Monday, 11 September 2017

Dark Matter: Season 3

Cast: Melissa O’Neil, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari Jr, Jodelle Ferland, and Roger Cross

Creators: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie

585 minutes (15) 2017
Widescreen ratio 16:9
Acorn DVD Region 2

Rating: 7/10
Review by Christopher Geary

Like its genre TV rival Killjoys, this Canadian space opera series concerns heroes versus overlords where the influence of British adventure Blake’s 7 (1978-81) is apparent, but general sci-fi themes are a far greater influence than any specific or current production. Here, corporate war breaks out to concern the mercenary crew of starship Raza, caught up in the galactic rivalry between governmental authority and royalist empires. Following the developments of Season Two, Dark Matter: Season Three continues to blend its post-cyberpunk and techno-chiller themes with FTL interstellar adventures, pitched on a sub-genre spectrum of quite distinctive colours and tones apart from expansive Star Trek inter-species politics and pulp-inspired conflicts of Star Wars. 

Peacemaker Six (Roger Cross) settles on a colony to help the workers win independence against security forces. Actress Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl) switches effortlessly between the clockwork angel of her android character (“I have a good feeling about this”), to vamped glamour of her undercover seductress role-play, and the malevolent death machine when she’s hacked by enemy techies. The faulty ‘blink drive’ accidentally shifts Raza 600 years into the past, which prompts the crew to visit Earth in 21st century, playing creepy aliens in suburbia. No paradox avoidance strategy survives any confrontation with unanticipated events, never mind a random coincidence.

Android refugees with religious beliefs in search of their creator, with robot freedom as the prize, overthrowing humanity, and stars the final destination form a strong thread in this third season’s plot-arc, where “polymer-coated nano-fibres and... boobs” is the Raza ship’s own blonde android’s new ‘blondroid’ look, even before her emotion-chip upgrade. The ongoing feud between Raza crew-members Two (Melissa O’Neil) and Four, alias: Ryo (Alex Mallari Jr) soon escalates and leads to her kidnapping with an emperor’s ultimatum for the Raza crew.

With alternative-world versions of the main characters lurking in the background of plots, and interactions shedding light upon originals and their doubles, circumstances are tricky and become increasingly complicated as new story-arcs spin and weave between crew or gang. Everything is on the line and comes to head when an enemy shipyard in space has to be destroyed but the only weapon available causes a dimensional rift, opening a portal for sinister ‘black ships’ to enter the continuum. This obvious and predictable cliff-hanger ending yet, unfortunately, the show has been cancelled by SyFy.       

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