Review: Killjoys 1×1 (Canada: Space; US: Syfy)


In the US: Fridays, 9/8c, Syfy
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Talking of generic Canadian-US co-production space opera science-fiction, here’s some more! The Killjoys of Space/SyFy’s Killjoys are a group of bounty hunters who have to track down criminals in a system of four planets ruled by a powerful corporation unimaginatively called The Company, the forced title for the show coming from the fact that’s what bounty hunters are nicknamed in this system.

What’s the organisation that employs these bounty hunters? Brace yourself, Brits. Why, it’s the RAC. Yes, the RAC. “The RAC is coming to get you!” Doesn’t that send shivers down your spine?

The three bounty hunters follow the golden ITC rule of casting first laid down in The Champions back in the 60s, in giving us two guys and a girl as leads. The girl – Britain’s own Hannah John-Kamen (Banana, Cucumber, Happy Valley, The Hour) – is the mysterious highly trained one, probably raised since birth to go around killing people; she’s also possibly a member of the rich elite that rules ’the Quad’ as it’s known. Working for her is regular goofball Aaron Ashmore and following this first episode, his brother Luke Macfarlane, who’s wanted by the Company because he knows something bad from when he was a soldier. Together, they all have to track down criminals while cracking jokes and trying to avoid sides in an impending civil war.

You’ve got a decent enough synopsis there, so you should be able to extrapolate from that. Possible love triangle? Yep. John-Kamen having secrets that will be revealed in time? Almost certainly. Lots of semi-decently choreographed but ultimately average fight scenes? Sure thing. A smattering of sci-fi jargon and ideas that very slightly distinguish the show from all other very similar shows you’ll have seen before? Absolutely.

But it’s Canadian sci-fi at its most generic. It even features some of the same guest cast as Dark Matter. Perhaps the only really good thing about the show is the main cast. John-Kamen’s good and you wonder what happened to poor old Aaron Ashmore’s career that he’s ended up here after Smallville, Warehouse 13, et al. Not a great actor, Luke Macfarlane is nevertheless clearly there to bring the funny, having starred in Canada’s only good sitcom of the past decade, Satisfaction.

As a result, this first episode at least was hard going, with aching gaps where there should have been action, decent dialogue, jokes that are funny or in fact anything to stop me yawning like the only thing that would keep me alive was constantly stretching my face muscles for a whole hour every day.

Still, you have to admire a show with the chutzpah to call itself Killjoys, at least. That’s not inviting some obvious jokes. Not. At. All.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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