Set in a future where megacorporations rule not land but entire planets, Killjoys follows a trio of agents of the R.A.C. and organisation without ties to anyone, allowing them to take on warrants and jobs from anyone in The Quad. To Killjoys “The Warrant is All,” except when it isn’t and things get complicated!

Genre(s): Sci-Fi

Created By: Michelle Lovretta

Network: Space

Air Date: Currently Airing on Fridays

Good:

  • Fun atmosphere.

  • Beautiful set design.

Bad:

  • Convoluted character stories and setting.

Review

What first drew me to the series was its unique name. I then read it had something to do with bounty-hunters so that got me doubly interested, but I was pleased to discover it was as sci-fi series. The first thing that struck me was how familiar it felt. The style and dark plots hiding behind a lighthearted atmosphere reminded me of another space opera, Firefly, one of my favourite series ever. The central ‘hub’ for the characters is run-down but alive, filled with dangerous people but also interesting and fun ones. There’s deceit and double-cross and ulterior motives at every turn, but also honesty and trust. This is a world that you could easily crossover into Firefly.

That isn’t to say it has the same level of depth as that series. Not at all. One of Killjoy major issues is that in the search for depth of character and setting it goes overboard and becomes convoluted. Every character has a complicated backstory. Dutch was raised by a sociopath who trained her in killing and torture and D’avin (who the hell names their son D’avin by the way?) has as complicated military background that not only gave him PTSD and substance abuse but also made him a target to the Company—the omnipresent megacorp in the Quad, a system of four planets on the same orbit around their sun. See what I mean? It’s a bit too much for just the setting. It feels forced, as if the creator (the mind behind the dodgy-quality urban fantasy Lost Girl) wanted to stand out and crammed as much as she could into it. It wouldn’t be a problem if they didn’t bombard you with world-building exposition from the get-go.

The crew. I promise they don't look as stiff in the series as they do in this pic! (Image Credit: Variety.com)
The crew. I promise they don’t look as stiff in the series as they do in this pic! (Image Credit: Variety.com)

But while the narrative has some issues, the chemistry between the characters, the stories and the tone of the series make up for it. These are pure space adventures, wholly fun and thoroughly entertaining. There are quips, wit and sarcasm, space ships and AI, mad gangs vying for territory in blasted worlds. You name it and Killjoys probably has it.

The characters follow certain Sci-Fi tropes but the portrayals make them fun and interesting to watch. Hannah John-Kamen is convincing as the badass Dutch. I love a good strong female protagonist—even if she is the Sarah Connor / Ellen Ripley archetype—but I’ve always found them difficult to pull off in Sci-Fi, where the line between good and over-acting is very thin. But Hanna does it splendidly and with the added backstory, she injects the humanity and vulnerability the character desperately needs to stay believable. Aaron Ashmore, who will always be “Jinx” for me (if you don’t get the reference, you should go see Warehouse 13 now), plays John Jaqobis, the geek/mechanic/partner to Dutch and a level 3 agent to her level 5. Oh that’s something I forgot to mention: RAC agents have levels, with 5 being the highest and authorised to take on any warrant, even execution orders. I love Aaron in everything he plays because he makes it feel natural, like it’s just a normal part of the world, and that is something that Sci-fi and Fantasy need to properly work. D’avin, portrayed by Luke Macfarlane, is your run-of-the-mill soldier with a tortured past, a complete badass yet unpredictable because of his issues. His role is difficult, as he needs the other two to remain coherent, relatable and not fall into a complete cliche. What I can say is that while sometimes he comes off as flat, you can truly believe there’s something eating at him. I do wish they had given him a few more ‘off-the-reservation’ moments in the opening episodes and given him the chance to fully explore—and act—how messed up the character is.

Even in this Mad-Max-esque world, the little details like bright red ribbons add a touch of colour and character!
Even in this Mad-Max-esque world, the little details like bright red ribbons add a touch of colour and character! (Image Credit: ComicBookResources.com)

Another thing that Killjoys does well is its visual design. Yes, the worlds are rundown and dirty, but there are hints of colours everywhere, from the neon blue signs in the central hub/bar the characters frequent, to the lights and tones in the Killjoy’s ship to the markets, mansions and parties they attend, where the guests are dressed in vibrant reds. This is a bad future, but there is colour and life in it.

Action scenes are fun and it’s good to see the Killjoy’s rarely come out of a mission completely on top, sometimes barely making it out alive. They do the job and get it done, but it’s not glamorous and they’re not the best agents out there, though Dutch comes dangerously close to being overpowered. So far, she’s been too Black-Widow-ish in her combat ability, and it’s made her scenes feel a bit boring since there is very little perceived danger.

Conclusion

In these three episodes I’ve seen—hence the first look and not a full review—Killjoys shows potential and with a short order of episodes, it better develop that potential or it’ll end up forgotten as yet another failed Space Opera.

TMA SCORE:

3/5 – Alright

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