Are you ready? This Friday night, Dark Matter’s biggest questions are answered in our explosive Dark Matter double episode finale.
First up is Episode 12. FIVE makes a shocking discovery, TWO meets her maker (literally!), and one crew member undertakes a rare off-ship mission in an outing that sees the return of the crew’s colorful agent, Tabor Calchek (played by Stargate alum David Hewlett), as well as a special appearance by Wil Wheaton.
Then, in Episode 13, our first season comes to a shocking, suspenseful, furious paranoia-fueled climax as we finally receive the answers to some long-standing questions. Who wiped the crew’s memories? And why?
Back when I first created this show, I started with a concept and two huge moments. One of those huge moments was the reveal at the end of the the pilot episode. The second, was the reveal at the end of the our first season. Over the many, many years I developed the show, I filled in the arcs and backstories with plenty of twists and turn-offs, set-ups and payoffs, but from the beginning, it was always those two cornerstone seismic-shifting moments. You’ve seen one; prepare to be shocked by the other.
The finale concludes with a big reveal that we kept secret from the cast and crew until the very last day of main unit shooting. We had 12 of 13 scripts written very early on in the production process but intentionally held off on our finale until about a month before it was scheduled to film. And, even when it was released, portions of the final few scenes were left intentionally vague, leading to much on and off-set speculation.
To keep the cast off-balance, I engaged in an elaborate campaign of obfuscation and misdirection that even involved having certain cast members called in for secret fittings.
The final reveal for the cast came in the form of an Agatha Christie-like gathering on the bridge of The Raza in which I presided (as Hercule Poirot, natch) and delivered the news – before everyone returned to shoot those final few scenes. Dark Matter Consulting Producer Ivon Bartok and Exec Producers’ Assistant Alison Hepburn shot the pre-shoot “You’re probably all wondering why I’ve gathered you here” encounter which will turn up as an online special feature not long after the episode airs.
One of the points I made early on as the show entered production was that we have a five year game plan, but have constructed each season like separate entries in a book series. In other words, each 13 episode instalment has its own theme, and its own beginning, middle, and end. The conclusion of this first season sets us up for a spectacular, thematically different second and I’m hoping we get the chance to tell those amazing stories.
All the same, I’m extremely proud of how this first season stands as a unique and satisfying narrative journey.
In many ways, I’m reminded of other season finales in which I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved.
First there was Stargate: SG-1. In that case, we knew well in advance that it would be our last season and series showrunner and Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper scripted and directed a beautiful send-off for our team in the episode “Undending” that, interestingly enough, paralleled the series finale of a complete different show – Cheers – by giving our longtime friends one more adventure yet leaving the door open for many, many more.
Then, there was Stargate: Atlantis. In that case, the final episode was not scripted as a series finale (I assumed we’d be getting that sixth season because all signs pointed to yes…until very late in the game when it was, bafflingly, no.) but, all the same, even though we were left with a number of questions, there was something fittingly final about the expedition back on Earth – with their new toy: the city of Atlantis. And that last shot of all of our heroes standing on the balcony overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge felt like, if not an ending, then the closing of a chapter.
Finally, there was Stargate: Universe, another show we didn’t know was going to end until after we’d produced the finale. Like Atlantis, I assumed we’d be back for what we were told would be a third and final season to wrap things up…until we weren’t. Still, my writing/producing partner, Paul, had the foresight to hedge our creative bets and so, when the crew goes into stasis, The Destiny shuts down. We drop through its various levels, rooms and corridors, as the lights go out – a sequence that bookends the opening in which we do the opposite, lighting up the various levels, rooms and corridors as the ship comes to life. The final shot of The Destiny jumping into FTL for the last time is incredibly poignant because, unlike past adventures in which we join them for the ride or jump ahead to greet them at their point of arrival, we are left behind to wonder. A bittersweet ending.
But, of course, unlike the aforementioned, ours will be a season rather than a series finale. Yes, I’m cautiously optimistic. You all may feel we’ve waited a while to hear word about a renewal but, in that time, we’ve solidified our position as SyFy’s #2 original scripted program this year in both overall viewers and that 18-49 demo the kids always talk about (tied with Defiance and 12 Monkeys). Not bad.
Anyway, in keeping with that positive vibe – after the finale has aired worldwide, I might offer you all some very small and subtle hints as to what we have planned for season 2!
Hurray! Received my contest-winning swag from GeekOnReview. Check them out for t.v., comic book reviews and more!
Hey, speaking of contests, check out tomorrow’s blog for your chance to win a signed copy of the Dark Matter finale script, annotated with insights, behind the scenes tidbits, and hint or two of what lies ahead in season 2!
15 thoughts on “August 26, 2015: Dark Matter – The Season One Finale!”
I’m so excited for the weekend!!! The photos look intriguing. I want to say that the 18-49 demo is stupid… people over 49 years old have money and buy things… The entire ratings system is antiquated. One day I’ll invent a new system.
All the best Joe. I have a good feeling about Season 2 as well…
PS the final scene where Destiny jumps to FTL always makes me cry.
Can’t wait to see these episodes! Isn’t it funny how a show that has more twists and turns and suspense in every episode ,be keeping us in Utter suspense as we wait the announcement of the season two pick up to continue the journey ?!? I’ve got a lot of digits crossed for you Joe ! All the best
I can’t wait for everyone to see the finale so I can FINALLY talk about it! Early viewing is fun, until you have to hold your tongue. Still, totally worth it and I actually envy those who’ve not seen it yet because I know what’s in store for them.
Cheers to a wonderful first season and to an even more successful second that leads to three more, and then some! Thanks for mentally t-boning me every Friday night for the past 3 months, Joe. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every profanity-inducing twist and shock ending and now my swear jar is overflowing!
Looking forward to Friday night and getting an answer to that burning question. I think the Android did it. Maybe someone accidentally did it. It was done because they’re dangerous? To who? To the person who did it?
Yeah, SGU’s final season/series ending last episode was really great… “The Destiny shuts down. We drop through its various levels, rooms and corridors, as the lights go out…” Eli all by himself. A quiet, haunting moment with Joel Goldsmith’s beautiful music playing. Wow.
And from yesterday, I think my biggest what-the-heck moment was in episode 101 when they learned who they really were. Even in the comic book that surprised the crap out of me. I remember turning the page and being totally surprised. Good one Joe, good one!
I’m looking forward to season 2 and bringing all your crew back together again. I miss those guys!!
Love, love, love this show and have just got my daughter into it as well 🙂 Fingers and everything else crossed for a series 2 and hoping the DVD will be out here in England in time for Christmas!
Personally, I still think THE FISH – [that aquarium full in the background] – are behind it all! – In which case, don’t anyone be surprised if “AQUAMAN” makes a cameo!
It’s hard to imagine that after all the years of talking and planning for this that the entire first season is already almost behind us. What a ride! I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed being along for it. Thank you and everyone involved for such a great show and for keeping us so informed with all the behind the scenes stuff. Also, big thanks to the cast for being so involved in social media that we feel even more part of the show. It’s been just a wonderful, fun time and I can’t wait to see many more seasons!
@Ponytail: “Eli all by himself. A quiet, haunting moment with Joel Goldsmith’s beautiful music playing. Wow.”
Yep, that scene always gets me pretty misty. And that music… so brilliant. Joel Goldsmith was taken from us way, way too early.
Off to do a hike today for my own enjoyment somewhere before I head up to volunteer tomorrow. Maybe to here? http://www.summitpost.org/south-moat/898369 Haven’t decided yet.
I’ve been reading your blog for a looong time. 10 years, maybe? And we’ve all been through a lot together. The cancellation of SG-1 and Atlantis. The elation of the creation of SGU, and its subsequent cancellation, and now the creation and awesomeness that is Dark Matter. And I have a good feeling about renewal. Mostly because it’s simply GOT to happen.
Nice work on the Jeremy Bulloch autograph and issue #1 of TWD!
So much to look forward to and you’ve given more teasers – love it, Joe!
Rare off- ship mission, you say, Mmm…..Android or Five? Meeting Tabor Calchek – how did he find the ship initially to communicate with them, because Android is working for him?
Who wiped the crew’s memories? And why? Followed by a photo of Five – a hint or misdirection, she is pretty savvy with tech.
A contest to win a signed script sounds great 😄
Bring on Eps 12/13 and news of a Season 2 pick-up.
Ganymede: AQUAMAN? 😆
I’ve bitten my nails off hoping for a season 2 pick up. It must be killing you..,.
Thank you, Joe, for everything.
Just a little over 24 hours from now we will have:
Angst filled anticipation at the end of the first hour waiting for the big finale.
Anger/Confusion/Excitement/Fear/Hunger all at once
Angst filled anticipation when it’s over waiting for season two.
And I haven’t even seen these episodes yet. I just know when Joe beats the drum and says ‘Come ye and watch and be thusly entertained’ there’s gonna be good stuff happening.
What a ride, kids. Hope we get the bicycle back again for another season. Then we’ll put some playing cards in the spokes and go for another exciting, noisy ride.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful show. It’s made me believe that good scifi can be found on my TV without resorting to reruns of Men Into Space or Commando Cody. I can never, ever again see the numbers 1 through 6 without thinking of these characters. Or hear the term ‘android’ and not have a chuckle (I hope I still find her funny after tomorrow night).
Gonna hit the stasis pod until show time. No sneaking in and wiping my memories, okay?
Thanks for this entry Joe; I enjoyed it. In my letter to SyFy, I mentioned shows that I enjoyed ending too soon. I mentioned Farscape and Firefly and Stargate. Of what these shows has in common was a strong fanbase that demanded more therefore post series movies were produced. But of the shows that did not get a movies was Atlantis-still waiting.
Really nice pictures: Five just looked so utterly pensive holding the pistol and the goggle really go with her geekiness.
@ponytail and gforce fully agree.
In the mean time I just returned from a trip to Thailand decided to take a day trip to the Ginza in Japan. Well worth it. Getting there was not a problem; jumped on the Keisei skyliner (Ueno station). I even found a locker to store my bag before jumping on the Ginza line. I passed the Wine and Cheese Bar, but they are not open for lunch. I had lunch in the basement of a retail builing-juiciest beef patty. There was a Kobi beef place that had lines forming before 11AM. There are some many intriguing hole in the wall noodle bar restaurants. It reminded me of Al’s Breakfast at the UonMN. There was a nice little store celling bacon rapped fish and fried fish on a stick near the fish market- would make great state fair food. Must make a return trip.
I think when you get season 2, I’d love to put David Blue on my wishlist for a role in some way (guest star would be okay, recurring would be cool, regular would be fantastic.