With episode #102 on deck (This Friday at 10 p.m. on SyFy and Space Channel), let’s finish up our overview of the Dark Matter pilot, episode #101… 1) That pendant you’re wearing…
So, the miners have a pendant exactly like the one ONE found in his room. They’re waiting for a shipment of arms – just like the one’s our crew is carrying after discovering a bunch of weapons in their cargo hold. Coincidence? To quote my girlfriend, Akemi: “Myyybe!” Or mybe not. Guess time will tell…
Above: the actual view out the entranceway. We smoked the hell out of it, had VFX paint out the utility pole, and generally blew out the shot so that we could tie it into the look out the back of the marauder – which was actually sitting on one of our standing sets.
2) Okay, I’ll admit…that part sounded bad.
One of my favorite deliveries of a line in the pilot comes compliments of Marc Bendavid (ONE): “Okay, I’ll admit…that part sounded bad.” It not only shows off some nice comic timing, but does a nice job of hinting at his character: that endearing earnest awkwardness.
As I said, our actual shuttle (the Phantom Class Marauder) was located on one of our standing sets. It was gimbaled to allow us to gently rock it during flight sequences. On the first go, the guys went a little overboard. It looked downright turbulent. I blame Akemi’s bourbon cookies. 3) I just carved out their and left them for my mother to find. The bitch! (beat) I hope they’re bringing back some real food. I’m starving!
Whenever I would ask first-time viewers which character they were drawn to most after watching the pilot, opinion varied – but the majority answered FIVE (played by Jodelle Ferland). She is compulsively watchable – and all sorts of intriguing. 4) The least we can do is nothing which, for the record, is what I’m suggesting we do.
Probably my favorite scene in the pilot. The debate offers flashes of insight into to all of our characters. My favorite subtle character moment comes when TWO (Melissa O’Neil) makes the decision for the group. Early on in the episode, she assumes the command position – and everyone else falls into line. Here, after a lengthy debate, the crew votes: 2 in favor of keeping the weapons; 3 in favor of giving them to the miners. She casts the deciding vote. Or does she? Upon closer scrutiny, you realize that she did no such thing. She doesn’t side with either, choosing instead her own 50/50 compromise – and, again, everyone falls into line. Don’t mess with #2Boss!
P.S. THREE’s “Clean up your tray, pretty boy!” was a terrific Anthony Lemke ad-lib. We get a lot of those. And, occasionally, they even find their way into an episode!
5) Make sure to lift with the back; takes pressure off the knees.
While re-watching the director’s cut of this scene, I immediately flagged the aforementioned line: “Make sure to lift with the back, takes pressure off the knees.” Wait a minute! That doesn’t make sense! And then realized: Of course. It’s not supposed to make sense. This was one of those rare occasions that I actually forgot the line I wrote and came back at it with fresh ears – and laughed. Yes. I actually laughed at my own joke.
6) The big reveal!
Dark Matter was inspired by many sources – comic books, novels, t.v. shows, and movies – but one of the bigger influences was a show called The Shield that had what was, in my opinion, one of the greatest punch-to-the-gut endings of a pilot…ever! It painted its “heroes” in the poorest light possible, then spent the rest of the series attempting to rehabilitate them in the eyes of the viewers. I’ve always been drawn to stories of redemption, whether it be Kurt Busiek’s Thunderbolts, Terry Nation’s Blake’s 7, or E.M. Nathanson’s The Dirty Dozen. Growing up, I always rooted for the bad guys. So, I suppose it’s only appropriate the “heroes” of Dark Matter are bad guys, the worst of the worst. When I was developing the series, I worked towards four HUGE WTF?! moments I knew I wanted to hit early. The first comes at the end of episode #101 with the reveal of their identities. The next two come over the course of this first season (I’ll flag them in time). And the last…well, the last comes in that final sequence that caps of season 1. It’s gonna blow your mind!