Retro Review: Killjoys, Season One: Episodes 1-5

I’m sure at least one of my readers will be happy to see this.

The logo for KilljoysWhile looking for new stuff to watch, I signed up for the free trial of another Netflix-like streaming service, CraveTV. Their selection isn’t vast, but they do have a few titles I’ve been meaning to check out, most notably the oft-recommended Killjoys.

Time for another series of binge-watch reviews. As usual, I may be a bit looser with spoilers than usual.

“Bangarang” (pilot episode):

My main problem with Killjoys right now is it feels like a story I’ve seen many times before. A group of misfit mercenaries go on rollicking adventures with lots of slick action sequences and sarcastic one-liners.

Specifically, it is the story of a woman calling herself Dutch and her partner, Johnny. They are what the locals call “Killjoys” — essentially bounty hunters — operating in a remote region of space known as the Quad. The pilot focuses on Johnny defying Dutch and risking the wrath of their handlers to rescue his brother, D’avin, who’s had a price put on his head.

Along the way, we get some hints of the characters’ various dark pasts, and the geopolitics surrounding the local oppressive regime, but not enough to really make much of an impression.

The cast of KilljoysIt’s not that it’s bad. The only thing that strongly bothered me about the pilot is its loud and obtrusive soundtrack.

It’s just generic. There’s very little to set Killjoys apart from the many and sundry other fictional works in this general vein, at least right now. There’s nothing about the premise, the world, the characters, or even the quality of its execution to set it apart from the pack.

Still, the special effects are good, the action sequences are fun enough, and I can think of worse ways to spend an hour, so I’ll stick with the show for now. Perhaps it will improve.

Overall rating: 6.9/10

“The Sugar Point Run”:

Usually the second episode of a series is pretty weak, but this one’s not bad.

Dutch and the team are sent to perform a prisoner exchange to rescue the daughter of a powerful Company official. To this end, they must venture into a post-apocalyptic former warzone riddled with scavengers, organ harvesters, and other colourful characters.

It pretty much goes without saying things don’t go according to plan.

The Quad, the setting for KilljoysThere’s a lot of twists in this episode, but most of them are the sort of thing you can easily see coming. It does, however, have the effect of keeping the viewer engaged and keeping the story flowing along at a good pace. It’s entertaining.

The real purpose of the episode is to give D’avin a chance to prove his worth and to establish him as a real member of the team. It performs this task adequately, though I can’t say I’m finding him particularly compelling as a character right now.

All in all, “The Sugar Point Run” is a simple but enjoyable episode. My only real complaint is how they keep overlaying the action sequences with such obnoxious, distracting music.

Overall rating: 7/10

“The Harvest”:

The plot of this one is once again fairly simple — a friend of Johnny’s needs his help to track down her husband — but it does serve to help flesh out the cast a little bit.

My favourite part of “The Harvest” is actually a B plot involving D’avin trying to get a rubber stamp for his Killjoy psych evaluation from a doctor of somewhat loose morals named Pawter. It establishes D’avin as a real person with some vulnerability, as well as offering a glimpse of an interesting mystery surrounding his past, and Dr. Pawter seems like an interesting character, too. I hope to see more of her.

Dutch and D'avin in KilljoysMeanwhile, Johnny’s sibling rivalry with D’avin, while predictable, also helps him feel a bit more like a real person, something all of the cast members have struggled with so far.

The mystery surrounding the missing husband turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, but I think fleshing out the characters makes “The Harvest” a worthwhile endeavour.

Boy am I starting to hate the soundtrack on this show, though.

Overall rating: 7.2/10

“Vessel”:

The Killjoys’ latest mission is to protect the unborn heir to a noble house in order to prevent a civil war. To this end, they venture into a toxic badlands to make contact with an enclave of surprisingly well-armed priestesses.

The problem with this episode is there’s no emotional investment. The Killjoys universe is not developed enough yet for me to care about a civil war — and the risk of such never feels terribly immediate — and the story has no relevance to the main characters. In theory I suppose we’re intended to get invested in the priestesses, but I can’t say I particularly cared about them, either.

The end result is a story that’s theoretically functional but which is utterly bland.

The cast of KilljoysAlso, no way a woman is going to be up and walking and that composed mere moments after giving birth.

Overall rating: 5/10

“A Glitch in the System”:

Obligatory ghost ship episode inc.

However, while this is a premise I’ve seen done by basically every sci-fi show ever, it’s actually a pretty good episode. The creepy factor is strong, there’s a decent element of mystery, and it gets pretty intense by the end.

We also got some more revelations into D’avin’s history, which is the show’s most compelling story right now.

Conversely, the plot around Dutch’s past is failing to capture my interest right now. I think they revealed too much of it too quickly. My curiosity isn’t peaked; while there’s still clearly more to learn, I nonetheless feel I know all that I need to.

Still, this is probably the strongest episode so far. The music wasn’t even all that annoying.

Overall rating: 7.8/10

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2 thoughts on “Retro Review: Killjoys, Season One: Episodes 1-5

  1. Yay! You’re finally seeing Killjoys!

    Honestly for me, it’s not so much the setting or the backstories that I like about this show… it’s the snarky humor. And it really does get rolling plot-wise after it finds its footing.

    • See I’m finding most of the humour is just falling flat. Comedy is probably the most subjective of all entertainment.

      I tend to write my blog posts a while before they get published, so I’ve already finished season one. You’ll have to wait for the next post to hear my full thoughts, but I will say that while I found most of the first season merely okay, the finale did impress me, and if they can keep that momentum going, my opinion of the show will greatly improve.

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