April 24, 2016: That Damned Star Field!  Reading Recommendations!

So, over on alt. Dark Matter twitter account (@DarkMatter_show) I uploaded the above pic, snapped very early on in the show’s first season.  It’s a beautiful set, beautifully lit, with gorgeous playback displays and…a truly awful star field out the front.  The production purchased it from somewhere in the middle east – and it didn’t come cheap.  It was, I was told, a top of the line star field often used in planetarium shows and displays.  Which would have been great – had I been putting on a planetarium show or display.  On camera though, the stars looked terrible – big and bright and oh-so-fake.  Our attempts to dial them down were less than successful and a consultation of the handy guidebook that accompanied the purchase proved equally problematic given that it was entirely in Farsi.  Despite our eventually securing a translation, the damn star field never quite worked and, in the end, the majority of our looks out the window had to be helped along by VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson and the visual effects department.

When we got our second season pick up, the first thing to go was that pricey star field.  We took a page out of Stargate: Universe’s playbook, replacing it with a simple black curtain studded with tiny lights and tinsel.  At less than a tenth the cost, it looks roughly a thousand times better.

How’s that for behind the scenes trivia?

April 24, 2016: That Damned Star Field!  Reading Recommendations!

Also part of the DarkMatter_show’s twitter feed season 1 flashback were these pics of our cast – back when they were young, oh-so-innocent and, frankly, didn’t know any better.  Jodelle Ferland (FIVE) above, and the boys (Alex Mallri Jr., Roger Cross, and Anthony Lemke) below.

April 24, 2016: That Damned Star Field!  Reading Recommendations!

Anyways, I’ve put a handy little widget in the right sidebar of this blog that will allow you to keep up with the latest twitter developments.  Oh, and before I move on, there was also this –

April 24, 2016: That Damned Star Field!  Reading Recommendations!

First version of the Ferrous Corp guard outfit that was eventually toned down considerably to basic black.

So, hey, amid the prep, post, on-set action, and spinning ideas for season 3, I now have considerably more free time on my hands and have returned to my reading ways.  Here are a couple of recommendations I’m throwing your way:

April 24, 2016: That Damned Star Field!  Reading Recommendations!

Beyond Redemption By Michael R. Fletcher

This title topped the list of author/blogger Terry Ibele’s “Six Amazingly Bizarre Sci-Fi & Fantasy Novels You’ve Never Heard Of” –


Intrigued, I purchased a copy and was absolutely blown away by the most outrageously heinous characters in the most outrageously good fantasy novel I’ve read in recent memory. If you like your fantasy (grim) dark, this is the book for you.

April 24, 2016: That Damned Star Field!  Reading Recommendations!

4 Kids Walk Into A Bank by Matthew Rosenberg, Tyler Boss, and Thomas Mauer

It opens with a D&D dragon-slaying expedition and ends with a diner reveal.  In between, it’s sheer comical, caper-centric, character-driven brilliance.

April 24, 2016: That Damned Star Field!  Reading Recommendations!

At present, my love for this title knows no bounds.  Check it out.

April 24, 2016: That Damned Star Field!  Reading Recommendations!

Turncoat by Alex Paknadel and Artyom Trakhanov

via BOOM! Studios: “300 years since humanity was brutally subjugated by the alien race known simply as the Management. Two years since these invaders abandoned Earth to return to their home world. Following her participation in the brutal massacre of human-alien hybrids left behind by the Management, resistance fighter Marta Gonzalez declines to join the new human government and starts her own private detective agency instead. Gonzalez is forced to confront her own bloody past and acknowledge the fact that the transition from oppression to emancipation is anything but clean.

The latest from Alex Paknadel (Arcadia), one of my favorite comic book writers.

Okay, off to get in a little more reading and a little more season 3 story spinning before tonight’s Game of Thrones premiere.  Who’s watching?

23 thoughts on “April 24, 2016: That damned star field! Reading recommendations!

  1. Those pics you are posting on the other twitter account are fantastic. Really great to see the early stages of the show & people. Well, live & learn with the star field I guess, soon bad is was so pricey! That last book, Turn Coat sounds like one I would really like. I will have to add it to my queue. Glad to hear you are working on season 3 at that high level. I truly think Dark Matter will be around for a while. I tweeted our last night that it was trending on Netflix. Love seeing that!

  2. I have to admit I did think the star field out the main windows did seem a bit wonky but it didn’t bother me. It will be fun to see the update.

    And yep, I finished the EOS 7 concept image in time so I can kick back with some wine and watch Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley.

  3. Awesome! I’m so glad you picked up Beyond Redemption. Have you finished it already? If not, just wait till you get near the end.

  4. (PS) HOLY CRUD, just realized who you are! Dunno how you found my blog post, but I’m hoping I can use it to barter a personal tour of the Dark Matter set out of you.

  5. Glad you ditched the first edition Ferrous Corp guard outfits – look a lot like Antman. Black is basic…and slenderizing. Great throwback pics!

    I’m trying to finish Stephen King’s “Mr. Mercedes” for this month’s book club. If I ever catch up on my reading I’ve got to check out your suggestions. Tonight was cards night, DVR’d GoT & Fear TWD. No spoilers…

    Starfield dilemmas. Such is a day in your life.

  6. I’m thinking Diaspora may be more my speed. Now to get a copy…

    On the starfield, I’m wondering if the issue with the “Planitarium Quality” starfield was refresh rate? I’m assuming it was a scanned or vector plotted projection and if so, you probably had interference patterns with the film camera scan rates? Sometimes the simpliest visual effects are the most effective.

    Sounds like you’re getting close to heading back to Vancouver soon. As for me I haven’t really stopped traveling as I’m back into weekly business travel again. I just got back from Baltimore (at least I got to take in an Orioles game with my son), and a week from Monday I head off to Italy for a week. The airline miles don’t add up as quickly as they used to, so the flights have turned in to drudgery at best. If I could drive to Italy, I would. I’ll stop there as I’m a little too close to a rant about the current state of air travel.

  7. Hope Ivon and the kids are doing ok on location.

    Excellent job on the blog renovation, Joe. Much more organized/user friendly now and great idea posting the dark matter show BTS tweets here. 🙂

    Uh….. But were you really ‘that’ desperate to get out of that couples pottery class that you felt you just HAD TO do it on a beautiful Sunday afternoon when most people find it preferable to do anything but work!

    Geeez Men! 😀

  8. Maybe you could sell the starfield to a planetarium… Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best…I’m loving these BTS photos. Hopefully I’ll get time next week to use them for promotional art.

    Re: Game of Thrones – I didn’t get passed Episode 6 of Season 1 where they did that thing to the horse… I said nope… Bye… Can’t even watch any more for Jason Momoa (although I had been spoiled as to his fate by a certain stunt co-or donator who shall remain nameless). My niece & I saw Jack Gleeson at Supanova last weekend. We couldn’t get over how different he looked from his character. I’m trying to think who’s had the biggest transformation on Dark Matter – probably Alex.

    Enjoy the show Joe.

    Cheers, Chev

  9. Nice pictures from Season 1. When isn’t Jodelle smiling? I remember the commentaries of SG1 and SGA on the star field. I think some were just a black cloth and small lights.
    Just finished Abercrombie’s “Shattered Sea” trilogy. IN your professional opinion do you think this story has the makings of mini series? I am also reading the Rick Crain Noir series by Mark Yost.
    As part of my trip to Thailand I picked up S5 of Game of Thrones. I think this will be my last.

  10. Terry @Octotea: Season 2 production will be wrapping pretty soon so you may need to be a wee bit patient with that set tour desire. (Though Joe tends to be full of surprises so ya just never know?, eh)

    In the mean time come join the fun on the @DarkMatter_show twitter stream. We’re gonna do a massive live tweet up on the night of the season 2 premiere!.
    Click to follow Joe there and he’ll follow back.
    On the night of the premiere (date to be announced soon) use hash tag #DarkMatter for the tweet up. Its gonna be a blast!!! 🙂

    Joe’s also doing a Reddit AMA at the end of this month so watch for the announcement.

    Tell Your Friends! ~The More The Merrier!~ We’d love to have them join us!


  11. How’s that for behind the scenes trivia?
    >Fab, and more of the same, please 👍

    The first photos taken at the very start of a new series are always great to look back on.

    The premiere date announcement is imminent (watch the news feeds closely!) but I’m also hoping we hear the names of the new cast members 😎

  12. Interesting sci fi book pics, reminds me of growing up with sci fi loving sibs, there was always paperbacks with psychotropic cover art everywhere, and I still haven’t recovered from Fantastic Planet.

    For the writers on the blog if you have a spec of a currently airing show AND a pilot of a show of your own creation then you can apply to the CBS screenwriters workshop. If you don’t have a pilot you can also submit your original short story or play.

    Deadline is May 2 with lots of moving parts like notarizing a release form so get that stuff done quickly if you wish to apply; read and re-read the instructions and good luck:


  13. Black velvet and twinkle lights, who could ask for more?

    I can still count to ten in Farsi, know a few words (snow is barf!), and the ubiquitous phrase taught to first timers learning to write in Persian (Baba ab dad; Daddy gave water). I doubt any of that is helpful.

    I was released from the hospital on Saturday morning, have been hibernating and taking it easy. All went well, just have to get on with the healing now. No more painful tight little drum on my tummy! Once I feel better, I can get back onto calorie counting, see what I can do about my weight, and eventually, start moving more. I want to go for walkies!

  14. I stopped watching GoT when they killed Sean Bean. The series is very graphic. Are the books better? Thank you for the book recommendations!

    JeffW: Barb going with you to Italy? I hope you have a good trip and eat lots of amazing foods!

    Do you store your Toronto stuff or ship it all back to Vancouver? Have you decided on the house?

  15. I was without HBO for a couple of years, so have only seen one episode of “Game of Thrones”. (Read the first book, decided the series wasn’t for me.)
    I might give it a look-see tonight on Joe’s recommendation.

    I’m enjoying “Outlander” on STARZ. I read the first three novels of that series over a decade ago and think Ronald D. Moore & company are producing an excellent adaption.

  16. Everything about the special FX of Stargate Universe was AWESOME. I miss that show. As for books, do you like spy thrillers? ORPHAN X by Greg Hurwitz is a thrilling page turner. I hope there are more books about the main character.

  17. @Maggiemayday Glad the surgery went well. Sending warmest hugs n love for speedy healing. xo <3

    @Jeff W When you head to Italy: Be sure to leave the gun and bring us back some canoli !

    (and dont forget the gelato, eh! -I'll take 50 gallons of the chocolate almond delight please)

    Where in Italy?

    Don't get me started on the awful state of commercial flying!
    Maybe a whole group of of us should get together and buy a small jet
    to time share. Could be fun learning to pilot a jet!

    O' How I oft' fantasize about winning the power ball jackpot and buying membership into NetJet co. 🙂

  18. If Dark Matter remains on Friday, it doesn’t have much of a hurdle to beat. Wynonna Earp is down to a 0.08 in the 18-49 already and it’s only on Episode 4. These ratings are so comically tragic for the network, but given what an amazing performer Dark Matter was during its first season, I’m not worried for it in the slightest. Bring on that premiere date!

  19. At the moment, I only watch one show on SyFy; 12 Monkeys. That’s being recorded and will be watched later in May/June, as Mondays we have FOUR shows on at 9pm that we like. Ugh. Three nights a week I watch NOTHING. But Mondays are crazy. Here is our schedule:

    8pm Supergirl
    8pm-10pm Dancing with the Stars
    9pm Lucifer
    9pm Wicked Tuna
    9pm 12 Monkeys
    10pm Castle

    We watch Supergirl, Wicked Tuna, and Castle live. I watch DWTS over a couple of afternoons, while I’m prepping for dinner. Lucifer has been a Sunday night show for us, since we watch nothing on Sundays. And as I said before, 12 Monkeys will be for binge viewing at a later date.

  20. Aah, starfields …
    In the good old days, when VistaVision was used for back plates, I’ve heard tell, a large sheet of gloss black art paper was used with a huff of mostly empty air brush white (or coloured paints) was the best. Artistically remove any unwanted blobs or artefacts and voila, a static starfield.
    Place on an animation rostrum or a motion control camera set up on tracks, and slowly track in. Rewind the camera a little ways, then fade in the next starfield artwork and continue tracking in to elongate the shot. Depending on how long/detailed the background shot was required, you could add slower timed stars or even ‘planets’ and ‘Galaxies’ (artwork too!) – making them appear much denser/larger. Track right past them, you could …
    The glossy art paper was a pain to light (reflections) but shiny equals darker.
    Oo, and the deep pile, black velvet (the expensive one with the gold coloured thread down its outside edge) was always the best for black out material …
    . …. so I’ve heard…. 😶

    PS I don’t get Sky Atlantic. Game of Thrones ? Is that the one with the blonde bird who hangs out with dragons?
    Just wondered … ?

  21. @MrsTigercat thanks for the suggestion, I’ll check it out!

    @Drea, I never received notification of your comment (not sure if I’m tagged correctly?), so I’m afraid I missed the AMA! Send me the link 🙂 (maybe email me? terrystories [at] gmail.com)


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