KILLJOYS Sea­son One

More fun than it sounds

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - An­drew Os­mond

re­leased OUT NOW! 2015 | 15 | blu-ray/dvd Cre­ator Michelle lovretta Cast Han­nah John-Ka­men, luke Macfar­lane, aaron ash­more

This Cana­dian-made space opera is a very pleas­ant sur­prise, over­com­ing its fi­nan­cial lim­i­ta­tions and silly name to de­liver a smart, en­gag­ing show. Its great­est as­set is its cen­tral trio of “Killjoy” bounty hunters – one kick­ass woman and two very dif­fer­ent broth­ers, both with con­flicted feel­ings for her. To­gether, they mo­tor a strong series arc, in­trigu­ing world­build­ing, and a show with adult depths be­hind the fights and amus­ing one-lin­ers.

It takes place in a plan­e­tary sys­tem where all the char­ac­ters are space­far­ing “hu­mans” (though so far it’s un­clear if they ac­tu­ally came from Earth). Much of the show takes place around two moons. Wester­ley is a Dredd-ish ur­ban set­ting of filthy al­leys, dark bars and vi­o­lent cops. Leith is a green farm­ing en­vi­ron­ment, but with its own hid­den vi­o­lence un­der the pas­toral sur­face.

The Killjoys are given spe­cific mis­sions, from mun­dane de­liv­er­ies to ter­mi­nat­ing fugi­tives, and they’re sup­pos­edly in­de­pen­dent of the au­thor­i­tar­ian “Com­pany” which rules this part of space. The show starts with two Killjoys, Dutch (Han­nah John-Ka­men), a highly ca­pa­ble fighter, and John (Aaron Ash­more), an ex-thief turned hacker who has a pla­tonic, brotherly rap­port with her. That gets dis­rupted when the two run across D’avin (Luke Macfar­lane), John’s long-lost, es­tranged and hunky brother, who’s haunted by his spell in the army. After ini­tial ten­sions, D’avin teams up with them, but is­sues arise – we doubt you need a di­a­gram... Mean­while, Dutch is haunted by her own per­sonal ghost: an ur­banely sin­is­ter guru called Khylen who taught her to kill.

Killjoys has bla­tant bud­get is­sues, with sets of­ten look­ing like barely-re­dressed build­ings; the Dredd-ish city looks more grotty than dystopian. But in fair­ness, the ac­tion also moves to more ap­peal­ing lo­ca­tions, such as the pala­tial man­sions of the show’s aris­to­crats. An­other ex­te­rior looks like a Doc­tor Who gravel pit, but still proves ef­fec­tive in a strong episode about gutsy hunted women.

Less good is a fight in the first episode, where Dutch the­o­ret­i­cally shows off her hand-to-hand prow­ess. It looks em­bar­rass­ingly fee­ble, and the slow-mo and pop back­ing track reek of cheese. But the fights im­prove, lead­ing up to a savage episode for the trio where things get hor­ri­bly per­sonal and be­liev­ably threat­en­ing.

Gen­er­ally, the sto­ries are in­ter­est­ing and some­times im­pres­sive in go­ing to dark or sur­pris­ing places to ad­vance the char­ac­ters (and of­ten not in healthy ways). Notably, it’s a show about sex­ual dys­func­tion, with he­roes who fear in­ti­macy with any­one they ac­tu­ally care about. Or as a sis­terly Dutch scolds John, “Stop be­ing friends with ev­ery­one you sleep with – it’s just weird.”

Ex­tras None.

If you missed sea­son one when it first aired, bet­ter catch up quick: sea­son two starts air­ing on Syfy on 1 July in the US.

For some rea­son, Pass­port Con­trol wasn’t keen on let­ting them through.

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