First Aired: 25th January 2016
Hannah John-Kamen Dutch
Aaron Ashmore Johnny Jaqobis
Luke MacFarlane D’Avin Jaqobis
Rob Stewart Klyhen
Morgan Kelly Alvin Akari
Sean Baek Fancy Lee
Nora McLellan Bellus Haardy
Thom Allison Pree
Patrick Garrow Turin
Tamsen McDonough Voice of Lucy
Plot: The Quad system a planet and three moons inside the J star cluster.
One of of those moons, in a desert, a woman searches for someone. Elsewhere, in an underground room, a young man is being interrogated. It’s all a ruse to get both of them in a room with the head of the group, to collect on his bounty. The girl, Dutch and the thief, her partner Johnny Jaqobis are Reclamation Agents from the R.A.C. R.A.C. staff are known colloquially as Killjoys, who inside this company run Quad are tolerated, but not well liked.
After dropping off their bounty, Johnny gets word of a kill warrant for a Kobee Aresj and goes to get him himself, while Dutch goes to Old Town on the moon of Westerley for a drink with local bar owner Pree. Dutch checks in with Bellus, their broker to find out that Johnny took the warrant, something he shouldn’t have done and goes after him. Johnny is on a fight ship, people fight in brutal cage matches to work off their fare, often never managing to do so, before they are killed in the ring. Johnny gets himself onto that ship and in the ring with Kobee Aresh, who after a couple of punches it turns out is Johnny’s older brother D’Avin. Despite interference from another Killjoy Fancy Lee, Dutch chips in and they pair take D’Avin till they can find a way to cancel the kill warrant before someone else comes after D’Avin.
There is a way out, they can swap D’Avin for a more valuable target, this time it’s Rolly Desh, a Scarback monk, who has stolen some company secrets. With the help of another Scarback called Alvin, they find him on Qresh, the main planet of the Quad and the three of them go after him. Unfortunately, by taking so long D’Avin’s warrant now includes Dutch and Fancy Lee poisons her while Johnny and D’Avin get Rolly. Dutch is saved by Klyhen, a man who talks like he’s Dutch’s father, but she is terrified of. He taught her to kill and she’s spent years trying to stay away from him, only to learn that he has always been able to find her.
When she awakens she is able to bail the guys out and with the information that Rolly stole get to the ship and fly off. The R.A.C. is less than impressed by how all of this has gone, but ultimately does little about and the brothers drink together, D’Avin pointing out that Johnny actually knows very little about Dutch. Johnny points out that D’Avin has been missing for years has changed his name and is suffering due to his time in war, so he knows Dutch a lot better than his own brother.
Notes: I do likes me some space-opera with morally grey characters and good ideas and so Killjoys looked very much like my cup of tea. There’s several disparate elements that can make a really good show. Dutch’s past as a killer and her relationship with Klyhen, whatever happened to D’Avin during his military service and the whole RAC thing in general is some really good sci-fi stuff. There’s also good performances from Ashmore as Johnny, who’s a gifted grease monkey doing his best to be Han Solo and his best friend, whom he knows very little about. Like I said, there’s good stuff in here, but it’s not without problems. The world of the Quad is fairly well fleshed out, but we only see a single area on Westerley and even less of other places. Klyhen is someone to be scared of, but nothing in his bearing or his performance makes him in anyway either interesting or intimidating and surely one of those should be coming out. The Scarbacks are more annoying than interesting and then we have the charisma vacumm that is Luke MacFarlane. More wooden than the chairs he’s sitting on, it’s only due to the heavy lifting done by Ashmore that you get the brother relationship that he’s trying to build on. D’Avin should be the main thrust of the plot, but instead he’s scenery.
That lack of purpose is kind of the problem, you don’t get a sense of what the program is trying to do, or in fact what it’s supposed to be. There’s some interesting characters and some cool ideas hanging about, but it’s mixed in with a lot of unnecessary rubbish and stylistic shots that take away from the show, when they are meant to add to it. There is a good show in here somewhere, but the pilot is telling you that it isn’t here yet.
Does it work? Sort of it sets it all up and tries to leave threads you want followed up.
Does much need fixing? Where do I begin? Maybe recast D’Avin? Some stronger writing might help.
Does it stand up? Not entirely, but it does show promise.
Do I want to watch the next one? I had enough of a taste to make me think that it was worth trying a second or third episode.
Did I enjoy it? Flawed as it was, I am glad I watched it.
Overall: 3 out of 5: It deserves a chance to become the program that it can be.