Some thoughts on Dark Matter‘s Android played by the lovely and talented Zoie Palmer…
When I originally developed the idea for the series that would become Dark Matter, I envisioned Android a lot differently than the character who ended up on our screens. For one, the character was envisioned as male. In the comic books, he was less childlike than the final t.v. version and more akin to a polished butler in attitude. Finally, the plan was for this character to be more of a supporting player. That WAS the plan, but that plan changed after we cast Zoie Palmer.
Zoie brought something completely different to the role. Her portrayal was sweet, humorous, and irresistibly charming. This character I had created on paper came to three dimensional life in ways I never expected. So, as the first season progressed and episodes started coming in short, my response was to write extra scenes for our Android to flesh out her character and make her an equally important member of the Raza crew. And, of course, Zoie Palmer was more than up for the challenge.
Zoie’s onscreen presence and her chemistry with the other actors was undeniable, but what really surprised me was the fan reaction. Online and in those focus group testings the networks love so much, Android continually topped the lists of favorite characters. Each of the crew members had their supporters, but Android commanded a passionate fanbase I honestly never imagined when I first created the character.
And within that fanbase, what I found truly remarkable and touching were the number of viewers who reached out to say they connected with Android because they were autistic and saw in her a character with whom they could relate.
“I have a friend whose young son is autistic & he adores the Android. His mum hasn’t had the heart to tell him that
#DarkMatter isn’t coming back (yet!).”
” It really mirrors many of the self-esteem issues of AS people. In many scenes, she sits around the table with her crew while they engage in chit chat as she follows the discussion and earnestly tries to enter the conversation–very awkwardly–sound familiar? She often takes things too literally and asks the the other characters what they really mean. In season 2, the Android character is given a special chip that allows it/her to interact socially more intuitively–like a NT human. She uses it to pass as human to save a fellow crew member. In the next episode, she takes to chip out and goes back to being non-NT android. She says that this is her real identity–so cool. Such an intense episode and a real role-model for an AS person. –Zoie Palmer’s performances as that character is phenomenal”
“I’m autistic and how the crew is with android makes me feel like I’m normal!”
Wow. Looking back on those tweets, comments, messages, and emails, I’m struck by varied emotions. I’m amazed, touched, and incredibly proud of Zoie and Android. But, above all, there’s overwhelming compassion for these wonderful fans who connected so deeply with something I helped create.
I am humbled.
Final gifs courtesy of FYEAHTHEANDROID