Syfy's Killjoys has returned for its third season on Fridays at 8 PM EST, but its ratings (which have never been great) are down year after year despite the fact that it is delivering the space opera saga that so many sci-fi fans have been clamoring for. As with Syfy's The Expanse (and Dark Matter), Killjoys is the type of space-based show the network was once known for when it delivered classics like Battlestar: Galactica, Farscape and the Stargate franchise.
While some might debate whether Killjoys measures up to those shows, it has established itself as a decent genre entry and is definitely worth checking out. However, the ratings (including delayed viewing) suggest that not many are watching at this point, possibly jeopardizing its future.
What Is Killjoys?
Syfy offers the following tagline for the show:
Killjoys follows a fun-loving, hard living trio of interplanetary bounty hunters sworn to remain impartial as they chase deadly warrants throughout the Quad, a distant system on the brink of a bloody, multiplanetary class war.
The show started out following a group of three bounty hunters, a.k.a. Killjoys, working for the RAC (Reclamation Apprehension Coalition), hunting down criminals in the four-planet system known as the Quad. As the show has progressed, we have started to learn more about the backstory of these three, their associates, as well as a system-wide conspiracy that threatens all of the humans there.
#KIlljoys stars Hanna John-Kamen (Black Mirror, Game of Thrones), Aaron Ashmore (Smallville, Warehouse 13), and Luke Macfarlane. It was created by Michelle Lovretta, who previously gave us the supernatural drama Lost Girl that ran for five seasons on Syfy (and Showcase up in Canada), and it comes from Temple Street Productions which has also gave us Orphan Black.
Killjoys delivers a space-based show with snappy dialogue, fast-paced action scenes, a strong female lead, and a well-developed universe.
Why You Should Be Watching?
Because Killjoys is a darn good show! It started out giving us a good spaced-based action adventure that delivered plenty of fun, witty dialogue and a strong female lead (similar to what Lovretta did with Lost Girl). However, as the show has proceeded, it has delivered strong world-building, fleshing out its universe and developing an interesting background mythology. The world that these people live in has depth, and offers plenty of material for the show to build upon. In addition, the main characters give us a core family that we care about, one that extends to include the immediate circle of recurring players as well.
While the second season got a bit story-arc heavy and downright confusing at times, the third season seems to have reset things and has much clearer focus. The threat of the Hullen (superhumans created by an alien neuroparasite) has been established, and Dutch and her team are preparing for a war to save the human race. The third season is actually a pretty good jumping-on point for those who may not have watched the the first two years of the show. You can read the recaps of the first two seasons over at Syfy.com (Season 1 | Season 2) and will get you pretty much up to speed.
Not only has the third year of the show reset the story, it has returned to the sense of fun of the first season with plenty of snappy dialogue and fast-paced actions scenes. The story may have gotten a bit murky at times last year, but the show has moved on and is back on track to give us the great space opera it originally promised. If you want to start watching from the beginning, the first two seasons of the show, plus the current season, are available for online viewing at Syfy.com, though you will have to login with your cable/satellite provider info.
Is The Show In Ratings Jail?
Not necessarily, but it could definitely use more viewers. The first two episodes of its third season have averaged a 0.16 rating (yes, that decimal is in the right place) based on the overnights for the 18–49 demographic, down from the 0.18 average last year. Those numbers will improve once delayed viewing is factored in, though I don't expect it would go above a 0.35 to 0.40 score based on what we've seen from the DVR stats of late. Digital viewing will boost the numbers as well, but Syfy has not been too forthcoming with those statistics.
Killjoys also comes in a partnership with the Space Channel in Canada, which shares the production costs. Plus, it has achieved the third season threshold, and when medium to low-rated cable shows hit this point, they typically stick around for four to six, giving them a binge-worthy run. This outcome is not guaranteed however, and the show could definitely benefit from fan support.
What Can The Fans Do?
The landscape has changed in the Peak TV environment, and the Nielsen ratings are not the sole dictators of a show's fate anymore, especially for the cable networks. Social network activity using hashtags such as #Killjoys, #KilljoysS4, #RenewKilljoys, etc. can definitely help the show. This activity is especially beneficial during the show's live broadcast. Also, watching the show online at Syfy's website/app and purchasing episodes from Amazon, iTunes, etc. can definitely give the show a boost. That is a way of going around the Nielsens (which only measures a sampling of viewers) and getting your views to actually count.
The important thing is to be active online in ways that are being measured by the networks. We saw Timeless uncancelled by NBC (a broadcast network, no less) this past season when fans showed massive support on social media and with digital viewing. Also, Netflix just recently agreed to give cancelled Sense8 a final episode after fans showed their support of the show. As viewers, we can make a difference and do not have to be dictated to by the Nielsens anymore. Killjoys is definitely a show worth supporting, and we can keep it going to a fourth season and beyond if we support it.
What Other Shows Need Support?
This summer has been particularly brutal for sci-fi shows, with ratings declines for returning entries and new shows having a hard time finding an audience. Syfy's Dark Matter, another space opera entry worth watching, is at about the same ratings levels as Killjoys. The fun-loving supernatural western Wynonna Earp, which caps off the Friday block of programming after Killjoys and Dark Matter, is also struggling to hold its audience in its second season. New series The Mist, which airs on Spike TV, is fading fast on Thursdays. Several more of the summer genre entries are struggling this year. You can see my full rundown of the shows that could use support from fans here.
So, let's support the space-based shows that Syfy is giving us, like Killjoys, Dark Matter and The Expanse, as well as the other genre entries out there, by being active on the social networks, watching online, buying VOD and more ways in which our participation counts. Peak TV has fractured the television audience and made it difficult for shows to hold on to their viewers. However, if we get together and show support that the networks can measure, we can help bring more attention to our favorite shows and keep them from succumbing to the Peak TV crunch.