Review: Dark Matter: Seasons 1-3

By: Cam Sully

Plot: A group of 6 people awaken in stasis pods with amnesia aboard the starship Raza. They have no memories of who they are or their lives before awakening, so they assume the names based on the order in which they left stasis. One (Marc Bendavid, Nikita), Two (Melissa O’Neil, Rogue), Three (Anthony Lemke, American Psycho), Four (Alex Mallari Jr., Debug), Five (Jodelle Ferland, Silent Hill) and Six (Roger Cross, Continuum). Their vessel is managed by android Suki (Zoie Palmer, Lost Girl) and they must set about trying to uncover their identities while figuring out what happened to themselves prior.

Review: Season 1 deals with the crew finding out their identities slowly but surely while finding more unexpected trouble on different space stations and planets, if not their own ship. Season 2 reveals that one of the crewmembers was actually an undercover Galactic Authority agent who has now helped arrest and incarcerate them in a dangerous prison that they have to escape (with new faces on-board) while finding out more secrets about themselves. Season 3 is the final season and revolves around the final series of personal betrayals, intense heists and dangerous galaxy travel.

As a whole for this Canadian SciFi show entry, I didn’t find the story as gripping as Continuum but it was leagues better in terms of fleshing it all out (so I’d rank it a close second) and balancing all the Action-SciFi-Mystery elements with shocking plot reveals and unexpected yet welcome dark humor than similar shows like Killjoys. This show has many of the same cast and crew of Stargate SG-1 so as a result there are much of the same intelligent Cyberpunk type themes, addicting mystery, outrageous humor, Star Wars type action, Blade Runner type androids and Star Trek type science. The mystery here is more like what you’d see in a Christopher Nolan/Akira Kurosawa type mystery instead of more Twilight Zone/X-Files. It’s easy to have many favorite moments and characters on this show due to the different personas mashing well and the unusual bounty hunting tasks assigned. Guest stars also include: Ruby Rose, Franka Potente (The Bourne Identity), Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: TNG), Amanda Tapping (Stargate franchise, who also directs), Conrad Pla (Riddick), Andrew Jackson (Andromeda), Carlo Rota (24) and Torri Higginson (Stargate: Atlantis).

The whole production looks appropriately cinematic while also boosting wonderful visual effects, moody lighting (no lens flare I promise!) and grim electronic music. It wastes zero time in the setup and never has any episode that feels like a filler or a lesser quality installment. It never feels like it wasn’t outlined or that it had even more episodes than necessary. Each piece is a puzzle worth dissecting and figuring out the next step. And because of that commonly changing vision, one is ready for anything happening at any minute but none of it ever gets blogged down in needless confusion, random subplots or over-exposition. It’s the right amount of problem solving and fantasy-adventure as a whole. Each episode leads into the next and this is wise given how it’s now for viewing on Netflix. I’ve never read the comic book by Dark Horse but given how no fanboys in that alley have bashed it, I’ll take it that it at least had the right amount of effort to satisfy that crowd. So because it doesn’t fall victim to what other beloved cult shows like Farscape, Star Trek or Babylon 5 where they took some extensive retooling and time to find their audience and be comfortable with their format. And to be fair, this show had time and history to look back on for review and since it had much of the same Stargate SG-1 franchise’s crew, it definitely knew what got more than just hardcore genre fans watching. You have to have a diverse cast of characters, install mystery within minutes that the viewer wants to see resolved eventually and you have to have it all easy to follow while also constantly changing episode-by-episode. And they did just that so cheers to them!

Consensus: Another imaginative comic book adaptation and SciFi masterpiece from the Stargate SG-1 writers ready to be streamed at the click of a button due to well-balanced plotting, the visuals serving the large world, the amusing riffs by the characters and the overall compelling mystery.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 Stars!


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