THANK YOU to everyone who tuned in for our Dark Matter North American and Australian premieres. I was madly live tweeting throughout the night along with many of you and I’m pleased to report we were trending in Canada and worldwide (also San Francisco and New York when I checked!). Judging from your reactions on the various message boards, you seemed to really enjoy episode #101. All I can say is: Wait until episode #102!
So, thank you all for supporting the show. Thanks to David Howe, Tom Vitale, Chris Regina and the gang at SyFy PR & Marketing for all of their support as well. Thanks to the Dark Matter cast, crew, and everyone else involved in the production. And a BIG thanks to…
Executive Producer (and Prodigy Pictures President) who deserves the lion’s share of the accolades for not only putting together the seemingly impossible deals that got this show to air, but assembled the pieces of the puzzle, oversaw prep, production, and post, and delivered a show that has defied expectations: when all is said and done, a fun, character-driven, ship-based scifi series. And, judging from your feedback so far, it’s EXACTLY what you’ve been looking for.
As some of you know from my days on Stargate, I would often invite members of the production (cast and crew) to take part in Q&A sessions here on this blog. My blog readers would post their questions in the comments section of this blog and then our guest would stop by to answer them in a dedicated blog entry. I’d like to do the same for Dark Matter, and I think it only appropriate that our first guest be none other than Jay himself. Having said that however, I know Jay is a busy guy and I’ve yet to clear it with him first – but with a little prodding, I’m sure we can convince him to drop by.
Soooo, start thinking about what you’d like to ask Dark Matter Executive Producer Jay Firestone. I’ll make the Q&A official sometime this week and you can start posting your questions!
Missed Dark Matter’s first episode in the U.S.? Go here: http://www.syfy.com/darkmatter/videos/101-episode-one
Missed Dark Matter’s first episode in Canada? Go here: http://www.space.ca/video/player?vid=611325
Missed Dark Matter’s first episode in Australia? Go here: http://www.syfy.com.au/video/dark-matter-s01e01
Check out the links, then check out the mailbag…
Some reactions to our opener:
Previewing the show:
ONE, TWO, THREE and me talk Dark Matter:
Melissa O’Neil chats with eTalk:
And another Q&A:
Dishing on Dark Matter:
Let’s hit the mailbag:
spalog writes: “The fan response to the show has been really great. But there have been some criticisms. Could you address them? 1. The characters feel too generic and stereotypical.”
Answer: Over the course of our 43 minute pilot, we establish the premise, establish our world, establish several mysteries (the memory wipe, the deleted data, the big metal door, the puzzle box, etc.), and introduce seven (!) different characters, none of who have any recollection of who they are or how they got on board – and thus possess no frame of reference from which to draw from. So, yes, our crew may seem a little “sketchy” at first blush (perhaps purposely so?), but this show is all about subverting expectations and surprising the audience. Nothing is ever as it seems. And we have 12 more episodes to start peeling the onions on these characters. And throw a slew of surprises your way!
“2. The Asian character has to be the one who can handle the swords.”
Answer: I’ve addressed this elsewhere but will repeat my response here.
I’ve been very up front about the inspirations for Dark Matter: comics, SF literature, film, television, and anime. The latter, Japanese cartoons for those not in the know, was a particularly big influence on the show’s development, specifically, a show called CowBoy Bebop that offered a wonderful mix of humor and scifi in it’s all too brief 26 episode run.
The sword-wielding character of FOUR is a tip of the hat to SF-themed anime, from classics like Gundam to more contemporary titles like Code Geass. Fans of the genre will no doubt recognize many familiar elements.
In creating the character, and his storyline, I consulted with many of my friends in Japan (I visit every year, am a student of Japanese culture and history, and speak Japanese – albeit like a four year old boy) and girlfriend (who also happens to be Japanese) who were absolutely thrilled at the prospect of a North American scifi series with recognizable anime trappings.
So, all this to say, the creation of this character actually came from a place of respect.
But why, you may ask, does he have a sword in space? Illogical? Maybe. And then again, maybe that question will be answered in time as well…
“3. Why did you cast a Filipino actor to play a Japanese character?”
Answer: As someone else already pointed out, Alex was cast because he was the best actor for the role. I felt comfortable doing so because the show is not a historical drama that, I would agree, would require a Japanese actor. Our show is set some 200 years in the future, a future in which I envision an increasingly more inclusive Japan thriving as an intergalactic player. In this setting, a “Japanese citizen” of Filipino heritage would be as common as, say, an “American citizen” of Chinese or Italian heritage.
4. The Three character is too much like Jayne from Firefly.
Answer: I’m sure all of the characters remind someone of some pre-existing character or other. Again, we’re talking about first episode impressions (and that’s fine), but all of these characters have a long way to develop and evolve over the course of the show’s first season. A couple of months from now, I have no doubt that each member of the crew will have established their unique personalities in the eyes of our viewers. And, next year, when the next big SF series comes out, someone somewhere will undoubtedly say: “Hey! That character is too much like THREE from Dark Matter!”.
scott writes: “what were into figuring out the different types of weapons/shields/armor each ship has?”
Answer: Paul and I had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to see in our hero ship. We wanted a tough, battle-scarred vessel with plenty of retro-fitted weaponry – compact and maneuverable to suggest it could hold its own against much larger ships. We left artist Bartol Rendulic the freedom to design the ship based on these specifications, and he came up with a beauty.
tealc writes: “And of course like the last two seasons of sga and the only seasons of sgu the atmosphere is dark can not see anything.”
Answer: I think you need to check the settings on your t.v. Throughout production, I worked with Director of Photography Craig Wright to ensure the darks were not oppressively so.
Joan001 writes: “But how did you get them into the “no gravity” situation?”
Answer: Oh, I’ll be sharing some videos with you in the coming days that will answer that question.
cat444 writes: “Parts of the FTL travel reminds me of how Moya travelled in Farscape. Was that intentional?”
Answer: No, our goal was to create an FTL jump, travel, and drop-out we hadn’t seen before. The only similarity I can see to Moya’s starburst is the shield playing over the ship prior to jump.
sylvia writes: “Any Plans for more presence by Dark Matter cast, crew, writers at Dragon Con?”
Answer: Unless someone invited the cast, I don’t believe they’ll be going.
Ponytail writes: “What are the beds made of? Plywood or actual mattress?”
Answer: Oh, it’s an actual mattress. Every time we’d be in there, Executive Producer Vanessa Piazza would be eyeing that bed, eager for nap time.
More mailbag coming your way in tomorrow’s blog entry…