As much as I love to read fantasy, I love to watch sci-fi, and was in heaven recently with a binge of WestWorld and The Expanse. Loved them! Then I tried Ascension and hit a wall of utter disappointment. If you prefer sci-fi to melodrama, then I advise you not to go there. Despondent, I went searching for anything to restore my faith in the genre and instead stumbled upon a new passion – SyFy’s Dark Matter!
Give it one episode, and I guarantee you’ll be hooked. I started out jaded, thinking “oh I’ve seen this character type before, and that one…” but at every turn your expectations are used against you. As soon as it builds up to a plot point you see coming a mile away, the show jigs left or right and leaves you guessing where it will go next. Even better are the times when I wish they would do something, believing they never would, and then they do it!
If I’m being too vague, it’s because I don’t want to spoil anything for you. But, just to wet your appetite…
The show begins with our characters rudely woken from stasis by an emergency. Yawn. But then the obligatory pretty boy lead gets the crap kicked out of him by the sexy brunette. She takes charge from day one and never gives up her authority. She is a born leader, and if she hadn’t been the ship’s captain before she is the clear choice now.
Turns out none of them have any memories of who they are, or who did this to them. They call themselves by numbers based on the order they awoke. All the clues point to someone on the ship being responsible for swiping their memories—the same someone who has sabotaged the ship. One of them is the enemy. The android is no help, as her memories were erased as well, but she’s a stand out character as the series progresses and we learn of a deeper connection between her and #2 (aka tough brunette captain, aka Portia).
The tension throughout season one especially never lets up. From distrusting each other to learning who they were before, to deciding this is not who they want to be now, it’s quite a roller coaster. But can they really change? They make enemies of old allies, get embroiled in machinations between corporations and empires, and who has heard of that backwater Earth? … epic sci fi heaven!
Even the setting of a Corporate-ruled society may seem cliché at first, but I have honestly never seen it done so well. I first encountered the concept in Robert Heinlein’s ‘Friday’, where corporates used spies and assassins to play deadly games with one another, and Dark Matter captures that feel wonderfully.
I just want to end by saying probably the best, and most surprising, character is #3 (aka Boone). I went from hating to loving him, and he is definitely one to watch.
So get watching!
Here’s a great fan made trailer (not mine) to get you teased:
If you have any recommendations, I’m always looking for new paranormal, sci-fi, superhero or fantasy TV and movies to fall in love with. Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading! More posts on books, film, and writing can be found on my website at Lorel Clayton Author.