Bounty Hunting Goes Galactic

Move over Mr. and Mrs. Dog. New bounty hunters have come to the TV screen, and they've got moves that you can't even imagine.

The newcomers are John and Dutch. The show is Killjoys, which launched, June 19 on Syfy. It's a fitting Friday night companion for Dark Matter, which premiered a week earlier.

Bounty hunters here are derogatively known as “killjoys.” John and Dutch prefer the more respectful “reclamation agents.” They work for “The Rack,” the less respectful name given to the Reclamation Apprehension Coalition (RAC). John is a level 3 agent; Dutch, a level 5. That means she is authorized to take “kill warrants.” She really doesn't want to do that.

A kill warrant with a personal twist is the focal point of the premiere. As the plot progresses, the complexity of the setting unfolds. The agents are operating in a solar system which can only be assumed to be far, far away. The Company, a “megacorp,” controls the system. RAC operates independently of The Company, but only to a point.

The Company is a tad heavy-handed, and the natives are restless. Revolution is festering.

RAC is also a little heavy-handed, and the agents need to follow the prime directive: “The warrant is all,” or face the consequences.

Kill warrants can get complicated. If the agent who initially takes the warrant does not complete the job within the set time, another agent can step in with full authorization to snuff the target, as well as the original agent. Incentive for success.

Dark Matters got the adjective, but Killjoys is actually a little darker and more gritty. Regulators must have expanded the list of expletives permitted on basic cable, because they've been showing up across the programming spectrum, including here. The dialogue also includes plenty of humorous comments, which I always find appealing in a series.

"You are going to owe me such an apology basket when we straighten this out,” John says to the thug who is torturing him for information as John hangs in chains.

"I nag because I care,” says Lucy, the ship's AI, after advising the agents they are running her fuel gauge a little too close to empty. “Understood. Ass-kicking imminent,” Lucy responds later, as one of the agents is leaving the ship to do battle.

Another story thread woven into the opening episode is Dutch's background. She apparently received intensive training in the deadly arts, beginning as a child. Her mentor has kept tabs on her, and has continuing plans for her. Brief glimpses given of Dutch's past may explain why she draws the line at kill warrants.

The CGI in the episode is sketchy. A long view of the RAC mothership is pretty lame. At the high end, Dutch's major fight scene, in addition to establishing her status as a human weapon, features necklace beads which transform into explosive mechanical attack spiders. Cool.

Leading the cast are Warehouse 13 alumnus Aaron Ashmore as John and Hannah John-Kamen as Dutch. Others in the cast include Luke Macfarlane as John's brother, D'Avin; Nora McLellen as the agents' handler, Bellus; and Tamsen McDonough as the voice of Lucy.

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