You Should Give SyFy’s Dark Matter a Chance

By  · Published on July 7th, 2016

If you need a good and geeky summer show, this is it.

What would you do if you woke up in a strange place with no memory of how you got there or even who you are? Would your personality stay the same if all of your memories were erased? Who would you choose to be if you could start all over? This is the premise of Syfy’s Dark Matter.

Dark Matter is the brainchild of veteran TV sci-fi writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie. Both were integral members of the Stargate writing teams, lending their hands to all three of the franchise’s TV series: SG: 1, Atlantis, and Universe. Mallozzi and Mullie released a short series of comic books of the same name in 2012 before the story was picked up for television by Syfy in 2015.

The show is well cast and the actors have a lot of onscreen chemistry. The show has also featured guest actors who have had prominent roles in previous sci-fi television series. Torri Higginson and David Hewlett, both stars of the Stargate: Atlantis cast, have recurring guest roles in the show. Wil Wheaton, of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame, also had a guest role in the penultimate episode of season one with implications that his character will reappear at a later time.

The story follows the very small crew of a derelict starship, the Raza, who awaken from stasis with no memory of who they are or why they are there. The ship’s records, like the memories of her crew, have been wiped clean. They refer to each other as the numbers one through six, designated by the order in which they emerged from the stasis pods. Even though their memories have been erased, the crew members still maintain much of their muscle memory and remember how to operate the ship’s systems, assisted by a robot linked to the ship’s controls, creatively nicknamed Android.

The crew’s history is revealed slowly throughout the first season. They learn that they are a band of wanted criminals – on paper. In a galaxy ruled by massive corporations, they are essentially pirates for hire and their employers keep them safe from law enforcement. They kill, steal, and kidnap for the right price. Even though they remember nothing of their former lives, the crew continues their marauding for survival. Each one struggles with his or her own moral conflicts about the jobs they are given, as they are now devoid of the weathered jadedness required to be cold-blooded pirates, but usually manage to complete the tasks anyway.

Character development in the show is slow to pick up, but it does reveal many interesting truths about human nature and the integrity of personality. The crew, strangers after their memory loss, obviously create connections and rivalries. These play out subtly and overtly throughout the course of the show. There exists the ever-present mystery about what brought the crew to their predicament, and the mystery is exhilarating. The show strikes a very interesting balance between action and plot development. Dark Matter would appeal to many fans of sci-fi, especially those who enjoyed Stargate, Firefly, or Farscape.

The show’s second season premiered on July 1, 2016 on Syfy. It airs every Friday at 10 p.m. Eastern. The first season is streaming on Netflix.

Related Topics: ,