Killjoys cast and creator on defying sci-fi cliches

Space/Bell Media
Space/Bell Media

When Killjoys hit Fan Expo in Toronto it was just days after it was announced that the show would be getting a second season, which meant the perfect chance for the cast and crew to celebrate with fans in person. Aaron Ashmore (John), Tamsen McDonough (Lucy) and Killjoys creator Michelle Lovretta were on hand to thank fans for their support and toss out a few hints about where the show is headed for Season 2.

At the panel, moderated by InnerSPACE hosts Ajay Fry and Morgan Hoffman, Lovretta confirmed that we will indeed be learning more about Level 6 Killjoys, as well as meet a few new friends, lovers and enemies along the way. Ashmore also hinted that John will get an interesting storyline that forces him to toe the line between good and evil.

The TV Junkies caught up with the Killjoys crew before the panel to discuss what makes the show stand out from the sci-fi crowd, some of the bigger themes of the show and whether we’ll ever get to meet the “real” Lucy.

The TV Junkies: Michelle, you’ve said you have a passion for world-building. What was your inspiration for building the world of Killjoys?

Michelle Lovretta: Just a lifetime of mostly fiction, and I find movies that I’ve seen that have been steeped in over the years, just as a fan. A lot of what drew me originally to fantasy and spec fiction as a young girl was that there were positions of power for women in it and there weren’t, really, in contemporary things. You could be at the head of a ship, you could be the head mage; you didn’t have to be the one that the king was banging on the side. You could be, but you didn’t have to be!

Aaron Ashmore: I love how nerdy you get, it’s so good.

ML: I know, I know!

AA: I don’t actually really see that side of you; I like it, it’s good.

ML: It’s all about the chick with the sword or the laser. So that was my original entrĂ©e into it, and when you get into those worlds as a fan, as everybody [at Fan Expo] will attest to, it’s the minor details that are, you know, ‘What did they eat?’ All that sort of stuff, so those little details kind of preoccupy me and not all of them make it onto the screen. There’s all kinds of things like Bellus Haardy (Nora McLellan) with the double A’s and Hills Oonan (Frank Moore) with the double O’s, that denotes a certain generation of how long you’ve been in Westerley, and there’s all these little things that we can’t [include]. There’s just too many. So over time hopefully we’ll parse more of those out.

TTVJ: The very first scene of the show, you have John tied up and Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) comes in, she plays the victim and then, of course, it turns out she’s actually his boss, and it acts as a way of subverting the genre and all those cliches. Was that something intentional going in?

ML: Completely intentional. That was set up, even the way it was aesthetically shot, was to have more of a retro vibe to it, a bit more of those Pulpy kind of things, because back in the day that was the story–the woman was brought forward to be victimized, it was really just a measure of making a man look like a hero–and that’s not our show. So, I intentionally went in and took an old trope and sort of said, ‘That’s not the show you’re watching.’ Those shows are fun; I’ve watched them and read them, but this is a bit different, this is about Dutch and her journey.

AA: It’s a bit better, is what you mean by that. [laughs]

Space/Bell Media
Space/Bell Media

TTVJ: Aaron, another aspect that seems to get subverted is how you essentially play the tech guy, and a lot of the times they’re a little awkward and shy, but John is much more confident.

AA: Yeah, I think that he sort of walks a line a little bit. I mean, I think there are some issues, you know, he was definitely feeling a little self-conscious when D’Avin (Luke MacFarlane) came in, about being sort of replaced, or taken over. So I think it’s interesting because he is walking that line and sometimes he is really confident and gets to the point and knows exactly what he needs to do, but I think there’s a little kernel of that insecurity there and I think that’s interesting because I think that’s real. To be super confident all the time, I don’t think that’s really real, so I like being able to fluctuate between those things. He’s very competent in his job and he knows that. He knows that he’s pretty good at what he does.

TTVJ: Tamsen, one really interesting thing about Lucy is that John is her favourite, in spite of the fact that she is a ship and not human. So how do you toe the line in your performance of portraying humanity without really being human?

Tamsen McDonough: I think that that’s where the AI comes in, and good programming. People even talk about Siri, [saying], ‘She’s thrown me attitude today.’ I think that being AI there’s a lot more leeway there and so it’s kind of a fun performance in terms of knowing, ‘Oh, there’s a feeling I want to get across,’ but I have to remember that this is also a ship saying this feeling. It’s a little more complicated, but in a different way.

TTVJ: There’s an old Canadian TV show called Andromeda, you may or may not remember, where the ship actually had a body. Would you be interested in something like that and physically being on the show?

TM: Hmm, let me see… [laughs]

ML: ‘I don’t want to be on screen, don’t you dare!’

TM: Actors, we hate being looked at! Of course, that would be amazing, but we’re just going to have to see what happens for Season 2.

TTVJ: Family is a big part of the show, but one thing that maybe overrules that is the relationship between Dutch and John. In the latter half of the season, John essentially chooses Dutch over D’Avin. Is that something you wanted to portray, that blood isn’t necessarily thicker than water?

ML: I think it’s more. What I am always exploring, through Lost Girl and Killjoys, is that family isn’t about blood. Family is a choice. You’re born into some family and, if you’re as fortunate as I am, it’s a family that you love and that you keep and you add to it, but not everybody’s in that situation. Family really is who you claim and this is a constant exploration of who are those people and what are the rules between those relationships, and [Dutch and John]’s rule is, ‘I’m not going to be into you, you don’t be into me. Let’s not mess this up.’ So they’re siblings now, of choice. Dutch is John’s priority, but he’s still very close to D’Avin. It’s complicated.

AA: Absolutely. I think that in the early episodes especially, John was just like, ‘What do you need? Let me help you.’ I think it’s D’Avin that was the one that was sort of keeping his distance, but I think it’s a really interesting thing about them. I have some friends who are very much like that; their families are not close, so friends become that trusted circle and that’s really interesting and different.

Are you excited to see more of the Killjoy when Season 2 rolls around next year? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Killjoys will return in 2016 on Space Channel and Syfy.