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Event report: Killjoys S1 E1; plus clumsy attempts at drone racing


Shiny new show somewhat reminiscent of Joss Whedon's Firefly...

Report from a recent drone racing event to promote the new Firefly-esque sci-fi show Killjoys

Shadowlocked were lucky enough to attend a promo event recently for SyFy UK's upcoming space-based sci-fi show Killjoys, comprising a screening of the first episode, followed by the chance to partake in a drone 'bounty hunt' race – at least in theory (more on that below).

While this report won't go into detail about the plot of the show, in order to avoid spoilers, suffice it to say that the first episode is chock full of action. This is not one of those shows where you have to watch an entire season (or sometimes more) just to see if anything's actually going to happen. Far from it.

The premise is that in a planetary system known as the Quad, much of it is controlled by an organisation known as the Company, while dissension stirs, which threatens to erupt further down the line. Our protagonists are bounty hunters (or 'Killjoys') chasing Warrants (or fugitives), working for the neutral Reclamation and Apprehension Commission, with its simple code, “The Warrant is all.” Needless to say, this impartiality will be seriously tested.

In tone and set-up, Killjoys bears many resemblances to Joss Whedon's beloved, short-lived classic Firefly. The cinematography, production design, and art direction all create a world that feels similar to that of the 'Verse, while the story also concerns a band of characters on a spaceship, flying around and having misadventures. While there are some differences (a much smaller main cast of characters, for one), and Killjoys is its own distinct show, it's impressive how it seems to almost effortlessly create a Firefly-esque milieu. Which is obviously a good thing.

Killjoys is like Firefly. What's that you say? 'Shut up and take my money'?; 'It better not get cancelled'?; 'What's a Firefly?'

Well, never fear, any of you hypothetical people. Addressing each in turn: a) Killjoys is airing from Monday 25th January at 8pm on SyFy UK b) It's already been renewed for a second season. c) Dude, you need to see Firefly.

A drone in flight, at a recent event to promote the upcoming sci-fi show KilljoysOnto the drone racing portion of the event. We were then ushered further upstairs, where an empty floor of the building had been turned into an obstacle course for drones. The (admittedly cool) idea was that we would race the drones round pillars and cargo boxes, in some sort of drone 'bounty hunt' (presumably the only tie-in with the show). And apparently if you put an infinite number of monkeys in a room with an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite amount of time, they'll eventually type the complete works of Shakespeare. (No offence to the hyper-intelligent monkeys from an earlier group, who reportedly made to the 'racing round the track' portion of the event.)

Anyway, if your level of skill at such things is comparable to that of, say, Jar-Jar Binks, you had to settle for hiding in a room behind a metal fence, like Jar-Jar hiding his eyes behind his fingers, going, “Did he crash it? Did he crash it?” Well, yes, yes he did. Many times. But we were all generally in the same awkwardly flying boat, and several seconds of airtime were had in between crashes, which totally counts as a success.

The technical team were very patient with us, and the experience was actually enjoyable, despite the lack of actually being able to race. Though to make up for that, we were then treated to first person views (FPV) through headsets, while expert drone racer Brett Collis piloted a drone round the course several times, in a slightly dizzying manner. (“!” Okay, that was three Star Wars: Episode I references in two paragraphs. I regret nothing!)

At one point, he narrowly avoided a coffee cup perched on one of the cargo boxes; and later landed on the top of a barrel.

Close-up of a drone resting between races, at a recent event to promote the sci-fi show Killjoys

Apparently this was relatively slow for drones, on account of it being indoors. Outdoor flying affords the ability to go faster, but requires a spotter (someone to keep an eye on where the drone is going, for safety).

Overall, it was an entertaining afternoon, attempting to get to grips with the emerging technology of drones, and getting up to speed rather more quickly with the promising new sci-fi show Killjoys.

As the official PR summary puts it:

The UK’s first FPV drone bounty hunt took place to mark the UK premiere of Killjoys, which starts of Syfy on Monday 25th January at 8pm.


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