Dark Matter: Complete Seasons One-to-Three boxset (DVD SF series review).

When a group of six people wake up out of hibernation on a spacecraft, they find they have no memories of who they are but muscle training and such reveals their other skills as effective combatants, so elect to call themselves by numbers, based on who woke up first, hence the enigmatic caring One (actor Marc Bendavid), Two (actress Melissa O’Neil) is the leader, loose canon Three (actor Anthony Lemke), oriental Four (actor Alex Malklari, Jr.), 16 year-old Five (Jodelle Ferland) is the odd one in the pack and Six (actor Roger Cross), who also cares a lot.

I’m having to use descriptive information, based off the early episodes, just to make it easier to identify certain types of people, extra depth is added later, not to mention what they all used to be, mostly ruthless mercenaries wanted for various crimes. Some even find out who they were but seemed mostly reformed now, although they do need to make money. Spaceships don’t run on nothing. Mind you, considering the android running the Raza is simply called ‘The Android’ (actress Zoie Palmer), in third season identified as Suki, imaginations don’t seem rife in this future.

Rather oddly, they don’t spend any more time in hibernation during ftl flight but as they might have a fear of any more damage to their minds. Over the first season’s 13 episodes, there are a lot of disclosures and they all have their secrets and all spoilers. There are a few minute extras after each episode. There’s a bit of craziness remembering their real names. Don’t think of this crew as liking each other too much as they all have their secrets. They are kept together largely by their amnesia, although the twist at the end of season one will make you grateful that you bought the boxset to find out what happened next when they end up in prison.

The following seasons have crew added and gone but long enough to propel the core story along. How much to say without going spoiler. ‘Dark Matter’ explores all the SF tropes but this is principally a humans only reality with only the rise of sentient androids being the only competition. The reality is based around powerful corporations and the odd little empires. When the corporations are forced into war, things become very dangerous. A common trait is few people speak the truth so don’t take what anyone says as gospel because things can change very quickly. Even more surprisingly is how allegiances and loyalties change, albeit begrudgingly mixed in with poor decisions from time to time.

In many respects, with the number of episodes spent on the spaceship Raza, one could almost think this was a bottle show, although the budget was spent on visiting space stations and the odd planet, it wasn’t done excessively. With much of the production team from ‘Stargate’, they know how to make the best from their budget and the Canadian countryside.

With season two and the majority’s brief imprisonment, the order of cast is also changed drastically and a more exposed warning that no one is quite what they seem, not to mention their survival rate. In some respects, some actors in the past, especially in the Americas, have been being written out of an on-going series as a failure on their part. In recent years, when early character history is explored, anyone has the potential to come back if available.

The show was on from 2015-2017, stopped in its tracks when its TV channel was bought out and the new owners not wanting to go any further cancelled it with no hope of any other channel taking it on. I tend to be wary of watching prematurely ended series. After all, you do build up some emotional awareness with the characters and then get chopped off at the knees as to how it ends. Alas, the ending is like that so I think you can happily curse a premature ending.

The thing about ‘Dark Matter’ is its habit of turning SF tropes upside down and not doing what is expected so even the open conclusion at the end of season 3 could do in several directions, let alone integrated together.

GF Willmetts

February 2022

(pub: Acorn Media International. 12 DVDs 1707 minutes 39*44 minute episodes with extras. Price: I pulled my copy for about £30.00 (UK). ASIN: AV3399)

cast: Marc Bendavid, Melissa O’Neil, Anthony Lemke, Alex Malklari, Jr., Jodelle Ferland, Zoie Palmer and many more

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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