Despite the extensive offerings of SyFy over the past few years, there’s always been something missing from television since Firefly went off the air. There’s been no shortage of shows set in the realm of interstellar aliens on the network, but for whatever reason, they never seem to measure up to Joss Whedon’s masterful space western. For years, fans have been looking for something to fill the void left by its cancellation after just one season. But then along came Syfy’s newest show, Killjoys, green-lit last November and debuting on June 19.
The new show will follow the exploits of a bounty hunter and her two companions hunting down fugitives throughout the fictional “Quad,” a galaxy thrown into turmoil by political unrest. As an action-adventure set in space, the first comparison to come up is Whedon’s Firefly. It’s no wonder: That show is forever recognized as the gold standard for what any science fiction series should aspire to be. But despite the sensibility of the comparison, it doesn’t seem like it’ll share many elements with its spiritual predecessor past some very basic pieces.
First off, the characters: Firefly was defined by its diverse crew. We had virtually all the important archetypes of fantasy, with the rogue, the maiden warrior, the fool, the muscle, the brains, the moral center, the innocent, the seductress, and the wild card (we’ll leave it up to you to match each one to the respective character). Killjoys appears to have a far simpler dynamic, featuring the warrior woman in the lead bounty hunter Dutch, the rogue in one of her two companions D’avin, and the moral center in her other one, John. It still makes for an interesting dynamic, but it’s more the Han-Luke-Leia combination than the Malcolm Reynolds and crew recipe.
That’s not the say the show won’t have its own inherent values. That being so, it’s important for us as fans to separate from Firefly. Short of Whedon returning to television for a series not based in the Marvel universe, odds are we won’t see another show like it. And that’s entirely OK.
Sure, it got a tragically short one-season, one-movie run, but trying to recreate it in a new form is folly (because let’s face it, a reunion is unlikely at this point). What Killjoys could bring to the table is a new chapter in television space romps in a year when all eyes are fixed on December’s Star Wars release. These sort of stories are what’s exciting people right now, and it serves SyFy well to capitalize on that.
It certainly helps that the people behind Killjoys are more than a little experienced. Both Lost Girl creator Michelle Lovretta and Orphan Black producer Emily Andras are signed on, giving the show a veritable creative powerhouse pulling the strings. The background of both gives us a good chance of seeing another strong, assured female lead in a male-dominated world of television — that’s not something to be taken lightly.
While the Firefly parallel is an easy way to pigeonhole Killjoys, it’s important to remember that this is its own unique property. It may share a similar setting and character type. And it might give us that “rogue crew goes on an adventure” feel we’re all familiar with. In the end, though, it’ll be defined by its ability to advance on the groundwork Firefly built, rather than trying to emulate it.
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