Dark Matter Dazzles

The Dark Matter premiere June 12 on Syfy was a wow inside a holy cow! Rarely have I been as enthused about the premiere of a new show. It has been a verrrry long time since Syfy has offered anything with this kind of potential to stay on my watch list. Space opera, ho! The show swims in mystery. Six individuals emerge from life support in a mystery ship, later revealed to be the Raza. Each person is a mystery within the mystery, having no clue to his or her identity or access to memories. Each has skills that (dare I say it?) mysteriously materialize when needed – how to restore life support, fire up a shuttle, go martial arts bananas, repair electronic equipment… More mystery. The Raza’s cargo is a shipment of weapons. Exploration reveals a door which can’t be breached by what could be the largest hand-held weapon in the universe. What’s behind that door? It’s a mystery. Initially, crew members (?) are given numbers corresponding to the order in which they came out of stasis. They don’t bestow a number on a hostile, kick-ass android after she is activated. Had they done so, she would logically have been designated “Seven.” To physically resist Seven is futile, the boys on board painfully learn, until a security protocol (that would be Seven) is overridden and she is hastily reprogrammed to behave. Reactivated, she is directed to establish a neural link with the collective, er, I mean the ship, which immediately proves extremely useful. Not long into the episode, the ship comes under hostile fire from, you guessed it, a mysterious vessel. The android keeps the Raza intact through a series of impressive evasive maneuvers while also restoring the ships faster-than-light drive (like I said, extremely useful), and the Raza warps away from a pair of very persistent missiles. In her spare computational time, Seven has been attempting to recover some portion of the Raza data bank, which was wiped along with the crew memories. She learns the ship’s original destination and takes it there. Did I mention that Seven is quite useful? The Raza was heading for a mining colony which is awaiting the arrival of a weapons shipment as well as corporate enforcers who will wipe them off the planet. The miners are hoping that the weapons get there first. Seven also recovers the crew members’ names and their rap sheets. Not so useful. Murder is frequently cited among multiple transgressions. They are not regular churchgoers. They conclude that they are not delivering defensive weapons, but they are actually the dreaded enforcers. Viewers will need to tune in next week to learn whether they turn to the dark side. Despite the show title, I’m guessing not. Dark Matter is the brainchild of Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie (all three Stargate shows). It definitely shows its Stargate heritage in its humorous banter and regular understatement. Further cementing its Stargate foundation, one upcoming episode will be directed by Amanda Tapping; and another four will guest star David Hewlett. I also see elements of Firefly, which can never be a bad thing, in its motley crew. The attractive cast offers eye candy for every viewer: Marc Bendavid (as “One”), Melissa O’Neil (“Two”), Anthony Lemke (“Three”), Alex Mallari Jr. (“Four”), Jodelle Ferland (“Five”), Roger R. Cross (“Six”) and Zoie Palmer (“Seven”). I’m already thinking this series will have a place with its SG siblings on my video shelves. Don’t make me wrong about that, Syfy.

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