• Sigrid Ellis

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    Sigrid Ellis is co-editor of the Hugo-nominated Queers Dig Time Lords and Chicks Dig Comics anthologies. She edits the best-selling Pretty Deadly from Image Comics. She is the flash-fiction editor of Queers Destroy Science Fiction, from Lightspeed Press. She edited the Hugo-nominated Apex Magazine for 2014. She lives with her partner, their two homeschooled children, her partner’s boyfriend, and a host of vertebrate and invertebrate pets in Saint Paul, MN.
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The tv series, Killjoys: space pirate bounty hunters!

Spoilers for the ongoing tv series Killjoys follow —

Spoilers! Spoilers ahoy!

Okay.

I’ve been watching the new SyFy series Killjoys. I keep talking about it on Twitter, where I describe it as a Firefly-inspired Shadowrun-lite RPG by someone who LOVED the old tv show Dark Angel. If that sounds good to you, go ye forth and watch it immediately. (I am watching it on Amazon streaming, where I bought the season.)

Things I like:

— The lead, Dutch. Dutch is played by actress Hannah John-Kamen. Dutch is a certified badass with a mysterious and painful backstory which provides one of the ongoing plots. If you liked Max on Dark Angel, you will like Dutch.

— The showrunner, Michelle Lovretta, was also the creator of Lost Girl, everyone’s favorite urban fantasy about a bisexual polyamorous succubus detective and her friends. If you like your relationships complicated and multi-faceted, you will like this show.

— Aaron Ashmore and Luke Macfarlane are excellent actors who bring depth and nuance to their scenes.

— The world-building is really nice. This is what Firefly meant to do. I mean, Killjoys is like what happens when a writer LOVED Firefly and thought the world-building was facile and surficial, and decided to make a better setting for their characters.

— In the way that all science fiction is actually about the time in which it is written, Killjoys spends nearly all its time talking about class. About money and power and privilege. About who has it and who does not. Class and race are, in fact, conflated, with prejudice against people of lower class from certain planets being referred to as racism. This is the part of the show I keep watching avidly. The construction of privilege.

Dutch, you see, was raised in a royal creche, but was raised to be an assassin. We do not know as of episode seven whether or not she is herself royalty. (It is implied that she is, but the plot could still go either way.) Dutch has given up ALL of her connections. She operates under an assumed name, she avoids all of her past. She is actively hiding from her old teacher.

Yet Dutch can’t help having the experiences and teaching of her youth. She has <em>manners</em>. She knows references. She has cultural capitol, and the members of The Nine (the ruling families) recognize this. People in The Nine like Dutch. They respond to her. They treat her better than they treat other lower-class folks.

Relatedly, the doctor — Simms, is that her name? — is from The Nine. But she  is slumming. She is fighting with her family and is spending her time doing good deeds for the needy. She’s the college kid who ran off to do Teach For America, and whose family isn’t speaking to her, yet she still retains many of the rights and privileges of her class. When she wields her family name she has access to services and goods that others do not have. Of course there is a cost for this — it pulls her back into the system she is taking a vacation from. But the power is still there to wield.

— This show is almost entirely about who owns whom. It’s about who owns work, who owns bodies. There is a plot about surrogate mothers. There is a plot about mind control. There is a plot about contract labor. People own other people, in Killjoys, however politely it might be called something else.

And there has not been a rape plot yet.

In fact, I can’t recall rape as a threat, as a plot point, as even a hint. There might have been a lascivious look from a man with a gun? Maybe? I’m not remembering it clearly, though.

This is a conscious choice on the part of the showrunners, and I fucking APPROVE. People are bought and sold, they live and die at the economic advantage of The Nine, but rape doesn’t even seem to be considered an option.

— The tl;dr is, I am really enjoying Killjoys. It’s complicatedly dystopian, well-thought-out, and is full of very pretty people being space pirate bounty hunters.

Space pirate bounty hunters, people! C’mon! Doesn’t that sound like a good time?

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One Response

  1. Reblogged this on Live Your Dreams and commented:
    This is the third time Killjoys have popped onto my stream. I guess its time to DVR it.

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