baterista9 writes: “Are you requested by “powers that be” to cast guest stars from other NBC /Universal /Syfy /SPACE network series or films?”

Answer: In fact, quite the opposite.  We try to avoid casting actors who have appeared in other scifi shows on the same network.

“2. Do you anticipate any 21st-century product placement in Season 2? Or any coordinated advertising that reflects DM’s plot line?”

Answer: Uh, I’m not going to say no and would certainly be happy to do so if it felt organic to the story…but I’ve never seen it work before.

J writes: “Did 6 have his memory the whole time or was he triggered somehow?”

Answer: The fact that he passed the lie detector test in Episode 103 makes it pretty clear that SIX did NOT have his memory the whole time.  In fact, we can’t be sure that his memories were ever recovered over the course of season one.

“Will the Android get the respect she deserves?”

Answer: I think the android has garnered a lot of respect from the crew.  They all have various ways of expressing that respect.  In the case of TWO and FIVE, it’s pretty clear.  In the case of someone like THREE, it’s a lot more subtle but evident in scenes like the one in which he expresses his dismay at the prospect of the Android rebooting her personality.

“Will 5 change her hair color to red to match her mood or go green if she gets stranded in a forest environment?”

Answer: Unlikely.  I like the green.

“And how did you find so many animal lovers to work with? I thought it was just my company.”

Answer: Animal lovers make the best co-workers.  I’ve been very fortunate in that respect.

Tim G. writes: “Any word on DVD/BluRay release for Season 1???”

Answer: Alas, I have no idea.

Ponytail writes: “Will there be any aliens being held at Hyperion-8?”

Answer: The prisoners all appear to be human.

Line Noise writes: “Do you have a bigger budget for Season 2?”

Answer: Only insofar as the Canadian dollar has dropped.

“What is the budget? (Ballpark)”

Answer: Somewhere around a modest amount.

“Is it wholly paid for by SyFy or does Prodigy foot some of the bill in return for profit share?”

Answer: The budget is made up of broadcast license feeds in North America and overseas.

stargate_fan writes: “1. Will we see stargate actors in season 2?”

Answer: Yes.  Off the top of my head, I count 3.1 so far.

“2. Will there be a lot more space battles?”

Answer: Yes.

“3. Is there going to be answers for white hole technology that was encountered in episode 11?”

Answer: TWO had a pretty solid theory as to what happened after the events of Episode 111 (see the top of Episode 112).  The repercussions from that little incident will run through much of season 2.

“4. Is Dark Matter going to become as great as Stargate?”

Answer: I hope so – but, at the end of the day, that’s up for you to decide.

Tam Dixon writes: “This is a question, not a complaint but why have rotating directors?”

Answer: As I’ve explained before, the production schedule is staggered so that, while Director #1 is prepping is/her episode, Director #2 is shooting his/her episode.  When Director #2 heads to post to edit and Director #1 starts shooting, Director #3 starts prepping.  This also allows us to use a variety of different directors.

Star_Climber writes: “1. Besides deadline pressure, what gets your inspiration flowing when you stumble on a writers block?”

Answer: Input from my fellow writers always helps.  My producing partner, Paul, always manages to find a solution given enough time.

“2. Is there a certain number of seasons you envisioned this show to last?”

Answer: I always imagined it running 5 (13 episode) seasons.

“3. What is the best part of creating a TV Show and what is the worst?”

Answer: The best part is, of course, watching your creation come to life, from its earliest inception, through production, to the final product…and whatever response it engenders.  The worst part?  Early mornings, waiting for pick-ups, agonizing over scripts.

“4. Do you have from the start of creating a story an idea how it’s going to end or does it come to you during the writing process?”

Answer: It depends on the project.  In the case of Dark Matter, I already had an ending in mind.

“5. If you were an actor and had the opportunity to be one of the main characters, who would you choose to be and why? (no hard feelings towards the others ;))”

Answer: Oh, that one’s easy.  I’d be Han Solo.  I mean, THREE.

“6. Which character was the hardest to create in the Dark Matter world?”

Answer: I can’t say any one was anymore difficult than another.  They all presented their own individual challenges.

TheOtherOne writes:”Please could you explain a little more about the change to the storyline in Season 2 episode 9 which, due to circumstances, has to be moved up to episode 5? What circumstances are they? Was it due to the actor involved or external pressure to move the story along?”

Answer: It was a request to have a certain story occur much earlier in the season.  They wanted it in the 3 slot, we were originally planning for 8 and, in the end, we compromised and made it Episode 5.

Ho!Ho!Ho!MerwyChristmas writes: “So did ya decide on a new agent yet ? If so, curious which one ya decided to go with? The one with the impressive literary credentials? or ”

Answer: I did.  I ended up going with none of the above.  A fourth contender read a couple of my other pilots, expressed an interest and, following a lively phoner, I decided to sign with them.

“Are we gong to see Bubba, Alex’s cute little orange tabby, or neither on screen serving as RAZA’s mascot or perhaps a stow away alien eh”

Answer: Unlikely but not impossible.  Jodelle has been lobbying for a ship’s mascot.

shinyhula writes: “Who else from the SGVerse or beyond would you like to cast in the future?”

Answer: Oh, there are A LOT of wonderful Stargate alumnae I’d love to work with again.  It all depends on finding the right role for them.  Torri Higginson is an utter delight as Commander Delaney Truffault while David Hewlett is simply perfect as Tabor Calchek.  X makes a terrific Arax Nero.

“Besides DM what are your fave Syfy shows either new or upcoming?”

Answer: Sadly, production demands prevent me from really sitting down and watching much beyond dailies and cuts.  Still, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead remain must-watch television.  Curious to check out Ash vs.  Evil DeadJessica JonesThe Man in the High Castle, and Last Man on Earth.

ceresis64 writes: “So much hard work has been put into the fantastic prison set, how many episodes will it actually feature in?”

Answer: THAT is top secret.

“Really cool news about Mike Dopud – which character is he playing?”

Answer: Mike who?

“I like the techno-crane – how long did it take to set up the shot?”

Answer: Nowhere near as long as it took them to actually get that thing inside the studio.

“And how much screen time will the particular shot have?”

Answer: The techno-crane was utilized for various shots.

“How many episodes will David Hewlett’s character Tabor Calchek be featured in this Season?”

Answer: We’re still in the process of writing season 2, so that remains to be seen.

“How many different whiskys does your club have/had?”

Answer: Roughly three dozen.

“How many episodes are going to be shot on location? Who gets the dream job of scouting the locations?”

Answer: The number of location episodes remains to be seen.  Locations is the purvey of our fantastic Locations Manager, Zachary Beckwith.

“Is Jeff Teravainen’s Lt Anders character a friend or foe of Six?”

Answer: He certainly seemed like an ally at the end of Episode 113.

“What will make Transfer Transit 3 different from ‘earlier’ models?”

Answer: I can’t wait to find out!

“How far into the Season will we get to know what that interdimensional key is for?”

Answer: Oh, you won’t have to wait all THAT long…

chevron7 writes: “1. You’ve been quiet on the football front…. how did the Snow Monkeys go? I limped into the playoffs with four straight losses. I’m planning a comeback. Do you think Derek Carr can get me through or should I gamble on Marcus Mariota lol?”

Answer: I’d go Mariota.  As for my Snow Monkeys, they finished second in the regular season standings and got the first round bye.  They face a VERY tough opponent this weekend in their first postseason match-up.

“2. You said you get your best ideas driving or doing other things. Do you take a recording device or notepad with you wherever you go to jot down the inspiration before its forgotten?”

Answer: Nope.  In order to remember, I replay the scene over and over in my head.  It allows me to better remember what I’ve written while, at the same time, refining the scene and dialogue.

“3. How’s your Mom?”

Answer: Great, thanks for asking.  She’s looking forward to my Christmas visit.

“4, What was the most challenging scene to shoot in the first episode?”

Answer: Probably scene 24.  Amanda?

no1zoieplamerfan writes: “Since the Android mostly stayed on the Raza in S1, will she get to go off the ship more with the other crew members?”

Answer: The Android will actually be “off-ship” in four of our first five episodes.

Debra writes: “My only question isn’t about Dark Matter, but about SyFy. With the loss of what I presume has been their main money maker, wrestling, do you think it puts them in danger of closing shop?”

Answer: I love the network’s refocus on pure science fiction and think that, thanks to SyFy, we are headed toward a new Golden Age of SF television.

Ponytail writes: “Do you have a Best Girl?”

Answer: Yes.  You!

ceresis64 writes: “Will the scene between Five and One that was cut from Ep13 be in Season 2 as part of One’s backstory?”

Answer: Alas, no plans to include that scene in season 2.  But who knows?

“What’s the process in deciding what the shooting schedule will be for each day?”

Answer: Our First Assistant Directors (Brandon Tataryn and Chris Binney) build the most efficient schedules based on actor availability and location.  For instance, rather than flying a guest star in for Day 1 of the shoot, putting them up for an entire week, and then filming their second day near the end of the schedule, it would make more sense to schedule their shooting days consecutively.  If we have two days worth of scenes at a particular location, it might make sense to combine all those scenes and shoot them consecutively as well.

TheOtherOne writes: “In Season 1, which scene or sequence did you find hardest to write, and why? Also, what is your most favourite bit in Season 1”

Answer: Hardest scene or sequence to write?  Probably my pass on the technobabble in Episode 103 – that my producing partner, Paul Mullie, ended up doing a pass on anyway.  My favorite bit?  So many but, if I had to pick one, I’d go with the final sequence of the season one finale where all of our crew are carried out, one after the other, with SIX bringing up the rear.  The mole is revealed!

Mike A. writes: “If a cast member spills food on their costume or gets dirty in any way non-show related, do you guys ever wash or try to clean their costumes(or parts thereof) for reuse or do you just make new ones? ”

Answer: Oh, they’re definitely washed/cleaned.  I recall one incident during Stargate: Atlantis’s run when the costume department washed Jason Momoa’s jeans…and he was none too happy as he had worked hard at fashioning they’re broken down appearance.

arcticgoddess writes: “How do you determine how many characters you will need for a series? Is there a magic number that just seems to work really well?”

Answer: I’ve always enjoyed ensemble shows and grew up reading team comic books like The Avengers and The X-Men.  For some reason, seven tended to be the magic number so it’s something I stuck with here.

“Although you didn’t create the characters for Stargate, they seemed to follow as, The Leader, The Genius, The Heart Of The Group and The Strong Silent Type. However, in Dark Matter, you have also added the morally ambiguous character. Do you feel that these sorts of characters provide the richest story mining opportunity? Now that you are a year in to the story, is there anyone else you would have liked to have added to the mix?”

Answer: First off, I think that several of our characters fall into the “morally ambiguous” camp.  I didn’t really set out to create archetypes and flesh them out as the series went along.  The characters were fully formed in my head when we went into production on the first episode but, because their memories were wiped and there was not much for the audience to draw from, the characters of course presented as different “types”.  Given an unlimited budget, there are several colorful guest stars I would love to add to the mix as regular crew members.

Drea Crysel writes: “When do we get to see and/or hear about what you finally decided to give cast and crew as season 2 opener gifts?”

Answer: Jay Firestone (Prodigy Pictures) gifted the cast and crew wine and Starbucks gift certificates to kick off the show’s second season.

December 19, 2015: Dark Matter Mailbag!

“Decide anything about season 2 contests?”

Answer: Not yet, but we’re working on it!

Airelle writes: ” What did you ask for, for Christmas? How are sis and mom doing? Are the pups doing better? They are becoming quite the travelers, what are they getting for Christmas?”

Answer: My wishlist includes ties, pocket handkerchiefs, colorful socks, and books.  And, of course, anything food-related.  Mom and sis are great.  Mom is looking forward to our visit while sis has booked us four terrific restaurant dinners.  Bubba and Lulu are doing fine as well and are also looking forward to the Montreal road trip.  Akemi just went shopping today and picked up a whole whack o’ dog toys!

JeffW writes: “Oh and any new restaurants you want to try in Vegas?”

Answer: Nothing on the list so I eagerly await your recommendations.



14 thoughts on “December 19, 2015: Dark Matter Mailbag!

  1. Thanks for the answers, Joe.

    An example of what I called “coordinated advertising” is the Unilever commercial
    ‘mimicking the “Mad Men” aesthetic, making the tie with the show visible.’

    So theoretically, an advertiser could produce a commercial with a space-based theme to tie in with DM or other sci-fi series. Or Snickers could do a “you’re not yourself when you’re hungry” ad: An android goes from monotone speech & robotic movement to dulcet tones and gracefulness.

    Will y’all be back in the office on Monday, January 4? I’ve a time-sensitive reason for asking. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for the mailbag! Loved your answer to my question, very interesting. Must be a lot of work to tag team directors. I’m taking my time with all the other Q & A submissions. Interesting reading.

    Hope y’all get plenty of rest this weekend for the big road trip. How many stops do you make for the pups?

  3. So far you have kept the android being referred to as android or the android, but with the group relying on her as a friend maybe it is time to begin referring to her as “A” Android or Alpha. This cements Zoie Palmer as a valued part of the crew, not just a part of the ship. All the rest are aware of their true names at this point but the Android is still just The Android. Six from all indications took the time to remove “A” or Androids personality chip to protect her.

  4. Awesome mailbag Q&A! Thank you Joe! Lot’s of intriguing answers.

    “1. Will we see stargate actors in season 2?”
    “Answer: Yes. Off the top of my head, I count 3.1 so far.”

    3.1? David, Torri, and who? Is this person pregnant? Is that were the .1 comes in?

    “4. Is Dark Matter going to become as great as Stargate?”
    “Answer: I hope so – but, at the end of the day, that’s up for you to decide.”

    One thing that made Stargate so good was the cast. Everyone was so likeable. Dark Matter has a cast like that too. I love each character! Everyone fits their role.

    “Who else from the SGVerse or beyond would you like to cast in the future?”
    “X makes a terrific Arax Nero.”

    Who, who, who?? Can you describe the character so we can try and guess?

    “My favorite bit? So many but, if I had to pick one, I’d go with the final sequence of the season one finale where all of our crew are carried out, one after the other, with SIX bringing up the rear. The mole is revealed!”

    Me too! That was awesome and very well staged. I was SHOCKED!

    “I recall one incident during Stargate: Atlantis’s run when the costume department washed Jason Momoa’s jeans…and he was none too happy as he had worked hard at fashioning they’re broken down appearance.”

    OMGosh that’s funny! I understand where Jason was coming from. I hate fresh washed jeans. I wash mine when they start stinking! 😛

  5. I miss Star Gate. I have been waiting for something new… and son of a bitch, you brought it. So I am happy to hear you think they will now focus on sy fy, which means Dark Matter should blaze the trail. It’s not because I like you and want you to stay around blogging so I can see Akemi and the pups (and your family, and food)… I want a new fantastic series. They aren’t going to find much better. May they have the brains to seek that and keep you on at least 5 yrs.

  6. During the season 1 run you commented on this blog a couple of times of the speculation you were reading and how some folks did accurately pick up some of the subtle hints you were leaving.

    Where’s the best place to read that analysis? Any chance you could do a season 1 review of the little things thick-skulled folks like myself may have missed?

  7. Another fantastic mailbag, Joe and many thanks for again answering our questions.

    Is there any Scotch whisky in the collection?

    Does Locations Manager, Zachary Beckwith need another team member to help scout for the ideal site to shoot? 😚

    Loving the hints and teasers, as I always do and really looking forward to hearing more about Arax Nero (with a name like that, Stargate alumni X should be a bad-ass and if he’s not, then he should be) 😊

  8. Great mail bag; Mike Dopud on DM will be cool, he’s delightful on Cedar Cove. Jessica Jones is terrific, funny, frightening and heartbreaking.

    My other faves this year are The Flash, Humans, Fargo and Kimmy Schmitt. The Flash is just pure joy and heart. My fave film is The Martian, saw it 4 times on the big screen and can’t wait to own the DVD.

  9. This is kind of meta: How does one submit questions for the next mailbag? Do we just post them as comments on your blog, or is there another page we are supposed to use?

    Hopefully you can answer this before the next mailbag, so anyone else who doesn’t know can ask more meaningful questions. (plus i might have one or two to post once i know the appropriate place to ask)

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