April 20, 2015: On Tidbits, Teasers, And A Mailbag!

Duck for cover!  We’ve got a whirlwind four weeks of production left on Dark Matter’s first season.  After tonight, it’s 10 episodes down; 3 to go!  The finish line is in sight!  And, once all is said and done (well, in reality, with edits and mixes and ideas for season 2 percolating, it’s never REALLY done), I think I’ll sleep for a month.  June sounds good.  There’s never anything going on that month anyway.

April 20, 2015: On Tidbits, Teasers, And A Mailbag!

I imagine that, a few months down the line, this blog will be inundated with new visitors scouring the archives for tidbits and teasers.  To those fans of the future – welcome!  You’ve got a lot of catching up to do.  But feel free to do so, safe in the knowledge that these entries are spoiler-free.  Of course, it really depends on how you classify spoilers but, in my mind, there’s a marked difference between teasers and spoilers.  This, for instance –

April 20, 2015: On Tidbits, Teasers, And A Mailbag!

Is a teaser.  Whereas this (albeit censored pic) –

April 20, 2015: On Tidbits, Teasers, And A Mailbag!

Is a spoiler.

I was having this conversation today on a conference call with Dark Matter Executive Producer Vanessa Piazza and the gang from SyFy (Gary Morgenstein, Garrott Smith, and Samantha Agnoff).  I don’t want to wait until after the show airs to roll out the visual goodies.  I want to whet your appetites early with concept art, design work, 3D renders, and animatics.  We came up with a game plan and I’m hoping we can coordinate a launch sometime next week.

April 20, 2015: On Tidbits, Teasers, And A Mailbag!

Nefarious Multiplanetary logo courtesy of the amazing Roxanne Boris – who is a regular reader of this blog.  Don’t believe me?  Check the comments section.

I’ve got a backlog of questions to answer, so let’s do this in instalments…

gforce writes: “What are your thoughts on the Nova Scotia government severely cutting the film production tax credit there? There seems to be a few repercussions already. Personally, I think it will be a big net loss for the province.”

Answer: For purportedly intelligent people, politicians tend to be amazingly short sighted.  They assume that cutting the tax credit will mean more money in government coffers when, in fact, the opposite will be true.  For instance, if a production is offered the choice between two locations, A (which offers a 15% tax credit) and B (which offers a 20% tax credit), it stands to reason they’ll choose to shoot in location B, the better deal.  Location A WILL NOT be receiving an extra 5% on whatever the production spent.  Location A will receive nothing because 15% of zero is zero.  Math so simple even a politician could understand.  Or maybe not.

ascreedintime writes: “When will you know if there will be a season two?”

Answer: If we start hot out of the gate, I’m hoping we’ll know by episode 3.  If not, I’d guess September at the latest.

ascreedintime also writes: “My music question from last mailbag was in reference to the songs from season one. Who helped pick them and will Dark Matter have something similar, or will it just be music?”

Answer: We went back and forth on this and, ultimately, decided to forego songs which some feel has a tendency to date a show.

no1zoierpalmerfan writes: “Will Itunes be offering the episodes for download the day after they air on SyFy? Any chance the show will be released on DVD at some point?”

Answer: Alas, no idea what the plans are, but I have no doubt episodes will be available in the unlikely chance you miss one.

shaneac1 writes: “…what I would like to know is what plans do you have for the future do you plan on staying in television or going the route joss whedon did and becoming a big time Hollywood filmmaker?”

Answer: I’m very happy doing what I’m doing.  Ideally, I’d like to create and run a few more shows, then retire to Japan.

astrumporta writes: “When will the first episode be ‘in the can’ and how far ahead will the eps be done before they air?”

Answer: The first episode will be in the can the third week of May, roughly three weeks before air.

paloosa writes: “How are the responsibilities of the show shared or divvied up between you and Paul?”

Answer: Paul is traveling back and forth between Vancouver and Toronto, producing five episodes this season.  As show runner, I’m here in Toronto overseeing the whole of production.

“Any big surprises that you have encountered during the production process that you had no idea were coming, good or bad?”

Answer: Oh, like any production, Dark Matter’s first season has been chock full of surprises – mostly good.  For instance, I was pleasantly surprised by how great and supportive the crew is.  A number of our standing sets have surpassed my expectations.  The cast developed a wonderful chemistry in no time at all.

“You mentioned a huge reveal in episode 113. Does that lead to an equally huge cliff hanger at the end of the first season?”

Answer: This show, as evidenced in its first season, is a series of set-ups and pay-offs, mysteries and revelations.  I wanted to approach the first year as one would the first instalment in a book series.  The first 13 episode block stands alone and, if the show doesn’t continue past season one (but perish the thought.  It will.), I’m very satisfied with the way in which it would end.

“And how is distribution different for DM versus SGA? Wasn’t Stargate also worldwide, or does worldwide encompass more countries than before?”

Answer: I don’t recall the distribution deals for Stargate, but I do know that the ones in place for Dark Matter will offer fans around the world, in over 90 countries, the opportunity to watch our show.

Ponytail writes: “After seeing first hand all the work involved in starting up a brand new series, are you glad your first season is 13 episodes long or would you have rather gone ahead and produced 20 episodes? Will season 2 be 20 episodes?”

Answer: Creatively, I prefer the 13 episode order.  Given the choice, I would prefer another 13 episode order for season 2.

Winst writes: “Will the Dark Matter show be able to be viewed on Syfy synced up to the Philips Hue lighting system?”

Answer: No idea.

Winst also writes: “What is the actual airing schedule of the Dark Matter episodes going to be like?One episode per week for thirteen straight weeks?..or will there be a split season with some time off in between a set number of episodes?:

Answer: From what I’ve been told, the full thirteen episode first season will be aired straight through in its entirety as part of the new SyFyFriday line-up.  No interruptions.

JustLookAtTheFlowers writes: “1/ Are any of the characters homosexual?”

Answer: Ah, information regarding our characters’ individual backstories and relations fall into spoiler territory for now (and if you’ve read the trade paperback, you’ll know why) as the better part of the show’s first season will be devoted to exploring who these people are and how they got onboard that ship.  We, the audience, will effectively be joining them on a journey of self-discovery.

“2/ Follow up: is homosexuality accepted in the future time period Dark Matter takes place in?”

Answer: The series takes place some two to three centuries into Earth’s future and humanity has come a long, enlightened way.  The issues of today are the non-issues of tomorrow.

“3/ What are race relations like in the world of Dark Matter?”

Answer: Vastly improved.

Elminster writes: “If you can’t tell us who the Canadian carrier for the show is, can you confirm that there IS a Canadian carrier? And whether or not it will be broadcast at the same time as SyFy?”

Answer: Alas, the Canadian broadcaster is holding off on making the grand announcement.  Not sure why.  Maybe they’re shy?  Anyway, did come across this the other day.

April 20, 2015: On Tidbits, Teasers, And A Mailbag! Read into it what you will.

paloosa writes: “How many minutes will an episode run?”

Answer: About 43 minutes.

Scott writes: ” It seems to me that the older generation (people who’ve created and produced pre-2005 shows like yourself) knows how to make a proper sci-fi show. Serious, but lighthearted too, family-oriented with comedic moments. Like every version of Star Trek, Stargate, the original 1978 Galactica, Buck Rogers, Babylon 5, etc. But a lot of the newer generation simply doesn’t get the concept — i.e. they think sci-fi is always dark, gritty, full of blood and gore, based too much off realism instead of science fiction. Why do you think this is the case, where people like you understand the genre and what’s required to make a successful sci-fi program, while many others, to be frank, have no idea what the heck they’re doing? “

Answer: I had the good fortune to work on a long-running scifi franchise that combined action, adventure, camaraderie and humor to great success.  I believe I know what works because I believe I know what most SF fans want to see.  More Stargate and Guardians of the Galaxy and less…that other stuff.

Mike McGinnis writes: “1. If you could have made a spin-off show about a single character from Stargate, who would it be? Maybe pick one from each show?”

Answer: SG:1 = Vala Mal Doran, SGA = Rodney McKay, SGU = Ronald Greer.

“2. Did you have any ideas for Stargate Atlantis episodes that you thought were great that either no one else liked, budget issues, or studio approval kept them from getting made?”

Answer: Not especially.  We got to make pretty much every idea we pitched – with the exception of all those stories for SGA’s sixth season that never came to be:


“3. Does David Hewlett have the potential to appear in more than 4 episodes? Or is this going to be it for his run on Dark Matter?”

Answer: If David’s character, Tabor Calchek, survives the show’s first season (no guarantee), there is certainly opportunity for his to return in season 2.

anas ben writes: ” I want to know whats the difference between ur show and killjoys, the other series that ure going to be with on friday nights, it sounds that both re about space bounty hunters?”

Answer: Actually, Killjoys is about a trio of intergalactic bounty hunters while Dark Matter, well, isn’t.  Can’t speak for Killjoys, but our show will be super serialized.  From what I understand, the one thing the two shows do have in common is fun and a sense of humor.

25 thoughts on “April 20, 2015: On tidbits, teasers, and a mailbag!

  1. Great mailbag, all! In bit of a rush & thoughts are muddled, but I can report that similar topics came up in fan-con panels on Sunday.

  2. Hi Joe
    Was just thinking. Perhaps the Canadian carrier is trying to decide if they want it on Space or the flagship station, CTV. Would be great if you ended up on CTV.


  3. Loved the mailbag today. I learned a few new tidbits about the show. Was that a space suit? Nice design on the suit and the sign.

    Such a sweet picture. Is that Lulu?

    Have a great evening!

  4. Very interesting mailbag, and I’m looking forward to the further reveals of the graphics and design work.

    Made it home today fine, if pretty tired. Of course, now that I’m feeling back to normal, it’s time to go back to work. Bleh. I feel like I need another vacation now! Was great to get my feathered kids back though – I missed them! And Bart (the African lovebird) was stuck to me like glue for a good part of the afternoon.

  5. Since when did anyone in science fiction need to survive one season to appear in the next season?

  6. Great Mailbag, Joe!

    Welcome home, gforce!

    Love the logo for the Volkov-Rusi. I’ve loved all of the designs so far. Roxanne is doing an amazing job.

    Aaaaand, now that the mailbag is over I have a question. Dang. I’ll ask now and the hope I remember to ask again for the next mailbag. How are you coming up with names for the space megacorporations, combines, etc? They are very catchy. However, every time I think about the Mikkei combine, it makes me think of the cat-possessed tank of a similar name from Those Who Hunt Elves.

  7. Love reading the mailbag answers…also thanks for posting the picture of the Zobot

  8. Awesome, thanks a ton Joe! Had a feeling Space would air it. Seriously, they should just rename Space to Syfy already, airing it simultaneously same day and time as it airs on Syfy. I really have to get the word out on Dark Matter. Gotta make the premiere have the highest viewership numbers Syfy has seen all year. That’ll guarantee a second season. 😀

  9. “Mike McGinnis writes: “1. If you could have made a spin-off show about a single character from Stargate, who would it be? Maybe pick one from each show?”

    Answer: SG:1 = Vala Mal Doran, SGA = Rodney McKay, SGU = Ronald Greer.”

    Nooooooooooooo! SGA = Ronon Dex! Say it! Say it!!

  10. Thank you for the fabulous, information packed mailbag! Where do you find the time to answer all those great questions? In your sleep, the shower, driving to work? Thank you! Always interesting!

  11. “Answer: If David’s character, Tabor Calchek, survives the show’s first season (no guarantee), there is certainly opportunity for his to return in season 2.”

    If Science Fiction has taught me anything, there’s a possibility of his return no matter what happens in season one… And I mean that in a good way!

    Anyways, a couple of quick questions for Joe:

    1) I sort of recall that you said years ago in this blog that Dark Matter emerged from an idea you had for an episode of Stargate, then decided it was too good to use on just one episode. Am I remembering that right? If so, was it the idea of a group of people waking up on a ship with no memory? Or an element of the show to be revealed later?

    2) Will the show have annoying “previously on Dark Matter” intros that totally spoil the direction of the episode? Or will the viewers be trusted to either know what’s going on or not care too much about previous episodes?

  12. For purportedly intelligent people, politicians tend to be amazingly short sighted.

    Tax credits are a race to the bottom. Legislators need to balance lost tax revenue with increased spending in the region by TV and film productions. I think that some tax credits are good for the industry (The Lord Of The Rings would never have been made in New Zealand if it wasn’t for hefty tax incentives from the government) but getting into a tax credit bidding war with your neighbours is stupid.

    … decided to forego songs which some feel has a tendency to date a show.

    Good move. As the show is set 200-300 years in the future, having 2015 songs playing would be like CSI: Miami only playing Bach cantatas. 🙂

  13. Oooh, look a shiny mailbag! Terrific logo too.

    I was away on a cruise. That was different, parts were very enjoyable, parts were annoying, and sometimes everything was just plain weird. And expensive. Overall, I rather liked it. Sleeping in DFW, not so much.

  14. Keith – “Previously on…” recaps are necessary, especially on shows with a lot of details and plot twists. It’s hard to remember all those details from one week to the next while juggling busy lives.

    Joe – Thank you for the mailbag.

    gforce – Welcome back. I hope you are feeling better.

    DOGGY! <3 🙂

  15. Great mailbag Joe. Also it would take a catastrophic amount of bad luck for you not to get a 2nd season.

  16. Big jampacked mailbag, I’ll be reading and re-reading for deets, and welcome Visitors of the Future!

  17. By the way, I was surprised by Lost Girls numbers on Friday, it premiered to 634k viewers and a 0.16 in the 18-49. Defiance looks certain to improve on Bittens 439k viewers. The bar is so ridiculously low that Defiance/Killjoys/Dark Matter will blow the previous numbers away.

  18. I like the metallic Dark Matter text treatment. It somehow stands out against a dark background while looking dark itself. The whiter text treatments look a bit coordinated with the Siffy logo and I wonder if the brands would merge a bit if the two treatments were to share a screen at some time.

  19. Yeesh, I go away for a few months (okay, maybe more like a year..) and come back to find you have a whole new show getting ready to air – congratulations! I’m excited to have another Mallozzi & Co. production to look forward to every week. Great to see so many familiar faces involved, too. 🙂

  20. Great mailbag. Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions in what sounds like a very, very busy schedule.

  21. Dallas — Agree 100%. The “Last time on Dark Matter…” or “Previously on Dark Matter…” recaps are 100% needed, especially on a serialized show.

    The annoying part would be if they did a “Coming up Next” segment after EVERY.. COMMERCIAL… BREAK… like some of the networks do with their other shows. Seriously, do you need to do a preview of what’s going to happen in 2 minutes from now when the show returns from commercial? Unbelievable.

    Thank goodness that isn’t the case here lol. Would drive you bonkers.

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