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06 July 2016 @ 01:00 pm
Dark Matter: Season One Review  
Dark Matter, a science fiction series based on the comic books of the same name, centers around six people who awaken from stasis on a spaceship with no memory of who they are. The first season focuses on them figuring out the mystery of who erased their memories and why, and figuring out their pasts and whether or not they actually want to know the truth about who they were before.

In my opinion, this is probably one of the best uses of the amnesia trope I've ever seen, and I've read a lot of fanfiction depicting this very concept many times. You have six strangers who wake up with absolutely no idea who they are and what their relationships are to each other, never mind why they are on a spaceship in the first place. Amidst their confusion and apprehensive, there is also a level of unease and distrust along with desperation and the need to remain together as a team. Of course, the reveal of who they were before is given at the end of the first episode: they're criminals, deemed dangerous and placed on this particular ship for a reason. Clearly disturbed by this revelation, this creates a level of tension but also curiosity about who they used to be and what does this mean, especially since they don't remember committing those crimes. The very notion of amnesia is being mostly in the present and being kind of a blank slate, the past is a mystery. But is makes you question, once you gain your memories back are you going to be exactly the same as you were before or, because of your new experiences, do you have the ability to change the course of the path you created for yourself? If you don't get your memories back and just get the information of what you've done, can you rectify your actions? Does your past actions define you as a person, regardless whether you try to fix things or not? Is there a chance of making peace and moving on, or will your past demons still haunt you and are you doomed of making the same mistakes?

See, this is something that has always intrigued me about amnesia storylines, the whole concept of questioning who you are versus who you were, and this show executes it brilliantly.

Another aspect about that which I love is how it's not black and white, it enters that gray area of the motivations of each character, and not everything is what it appears to be. Some may be framed for crimes they didn't commit, others may simply have been victims of circumstance, while others may have secret agendas that we have yet to uncover. The show focuses on each member of the crew throughout the season, giving each character a chance to shine, and although we do get some answers, not everything is revealed.

And the characters themselves are beautifully flawed and complex. Identifying themselves as a number system of which they woke up, they are all curious about their pasts and themselves but also want to hide then things they discover from the others. Some of them, such as Six and Four, go out of their way to try and confront their pasts head-on which, admittedly, is rather impulsive and reckless but in their minds it's something they need to do. And it's just so fascinating seeing how they all react differently to the things they learn, which when kept secrets can create tension between them and everyone else since then you don't know how the rest of them will react. The high tension and apprehensive that happens throughout, even while they're trying to be together as a team, makes for fantastic drama, this is especially true in the last few episodes where they're basically together as a family-like unit and then shit happens to make them question each other. The show manages to pull it off quite convincingly, especially in the finale when shit hits the fan and the last few minutes of the episode gives us that shocking revelation which has us reeling with so many questions for the next season.

Dark Matter is a very character-driven show, with enough mystery and intrigue to keep you fascinated and at the edge of your seat as things start to slowly unravel. It also has not just the amnesia trope done so well, but it has several other tropes (of the scifi genre) that hit all the right buttons for me. The biggest, of course, being the found family aspect which I am attracted to the most. This ragtag of dysfunctional criminals have a slow burn of getting together as a team, but they eventually get there and it's beautiful to witness the kinds of friendships that happen with individual sets of characters, and overall as a crew.

Other things to add:

** The main cast of the show is racially diverse, and we have an Asian woman who has asserted herself as being team leader of the crew from the very first episode, and with good reason.

** My favorite characters are Two and Five. Two is incredibly badass, assertive, and is one of the levelheaded characters who makes logical and pragmatic decisions, and I really love her character arc in particular. Five is the youngest of the group, just a teenager, but she is undoubtedly the heart of the entire show, at least in my eyes. She has the innocence of her because, unlike the rest, she wasn't part of the original crew, but despite this she tries her best to be part of the team anyway. She is adorable and kind, her friendship with Six and Two is super sweet, and I envy/want her hair and style of clothing. The character who I am most intrigued by is Four, followed closely by Six. The character who is probably my least favorite is One, though that is mostly due to his initial introduction as being this very stereotypical Gryffindor-type with always trying to do the right thing instead of the smart thing, trying to be idealistic rather than realistic. He has good intentions, it just doesn't really mesh with their surroundings, which later in the show we understand why.

** Another essential character on the show is the Android, who is a vital part of the spaceship and becomes a part of the crew by the end of the season. She also has immense growth in the first season, where we see that, despite her function as a mere machine (as sophisticated and complicated as her programming and design may be) she has developed emotions for the crew she is loyal to, she cares for them. It's a character that I didn't expect to have feelings for, but by the end of the season I really loved the fact that she became accepted as part of the crew. Also, I much prefer the actress here than her role on Lost Girl.

** Dark Matter is like a combination of such shows as Firefly and Battlestar Galactica, with a little bit of Helix, plus some other science fiction shows as well. It has the influence of certain scifi tropes and elements that are familiar, but used in a unique and fascinating way that just work for the story being told. And it is awesome.

In Conclusion: Dark Matter is such a fantastic piece of science fiction that is so hard to find nowadays. It has all the right elements packed into one show, and it is addictive and I was practically at the edge of my seat, especially during the last several episodes when the tension and stakes were quite high as everything is unraveling. The action and fight sequences are unbelievable to watch, the cinematography and setting is of everything, including the Raza (the spaceship) is absolutely gorgeous, the characters are so beautifully flawed and complex with their relationships with each other and their inner conflicts with themselves. This is such good science fiction, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

The second season of Dark Matter just premiered recently, and I honestly can't wait to see what comes next in the story. As I mentioned, I definitely recommend this show because it needs to be talked about more, it is just that fantastic. I can't gush about it enough. (◕‿◕✿)

Here is the S1 trailer, for anyone who is further interested and curious about the show.
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Bear McCreary - Madera Combat
Profiterole_profiterole_ on July 6th, 2016 09:56 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful tribute to this show! I especially like how diverse the team is and how they are all given equal importance in the writing.
Renée: Firefly. Inara Serra.rogueslayer452 on July 7th, 2016 05:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! ♥

And yeah, I really loved and appreciated the fact that they took time to focus on each character equally. Nobody is considered or treated like a side character, they all have a chance of sharing the spotlight and it's beautiful to watch. It just makes me love the show even more than I already do. :)
(Deleted comment)
Renée: Nikita. Femme Fatale.rogueslayer452 on July 7th, 2016 08:27 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you. I've been meaning to write this for a long time now ever since finishing the first season, I just didn't know what else to say other than capslocking how awesome the show is. But thankfully I finally got it written out just in time for the second season!

I remember seeing the previews for the show and being happy with the diversity of the cast, and then I watched it and I was super impressed with how everyone was handled. Every character got a chance to be focused on, nobody was sidelined, and it just made me very happy. You don't often get that, especially with ensemble casts as this. I really hope more people get into this show. It's one of those rare gems that needs more recognition because the story and writing and great, the characters are three-dimensional and well-rounded, and it just has all the right elements that just works really well.
orangerfulorangerful on July 7th, 2016 02:54 am (UTC)
Added to my Netflix queue!!! This sounds so good (I only skimmed the review because I didn't want to know too much)! Thank you for bringing it to my attention!
Renée: Inara Serra. Smile.rogueslayer452 on July 7th, 2016 09:39 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome! :) I hope to hear your thoughts on it after you've watched it.
americana exotica: Buffyinterchanges on July 7th, 2016 03:11 am (UTC)
I really wanted to like this show but I got bored with it halfway through season 1 and gave up watching.
Renée: Defiance. Irisa Nyria.rogueslayer452 on July 12th, 2016 07:03 am (UTC)
Aww, I'm sorry to hear that. I admit it is a rather slow build-up but I think that's why I like it so much, because it allows you to build that tension and it is very well-paced for how it reveals things and explores each character individually, which I personally loved. But everyone is different with the things they like, so. I'm sorry that it wasn't enjoyable for you. If you ever get the chance of finishing the season though, it is definitely worth it, imho.

Edited at 2016-07-12 07:03 am (UTC)
night_owl_9: Amelie - this will move younight_owl_9 on July 7th, 2016 04:09 am (UTC)
Sounds awesome!
Ery-chan: David Tennant (Photoshoot)erychan86 on July 7th, 2016 06:49 am (UTC)
Wow that's interesting... I think I might give it a chance! Thanks :)
Renée: Firefly. River Tam.rogueslayer452 on July 9th, 2016 07:40 pm (UTC)
It's certainly worth watching, and I highly recommend it whenever you get the chance to. It is seriously fantastic and deserves more love.
Julie: RID ★ nothing set in stoneragnarok_08 on July 7th, 2016 07:01 am (UTC)
That show sounds neat :)
Say what?: Tinie 017sometimesartist on July 7th, 2016 09:21 am (UTC)
I only read the thing that wasn't behind the cut but I think you're making me want to check out this show.
Renée: Firefly. Big Damn Heroes.rogueslayer452 on July 7th, 2016 10:30 pm (UTC)
You totally should! It's fantastic. Granted, I may be biased in my opinion, but it's definitely worth checking out, especially if you're someone who is a fan of science fiction (in particular if you like things such as Firefly, this may also resonate with you as well). :)
Say what?: Tinie 022sometimesartist on July 8th, 2016 03:48 am (UTC)
Yes to all of this. Firefly is one of my all time favorites and I'm always looking for good new sci-fi.
Megan Moonlight: scifivemegan_moonlight on July 7th, 2016 06:46 pm (UTC)
I like Dark Matter, too! I can't wait to finally start watching the second season. I missed this series a lot.

I like almost the whole team, I like how diverse it is and that each character gets screentime and development. It's great to watch.
Renée: BSG. Six. Made of awesome.rogueslayer452 on July 7th, 2016 09:45 pm (UTC)
It's honestly such a good show! As I mentioned, it's gotten hard to find good scifi on television nowadays and this one hits all the right buttons for me. And I'm happy to see more people on my flist either already watching or planning on watching it.
Celeste: aos: melinda mayceleste9 on July 8th, 2016 01:12 am (UTC)
Ah, it makes me so happy to see Dark Matter on my f-list!! I wasn't sure I knew anyone who watches this show and I LOVED it. For basically all the reasons you talked about, except I wouldn't have said it as nicely. *g* A show centered around the amnesia trope, to great effect! I think Six and Two are my favorites. I wish I liked the Android more, I think it must be mostly the actress, I didn't like her on Lost Girl either.

I need to watch the season 2 premiere!!
Renée: Agents of Shield. Skye.rogueslayer452 on July 9th, 2016 07:37 pm (UTC)
The show seriously needs more recognition. I see a lot of promotion for Killjoys (a show that is still on my queue to watch at some point), but never enough talk about Dark Matter, and it makes me sad. It is honestly a very well-done science fiction show that does all these particular tropes well, the storytelling is great, the characters are all fleshed out and diverse. Seeing more people watching it and even getting more people to check it out is awesome. It deserves more love, tbh.

I wish I liked the Android more, I think it must be mostly the actress, I didn't like her on Lost Girl either.

I really disliked Lauren on Lost Girl, but I don't fault the actress for that, just the bad writing and the overall direction the show took with her character. Here, however, she actually works better as the Android because of the subtly of her comedic and awkward moments.
Celeste: firefly: zoeceleste9 on July 10th, 2016 03:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, I see Killjoys all over the place but never Dark Matter. I watched the pilot for Killjoys but it really didn't grab me, and then I went out of the country and when I came back I just wasn't interested enough to try to catch up. But a lot of people on my f-list and on various memes/comms seem to enjoy it!
Christina: me- rosario- look at her shinefly_meaway on July 10th, 2016 03:18 pm (UTC)
I think you got me interested in this show in the first place, last year, but I didn't really get to watching it. Now you make me want to check it out again as you seem so enthusiastic about it. And the whole storyline does sound interesting. Thanks for reminding me of this show again ;)
Renée: Skye. Transformation.rogueslayer452 on July 13th, 2016 04:01 pm (UTC)
You totally should! Like, beyond just my absolute biased opinion, if you like any kind of good science fiction that definitely fits that realm since it hits all those tropes nicely and beautifully. I hope you manage to try to get into it again. :)
verdande_mi: pic#122309054verdande_mi on July 12th, 2016 07:27 pm (UTC)
This is all wonderfully put. I very much agree :D :D I need to get around to the first episode of the new season already!
Renéerogueslayer452 on July 15th, 2016 06:05 am (UTC)
Seriously, this show is just so good. It honestly needs more coverage by fandom in general. I hardly see any gifsets or discussion about it on Tumblr at all, and it makes me sad.