Dark Matter Season One on DVD

Sunday, 04 October 2015 23:00 Written by 

Dark Matter - Season One out on DVD nowDark Matter is an intriguing, futuristic new series from the Syfy channel. A small crew awaken from stasis in a damaged ship drifting through space. They do not know who they are, or how they got there. The six individuals face a steep learning curve as they struggle to survive in a hostile galaxy, unsure if they can even trust one-another. Drawing from the likes of Firefly, Blake's 7, Stargate Universe and Andromeda, the series is hoping to keep the flickering flame of space sci-fi alight.

The six passengers decide to name themselves by the order they awaken. One (Marc Bendavid - Bitten) is a handsome all-rounder, Two (Melissa O'Neil) is a sassy, kick-ass natural leader, Three (Anthony Lemke - The Listener) is a self-interested, slightly shifty arms expert, Four (Alex Mallari Jr - True Justice) is an introverted martial artist, Five (Jodelle Ferland - "The Cabin in the Woods") is a teenage electronics genius and Six (Roger R Cross - 24, Continuum) is a gentle giant.

The crew soon uncovers an android (Zoie Palmer - Lost Girl) who is intrinsically linked to the ship itself, but appears to be as unclear on the past as everyone else. In the face of adversity, they must decide whether they wish to start again with a blank slate or, as they slowly piece together details about their former lives, carry on where they left off. Either way, they are in for a bumpy ride.

Dark Matter joins the likes of Defiance in the sense that Syfy appears to finally be branching out with its original programming, moving beyond its traditional hub of cheap TV monster movies and predictable, safe fantasy. That is not to say that this new series avoids retreading old stories, it’s just that it feels a bit more grown-up and mature than some of what has come before.

The interplay between the characters drives the narrative; the crew mostly learn about themselves at the same time as we do, forging uneasy alliances that shift from one episode to the next. One character might take the moral high ground at first, only to subsequently discover that they have been involved in a major transgression that forces them question their beliefs and values.

The characterisation is a mixture of interesting and slightly bland personalities. The most appealing crew members are Two for her strength, quick-thinking and sex appeal, Three for his Adam Baldwin-esque gruff roguishness, Six for his steely humanity and The Android, and static, robotic character that Palmer and the scripts infuse with a subtle, enigmatic human cheekiness. On the other side of the spectrum are One and Four, who are generally dull but will hopefully develop in the forthcoming second season.

The sets are typically excellent, especially the solid, metallic spaceship interiors. The majority of the series is spent onboard the ship, and it is clear the makers knew where to spend the bulk of their budget. The CGI effects are solid, if unexceptional, but as they play a relatively minor role this does not detract from the overall quality too much.

With Defiance really pushing the envelope in terms of how far characters can evolve and be pushed when the situation takes a turn for the worse, Dark Matter does not match its stable mate, and does pull a few punches. That said, it still feels darker and less predictable than a lot of other series which is a quality that kept me watching during its original broadcast.

Guaranteed a second season and leaving events on a terrific cliff-hanger, I for one will continue to watch Dark Matter. It is a very solid show with some excellent action, intriguing plotlines and characters you can never quite second-guess. Give it a go!

Special features on the discs comprise 13 two-minute featurettes on a key aspect of each episode. They are not especially revealing but they do still cover quite a lot of ground in a short space of time!

Picture quality is not the best DVD can offer, but then with five episodes plus extras crammed onto each disc, something had to give.

Dark Matter Season One (2015) is out on 12 October 2015 on DVD, courtesy of RLJ Entertainment Ltd. The three-disc set has a running time of 585 minutes approx, carries a '15' certificate and retails for £24.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com


Last modified on Monday, 05 October 2015 16:13

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