Killjoys returned for its third season on June 30, and it's come to my attention that there are still people who don't even know what Killjoys is, let alone why they're missing out on one of the best science fiction shows on television.
I have come to remedy the situation (insert fanfare). I won't say "You should be watching" because no one likes being told what to do, but allow me to tell you what you're missing out on and let you make your own decision. Deal?
(I should warn you, there are minor spoilers in the videos, so if you're really strict about that sort of thing, feel free to skip them.)
Like Star Wars, Killjoys doesn't spend any preamble on explaining the world to you. From the very beginning, you're dropped right into the story. Along the way, you learn there's a place called The Quad in the J Cluster where the Reclamation Apprehension Coalition (R.A.C. for short) has Reclamation Agents, aka Killjoys, aka bounty hunters with a license and some legal pull who take care of the bad guys.
When a TV show can drop all of that on you in less than 15 minutes and tell a story that immediately hooks you, that's a good TV show.
It's a trend that continues throughout the series. The Killjoys universe is full of different places, people and power dynamics. It's diverse, often gorgeous to look at but still willing to get dirty and bloody, full of interesting tech, expansive in its view of society but also incisive about people and what makes them tick.
It's smart and self-aware.
Writer and creator Michelle Lovretta knows how to poke fun while playing things seriously, and she also has a knack for turning tropes on their heads. Just when you think you know how a situation is going to go, it goes in another direction that's both better and more interesting. Lovretta also knows her characters and the world they're in so well that they're never put in positions that don't make sense for them.
Example: In the very first episode, you think you're about to see a woman raped, or at the very least hurt, in order to elicit a confession from a male counterpart. I admit, I cringed. I was about to be really disgusted before the entire dynamic shifted in a way I didn't see coming. I should mention, I catch twists in stories a lot. It's hard to surprise me. This scene not only surprised me but won my heart.
Lovretta also knows when to come up for air. Killjoys deals with some pretty heavy concepts at times, especially when it comes to the bigger picture, but there's very little "drama" to the show. Killjoys can be dramatic, and the cast is well-suited to the task, to be sure, but the show never drops into "drama for drama's sake" or fumbles into "emo" territory, which, let's be fair, can happen in genre shows.
If you like fights, Killjoys is for you. Fistfights, firefights, cage matches, run-and-guns, chases, escapes, explosions: It's all there. The show embraces having a badass leading lady in Dutch and even makes a reel of Dutch's best fights for every episode.
Incidentally, Dutch is played by the Hannah John-Kamen, who's recently been cast in both Tomb Raider and Ant-Man and the Wasp and also has a role in Steven Spielberg's upcoming Ready Player One. If you're wondering where John-Kamen honed her action skills, all signs point to Killjoys.
Not content with just being smart and action-packed, Killjoys also leans way in on the fun aspect of things. It's funny, it's disarming, and it can even be full of wacky hijinks and shenanigans (I'm a big fan of both). But one of the most fun things about Killjoys is its ability to take the world they already have and play with it. Aaron Ashmore's Johnny Jaqobis has a relationship with Dutch's ship Lucy (the effervescent Tamsen McDonough) that's way more fun than Ripley's relationship with MOTHER. Luke Macfarlane's D'avin Jaqobis, who's generally the muscle, gets some really unexpected moments to play straight man, and it works.
When you put all of that together, you get some great chemistry.
Hey, if you're going to have a show that stars sexy people, you're going to get some sexy moments. But here's the best part: Nothing's gratuitous and nothing's forced. On top of that, Killjoys is just as happy (if not happier) to cater to the female gaze as the male gaze. Flirting, banter, lack of clothes, BDSM, wrestling; sexuality is just part of the show, and there's always a good reason for its inclusion.
Speaking of inclusion, if I have one selling point over anything else, it's how diverse and inclusive Killjoys is. The Killjoys universe runs the gamut when it comes to gender roles, racial diversity and sexual lifestyles. Women kiss women, men kiss men, women kiss men, whatever works. Whether it's the sheer perfection of Thom Allison's Pree, the steely killer smirk of Sean Baek's Fancy Lee or the cool regal sensuality of Mayko Nguyen's Delle Seyah Kendry, there's someone here for everyone to relate to in one way or another. Multiple someones, in fact.
It also loves to play with those dynamics, but it's always in a positive way.
In the end, what makes Killjoys so special is its willingness to try new things and work around limitations. It doesn't have a huge budget, but it doesn't shy away from anything. Instead, it builds the world to work within the budget they have. The broad strokes of the story have been laid down, but it's also a story that's constantly being filled in and built upon. Killjoys never panders, it never settles, it's always interesting, and it always surprises. How many TV shows can you say that about these days?
Like I said, I'm not telling you you should watch Killjoys, but I will tell you that you're missing out on something pretty special if you're not. Fridays on Syfy.