Okay, it’s not the most original of ideas – strike the spaceship bit and you’ve got a description of Cube, for a start. However, Dark Matter embraces the familiarity of its concept in an opening episode that accentuates the archetypal nature of the characters as they start to discover what’s engrained within them, and what they are capable of – before the big reveal at the end of the episode that they are the crew of the Liberator exactly the sort of people that those they’ve thought they might be able to help are actually frightened of. If, that is, you take what we’re told at the end of the episode as gospel – which at this moment, I’m disinclined to: I’m hoping for rather more from the series than that, although those familiar with the graphic novel which was the first outing for the concept may be laughing up their sleeves at me now.
The show’s creators, Joseph Mallozi and Paul Mulie, are no strangers to this sort of show, having been part of the brains trust behind the various incarnations of the Stargate TV franchise, and they sprinkle some humour into the necessary infodumps in this opener. They also provide some off the wall moments – the kid, known as 5, shares a very weird dream (and some even weirder reactions to elements of it) with number 2, the female leader; the ship’s android (played by Lost Girl’s Zoie Palmer) seems to have a rather warped sense of humour, judging by the way she speaks with the crew.
Verdict: There’s just about enough to pull audiences back for a second episode but Dark Matter is going to need to strike out in its own direction quickly to make its mark on the SF TV starscape. 6/10