Dutch and Johnny are killjoys – properly known as reclamation agents, but really bounty hunters working for a major company. They’re good – but when they’re given a level 5 (death) warrant to execute against Johnny’s brother D’avin, all bets are off…
Ok, this is far more what I was expecting from Syfy’s latest batch of offerings – after the disappointment of Dark Matter, this is a show that liberally borrows from past successes but combines those elements with some dark worldbuilding, intriguing characters, questionable back stories, and a sense of humour. The hour passes by quickly, and even if you realise that you’ve pretty much seen it all before in other forms, you’re still likely to have had a good ride.
The RAC (and yes, given that Hannah John-Kamen, who plays Dutch is British, I’m sure the producers are well aware of the other connotations of those initials for a UK audience) are clearly not the simple government good guys that you might expect – their operatives have clearance to act in certain ways but they’re privately hired, as is made abundantly clear to Dutch at the end of the episode, and their methods of controlling their personnel are severe. An informant, known as God, hangs from hooks and there are references to the Church and the Resistance, as well as the Qresh and the Leith. It all gives the impression that the best of these sorts of sagas do that you’re simply seeing a small part of a lived-in universe.
Joining John-Kamen are Warehouse 13 alumnus Aaron Ashmore and Canadian star Luke Mcacfarlane as the two brothers, and Painkiller Jane/Nikita’s Rob Stewart is a mystery man from Dutch’s past. Each brings strengths to their roles, and there’s an ease on screen that you often don’t get on a show until they’ve got a few hours’ worth of episodes under their belt. The relationships between the characters are likely to be the show’s overall selling point, and while it’s always dangerous to second guess these things from a pilot episode, it does seem as if there’s enough in the set up to power the first ten episodes.
Verdict: An opener that homages The A-Team movie, The Fifth Element and multiple previous Syfy shows – and is great fun. 8/10