such quick succession.

The "Killjoys" premiere starts in the J Star Cluster's Quad Planetary System where bounty hunter Johnny (Aaron Ashmore, "Warehouse 13") is being held prisoner when he's rescued by his boss, Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen, "Black Mirror"), before setting out to rescue his estranged brother, D'Avin (Luke MacFarlane, "Brothers and Sisters"), who's been marked for death for reasons unknown.

Created and written by Michelle Lovretta ("Lost Girl"), "Killjoys" does an admirable job in its first two episodes sketching its own universe. Some of it is murky -- there's a corporation that oversees a lot of what goes on in this world and a resistance that fights the corporation -- but it's clear that Dutch and Johnny are licensed bounty hungers (aka "reclamation agents") and Dutch has a mentor/tormentor in her history who re-emerges after years away in the pilot episode.

But this kind of character development and world building takes a backseat to pretty standard plots, fight scenes and occasionally cheesy special effects (1960s-era Capt. Kirk style tossing yourself about to simulate spaceship turbulence).

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