Fans in the U.K., Germany, Spain and Portugal just joined the Dark Matter family and fans in the Netherlands and France are about to follow suit.  So welcome, wilkommen, bienvenida, bem-vindo, welkom, and soyez les bienvenus!  The best is yet to come!

And welcome to my little blog which, over the course of the Dark Matter’s first season, will be offering up plenty of behind the scenes photos, videos, and insights – as well as a surprise or two.

Speaking of two – in case you hadn’t seen them, a few sneak peek pics of our second episode (#102) have popped up online…

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
DARK MATTER — “Episode Two” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Melissa O’Neil as Two, Mark Bendavid as One — (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

And there’s also this Season 1 preview from the gang at SyFy:

Now, let’s talk about Episode #101.  Those of you who read the Dark Matter comic, edited by the awesome Patrick Thorpe, illustrated by the brilliant Garry Brown, colored by the awesome Ryan Hill, and published by Dark Horse Comics ( will note that the first episode was word for world, almost shot for shot, the first two issues.  However, there were occasions where we veered away from the source material.


1) Drifting through the corridors…

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!


This was our first shot of Day #1.  T.J. Scott always liked to have a little background music playing (his mixtape) to help foster a relaxed on set atmosphere.  We discussed options with our Director of Photography, Craig Wright, and ultimately decided to go with the lurid red lighting which always made me think “The Shining in space!”.

2) The stasis pods…

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!


While I loved the idea of the amniotic fluid spewing out as the stasis pod disgorges its occupant, we opted for something a little more production-friendly that wouldn’t require our actors to spend much of the early scenes sopping wet.  The mist effect replaced the liquid while the pod itself (upright, like in the comic book) was recessed in the corridor for a more visual reveal.

3) The bridge…

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

Production Designer Ian Brock pitched out a bridge design that was unlike anything I’d ever seen: rowed windows out front and in the ceiling as well, offering plenty of opportunities for interactive lights – especially when traveling through FTL.  Stunt Coordinator John Stead did a terrific job choreographing this first encounter between ONE and TWO.

4) THREE’s entry…

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

Enter the ship’s resident bad-ass.  You’ll note that, unlike the others, he is armed – which would suggest he actually went into stasis WITH his guns…which says a lot about the guy.

5) The Opening Titles…

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

As much as I love a nice lengthy opening title sequence, they’re becoming increasingly rare nowadays so we opted for this abbreviated version pioneered by shows like Lost.  Executive Producer Jay Firestone suggested we use our streaking FTL effect which gives it a nice, dynamic feel.  The Dark Matter clanking into place are reminiscent of our hero ship.  We went back and forth on the crew – yes or no – and eventually decided on having them fade up and be partially obscured.  Finally, we decided to go with this musical accompaniment because, as Jay pointed out, it would alert people in the next room that “Dark Matter is on!”.

6) Everyone awakens from stasis…

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!


In the comic book, we fast forward to the character of SIX awakening from stasis to discover the rest of the crew already up and around.  Director T.J. Scott was adamant that he wanted to see the moment where the rest of the crew wake up – which, in retrospect, was a brilliant idea: a bewildered FOUR followed by a composed FIVE and ending on a confused SIX.

7) Designations and discovery…

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

Our amnesiac crew members name each other numerically, discover clothes, comms, and a weapons cache.  Curious.  My writing partner, Paul Mullie, suggested the little bit of business with FIVE and SIX switching outfits – which is the first interaction between the two and hints at the friendship to come.  In fact, this episode is full of little hints about our characters.  Note the way TWO takes charge and the others quickly fall into line.  Also not the glint in THREE’s eyes as he swings that big gun around…”Expecting trouble?”, “Hopin’!”

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

8) Splitting up and searching…

TWO and FIVE head for the bridge, ONE and FOUR find the training room, and THREE and SIX discover the shuttle (The Phantom Class Marauder).  All begin to display certain abilities suggestive of their respective pasts.  I’ve spoken at length about how anime (the swords in space motif) heavily influenced Dark Matter and nowhere is this more evident than in the character of FOUR.  Alex Mallari Jr. was supremely dedicated to his training, waking up at 3 a.m. every day so that he could get a workout in prior to heading in for his early call and stunt rehearsals. He got pretty good with those katanas.  So good that he ended up running the table on the various weapons in that room.

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
FOUR of a kind. Can anybody guess the three other swordsmen?

But seriously.  What’s with the space sword?  Stay tuned!

9) The Android’s greeting…

June 15, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

Our first elaborate stunt sequence, choreographed by stunt coordinator John Stead, directed by T. J. Scott.  This one took all day!  Some nice little touches including the beat where the Android disarms SIX of his weapons, snatching the last one out of his holster and tossing it aside before he can react.  Zobot lays a beatdown on the boys. Luckily, TWO saves the day.

10) Bringing the Android back online…

The show is full of parallel themes and tracks.  Take the Android for instance who has her memory stories wiped by the reboot.  Still, her neural link to the ship allows her instant access to the ship’s systems – and the realization that the data has been wiped.  Now why would someone do that?  Just add it to the growing list of questions.

By the way, my favorite beat in this scene is the moment the Android suddenly sits up.  Everyone else is startled, reacts anxiously by pointing or clutching their weapons.  FIVE, on the other hand, scooches forward, intrigued.

That’s all for today.  Let’s pick up tomorrow.  For now, a couple of links to check out…

Another review:

Travel via clone.  I discuss Transfer Transit, the fastest way to get around in the Dark Matter universe:

Chatting with Starburst Magazine:

19 thoughts on “June 15, 2015: Behind the scenes on Dark Matter episode #101!

  1. From the Starburst Magazine interview you said:
    “We have the journeys of all seven of our crew members mapped out in our heads and, like in real life, it won’t be a happy ending for everyone.”
    Please don’t let anything happen to 5 and leave 2’s navel where it is. I love this show Joe! As you know, the first thing I did when I got up Saturday morning was to check iTunes!!! And there it was available on iTunes!!! Is there any chance there will be any BTS? Sometimes I almost enjoy the process as the end product. The 2:35 clip of episode set the hook. I can’t wait…How’s about you!!!

  2. Hey Joe, loved these updates. Just out of curiosity, how much of the obliteration did Zoie Palmer do for the fight scene between Zobot and the guys?

  3. Chicago Blackhawks win! Woohoo.

    Sorry. It was a very exciting game.

    For the record: I love space swords. I’m looking forward to finding out how it fits into this story. And to uncovering all of the other mysteries.


    WOOHOO! – [Been Dad’s fav team for DECADES! so he’s a happy-camper tonight!]

  5. Will we be seeing all the male actors in their underdrawers? If so, can we start placing bets now on who wears the tighty-whiteys? (I’m guessing Three) And no, I have no idea why this has even come into my brain tonight…I think maybe it has something to do with doing laundry. 😛


  6. Enjoyed episode one. Am awaiting my chance to buy the DVD Boxset!
    Are you doing commentaries? Hope so. I’m a sucker for those things, especially if they’re as good as the Stargate commentaries. Full of techy-goodness!

    (PS, We don’t even have a SyFy-now/Catchup/anything over here in the UK.. So unfair!!)

  7. Who is the voice of the computer?
    ~~ and ok das, bring on the boxers-vs-briefs, or is it too soon,haha. I think I am always doing laundry….

  8. BTW – loved the uniform exchange between FIVE and SIX. That gave me a smile. And I did notice how FIVE appeared intrigued rather than terrified when the Android was awakened. I liked…I think it was SIX’s…reaction in that scene, too. 🙂

    It’s well-worth giving the premiere ep more than one viewing – I caught so much more than I did the first time around.


  9. Loved it! Great to have a new SF show to follow since Stargate ended. Two and the Android are the favourite characters so far. The visual effect entering FTL was brilliant, so different to what’s been seen before. Also the opening scene with the ship in emergency mode and the brief fight between One and Two was awesome. Can’t wait to see how the rest of the season plays out!

  10. Five reminds me of Edward from our assigned viewing Cowboy Bebop. She has a bit of technical know-how and blurts out strange things and her age makes her seem out of place. My favorite Edward moment was when she tried to wear socks and failed at it before giving up. There’s a certain practicality in not putting too much effort into what you’re not good at and concentrating on your strengths.

  11. Hi Joe. What an amazing first episode. I loved the end reveal of their true identities. Or are those their real identities? I’m sure even more surprises await us and that there is more to their rap sheets. Especially once the memory wipes are taken into account. Please thank whoever in SYFY decided to have the international airings so close to the US & Canadian airing. In this day and age it’s a bit annoying waiting weeks or months to get a great show. I always prefer to support a show by watching it on tv rather than hunting around for it online.

  12. @DAS – did you miss 1 answering his door bell while in underpants?
    Not white….
    Sheesh, can not believe I just asked that question.
    thanks DAS.

  13. Yep. I remember that one. *snicker*

    Yeah, I think Three for the tighty-whiteys, too.

    @DP. I also see Edward in Five; especially in that scene with her sitting cross-legged on the bed working on the box.

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