A few more BTS photos from the archives…
Behind the scenes on Episode 210, “Going Out Fighting” (and, evidently, singing and dancing as well). Read more
A few more BTS photos from the archives…
Behind the scenes on Episode 210, “Going Out Fighting” (and, evidently, singing and dancing as well). Read more
These various projects I have on the go may throw a wrench into those plans. But who knows? Just gotta stay focused! Read more
Here. We. Gooooooooo!
Looks like we’ll convene the writers’ room sometime in September. Before then, the show’s creator and I will map out the first season game plan covering all ten episodes, character and story arcs. We’re also aiming to have the pilot co-written by then. After that, it’ll be smoooooooth sailing!
All that will be left to do is get those nine other scripts written, rewritten, prepped, shot, then have the episodes edited, mixed, color corrected and delivered…and we’re done in time for Sanno Matsuri. Yeah! Read more
Oh, sure. As a viewer, your mileage may vary. But, looking over the list of 100+ episodes of television on which I’ve been credited or co-credited as a writer, THESE were the ten I had the most fun writing…
The Ties That Bind/It’s Good To Be King (Stargate SG-1)
Yeah, it’s always the way. You decide to do a Top 10, put together a long list, start narrowing it down and, in the end, you’re always left with 12. So, rather than cast them aside, I include these two as Honorable Mentions, two scripts that were much fun to write but, to be honest, for one reason or another, didn’t fully deliver in the end.
Wormhole X-Treme (Stargate: SG-1)
No one can truly appreciate the banality, frustrations, and sheer ridiculousness of producing television unless they actually work in the industry…OR watch a show in which it is mercilessly lampooned. Sci-fi handwavium, ruthless broadcasters, sexy female alien-obsessed executives – it’s all here.
Stuff To Steal, People To Kill (Dark Matter)
The only thing I love more than a good time travel episode is a good alternate reality episode, and this one was a blast delving into the colorful personalities of the badder versions of our bad guys.
Point of No Return (Stargate SG-1)
One of the things I loved about Stargate was the creative allowance it gave us to write humor. I always reflect back fondly on this episode as one of the first instances in which we were just let loose to script the story as we envisioned it – conspiracy kook, Teal’c on the motel massage bed, and all.
Remnants (Stargate: Atlantis)
I’ve always been fan of multi-story scripts, especially when those seemingly disparate tales neatly dovetail at episode’s end. Still, the highlight of this episode for me was Robert Picardo’s Woolsey, a character who had come such a long way since his introduction back on SG-1. He’d gone from pencil pushing jerk to principled ally and in this episode, his journey to redemption is fully completed thanks, in large part, to the terrific comedic timing of Bob Picardo who made Woolsey at turns vulnerable, sympathetic, and gosh darn lovable.
Kill Them All (Dark Matter)
What did I just say about those various moving pieces of the narrative ultimately falling into place? Yes, in the worlds of Hannibal Smith: “I love it when a plan comes together.” and the moment FIVE utters this episode’s title phrase, it DOES come together in fast and furious fashion.
Ripple Effect (Stargate: SG-1)
This delightfully bonkers episode will forever hold a special place in my heart as probably my favorite episode of Stargate for its humorously bizarre instances involving varied AU SG-1’s, a dark timeline team, and that scene with Cam (Ben Browder) in his underwear.
Family Ties (Stargate: SG-1)
This one kicks off with a shot at Syfy’s failure to promote the show (Mitchell: “They cancelled it? Really? I didn’t even know the new season had started.) and ends with Teal’c unwittingly attending a reading of The Vagina Monologues (I remain convinced that, at that point, the network had stopped vetting the scripts because I don’t see how else they would have let this one go). Fred Willard is a comic genius, Claudia Black gets to show off her expansive acting chops, and, oh yeah, more shots at Syfy –
Window of Opportunity (Stargate: SG-1)
Yeah, you knew this one was going to be in the Top 3. The original pitch for this episode was quite dark, but Executive Producer Robert Cooper steered us toward a more comic take. After listening to his notes, I said: “But that’s Groundhog Day.” To which he replied: “Right.” And so, we went ahead and wrote the Stargate version of Groundhog Day – which ended up being one of the franchise’s most beloved episodes.
Isn’t That A Paradox? (Dark Matter)
By this point in the series’ run, I was in a writing groove pretty much wholly due to my wonderful cast. I knew that whatever I wrote for them, they would deliver – and boy did they ever. TWO’s heartfelt yearning for the quiet life, THREE’S suburban rogue, a reminder that our FIVE is still very much a kid, SIX’s bike mastery, and Android’s not-quite-know-it-all attitude – all combine for an episode that, more than any other, leaves me with bittersweet memories of a show ended way too soon.
All The Time In The World (Dark Matter)
Was there ever any doubt? I wasn’t even working off an outline when I sat down to write this script but from the moment I started, I was on fire, blazing through a first draft with almost no interruption. I was in the zone and this one came together beautifully in all of a day (A record!). Whenever I watch the THREE/Android duet, I get downright wistful at the thought of where these two characters were headed had our audience been rewarded for tuning in.
Addendum – Since so many asked, 200 didn’t make the list because I was one of many writers who contributed to that one. Having said that, the segments I wrote WERE a lot of fun…
I first came across Andy W. Clift’s work while perusing Comixology’s new release section, taking notice of the lovely retro cover for the first issue of his Captain Cosmic comic book –
I ordered that first issue, loved its fun sensibility, and followed him on twitter. Recently, I reached out to Andy to find out if he’d be interested in rendering Dark Matter in that same lively style. Well, he was more than happy to oblige and here is an initial sampling of his take on the The Raza and its crew…
The Raza in FTL (black and white).
The Raza in FTL (color).
Our favorite gunslinger, THREE (black and white).
Our favorite gunslinger, THREE (color).
Our resident swordsman, FOUR (black and white)
Our resident swordsman, FOUR (color).
More of Andy’s work in the coming days. In the meantime, if you want to check out his creator-owned comic book, The Adventures of Captain Cosmic, you can do see by purchasing it here.
Tomorrow: Answers, answers, answers!
Ideally. But problem more questions.
Oh, and dinner with Dark Matter’s THREE, Anthony Lemke.
Oh, teasers are teasers and spoilers are spoilers and never the twain shall meet.
The subject of spoilers came up the other day after a New York Times article essentially spoiled the ending to DC Comics’ big Batman/Catwoman wedding storyline. Not only did they spoil it, they spoiled it in the damn headline! Fan response was…heated. Comic shops that had pre-ordered copies were suddenly left holding the bag (and board to ensure its contents remain in mint condition!) as readers responded by cancelling their planned purchases. Twitter was ablaze with a furious fandom who felt betrayed by either the book’s ending and/or the decision to reveal said ending days before the title dropped.
To be fair, it was a curious PR call. I mean, I understand the great buzz that would follow a feature profile in the New York Times, but surely that could have been achieved without ruining the ending. It’s not like you’re going to convince new readers to check out a movie, t.v. show, or book by saving them the trouble of actually watching/reading. I honestly don’t get it.
On the other hand, there are productions that guard against any and all pre-release reveals with merciless determination. Many an extra and crew member has been fired, publicly pilloried, and, on occasion, even sued for posting what they deemed a perfectly innocent pic on their instagram page, or made mention of a seemingly innocuous onscreen development on twitter. In some cases, I get it. In others, not really. For me, it comes down to the difference between a spoiler and a teaser.
And what is that difference? Oh, that’s easy. A spoiler spoils viewers while a teaser simply teases them. I know, I know. Where to draw the line? It varies from production to production, viewer to viewer, but I’ve personally always been very forgiving when it comes to on-set posts and pictures so long as they don’t reveal any major plot twists or surprises. For example, a photo of a presumably deceased character on set would, by my definition, be considered a spoiler. Photos of our series regulars in action would not. Yes to sneak peeks of most concept art, costumes, visual effects designs and props because I want to get viewers excited in the lead-up to the episodes – and hopefully intrigue some new viewers as well – rather than wait until after the episode airs at which point these visual tidbits are rendered mere points of interest for the hardcore fans. No to major reveals – like that new Android costume or a shot of SIX back on the ship after his apparent departure in Episode 303.
I think that’s reasonable.
Inciting a full-scale rebellion among your fandom probably isn’t. But then again, I’m not the one with the marketing degree.
My Top 5 Stargate Spoilers
#5 – The Curse: Dr. Daniel Jackson reconnects with some people from his past, one of who, it turns out, has been taken over by a goa’uld. Who could it be? Well, if you watched the broadcast promo, you’d note a fiery-eyed Anna-Louise Plowman using a goa’uld hand device to blast our heroes. A dead giveaway.
#4 – Apophis episode: Don’t recall which episode, but the network aired a promo that included a scene of Apophis actor, the amazing Peter Williams, snapping orders. Only problem was they inexplicably used raw footage in which the actor’s voice had yet to be flanged to achieve that ominous goa’uld delivery. As a result, mystified viewers were treated to a uniquely terrestrial-sounding System Lord with a slight Jamaican lilt.
#3 – Solitudes: A gate mishaps strands Sam and Jack on an icy wasteland. Stargate Command races to locate them. Where could they be? Well, if the SGC had merely consulted TV Guide before the episode aired, they would have learned Antarctica and saved themselves the time and effort.
#2 – Kindred I: Another network promo totally ruins a surprise the production had kept under careful wraps for almost a year. “You won’t believe the last five minutes!”says the voice-over, at which point we are treated to a shot of a once-dead, now very much alive Carson Beckett asking Sheppard and his team: “What took you so long?!”.
#1 – Forever In A Day: The German title for this episode is “Sha’re Ist Tod”. Translation: Sha’re Is Dead. But maybe not! Ah, who am I trying to kid?
Previously on Dark Matter…
And our story continues…
Next on Dark Matter Virtual Season 4 – Episode 4.02: The alien invasion escalates, FIVE reaches out to her sister Carina, FOUR’s return is bittersweet, and a shocking betrayal stuns the crew of The Raza.
What has come before: Link to Episode 4.01
A well-earned congratulations to the cast, crew and fandom of The Expanse. Your pluck and perseverance paid off in the form of a fourth season pick-up courtesy of sci-fi fan Jeff Bezos at Amazon. Enjoy the ride!
On the heels of the announcement, many Dark Matter fans are wondering why Amazon doesn’t pick up a fourth season of their favorite show too. Well, while it’s technically possible, the odds are stacked against us for the following reasons…
1 – Unlike The Expanse, Dark Matter was never considered a marquee show and, as such, never received the warm critical reception or celebrity endorsements that really bring attention to a show…and any post-cancellation campaign. We were, admittedly, a budget-challenged production (delivering at roughly less than one-third the production budget of Syfy’s big sci-fi originals), but made up for it in heart and humor. It’s one of the big reasons why, while our fans loved us, we remained off the mainstream radar.
2 – From what I understand, Amazon had the second window streaming rights to The Expanse. By green lighting a fourth season, they will essentially be expanding their existing library. In the case of Dark Matter, however, the scenario was slightly more complicated as it was Netflix that owned those second window streaming rights worldwide. In a best case scenario, they would have picked us up. When they didn’t, we faced an uphill challenge attempting to sell the show to another streaming platform (ie. Amazon) given that they would be picking up a fourth season without the streaming rights to the first three.
3 – Timing is everything, especially when it comes to standing sets. Unlike The Expanse, Dark Matter’s sets were struck months ago. A green light would require us to rebuild. Not impossible given the fact we have all of the plans filed away, but extra costs would be incurred.
4 – Finally, there’s the issue of cast availability. Since the cancellation, the former cast members have been very busy and, even in the miraculous event we were to get a fourth season pick-up, there’s no guarantee we could get everyone back – and I couldn’t imagine continuing the adventure without the whole family onboard.
Having said all that, I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel just yet. I firmly believe that so long as the fanbase is out there clamoring for more, there will always be hope. In my mind, the best case scenario would be a page out of the Farscape playbook. That show’s trajectory was very similar to Dark Matter‘s – cancelled by Syfy on a cliffhanger at the top of its game – yet its fandom never gave up. Farscape fans hung in there, remained loyal and loud, and they were eventually rewarded with a mini-series, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.
The odds are admittedly stacked against us, but we’ve faced even longer and won. Like that time we first faced off against Ferrous Corp on that mining planet. Or that time Wendy the robot tried to fly us into a sun? Or that time we were captured by the Galactic Authority and locked up in the Hyperion-8 Maximum Security Galactic Detention Facility? Or that time we were caught in the destruction of EOS-7? Or that time TWO was infected by an alien, THREE was whisked away by Alt. Portia, the Android was taken off-line, SIX seemingly sacrificed himself, and FIVE was left in command of The Raza in the company of two unlikely allies: Ryo Ishida and Wexler?
All we need is faith, focus, determination…and an online campaign dedicated to targeting Jeff Bezos and Amazon.
First off, thanks to all those who weighed in with the kind words regarding our virtual Dark Matter season 4 premiere episode. As I said, more than anything it was, for me, an exercise that allowed me to put the story (a story I’ve been sitting on for longer than you can probably imagine) out there. Time and interest permitting, I’ll get around to Episode 4.02 in the not-too-distant future, a heist episode that reveals, among other things: an unlikely alliance, the fate of SIX and Tash, and the future of both Wexler and Ryo Ishida moving forward.
A great day today, highlighted by what was probably one of my best pitch meetings ever. Of course, only time will tell if one of my ideas gets the nod (I’m holding out hope for either the sci-fi pitch, the other sci-fi pitch, the other sci-fi pitch, the other sci-fi pitch, or the horror pitch), but I’m feeling good about the chances and look forward to the possibility of collaborating with some terrific heavy-hitters.
A question from the comments section –
Liam asks: “Quick question on something unrelated. I’ve recently discovered that there is a stargate universe comic, called “back to destiny”, which continues the SGU story after the end of season 2. Did you have any input in this at all? Is it what you would have done in season 3, had it been picked up?”
Answer: I had absolutely no input into the comic book and haven’t a clue what direction they took the story. If you’re curious, here are a couple of ways we could have gone given the chance –
At one point, Paul and I were in talks to adapt the Stargate: Extinction script to the comic book format (the feature that would have seen Atlantis make its return to Pegasus), but we never got the chance to tell that particular tale.
FirstName writes: “For the future story, maybe consider a novel (not graphic novel). I would buy that for the greater depth it would provide. Is that a possibility?”
Answer: Sadly, not possible. The time and effort required of me to write novels covering the show’s final two seasons ensure this’ll never happen.
David Walters writes: “Now after Dark Matter and The Expanse, maybe people will finally realize we need a Sci-Fi channel, not the SYFY channel?”
Meanwhile – Oh, hey, a buddy of mine just got his top secret show picked up! Congrats, my friend! Shhhhhhhhh.
Our virtual season premiere concludes…
And there you have it. Everything I had planned for Dark Matter’s fourth season premiere. It would have been a blast.
Well, I feel much better having gotten that off my chest. Of course, it’s just 1 of the 26 episodes I had burning a hole in the back of my mind since the show’s cancellation. Still, it was a most satisfying exercise and, who knows, should I ever again have the urge, the motivation, and the fan support, I may well offer up a second installment of Dark Matter’s Virtual Season 4 – Episode 4.02 – somewhere down the line.