The countdown is on and I begin to grow apprehensive. For a number of reasons.
For starters, Dark Matter’s third season returns to Syfy and SpaceChannel this Friday night at 8:00 p.m. with a double-episode premiere that picks up right where we left off last season, with our crew in mortal danger, scrambling to escape EOS-7, while the Android looks on helplessly from the bridge as the space station is destroyed. Who escapes and how will be the focus of much of the first episode that will end on the survivors reuniting with renewed purpose…and a trademark Dark Matter WTF??? scene that will send one character’s story into a whole new trajectory.
On the night’s second episode, our determined anti-villains set out to make good on a personal vendetta – only to encounter an unexpected and unfathomable complication.
I’ll admit that, whenever a new episode airs, I look forward to the night with a mix of excitement and trepidation. How will fandom react? Will they enjoy the episode? How will they respond to the various developments? The action and adventure? The shocks and surprises? The humor?
I’m cautiously optimistic though. I have, of course, seen the finished product and feel very good about our double-episode premiere – and particularly good about the show’s third season which raises the stakes coming off a stake-raising second season.
Then, it’s a long wait for the ratings. Over the show’s two season run, our ratings have been solid, and I continue to hold that those numbers aren’t reflective of our much bigger audience that, young and tech savvy, may be watching the show through alternate means. Still, until the ratings system catches up with the technology, those long analyzed numbers – overnights, +3’s, +7’s – will form the basis for the decision on a fourth season pick-up.
Again, based on the show’s past performance – and my knowledge of what’s in store for the show’s third season – I am cautiously optimistic. Which is why, a week from today, we’ll be convening the room to start breaking stories for Dark Matter’s fourth season.
Which brings me to my third source of anxiety: that writers’ room – three weeks in which we’ll be expecting to come up with outlines for thirteen new episodes. Or close to.
Sure, I already know how season 4 will begin, how it will end, and every narrative touchstone in between. I know the personal journeys each of our characters will take, the various twists and turns and revelations along the way. I know a number of the stories I want to tell. All that remains to be done is fill in the blanks, come up with the myriad complex little steps that will get us there. In other words, all the heavy lifting.
Making a show offers challenges at every stage: scriptwriting, prep, production, and post. But it’s this initial stage, the generating of new ideas and the breaking of stories, that is the most daunting and frustrating – especially just a little over a month removed from wrapping production on the previous season.
Of course, I felt the same way last year around this time only to end up producing our best season yet – so maybe I needn’t worry.
Nah. I’ll just go ahead and worry.
P.S. Episodic stills from our big double episode premiere!