January is a strange month TV wise, some shows are back on and some are not, and usually not my favorite shows. I was flipping through Netflix recommendations when I saw Dark Matter pop up as a recommendation. A sci/fi show set in space released in 2015, how did I not hear about this? I decided to give it a try, and it was excellent.
Why was this not more on my radar? I have only myself to blame, I definitely should have been on top of this.
The six-person crew of a derelict spaceship awakens from stasis in the farthest reaches of space. Their memories wiped clean, they have no recollection of who they are or how they got on board. The only clue to their identities is a cargo bay full of weaponry and a destination: a remote mining colony that is about to become a war zone. With no idea whose side they are on, they face a deadly decision. Will these amnesiacs turn their backs on history, or will their pasts catch up with them?
My Top Ten Reasons to Watch Dark Matter:
- A diverse crew. One thing I really liked was its very diverse crew. The main characters are three women, two people of color, leaving only two white men. What? Awesome.
- BossBitches. I love that this show is full of BossBitches and women of substance who lead without being Buffy-Season-7-Annoying, which is my measuring stick for women in leadership roles on television. You don’t have to be a mean man to be a boss, you can be a woman and have feelings and still lead because you are smart and capable of rational thought and able to get things done and people recognize that and follow you.
- Intricate plot lines. OMG. I mean, I can’t even get into all of this without major spoilers, but I will say this, I have never, NEVER, been more surprised with a season finale reveal. I was expecting it to be lame because they have all these major revelations throughout the series on the different main characters and their past lives, I just couldn’t see how they could top their intricate plot lines in each episode with an even greater season arc reveal, but OMG they did! I sat up in bed and stared at the TV screen in disbelief for a long time as the credits rolled.
- Fully formed characters. This kind of ties into the previous two reasons. I don’t think you can have BossBitches and intricate plot lines without having fully formed characters, though people sure love to try. It is very apparent that even with their memories erased these are real characters with distinct personalities that tie into their behavior. From a sociological perspective it is fascinating. How much of personality is a genetic predisposition to a certain way of thinking and how much of it is because of environment? This is something the show explores with some very distinct personalities and perspectives and it was really engaging to watch. I give all credit to the writers. Obviously they knew where they were going with the show and that gave them room to explore all these different ideas and perspectives.
- Space Cowboys. On some level this show is reminiscent of Firefly and that kind of stings. Like, why does this show get a chance for a second season and Firefly didn’t? Timing? The channel it is on? A hundred of different reasons I’m sure. Setting that aside, it is a show about a bunch of amnesiac mercenaries who are trying to be better people and do the right thing while floating around in space on a cool spaceship. …. so Space Cowboys. Um, yes please.
- Androids. The advanced technology in this television show is pretty cool. It’s some time in the future we know, because there is a Star Wars 36, and Androids are a real thing. One of them even runs the ship. They are logical creations that are part of every day space life, but the one on the ship seems to have a glitch in her system. She’s having feelings and rationalizing actions around them, and it is adorable. Plus, she’s played by Zoie Palmer who I enjoyed watching in Lost Girl.
- Wil Wheaton. I wont say much, because I don’t want to spoil his part, but it’s always fun to see a favorite sci/fi actor show up on a TV show. When they get Mark Sheppard I will know it’s a really sci/fi show. 😉
- Netflix and Bingewatching. While it would have been great to know about this show earlier, I really enjoy binge watching these types of shows, especially as it only has 13 episodes in the first season. The complexities of the plot lines do take a couple of episodes to emerge, but that is harder to notice when you watch two or three in a sitting. So, it probably is best that I found it on Netflix and you can too!
- Little CGI. I like that the show is obviously on a budget and more concerned about the characters and plot line than huge explosions or high tech gear. There is some to be sure, but it plays into the over all story and doesn’t just sit on the screen to be cool.
- Female agency. Female agency in sexual relationships is a real thing in this show, coupled (pun intended) with the complications that happen when people who work and live together in a very small community have romantic relationships. Emotions are flying around, but guilt is not one of them. Power is mostly equal and communication about the relationship happens.
There are a great many things to like about this show, I’ve just listed my top ten. Honorable mentions should go to the wardrobe crew and make up crew for having realistic fighting outfits for the women and awesome retro (with a modern twist) hair dos that I can’t seem to replicate no matter how much I try. If you like sci/fi or excellent story lines or work related dramas check out Dark Matter on Netflix before the next season starts.