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.




  • Andy Butcher

    Once again, pretty much completely agree. One of us is going to have to start having different opinions, or there'll be nothing for me to comment on. 😀

    The real failings for me were John-Kamen and Ashmore. Neither were remotely believable in their roles as experienced bounty hunters, or even as people who might want to be bounty hunters. Let alone, in the former case, someone who's apparently been trained as an assassin since childhood.

    Still, it's early days, maybe they'll settle into the roles a little. I'm enough of a genre fan that, as with Dark Matter, I'll keep watching for a while.

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