Wowza, is Killjoys a rip-roaring frakkin' good time or what?
I confess, I've been waiting for something like Killjoys Season 1 Episode 1 since FOX killed off a certain Joss Whedon space adventure way back in 2003.
As a matter of fact, Firefly is the series Killjoys is most often compared to. Only, I'm pretty sure Dutch could kick Malcolm Reynolds' ass from here to Serenity.
Yes, I loved Killjoys. Read on to find out why, and hit the comments with your thoughts.
Though we're not given a year (like 2517), the series is set in the J Star Cluster's "Quad" System. We sci-fi geeks are trusted enough to assume we're in the distant future, and mankind has colonized the Quad.
The world building is fantastic on Killjoys! Westerley is basically our home base, so it's appropriate we kick start our story there. It's also important to note that Dutch is the first face we see. She's our Ripley, Buffy or Bo (to stick with Michelle Lovretta's strong female leads).
Rather than a damsel in distress, Dutch rescues her male partner in the opening scene of the series. That's not only incredibly exciting, but it's a detail that instantly sets this series apart from your typical TV fare. Aside from the fact the duo's relationship is purely platonic, of course. I'm not a huge fan of love triangles.
I am a fan of great casting though, and the show's three leads already feel like old friends.
Dutch: Six years of working together, he's never wanted some 'me' time... Nah something's up.
Pree: Dutch, you work together, live together, do everything but sleep together and you're worried that he wants a little time apart. Bitch, how charming do you think you are?
Dutch: I know when Johnny's lying, Pree.
Of course, we soon learn Johnny's boarded a slaver ship to save his brother from a kill warrant. I bought the relationship between Aaron Ashmore and Luke Macfarlane instantly. Those guys look like they could be brothers, don't they? Going in, I assumed D'avin was a Killjoy, so it was a nice surprise realizing he wasn't. Though I'm sure he will apply to become a reclamation agent in an upcoming installment.
The next planet we visit is Leith, as Dutch reports in with Bellus Haardy; her broker. In one scene, Bellus rattles off the different types of warrants. I. Reclamation, II. Transfer, III. Live Warrents, IV. Living or Dead (“L.O.D”) and V. Death Warrants.
The dialog is fast-paced, and again, we're trusted to pick up these details. It never felt we were being spoon-fed, which is great.
Dutch: Got any low level warrants I can knock out fast? Level 2s or 3s?
Bellus: Sure repos, transpos but shouldn't you concentrate on finishing your active warrant?
Dutch: What active warrant?
Bellus: The Level 5 warrant you signed on for twelve hours ago; one Kobee Andras.
Dutch: Bellus, Level 5s are kill work. I don't do those.
Aboard the slaver ship, John and D'avin's reunion didn't go so well. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't poor Johnny getting his ass handed to him by his big brother in a cage fight. The sequence was intense, and it was cool to see both Aaron and Luke in action hero mode. Their training boot camp (which they mentioned in a press call) paid off; I think they handled themselves really well.
Before Dutch took D'avin down with a neural block, we met another Killjoy named Fancy Lee. The guy proved to be trouble later on; I wonder if we'll see him again throughout the first season. We also met a man from Dutch's mysterious past. Did you notice not a single person flinched when he killed a guy right in public? Rough crowd, eh?
As it turns out, D'avin wasn't aware what system he was in. This was the perfect chance for a little info dump, without it feeling like exposition overkill. We learned that the Quad is controlled by a mega-corp called "The Company," and that the Killjoys work for an independent organization called the R.A.C. (Recovery and Apprehension Coalition). I have no doubt the Firefly comparisons will fade a few episodes in. The world Lovretta has created really is its own thing.
We learned the kill warrant on D'avin was taken out by the Company itself. Is this part of his background story and tied into his PTSD?
Dutch: Okay look, don't get excited yet, but I have a half ass plan.
John: I don't care if it's quarter ass. What's the plan?
Dutch: Bellus says the warrant was written by The Company.
John: How's that good news?
Dutch: Because it's a starting place. Look, The Company goons are in overdrive lately. Pree said it's because miners are talking strikes again, but I don't think so. I think they're looking for someone. I say we find them first, offering them to The Company in exchange for canceling Dav's warrant.
John: All before your warrant expires in 18 hours? C'mon...
Dutch: Finding people is what we do. We'll figure it out, always have.
John: Okay, where do we start?
Dutch: We need to go talk to God.
That led our heroes to Alvis, a religious fanatic (and part of the resistance) who was hanging from hooks... Eeeek! For a light space romp, Killjoys certainly has some disturbing imagery, and I like it! Alvis gives up one of his ex-followers who had stolen from the company and the gang went to bring him down. The hints of political intrigue are interesting and will hopefully play a larger part as the series unfolds.
Ultimately, Dutch and D'avin go undercover at an event on Qresh. That's four different locations (including the slaver ship) we visited this week in the very first episode. The pacing was spot-on; I never felt like the episode dragged for a second. John informed us that half of the dwarf planet is under water, which is the reason the moons were colonized. See what I mean about the world building? It's all really nicely thoughtout, down to the clothing worn at the individual locations.
Though Johnny tried to talk down their mark, D'avin killed the guy and the two made off with the data chip. That's a major difference in how the brothers operate, isn't it? Elsewhere, Dutch was poisoned and the mystery man from the slaver ship saved her life. I'm not sure what to make of Dutch's flashbacks at this point, other than he trained her as an assassin at a young age. Did he call her Shelly? Does the red box at the end mean he continues to control her?
The final fight scene was a standout, and D'avin got a chance to see just how badass Dutch really is. Of course, this brought up a series of questions Johnny couldn't answer. Did Dav just plant a seed of mistrust? Dutch got off easy at the R.A.C, but why did the Company take out that warrant on D'avin in the first place? I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.
Overall, I really enjoyed this pilot, and the cast is ridiculously likeable. I'm glad to see several media outlets including the New York Times liked the show as well. Let's support this series now, rather than look back on it like Firefly and only come to appreciate it once it's too late. There's a lot to like here guys, and I hope you join me here weekly to discuss Killjoys!
What did you think of "Bangarang"? Are you in for the season? Who is your favorite character? What was your favorite scene? Your turn fellow sci-fi geeks, sound off in the comments below... we've got tons to chat about.
I'm sure you're going to want to check out the pilot again, right? Watch Killjoys online via TV Fanatic at any time.
NOTE: Killjoys Season 1 Episode 2 is titled “The Sugar Point Run” and airs on Friday, June 26.