Killjoys is a science fiction TV show about a trio of bounty hunters in a grim future. It recently appeared on Netflix and I didn’t expect much of it. I was pleasantly surprised.
Killjoys is a mix of Firefly and Dark Angel (remember that one?). The main character is Dutch, played by Hannah John-Kamen. A man called Khlyen raised her to be an assassin. She ran and is now a bounty hunter.
The story is set in the Quad, a four-planet star system. ‘The company’ controls the Quad, which is basically a caste-based system. An organization called the RAC handles bounty hunting in the system and tries to stay neutral. Their bounty hunters are known as Killjoys. The protagonists are three RAC bounty hunters.
Dutch has a partner, a techie called John — played by Aaron Ashmore (not to be confused with his twin Shawn Ashmore). When John’s brother D’avin shows up with a kill-order bounty on his head at the start of the story, things heat up for him rather quickly. John is a retired soldier, with a haunted past.
Things start escalating from there and D’avin joins the crew of Killjoys. The show dives into the problems of the Quad, and Dutch and D’avin’s past.
On the one hand, the characters are more or less archetypes of the scifi genre, but as with many things, the beauty is in the execution. Dark Angel’s bad-ass female lead assassin felt flat, but Killjoys manages to do much better. I think it’s a combination of the writing and the quality of the lead actress.
The show is clearly not high-budget, but manages to get across a sense of gritty dystopia. The characters have agency, bless the writers. No amount of budget can compensate for lacking this (I’m talking about you Sense8). Dutch, D’avin, and John want things, and they take steps to achieve what they want. Not always the right steps, but that’s what good characterization is about.
Finally, actor Rob Stewart plays the antagonist Khlyen. Khlyen is equally kind, despicable, and mysterious. He too has an agenda, and agency, which is not of the ‘I am evil for the heck of it’ kind. I may be prejudiced because I loved Tropical Heat (along with most of Serbia, but let’s not go into that), which had Rob Stewart in the lead role, but I really like this villain.
All in all, Killjoys is a fun show. The show is not for everybody. It’s neither Firefly reborn, nor the greatest show ever made. Essentially, it’s a fun scifi show about bounty hunters running around in a dystopian setting, dealing with their troubled pasts and surroundings.