Watching the first episode of Killjoys produces the feeling you might get if you stumbled into a mosh pit after spending the day in a library: it’s an in-your-face roller-coaster ride through space that spends little time on dialogue or exposition.
Aside from being largely confined to one planet and its moons, Killjoys’ universe is a corporatocracy similar to those seen in Syfy’s other space operas, Dark Matter and The Expanse. Don’t expect this to make it easier to get to grips with the social and political backdrop, though. Details are thrown at you so fast that it’s hard to get orientated.
By contrast, the premise is high-concept. Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) and John Jaqobis (Aaron Ashmore) are so-called reclamation agents (aka ‘killjoys’) who pick up warrants to catch wanted fugitives. Dutch is a gun-totting bad-ass and kung-fu master, whether dressed in leather or a ball gown. ‘Johnny’ is no wimp either, despite being the show’s obligatory tech nerd. The two originally met when John tried to steal Dutch’s ship, but they are now bound by a strong platonic bond.
This relationship is threatened after the pair rescues John’s older brother, D’Avin (Luke Macfarlane). He’s a muscular ex-soldier who makes eyes at Dutch in a way that promises trouble when, a few episodes in, the team becomes a trio. This also marks the point at which the action slows down and characters start to be fleshed out. Dutch, it is revealed, is still dogged by a psychopathic mentor (chillingly played by Rob Stewart) who taught her to kill as a child. D’Avin, meanwhile, suffers from PTSD-induced flashbacks that trigger violent episodes.
As the season proceeds, more flavour is added by the increasing involvement of supporting characters, particularly Pree (Thom Allison), the bartender at the killjoys’ local, and Alvis (Morgan Kelly), a monk with a cause. The overall result is an edgy and suspenseful romp that does more than just frantically recycle tropes, making Killjoys one mosh pit you might want to jump back into.