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Dark Matter Apple TV Series Review: Average at Best

Updated: 5 days ago


Dark Matter Apple TV Plus Series Poster

After weeks of watching the trailers and talk show interviews about the Dark Matter Apple TV series I finally took the plunge and watched it end to end. It felt like I kept waiting for something incredible to happen and all I was met with was mild disappointment at first which gradually dropped to utter disappointment.


Plot of the Dark Matter Apple TV Series


A physicist based out of Chicago has his life turned upside down when he is kidnapped and dropped into another world where he has led a different life and made different choices. The entire show revolves around the physicist trying to get back into his own unique reality.


Joel Edgerton acts well but is bogged down by a relatively low-octane plot and script. Even with the gratuitous violence injected into some of the scenes, this series feels painfully slow, especially if you watch more than one episode at a time.


The visual effects are good, and the storytelling is mediocre but they mostly lean on the stellar cast to connect with the audience on an emotional ( and sci-fi? ) level.


Joel Edgerton and Alicia Braga in the Apple TV Plus Series Dark Matter

The series feels like a cross between "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Secret" with marginally better CGI and practical effects. Considering the competition that sci-fi series now face with Severance, 3 Body Problem, and Fallout, Dark Matter falls dramatically short of what it takes to be a hit.


Hell, Constellation on Apple TV Plus did an amazing job of a similar sci-fi show with Noomi Rapace knocking it out of the park with her awesome performance. But Constellation had a lot more nuance and plot development that was highly enjoyable.



I'm hoping things will turn around for this series in the next two episodes, but I doubt it will get any better. But I am still holding out hope!




The Cast of the Dark Matter Series on Apple TV Plus





Joel Edgerton brings his trademark intensity to this series as Jason Desson the physicist which kinda helps but it can't single-handedly save this Titanic series from crashing into the cliché iceberg. Jennifer Connelly plays Daniela, Jason's wife and Alice Braga plays Amanda his colleague who delivers powerhouse performances which still doesn't help Dark Matter's case.



I mean, how can you cast Connelly and Braga and still come up with a dud? There simply is no substance within this series. The series leaves a lot to be desired in terms of originality, plot density, and character development.


All that being said Jennifer Connelly looks amazing and does a lot with the limited screen time she's given. Alice Braga also looks stunning and does a bang-up job of playing Jason's complex colleague Amanda. She anchors the series with her grounded performance and saves it from being a total disaster.



Dark Matter would play better if it was a short film or a couple of long episodes, but instead, it just drags on, episode after episode building up to what is sure to be a disappointing and predictable finale.


The Box in the Dark Matter Series on Apple TV Plus

The technology itself is not full of nuance which would have been a good way to go if there were significant plot devices but it's neither here nor there. The centerpiece tech of the series reminds me of the Department of Mysteries in the Harry Potter franchise.


They could have gone the route taken by Community where they can explore different scenarios or movie tropes in each episode using their core tech. Instead, they stayed on their stoic plotline with every reality being worse than the other leading to a buffet of sadness. So they had the means to tell many stories but bungled it up anyway.



While they used sound engineering and CGI to their advantage it doesn't look like they've done anything groundbreaking with the resources they had.


I understand that dark humor needs to be, you know, dark, but the one joke that Jason makes in one of the episodes (5) is drowned in despair without any hope. But later on in the same episode, he makes a joke that is actually worth a laugh and the episode turns out to be a little lighter than the others.



Finale Update


As expected, the 'grand' finale episode of the Dark Matter Apple TV series was underwhelming and equally disappointing. After all that waiting, the build-up, and the high-tech and high-concept sci-fi premise, Episode 9 body-slammed the audience with a thoroughly average ending.

The least they could have done is tap into the high-concept premise to spice things up in the finale episode. Instead, the showrunners took the least common denominator of this show with boundless potential and banged out a low-concept and low-stakes ending. What a waste of talent, production money, and a futuristic premise!


Cinematography


As I said earlier, this series has all the raw materials required to make a hit series but lacks the right master tailor to stitch together a great outfit. One of those raw materials that they used is great cinematography, it's what keeps you watching and stops you from rage-quitting the whole series.


A dark Chicago day in the Dark Matter Show

Most of the series is spent in a dark haze but the worlds that Jason visits with his colleague are well done with intricate details as expected from a hyped sci-fi show such as this.




Should You Watch It? Yes, But...


This series is a super slow burn and needs to be watched at a maximum of one episode per day and more than that and you'll grow to hate this series actively. Considering that after the initial two-episode release, the series being on a weekly release schedule felt right to me.


This makes me think that the show producers have put adequate thought into the release strategy for the Dark Matter series.


So if you're feeling bored, take one of these a day, and call me in the morning, okay?

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