June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

One more contingent of fans joins our extended family with the premiere of Dark Matter in France.  Brazil and Latin America are next: June 24th! So, my mother watched the premiere – which is a huge deal as she prefers to limit herself to, as she puts it: “Shows that finish nice.”  Murder She Wrote and the occasional Columbo is more her speed.  Still, according to sis, she did seem to genuinely enjoy Dark Matter – although she was on the edge of her seat throughout.  When I asked mom about the show, she told me that FIVE was her favorite character – although she is saddened by her working theory that she is a kidnapping victim whose family was murdered by the rest of the crew.  She likes the “nice guy” who, she predicts, is going to “fall in love with the girl”.  She didn’t like “the guy, he was so vicious”.  Can’t wait to hear her reaction to episode #102. Maybe I should have my sis record her reactions so that I can post her review online.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
Scene from Dark Matter episode #102

Speaking of episode #102, last night, I re-screened it with a friend visiting from Japan.  Boy oh boy, do things ramp up in a big way.  Some of the pieces of the puzzle start falling into place and…  Well, Akemi – who has seen all 13 episodes because she knows one of the Exec Producers – said it best: “I feel sorry for everybody who has to wait a week for each episode!”.  But episode #102 WILL be worth the wait! So, yesterday, I took us through the first third of our first episode.  We talked about the stasis pods, the corridor, the bridge, the opening titles, our cast, and stunts – all with the help of behind the scenes pics and videos.  Today, we continue our discussion of our pilot episode starting with… 1) Looking around.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
“No, show me,”says Director T.J. Scott

Again the crew splits up, this time do a little looking around while the Android (hopefully) works at bringing the ship’s systems online.  BUT, as before, there are suggestions that not is as it seems with these characters…especially the kid, FIVE, who displays some impressive knowledge about the human physiology.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
Jodelle Ferland (FIVE). Camera loves her!

What’s the deal with the creepy kid?  Is she psychic or something?  An Android? Half lizard person?

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
Slashfic fodder?

While the bromance between ONE and THREE continues to develop, FOUR makes an interesting discovery: a puzzle box hidden away in a secret compartment in one of the lockers.  Like his way with the swords, he seems to have an uncanny instinct for tapping those subconscious echoes.  Is it muscle memory, or something more? Meanwhile, TWO has the Android run her through the bridge operations, eschewing the convenience of the neural link in favor of manual demonstration. “No, show me,”she repeats.  Then, later, when the ship is under attack and she needs the Android to take immediate evasive action, the Android responds: “Would you like me to show you?”  I’m sorry.  Was that attitude? 2) The missile chase and Zero-G. Love this sequence, from the reveal of the missiles sweeping down on our ship to the elevator drop that triggers the zero-G scene.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

You can say what you like about our show but the visual effects are top-notch – end of discussion.  Other aspects of the show are fair game to subjective critique, but not our VFX.  They are great – as good or better than any other show out there, something we’ll prove time and again over the course of this first season.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
The magical John Stead.

The Zero-G sequence was our very first second unit Saturday shoot.  Stunt coordinator John Stead directed the action.

P.S. Love our jump to FTL which was designed to be unlike anything we’d seen before.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

3) In the infirmary

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
Zoie Palmer (the Android) enjoying some downtime.

Back to the infirmary to get poor FIVE’s noggin checked after her nasty fall.  Note the two characters standing over her, concerned, when she wakes up: SIX and TWO.  Again, it would seem that certain crew members display immediate, almost instinctive, connections with others.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
Roger Cross (SIX) and Jodelle Ferland (FIVE). Fast friends.

The Android, meanwhile, has some good news.  She was able to unearth the ship’s original destination.  Finally, some answers! 4) The mysteries deepen. Love the in-FTL shot that kicks off this sequence.  We moved away from the more traditional “flying through a tunnel” visual of FTL or hyperspace travel in favor of a more ominous sweep through a “dark and stormy” environs towards a discernible horizon.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

Meanwhile… Questions, questions, and more questions.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
Stunt Coordinator John Stead directs Marc Bendavid’s (ONE) discovery of the pendant.

ONE finds the pendant.  FOUR tries to solve the puzzle box.  And FIVE, again, displays some puzzling knowledge concerning a big metal door… coincidentally as a snooping THREE discovers a big metal door in the bowels of the ship.  His attempts to open it prove, uh, fruitless however.  But we don’t need him to open it to find out what’s inside because FIVE already has the answer: “Secrets.”  Wait!  She IS psychic!  Or an Android!  Or half-lizard!  Or maybe even a child magician! Or is she? 5) Turning in.  More or less. While everyone else turns in for the night, TWO kicks back on the bridge in one of director T.J. Scott’s most memorable  shots. When he first pitched it, we were dubious – but it worked.  Worked beautifully. 6) Rise and shine. TWO drops by ONE’s quarters to give him the heads up – and screw with him a little.  She’s tough, but also has a playful side.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
This kinda reminds me of…
June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
THIS on another show. Same writer.

7) The Phantom Class Marauder

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

Part of the crew heads down to the planet.  TWO elects to stay behind since she’s the only one who can operate ship’s systems in the Android’s absence.  Our shuttle actually sits on another stage on another location, so tying in the walk-in was tricky – and done with a cyc (What appears to be the corridor set is actually a faux backdrop).

It was also incredibly challenging to shoot in.  Episodes later, we made an adjustment that allowed us to remove the front section for easier camera access.

The marauder makes its way down to the planet’s surface, kicking up dust and dirt as it settles down for a landing.  It’s a damn impressive sequence.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

8) Meeting the miners We meet the inhabitants of an independent mining colony who have fallen afoul of one of the big multi-planetaries, Ferrous Corp.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

We shot these sequences in a couple of warehouse locations in Hamilton.  It was the middle of winter and, amazingly, was actually colder INSIDE the warehouses than outside.  At one point, during a delay while we were scouting the building, we actually went outdoors to wait because it was warmer.  A downright balmy -5 degrees celsius.

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!
Keeping warm during downtime.

The miners warn us away because their world is about to become a battle zone. The “Raza” are on their way, a race of legendary half-lizard creatures rumored to have skin that burns to the touch!  They sound damn scary.  Over the course of their chat, ONE notices the pendant one of the miners, Mireille, is wearing – a dead ringer for the one he found in his quarters.  What are the chances? Links!  Links!  Links! http://superior-realities.com/2015/06/15/review-dark-matter-episode-one/#comment-9937 http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/television/2015/06/10/jason-bourne-meets-the-sopranos-in-dark-matter.html

June 16, 2015: Behind The Scenes On Dark Matter Episode #101!

The Dark Matter season premiere left us with plenty of questions.  But some answers as well.  So who are the six?  What we know so far: http://www.syfy.com/darkmatter/photos/character-gallery Inspired by our Android, SyFy.com offers up their list of Important Lady Robots: http://www.syfy.com/darkmatter/blog/important-lady-robots An Android with a sense of humor: http://www.syfy.com/darkmatter/blog/dark-matters-zoie-palmer-is-an-android-with-a-sense-of-humor Want to write your own review?  Go here:  http://www.metacritic.com/tv/dark-matter/user-reviews?dist=positive Or cast your vote here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4159076/ratings?ref_=tt_ov_rt

34 thoughts on “June 16, 2015: Behind the scenes on Dark Matter episode #101!

  1. Wouldn’t it be spelled “cyc” (instead of “psyche”), because it’s short for cyclorama?

  2. Why wouldn’t you shoot the planet scene with the actors wearing coats? Not all planets are going to have perfectly room-temperature weather whenever we visit them. The crew must have some warm-weather gear, yes?

  3. Oh, great, you fixed it. Now my comment makes me look like a nutter. Thanks! 😛

  4. Joe have YOU been drinking? Fix the date of this post to the 16th. It’s the only way I know what day it is anymore.

  5. Speaking of drinking, we need a Dark Matter drinking game. Suggestions for actions, keywords and phrases upon which to drink?

    Between all of us commenters, we should be able to come up with some good stuff: frequent, but not TOO frequent; unique to this show; humorous; etc. Just enough to get a good buzz on by the end of the hour.

    So far, maybe these:

    – whenever THREE calls SIX “Tiny”
    – whenever THREE primes a gun for firing
    – whenever FIVE goes all “creepy-killer-kid”
    – whenever FOUR utters an actual line of dialogue
    – whenever the Android gets snarky

  6. “Maybe I should have my sis record her reactions so that I can post her review online.”

    Yes please!! That would be so funny! She would rival Akemi.

    Oh good grief! I’m going to have to come back. My crazy beagle is throwing her bones under the couch then barking at them like… “help me!! I can’t get it!!” She can get it! I’ve got to go give her some attention.

  7. Sure Kathode, sure… 😉

    Joe, your mom is awesome, though that’s no surprise. I hadn’t thought of the kidnap angle! Hmmm.

    I LOVE the effect while the ship is in FTL. So many effects for that are very ethereal with not a real sense of speed but this one though seems turbulent, troubling, and almost *desperately* fast. Very cool.

    Well, moved all the big stuff to the house I’m renting tonight. So, I’m sleeping here from tonight on. It feels very weird to see my house of 22 years sitting almost empty. *sniffles*

  8. 1. I should get together with your mom for a Columbo marathon. 🙂

    2. I’m not sure which character I like best yet – all have delivered. I am leaning towards a certain one, however…but time will tell. Pretty sure you won’t be able to guess which. 😉

    3. The FX are very good!

    4. So, there IS a bromance between ONE and THREE. Yeah, I picked up on that one right away.

    5. Geez…that second one. Sock smuggler? Undergear model? Elephantiasis sufferer?



  9. Hi, are you hoping for a back 9 episode order for a 20-22 ep season, or 13 episodes per season was what you had planned?

  10. So. That whole zero gravity thing… *WHEN* will Spacey-People [who are obviously smart enough to be IN a Spaceship and really *should* know about all that stuff] ever *LEARN* that when They START *FLOATING* around, frakking **GRAB** SOMETHING-THAT’S-NAILED-DOWN!! duh!

    Funny thing about Gravitational Fluctuations, they *FLUCTUATE*!! — They’re like Fast Cars, “ZERO” to *FLAT-OUT* in Seconds!

    You know, I was just thinking… I bet I know what’s behind THE DOOR — *VELCRO*-JUMPSUITS! 😀 [start sticking velcro-strips in those corridors]

  11. BTW, your Mom should start an 80+ Show Review Group! You could get a whole new Demographic perspective going…

    As for my [soon-to-be-80] Mom, she hung around for about the first minute before going off to do other stuff… Her one comment/question was… “what’s all that red firey stuff..?” – [in reference to the sparky-fireworks…]

  12. I remember from a the dvd’s of commentaries past, Martin Wood, Bill W. and many other would use the term homage to this, homage to that. I guess many watchers are looking for similarities. I need to watch a few shows of Cowboy BeBop to get a feel of what you’re are referring to. When I saw the swords I noticed they were straight. I was thinking Japanese iconic weapon has the slightly curved type. I remember Chinese having more straight edge such as that which Chow Yun-fat held in “Crouching tiger…” True, Chinese blades come in many shapes.

    It is interesting to see how you portrayed the FTL travel. I thought it reminded me of B-5 with a different color. I really like your pictures of the sets because I can see the many textures and features the the darkness of the episode didn’t allow me to see. Hope to see ep. 2 soon. Now if I could only find those misplaced comics.

  13. I really loved the show! I wanted to see it again, thinking that SyFy would air it more than once, and they did. On Saturday morning at 4:30 am. Defiance was shown again at 8:30 am. It worries me that SyFy would show it so early, when nobody is watching. Already I’m feeling shades of SyFy’s less than stellar support, which seems alarmingly familiar.

    I also tried accessing it with On Demand. That doesn’t work either. I’m so frustrated. Since I don’t have a DVR, I guess I’m just going to tape it from now on. And I do mean tape, as in VHS.

    I’m not commenting on the characters yet. Too early for me to get a good sense of them. But I LOVE the set up to the show at the end. Who these people will become, now that they know what they are. It absolutely hooked me, and I can’t wait until Friday to see what happens!

  14. Oh, and meant to comment on the FTL jump. Visually stunning. Coming out of FTL, I thought someone farted. Honestly. You might want to have a listen 🙂

  15. I thought you showed us a lot of the goings on behind the scenes when you were producing Dark Matter. But these recent entries reveal more than ever. Thank you for this in depth look behind the making of a TV show. FOUR did not “find” that hidden box. He knew right where to go. He does seem to be having a little trouble remembering the combination. What is in it? Who is FIVE? What is behind the big door? Can’t wait to find out the answers!

    And… “– whenever the Android gets snarky”

    We’d all be drunk as a skunk in 5 minutes with this one.

  16. @Paloosa – do you have Comcast on Demand?
    If yes…on your on-screen-directory
    Go to On-Demand
    go to TV – networks – syfy – select DarkMatter.
    It should be there for the entire season.
    Since this is TV…there should not be charge for premium channel or movie.
    I do not know if other “systems” “on demand” work the same way.
    Hope this helps

  17. Been looking forward to it and have have just watched the first episode here in the UK, and I have to say I enjoyed it very much 🙂

    Liked all the characters and the pace of their development in the episode, especially liked the eye gouging story and the little discoveries

    Lots of nice touches here and there, FTL effect was excellent, as is the main ship design.

    The main reveal at the end was terrific, the announcement of their crimes all very Demolition Man – Murder! Death! Kill!

    Looking forward to next weeks …..

  18. Ben! You weren’t kidding when you said that ONE reminded you of a certain someone. Parallels galore… 🙂

  19. Agree with you 100% on the VFX there Joe. After all, any show set in space has to have awesome VFX, especially with the ship-vs-ship combat scenes, otherwise it may as well just be titled “CSI: Outer Space” (oh wait, didn’t we already have that — it was titled Battlestar Galactica and the year was 2004).

    It kind of reminds me of one of the previous comments a few days ago. Someone posted a question asking why in the premiere episode, there were sounds in space, when in reality space is a vacuum and no sounds can be heard at all. Seriously, don’t you realize this is a science fiction show, with an emphasis on “fiction”. Come on, geez. That was the same exact reasoning Ronald Moore gave, as to why there were no sounds in space combat scenes of his reimagined Galactica. And that is exactly why his show was 100x times more boring than any other sci-fi show I’ve seen in my entire life, regardless of how the critics loved it and all (by the way, I’m still certain they loved it because it was more of a “Days of our Lives” soap opera than an actual family-friendly sci-fi program).

    If you want to watch programs based in reality, tune into the NASA channel or Nat Geo. On the flipside, if you want to watch great sci-fi programs, watch Stargate, or Dark Matter.

  20. Thanks for all the behind the scenes info and pictures, Joe! And thanks for sharing your mom’s comments. If Sis could continue passing them along, it would be a lot of fun!

  21. “our VFX. They are great – as good or better than any other show out there,”
    totally agreed better than many others…if I can say after only one ep. !

  22. Your mom sounds like a sweet heart! Yes, do record her observations.

    Ponytail: How are your parents?

    Das: What diff do their drawers make? They’d look great no matter what they were wearing. 😉

    I’m heading down for an overnight mom visit. Wish me luck! Hubby is cat sitting Harry. I need to label all the cat meds with descriptions (appetite enhancer, anti-vomiting, etc) for hubby to easily identify.

  23. Oh, according to TVbytheNumbers, it says Dark Matter’s premiere got 1.279 million viewers! Not sure if that was in line with Syfy’s expectations or not, but that’s awesome! Wish I had that many viewers for my YouTube channel…

  24. My husband watched it and said, “When that guy uses that big gun to try to blast open a door…on a spaceship…that he doesn’t know what’s on the other side – he could have created a major hull breach. That was REALLY irresponsible. Besides that, it’s watchable.” He’s got a point. Any time movies and TV have people firing weapons inside an airplane or spacecraft I have to expect a hole that creates sudden decompression.

    Regarding gravity and what @Ganymede said: EXACTLY! And I’m not sure that people who are standing upright when the gravity stops would automatically float to a horizontal position. I would be inclined to hold on to something so that I could remain vertical, so when the gravity SUDDENLY returns, I would be positioned to land on my feet.

  25. While I anxiously await eppy #2 this Friday night, will the characters continue referring to each other by number, or will they use their newly discovered names? This may be answered in eppy #2 though. Three reminds me of a combination of John Crichton (Farscape) and Jayne Cobb (Firefly). I really enjoy his attitude and endearing nicknames for shipmates. Hope there is more of that. Anthony Lemke is doing a great job! As are all others!!

    @paloosa I use Comcast (pity me) and am able to access the episodes from SyFy by entering my Comcast username & password. It did take 4 attempts, with cleaning browser cache in between before it worked however.

    Dark Matter rocks!

  26. Okay quick question. I just rewatched episode 1 for the umpteenth time, and I just realized when they Zero -g everyone floated with the exception of The Android why? Now its driving me crazy

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