Dark Matter showed plenty of potential in its first season with its intriguing premise, likeable cast and gritty vibe. Yet, its similarity to Firefly and familiar dystopian backdrop left a sense that it needed to establish a more distinct identity. Season 2 makes up for that by kicking everything up a notch. The result is an air of confidence that suggests the series could become a space opera classic in its own right.
The season starts with the Raza’s crew of criminals in a maximum-security prison after being betrayed by one of their own. Their escape is inevitable, but before that, Stargate alumnus Mike Dopud makes a big impression in his all-too-limited role as a gang boss on the inside. Also, the writers waste no time in delivering one of the surprising deaths that they promised this season.
Once back on the Raza, all of the surviving original characters have even chances to grow as their personal stories are neatly interwoven with big-picture events that bind the group together.
Meanwhile, British actress Melanie Liburd gets to kick plenty of arse as a new addition to the cast. It’s a shame that her character, Nyx, doesn’t speak with Liburd’s English accent, but that isn’t wasted, and Nyx’s talents are tied to one of the season’s many interesting subplots. Shaun Sipos’ former surgeon, Devon, is set up to be a complex character too, but that’s undermined when he’s seemingly forgotten about halfway through the season.
Again, this year the scripts toy with expectations by constantly teasing plot twists that aren’t fully revealed until later. Meanwhile, a willingness to take bigger risks is suggested by the use of nerdier story devices that wouldn’t be amiss in Star Trek.
Even so, there’s no shortage of gunplay to keep the show grounded. As a result, Dark Matter satisfies the baser instincts while appealing to the imagination: a winning combination that, if maintained, could secure the show an outstanding place in the history of sci-fi TV.