Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Follow-up: The Heirs to Firefly

They've announced that both of the Not!Firefly shows, Dark Matter and Killjoys, have been renewed, so I guess they'll live longer than the real thing did.

What did I end up thinking about them after seeing the first season of both?

Dark Matter had an intriguing premise and a lot of promise, but I often found it frustrating. The episodes themselves weren't all that great, to be honest. The plots were usually killing time until they got to the big twist or revelation at the end of the episode, and that was what kept me watching. Usually the revelation was a big enough "oh my!" to have me anxiously waiting for the next episode to see how it would play out.

Only a few of the characters managed to emerge from the shadows of their Firefly predecessors. And there were a few episodes that you could map pretty easily to Firefly episodes.

One of the things I found frustrating about the premise of a group of people waking with no memories of who they were was how we ended up learning about them. I was hoping for more of them running into people and situations where they were known and having to piece it together from there, or them doing any kind of investigation, but for the most part, they were just told. A facial recognition search gave their identities (for the most part). Some memories were recovered with a technobabble solution. There were only a few cases where there were twists that came about through action.

And then there's the ill-advised attempt to fit a romantic plot into the mix. They never did much with it, never showed the relationship enough for us to be at all invested in it so that we'd care whether or not the latest revelation would throw a monkey wrench in it. What we learned about those people should have made us desperately concerned about what it would do to them, and instead it was kind of a non-event. We never saw what they were getting out of the relationship, never saw it as something they needed that was helping them or changing them. When it stopped (if it did -- it was vague enough to make it hard to tell), it didn't seem to change anything for either of them or for the dynamic.

It's a show I'll keep watching because I'm intrigued by the questions and answers, but the actual episodes aren't that much fun.

Killjoys, on the other hand, feels more like the rightful Heir to Firefly. It's more of a tone and feel than a direct mapping. The world feels rough and lived in, and the characters have a real sense of history with each other. The episodes on their own were fun and exciting.

Again, relationships were a weak spot. I'm not sure why they felt the need to hook up two of the leads so soon, and it was a pretty bland, nothing relationship, other than the serious fallout that resulted, which they then got over pretty quickly. It's hard to tell if what they really have going is a potential triangle, or if that's just something it's easy to read into it based on standard TV patterns. I guess they wanted to quickly intensify the relationship between the two characters without a history with each other, and sex was an easy way to do it.

TV writers so seldom get romance right, though. That's probably going to be my gripe with 99 percent of TV series.

The finale of this one launched it into a potentially interesting direction, and I'm along for the ride.

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