The pilot (the only episode made available for review) spends a whole lot of time (certainly too much) building a world – a distant interplanetary system called “The Quad” – around these characters. Dutch and John are “Killjoys,” bounty hunters who work at the bequest of the Recovery and Apprehension Coalition (R.A.C) carrying out all-important warrants that can range from apprehending a fugitive to planting a bullet in their heads. Essentially, that makes them the government-sanctioned gunslingers of the galaxy, light-hearted but lethal professionals who value the warrant above all else. Oh – and if they fail to complete a warrant they accept, it transfers to them until what they were originally ordered to do is done. Also in play is “The Company,” a vaguely nefarious but all-important corporation.
When a Level 5 warrant – aka dead, not alive – is placed on D’avin, Dutch and John break rank to try to figure out what’s going on. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of expository dialogue plunked in the middle of conversations that sticks out like a sore thumb, and that takes away from some of the fun of Killjoys in its first outing. But the pilot also manages to hint at an intriguing backstory for Dutch and feature a bruising cage fight, so a little bit of overstuffing was perhaps inevitable.
The main issue with Killjoys, and the reason it may have trouble finding an immediate audience, is that while it sets up a few subplots that will slowly boil away over the course of the season, the case-of-the-week element seems most prominent here. And when you consider that all the Killjoys’ missions end with the target either tagged, bagged or body-bagged, there’s not enough variety there to keep things interesting for long. Another shot of weirdness – the upbeat kind Ashmore’s Warehouse 13 possessed in spades – would do a great deal of good.
At this early stage, though, Killjoys coasts on the charms of its leads and a smartly casual feel. D’avin smolders in Dutch’s direction, John cracks wise about any awful situation he ends up in, and all three of them go to work kicking ass with a smile on their face – nothing here is played for doom and gloom, despite the dystopian-Rust-Belt feel of the Quad planets. Syfy could stand to aim a little higher with its original programming, but there’s no reason to hate Killjoys for simply being what it is.
Killjoy is a zippy, high-octane, low-intelligence way to kill an hour between episodes of denser, deeper shows without feeling like you've been short-changed.