Cue space puns and dubstep music as Canadian television proves that the sci-fi genre is far from over. New hit series Killjoys introduces a whole new level of world-building, fun dynamics and engaging storytelling.
Despite not being on a UK channel just yet, Killjoys has already begun to generate great interest amongst sci-fi buffs. With an online campaign begging for another series, this show was a welcome adventure during my summer freedom; filled with drama and danger in each episode.
The general gist of the show is this: space bounty hunters. Set in a politically complex futurist world, the series introduces us to three fun characters that make up a trio of Killjoys – bounty hunters who capture bounties for the RAC, a rather sketchy organisation.
First, we have Dutch, the team leader. With a secret past responsible for her advanced knowledge of killing, we’re given more insight into the mysterious Dutch as the series progresses. On the surface she’s a badass; she can handle weapons or fight single-handedly and there’s never any contest as to who comes out on top. However, there are moments of self-doubt and pressure which makes Dutch a three-dimensional character worthy of leader status. We watch her struggle to come to terms with her past, whilst attempting to maintain her promising Level 5 Killjoy status and reputation.
This brings us onto the second member of our Killjoy trio: John Jaqobis. The younger of the two Jaqobis brothers first met Dutch years before, attempting to steal her ship but ending up having a new partner instead. Their friendship is a wonderfully strong presence on-screen. Together, they’ve built up an excellent bond and trust, and John’s quick-witted, fun nature contrasts with the darkness in Dutch’s past. John is perhaps a character that’s quickly dismissed due to his status of providing comic relief, but make no mistake, he’s a Killjoy not to be messed with. There are many emotive moments between John and his older brother, D’avin, where we’re given insight into John’s compassion and struggle with keeping the balance between his team.The third and final member of the Killjoys group is D’avin, John’s older, ex-solider brother. The introduction of Da’vin throws a wrench into the duo team, quickly making them a complex trio in an already harsh world. Having not seen his brother for eight years since he became a Cadet, John finds it difficult to welcome his brother on-board. The writers are always quick to assure us that this is more than simple jealousy. An amusing line sums up John’s feelings about the possibility of Dutch and D’avin hooking up; “It would be like my brother…and my sister were….you know…”
Because to John, Dutch is his family; perhaps even more so than D’avin is. The brotherly dynamic develops throughout the series and eventually grows into a caring relationship, but there are many remaining issues that could be explored in future seasons. And though there’s romantic tension between Dutch and D’avin, it’s a slow-burner and doesn’t take away the impact of John and Dutch’s friendship or the brothers’ rocky journey.
Killjoys also has many interesting side-characters. There’s the charming, disgraced doctor, Pawter Simms, who helps the team out frequently – especially D’avin, as he comes to terms with his unexplained memory relapses. We also have the revolutionist monk, Alvin, whose presence is always an intriguing one. Other side characters include a snarky computer girl and Dutch’s ex-mentor slash adopted father, Khlyen, who makes recurring visits to Dutch and starts to bring the past back to life despite Dutch’s denial.World-building
Killjoy’s settings are lavish and dramatic. Many new planets and space systems are introduced quickly and without time to pause and process. Usually you’re given a ‘new to this’ character, who introduces the world to the audience. Take Divergent, you learn about the faction system and the meaning of what it is to be Divergent through the character of Tris. With Killjoys, the main trio is already educated in their world’s crazy planet system, so it’s up to you to just roll with it. You do have to work at it but the worlds are so immersive that it’s worth it.
Killjoys also covers political issues inside these worlds. There are revolutions, clashes of class, and an episode dedicated to the protection of a surrogate mother (which I thought actually had a Mad Max vibe) and their survival. The planet systems are very dystopian without feeling over done. There are still governments and bars and drugs; there’s reality within these unique, new planets, and I think that’s what viewers will connect with.
Overall, it’s a fantastic new addition to the sci-fi universe. Killjoys manages to successfully combine the fun cheese of old-school sci-fi with modern characters and relationships. Okay, so perhaps the dubstep music is a little too much at times, but it’s good fun, and never misses out on an opportunity to use slow-mo.
I’ve kept spoilers to a minimum because the show is just too good to ruin. My only issue is the conclusion to the series; talk about cliff-hanger! I’m fairly certain that Killjoys will be renewed but until then, we can only wait.