I’d like to express my appreciation to everyone who reached out over the past twenty-four hours or so to express their anger, sadness, and gratitude after hearing about the cancellation.  As I wrote on twitter: “I am both touched and astounded by your passion, your loyalty, and your white hot relentless rage.”

Today, I’d like to try to shed a little light on the circumstances surrounding Dark Matter’s premature demise and let you know what’s next.  Before I proceed, however, I’d like to apologize in advance if this entry feels slightly unfocused. Between the stress of the move, the cross-country flight, the jet lag, the time change, the news of the cancellation, the furious attempt to acknowledge the online response, the noisy air conditioner in my new place, and the gauze-like bedroom curtains that do nothing to shield us from the blazing night-time lights of the Roger Center, I’m a little tired.  But here goes…

As we rolled through Dark Matter’s third season, I was feeling cautiously optimistic about a renewal.  Although the ratings had dipped, it wasn’t a huge fall, ultimately less than 10% off last season’s numbers when all was said and done. Compared to the industry average (the last stats I saw pegged the average drop-off at 25%!) I thought we were looking pretty good – especially when you factor in time-delayed viewers (the DVR crowd).  Dark Matter was consistently ranked at the top of cable percentage gainers in overall viewers and the key demos.  And, perhaps most heartening at the time was the fact that we were nevertheless one of SYFY’s most-watched shows in 2017.

Working against us was the fact that we weren’t a SYFY original.  We were an acquisition.  For those not in the know, an original is a series that is developed by the network and, more importantly, owned by the network, allowing them to monetize the show through things like international sales, streaming, etc.  The network pays a lot more but presumably reaps the benefits down the line. Ideally. An acquisition, on the other hand, is a show that will cost a network considerably less, but doesn’t offer those alternate revenue streams because there is no ownership stake.  Due to the costs of originals, networks may go the acquisition route to round out a programming schedule.  Also, at the end of the day, audiences generally don’t base their viewing habits on whether or not a show is an original series or an acquisition.  They watch what they like.  And the more who watch, the higher the ratings.  And the higher the ratings, the more broadcasters can charge advertisers.  So, at the end of the day, there are pros and cons, risks and rewards to both approaches.

Dark Matter was an acquisition and, as such, didn’t have the type of money typical of an original series.  As such, we had to run a very tight ship – producing on the page and running a highly efficient production.  This way, we made sure that as much of the money we had ended up onscreen:  

So, despite the fact that we were an acquisition, our ratings were holding (and, I pointed out, really delivering in the +3’s and +7’s delayed viewers).  From a creative standpoint, we were ending the season in a BIG way: a space battle and an alien invasion.  Season 4 would promise to be all about that massive alien armada and the burgeoning android insurrection.  Androids and Aliens!  I mean, how much more SYFY scifi can you get than that?!

When we found out we were on the bubble, I offered to fly down to SYFY’s L.A. offices and take them through what we had planned for season 4: “Androids! Aliens! Dr. Shaw! Sarah! Kyrden! Wexler! TWO’s daughter! FIVE’s sister!”  They thanked me but informed me that the decision would not be based on the show’s creative, so there was no point in going down to pitch.

If it wasn’t creative then, by process of elimination, one would assume it was financial.  I’d heard that SYFY had invested in a lot of original programming for 2017-2018, and the recent announcement of their supernatural slate would seem to confirm as much.  The production reached out to see if there was anything we could do to help on that front but, again, it was a no-go.

What do?  Well, I knew that Earpers had been instrumental in getting a pick up for their show, so I rallied Dark Matter fans to make some noise.  And they did in a big way.  But still, we remained on the bubble.

The nature of the show I created and developed over many years wouldn’t allow for a nice, neat wrap up at season’s end.  Dark Matter’s narrative was designed as a series of set-ups, developments, and payoffs, with multiple parallel storylines that would eventually cross and converge.  Season 1 begins with our crew discovering they are criminals and ends with them being hauled off to prison.  Season 2 begins with them inside the Hyperion-8 galactic prison and ends with their failing to head off a corporate war and deny a former ally.  Season 3 begins with the crew facing off against that former ally amidst the backdrop of corporate war and ends with the alien invasion. Season 4 will begin with our crew, and humanity’s, response to the alien threat… The fact that I have a five year plan (rather than just making it up as I go along) means I know exactly where the various stories are headed.  I know all the answers to all of the questions.  And having that foreknowledge allows for a much more satisfying narrative when all of the pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place. It also means that no matter how much I could try to wrap things up in a season finale, many questions would remain unanswered.  Still, I figured as a final alternative, I could try my damnedest and offer fans some degree of closure by pitching SYFY a 6-episode miniseries to wrap it up.  This, unfortunately, was not an option either.

We, on the Dark Matter production team, tried our damnedest.  And you, the fans, tried your damnedest.  We ALL tried our damnedest.  And still we were cancelled.

So, where does that leave us?  Besides cancelled of course?  Well, as many of you have pointed out, there are other options we could pursue, although finding someone to step in and take SYFY’s place is easier said than done (for reasons I’ll save for another blog entry).

For now, know that we’re doing everything possible to save the show.  It may take weeks before we have our answers but I promise to let you know as soon as I hear anything.  In the meantime, do you part by keeping Dark Matter alive.  Tweet, retweet, post and respond!  Let ’em know what they’re missing!

You ready to do this?

 

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sylvia
sylvia

I’m in….

TheOtherOne
TheOtherOne

‘Course we’re ready to fight this … We are the Raza crew!

Raza
Raza

It’s a real shame. The best show on television. Lets hurt Syfy were it hurts in the pocket book. Stop watching all their programs. No viewers no sponsors no revenue.

Wayne
Wayne

Thanks Joe, it is nice to know hope is not lost.

TV Shows like Rebellion are built on hope.

Captain555
Captain555

Good luck. Waiting to hear some news.

Fern Walter
Fern Walter

I am so disappointed. Dark Matter was my favorite SyFy show. I am confident in u an ur team that we will see Dark Matter back some where and I will be there.
Need any help I’m there.

Torbins
Torbins

What about kickstarter.com or similar ways to get money? How much money do you actually need to make season 4?

Zwill711
Zwill711

You know, Netflix and Amazon are always looking for more “originals” to publish. Hint hint, nudge nudge.

Miss Maeva
Miss Maeva

That’s a good idea

Wouter
Wouter

I wish you and your team the best of luck to keep the show on the air (somehow, anyhow!) and to keep the crew in their jobs. I hope you still have some time (enough to find a solution) before the sets would have to be dismantled.

We as fans will do our best to show them (Syfy, Netflix,…) that we would miss DM.

I doubt there is any showrunner as open with the viewers as you are. Thanks for that.

John Burns

So, what do you need? I could take the Greyhound to Hamilton if it would help!
I remember watching BSG alum’s Katee Sackoff next project Longmire being picked up by Netflix in November of 2014 after A&E dropped it, despite it having amazing ratings, never did understand A&E’s mistake.
Joe, is something like this a possibility in the future? Since SyFy has dropped Dark Matter, could Netflix pick up this fumble and run with it?

Cacophany53
Cacophany53

How much of a funding gap does SyFy’s exit leave?

Kamil
Kamil

We hear you loud and clear Raza, we’re not leaving you behind.

Once again my sincere thanks for you, crew and cast – we can do this !

Reposting links from the previous page so they can be easier to find:

https://www.change.org/p/renew-dark-matter
https://help.netflix.com/en/titlerequest

Let the noice commence !

Tim
Tim

I am so sorry, Joe. It’s a disturbing trend that networks are dumping quality content to focus on original programming that fails to match what came before it. As a fan, I appreciate you so much. Your class, your enthusiasm demand that you get treated better. I will hold out hope that you’ll be able to finish the story via a moving picture format, whether it be a mini-series or more seasons. Again, thank you so much for sharing with us your passion. And if you need some help from the fans, know that we’re here and we’ve got your back.

Joshua Garcia
Joshua Garcia

is it possible to reach out to Netflix? frankly i think u have better shot there then with Syfy there know to almost never renews canceled shows again unfortunately..

Tim
Tim

Joshua, it doesn’t hurt. Netflix has a content request form that it takes very seriously. Even if it’s not an option, letting Netflix know that you want Joe’s work could open doors down the line.

Irena Strobach

More than ready! #DarkMatter will always be alive for us!

david lewis
david lewis

There are other cable networks to pitch to. If you can still hold the rights to the series, they can pick up the reruns. At the very least, it seems some network would want to pick up the mini series. The response from your fans and the ratings show you have an audience.

Christopher Ballehr
Christopher Ballehr

All over it.

Robin Miller
Robin Miller

Yes! Thank you for everything!

Thogar

We won’t go quietly.

James
James

Stay strong! Dark Matter is incredible! I really hope something can be worked out. Love the shw.o

Jiggs1968
Jiggs1968

Raza Crew is my family, long live Dark Matter

lurk a lot
lurk a lot

I have been very sad since you announced that Syfy had cancelled your fantastic show (reading the cast members “thank you’s” on Twitter made me cry), so thank you for giving us fans this little ray of hope.
We will keep fighting the good fight.

Seriously Mike

You know what pisses me off the most about this situation? That they axed the show a day after you finally moved to Toronto to work on it!
Seriously, that’s a thing to take personally.

Colleen Scott (@dr2red)

Love and send you strength Joe. We the Raza Resistance will keep going.

Leandro Christo
Leandro Christo

We can do this!

Uber Targaryen (@theuberfan)

I’m in. Anything we can do, if there’s even a chance, I’m in.