Syfy announced season 2 renewals today for Dark Matter and Killjoys, continuing the network’s plan to produce space-themed original programming with a hard sci-fi edge. Dark Matter follows six strangers who awaken on a starship with their memories wiped and a destination programmed into the ship’s computer. Season 1 followed the crew as they learned their identities and mission, and confronted the past. Produced by Prodigy Pictures, who created Lost Girl for Syfy, and based on a Dark Horse Comic’s graphic novel by Stargate writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, the series averaged 1.8 million viewers during season 1. As far as we know series stars Marc Bendavid, Melissa O’Neil, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari, Jodelle Ferland, Roger Cross, and Zoie Palmer will all be returning for (at least part of) the 13-episode second season. Wil Wheaton guest-starred as a kidnapping scientist in the season 1 finale, but no word on whether he’ll return for season 2.
Killjoys capitalizes on the archtype of the irreverent bounty hunters/smugglers we loved in Firefly and Star Wars, following a trio of bounty hunters who travel a complex, politically unstable galaxy pursuing their ‘work’. Creator Michelle Lovretta told The Hollywood Reporter, “Mostly the journey next year is going to be for our trio to have a greater understanding of what really happened on Arkin, what is the connection that Khlyen and or Dutch have to that and what does that mean to their greater existence.” The 10-episode series order will be produced by Temple Street Productions, creators of Orphan Black, and star Hannah John-Kamen, Aaron Ashmore, and Luke Macfarlane.
These renewals are part of Syfy’s continuing plan to return to the kind of sci-fi programming that made them so popular with fans (and critically acclaimed) during the Battlestar Galactica era, when that series was mentioned along with Mad Men and Breaking Bad as the gold standard for TV writing. In 2014 Bill McGoldrick, Syfy’s head of original programming, spoke to EW about programming goals, which the network has pursued by creating new content and wrapping procedural shows and supernatural dramas like Haven and Lost Girl. “What we have in development now is more of a serious tone, more back to our roots. You’ve seen and probably heard about our desire to get back up to space. We have a couple really big shows that are trying to accomplish that—Ascension,The Expanse in particular, which play more toward I think the harder core sci-fi fan who used to be perceived as niche but is now mainstream and commercial in a way they have never been before.” Out of Syfy’s five top-rated scripted shows – Z Nation, Defiance, Dark Matter, Killjoys, Dominion – only Dominion is a supernatural theme. The network is also hanging on to time travel dramas like 12 Monkeys and Continuum, but has cancelled the zombie/genetic engineering mess that Helix became during season 2.
Both Dark Matter and Killjoys will return in 2016, stay tuned for premiere dates.