Yesterday, I featured an old Stargate prep schedule on this blog, breaking it down for you and offering insights into the pre-production process.  Today, I’d like to follow up with something a little more recent by giving you all a peek at a call sheet from last year’s final day of main unit shooting on Dark Matter

January 18, 2016: A Monday Night Meander Down Dark Matter Memory Lane!

Production day 89 of 89!  Our final day on set!  (Not counting the next day’s second unit shoot of Jodelle (FIVE) crawling through vents.)  Note the nice late call time (0900 as opposed to the usual 0730), meaning we get to sleep in!  But also means we don’t get to eat lunch until 3:00 p.m.  To tide us over, however, the production arranged for a special wafflerific crew breakfast!  Also a reminder that we would be snapping the crew photo in the underbelly that day.  Even though we were shooting indoors, we received the weather report nevertheless.

First shots up = scenes 80 and 81 from Episode 113.  “Trading Accusations when GA docks.  Locked in.  Gas!  Two stunned.  Mole.”  This was a big one and took most of the day.  Originally, the mole was intended to be revealed here.  TWO goes down.  We REVERSE and TILT UP to the perpetrator looming over her.  He removes his mask to reveal…the mole!  While down on the ground, Melissa O’Neil (TWO) snapped this awesome photo –

January 18, 2016: A Monday Night Meander Down Dark Matter Memory Lane!
Photo c/o Melissa O’Neil

I’d taken pains to keep the mole’s identity a secret until the very end and then finally let the cast know just before seconds before they were to shoot the reveal…

Of all the scenes we shot over those first 13, it was the last one – of the crew members being dragged out in order, one after the other, until the mole is finally revealed to the audience – that really really hit me the hardest.  I still get goosebumps every time I watch it.

January 18, 2016: A Monday Night Meander Down Dark Matter Memory Lane!

And then, we go to the various shots of the G.A. troops trespassing on OUR home – the corridors, the bridge, the underbelly and infirmary – as they secure The Raza.

January 18, 2016: A Monday Night Meander Down Dark Matter Memory Lane!

Pictured above: The G.A. troops prepare to take the ship!

January 18, 2016: A Monday Night Meander Down Dark Matter Memory Lane!

The Production Notes for this particular episode covering every department. Reminders!  Art Department, we need the docking collar in place for that shot of the G.A. troops boarding the ship.  Playback, don’t forget the “Access Denied” message that flashes up when FIVE tries to unseal the doors.  Props, we’ll beed comms, guns, handcuffs and gas canisters.  Stunts, we’re going to be dropping our crew and dragging them off.  Hair and Make-up, the G.A. officers wear eye black, making their appearance all the more fearsome behind those masks.  Costumes, we’re going to be doing a shot tracking SIX’s booted feet.  Electrics, we’re going to need different lighting to distinguish between the corridors.  SPFX, we’re going to smoke out the corridor so be prepared for some heavy atmosphere.  VFX, we’ll need to accentuate the flash bang and do some electrical arcing on the contact point when TWO is hit with the stun wand.  To mention just a few.

January 18, 2016: A Monday Night Meander Down Dark Matter Memory Lane!

A look-ahead to our final second unit day.  Lots of vent crawling and two scenes that we didn’t end up shooting because the episode was already running long: 1) Five twitching in her sleep and, 2) A flashback to a pre-amnesia scene that I already posted for you here:

Boy, this takes me back.

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular Tam Dixon.

20 thoughts on “January 18, 2016: A Monday night meander down Dark Matter memory lane!

  1. @Tam Dixon: I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s been a hard month for sure and my heart goes out to you and the family. All my best, always.

    Joe, you’re right, that final scene is probably one of the best of the series so far, and one of the most fun reveals in all my memories of television. I love this series and I can’t wait until we get started again come Summer.

    Mmm.. waffles. I hope you guys had real maple syrup!!

  2. You are sooo EVIL! I was practically sweating watching you torment your cast, and I already knew who the mole was!

    I’m getting frustrated. I want to buy the DVD of the show, but it’s still only been released in the UK. I can’t believe that there’s no North American distribution. Any word when if and when that might happen?

    My only other hope is SyFy will replay Season 1 prior to the beginning of Season 2.

    And sorry if this question has already been asked, but since you started production earlier than last year, does that mean the show will air earlier as well?

    @Tam Dixon: I’m so sorry for your loss of Sammy. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  3. Just what I’d want to do – go into the underbelly with my belly full after lunch to have photos taken. I must admit I didn’t suspect Six but when you go back and watch the episodes from 5 on, the clues are there. There’s still too many secrets! Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

    Tam so sorry to hear of your loss.

  4. @tam (HUG)

    Thanks once again for sharing; it’s great to see the behind the scenes stuff that the fans aren’t privy too.

    Hoping SyFy runs a replay of season 1 before season 2 airs; I’ve got a few friends excited about watching the show, and it would be great to see one season then the next.

  5. That definitely was an all singing, all dancing, last episode! …. and one that’s got my brain box jammed with questions, scenarios and possible repercussions ever since.. How do our guys possibly ever get back together?
    Four will trust no one because he, uncharacteristically, went down first (a major dent in his pride too, I would imagine!),
    One has had confirmed, no one trusts him and that Two has sided with Three, against him (after all he’s said and done for her!)
    Five most definitely does not trust Two and was brave enough to confront Two and go against Three in the process!
    Two probably knows (if she saw Six before she was zapped) who the mole is. Plus she has seen how much Five distrusts and is intimidated by her.
    Then there’s Three. He probably figured out One wasn’t the mole, just before they were knocked out but will (maybe?) find out who One really is and what his agenda originally was …. So no trust there!
    And as for Six. After all they went through together after reawakening, something was still strong enough for him to reassess that bond and turn the crew over. What now, will change his mind again …..?
    Oo and lets not forget Android? Who is responsible for her now that the Raza has been impounded?!

    Have I left anything out?
    . ….. my brain is a mess!!!

  6. Thank you, Joe, for the production notes and all of the behind the scenes stuff. Very cool!

  7. Such a wonderful tribute to season 1 in fond remembrance. Joe, Thanks so much for taking the time and making the effort to share that with us. xo

  8. The story I’m about to share with you isnt uncommon in these parts. In fact, seems I hear of one neighbor or another having to deal with this sort of situation at least a couple times per month. Albeit, that this particular incident happened only hours after Tam Dixon was dealt the horrible blow of having to say goodbye to her third beloved fur baby, It felt appropriate to offer it here as a tribute.

    I grew up on Long Island, with my dog Judy, numerous cats, hamsters, a large moray eel named Perceyand a lovely variety of other delightful pets over the years then moved to the beautiful state of Colorado in 1992. A place I have happily called home and have been surrounded by an abundance of wildlife and domesticated animals, ever since. Albeit, Over the last few yrs fate has seen to it most of my time be spent living and working in the South Kissimmee burbs of Florida,
    Few people who do not reside within or frequent this particular seemingly insignificant small section of the greater Disney area realize it, but there is a rather large problem of homeless felines giving birth to new generations in alleys, bushes bordering busy department stores, behind supermarkets and shopping malls and even in the backyards of unsuspecting residents. There have been a number of measures taken to try and keep the population from sky rocketing out of control and there is even a local vet who will gladly offer a check up, immunizations and spay/neutering at low or no cost for the select few willing to offer these poor babies a truly safe loving home indoors.

    Yesterday morning, around 10 am, one of our area residents was tending to chores in her backyard when she heard a faint cry that sounded like young kittens coming from the back of her shed. Sure enough she discovered 4 beautiful but sickly looking tabbies.They could not have been more than a couple weeks old and their mother was unfortunately no where to be found. It was fairly cool and damp outside and the kittens were shaking so she scooped them up, brought them indoors and proceeded to spend the next few hours keeping a keen eye out for any signs of their mother. I became aware of her visitors and dilemma around noon via a phone call. As bad as she felt for them she did not know what to do, how to care for them so young and could not keep them permanantly in her home even if she desperately wanted to. With no sign of the mother returning, at 1 pm I called the local vet who sometimes helps these poor homeless babies who instructed us to bring the kittens in. After a careful exam, running labs and giving the babies a much needed feeding, the vet informed us that while he would be willing to take the kittens home with him and nurture them until they are old enough for adoption, we’d be better off letting him put them down now because apparently each one was born with varied abnormal conditions & disabilities, all of them were suffering infections and though the current infections were curable with treatment, none would likely live to full adulthood anyway. Aside from this, (he was much too quick to point out), finding anyone who might be suited to offer them the proper ongoing care they will likely need and would be willing to shoulder the financial burden, would be extrememly difficult. While I can understand the vets viewpoint, (considering he had spent the last few years with all too many of these homeless youngsters landing in his clinic), in that moment I impulsively became very angry, thought of Harry Ruby and Sam and replied: “So only babies born healthy enough to live a long time without too much trouble or care deserve a chance to be loved and to experience the joy of life??!!” I then told him, if he was willing to take them home and care for them for a few weeks, I’d work day and night if I had to to find them proper homes.

    Well, almost needless to say, I spent the rest of yesterday on the phone making calls non stop And as of 11 pm last night, I am greatly relieved to report, there others out there who feel exactly as ‘i do! – I have fortunately already found 2 of the 4 babies very suitable loving homes.
    I greet this Tuesday morning, (though saddened by the enormous heartbreak a cherished member of our blog family is going through), with tremendous hope and gratitude for all life and humanity has to offer.

    In memory of Harry Ruby & Sammy. May they live in our hearts forever and may the world know more angels like Tam Dixon who see past the surface and any burdens and can muster the strength and courage it takes to open their hearts and homes so a fur baby in need has the opportunity to become a loving valued member of their family no matter if their time in this world is destined to be long or short.


  9. Another fab blog entry 👍

    There’s is so much to organise and it’s great seeing how all the departments are involved in the process before we see the end result on TV.

    {HUGS} @Tam Dixon

  10. @ Tam — I’m so sorry for your loss. You are remembered in my prayers.

    @ Drea, that’s a lovely story. Love is love, no matter what.


  11. Thanks Mr. M. for the dedication. I hope that’s the last one I need for a while!

    Thanks to each and every one of you guys! Loved the story “Drea” shared. We have the same problem here with strays (maybe smaller scale though). I’ve “kitty napped” a handful of neighborhood cats and had them spayed. If I ever win the lottery, I’m setting up a free spay/neuter program.

    I’m upset but I don’t feel any guilt with Sammy’s passing. When a cat shows symptoms of oral cancer, it’s usually too late. I’m so grateful that I caught it before he felt bad. However, this is the first time in 30 years that I haven’t had a feline to pamper. It feels lonely. Sammy had a couple of contagious illnesses, so I have to give the house a disinfectant cleaning before I bring another cat in.

    Now, for another glass of wine!

  12. Sorry for your loss Tam. I had to put down my beloved basenji last year. It is never easy even when you have no choice.

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