July 12, 2015: The Mikkei Ships!

A little something I was holding onto.  The breakdown on the Ferrous Corp and Galactic Authority ships were featured on another site.  Today, I feature the ships of The Mikkei Combine with helpful overviews from design artist James Robbins and VFX supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson.

James Robbins: [Dark Matter Production Designer] Ian Brock forwarded me the notion of a Japanese design based on the Samurai and suggested the exterior plating be reminiscent of plated Japanese armor.

Below is the earliest pencil version with a side ortho and a ½ top view which will be mirrored to provide the full view:

1James Robbins: The general consensus was that the lower portion (the chin strap) of the side view wasn’t scaling properly – It gave the impression of a smaller ship. I refined those elements and did a little toning and mirrored the top view in Photoshop. (below)

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James Robbins: This still felt too filigreed and it was decided to remove the “chin-strap”

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James Robbins: I cleaned up the lines and added some strong contrasts. This (above) became the final version for VFX.

And then, we handed things off to VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson…

Lawren Bancroft-Wilson: We first started approaching the build of a cruiser using the concept designs, but when the need turned to making a destroyer we were able to integrate the cruiser design along with reference of many of the more modern destroyers we’re seeing built today.

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Lawren Bancroft-Wilson: There’s no doubt that this ship, more than any other, has a heavy nautical inspiration and we really used that to help differentiate it from the Ferrous Corp ships. Where the Ferrous Corp ships were bulky and straight edged, we followed the concept design in having the Mikkei lean more to flowing curves and a rounded exterior.

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Lawren Bancroft-Wilson: Like the other destroyer we needed battlements that lined every side of the ship with the ability to launch an attack in any direction. We also helped to differentiate the Mikkei ships by giving them a light kit that is blue with a soft glow oppose to the painted red sections of the Ferrous Corp ships.

The design of the Mikkei shuttle, their surface to orbit transport vessel, went relatively quicker…

James Robbins: “The Mikkei shuttle was the only remaining ship and it went through with few notes.”

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Today’s entry is dedicated to Gary and Paloosa.

July 5, 2015: Comic Con! Dark Matter links! Mailbag!

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 10.01.05 AM

Going to San Diego Comic Con?  So is Dark Matter!  In addition to our Thursday night (7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., Room 6BCF) panel in which Melissa O’Neil (TWO), Anthony Lemke (THREE), Jodelle Ferland (FIVE), Roger Cross (SIX), and Exec Producers Jay Firestone, Vanessa Piazza and I spill on the show’s first season, we’ll also be doing an autograph signing at the Dark Horse Comics booth (2615) on Thursday at 5 p.m. and again on Friday at 3 p.m.  If you’re in the neighborhood, drop by and say hi.

I look forward to catching up with all our new friends:

https://tvgeektalk.com/news/dark-matter-heading-to-san-diego-comic-con/

Some great Dark Matter-related links for you to check out…

http://noobist.com/reviews/dark-matter-episode-4-review-recap/

“Bravo! The fourth episode of Dark Matter was the total package. It had humor, drama, action, and suspense. The Raza crew finally made it to the space station for much needed refueling and repairs, but their efforts to remain under the radar were an epic fail on “Episode 4” of Dark Matter. Spoiler alert!”

http://www.mikesfilmtalk.com/2015/07/04/dark-matter-episode-1-4-recapreview/

“Dark Matter continues to move smoothly forward working as a mystery/thriller/science fiction series with an infinite path of possibilities. All the actors are hitting their stride and Zoie Palmer is a joy to watch as The Android. Her almost childlike approach to the crew and their issues is a delight. ”

http://thedailyfandom.com/dark-matter-episode-four-review-facing-their-criminal-past/

“After a somewhat claustrophobic episode that focused on the Android and the Raza ship, ‘Episode Four’ takes us to a place that had been mentioned for a while now: the Space Station. In this episode, our characters learn that they might not be as free to walk around as normal citizens as they thought.”

http://www.tv-eh.com/2015/07/03/review-back-to-square-one-on-dark-matter/

“We’re back at Square One.” Indeed you are, Two, but viewers—and every member of the Raza—have some important pieces to the puzzle. If only they’d trust each other enough to share what they’ve learned.”

http://scifiempire.net/wordpress/dark-matter-episode-4-review-directed-by-amanda-tapping/

“Episode 4 breaks with the first three episodes by introducing the larger world I which the show is set. All six human characters as well as The Android (Zoie Palmer) developed a lot more colour this week by having fun and acting mischievous as the ship they travel docks at a space station.”

http://www.idiotbox.co.uk/dark-matter-review-episode-four-33936/

“All in all another successful episode, the character interaction was superb, particularly between One and Three, the writing was sharp and the mysteries continue to deepen and intrigue. I normally give a show four episodes to convince me to stick around, well we’re that far in now and I’m going nowhere.”

Loving these viewer video reviews:

GeekonReview review last Friday’s Defiance, Killjoys, and Dark Matter:

https://youtu.be/axoeaebUSfw

QuickTV’s Best & Worst TV Shows of 2015 (so far!):

https://youtu.be/SDqiM8Z-VkQ

Mailbag!

daithi82 writes: “Since the show started off as a graphic novel are there any plans for any tie ins through other media such as webcomics, mini episodes or anything like that? Assuming the show gets picked up for a second series obviously.”

Answer: I’d love to see alt .media tie-ins although, if the show does get picked up for a second season, I’dbe too busy writing/producing to be involved. sad

Sylvia writes: “My memory is fading…but – did not 5 have a brother?  And they lived in a palace…  Perhaps the kid on the table is her brother?”

Answer: In episode #101, FIVE recalled a brother – but told TWO the recollection wasn’t hers.  In episode #103, TWO posits the theory that FIVE has all of their memories downloaded into her subconscious.  A recent episode strongly hints at the owner of said memory.  As for the dead kid…we’ll find out his connection to FIVE sooner than later.

no1zoiepalmerfan writes: ” In the credits it has the actors who play ONE thru FIVE listed first then it says “with Roger Cross and Zoie Palmer”. Does that mean Roger and Zoie are considered recurring?”

Answer: Despite the credit placements, it’s a true ensemble show.

Ponytail writes: “I can’t remember what they did with his body. Is he still on board?”

Answer: TWO said they needed to jettison the body before they got to the next space station.  Since last episode (#104) took place on a space station, it’s safe to assume the body was long gone by the time they docked.

Belouchi writes: “Aussi qu est ce qu’il se passe avec la serie transporteur, c etait pas mal???”

Answer: Je ne said rien au sujet de transporteur. sad

antisocialbutterflie: “My understanding of the underlying science behind mag boots is that the magnets need to be able to disengage and reengage, i.e., electromagnets. If this were the case, shouldn’t the pulse that knocked out the Android have also disengaged the mag boots and sent her floating into space?”

Answer: Yes, if they’re electromagnets that would be correct.

Furioso writes: “I ask because I’ve noticed a big push for Killjoys on both networks and on social media (even billboards) but practically nothing for Dark Matter. […]  What I want to know is why no love for Dark Matter? Is this something that bugs you? Or are you used to it from all those years on Stargate?”

Answer: I’ve already talked about the great job the gang at SyFy PR and Marketing have done supporting the show, from their first kick-ass trailer to a continued online push.  At the end of the day, you can’t worry about what’s going on with other shows, you just need to focus on making the best show possible and doing your best to get the word out.  So help us get the word out!

Scott writes: “Also, random off-topic question, but does Space have access to the previews of the next episode of DM, or is that Syfy-exclusive? Because Space keeps showing previews of the next episode of Killjoys, but there’s never any previews for the next episode of DM.”

Answer: No, they should be able to air previews.  Not sure why they aren’t.

Tam Dixon writes: “What kind of place would you look for in Toronto?”

Answer: Ideally, somewhere downtown within walking distance of a grocery store (for Akemi) and park (for the dogs).

JeffW writes: “And how are Bubba and Lulu doing? Have they re-adjusted to life in Vancouver?”

Answer: They’re doing well.  Lulu is enjoying the sun – but has seemed down.  Bubba, meanwhile, is plain slowing down.  Old age. sad

Ponytail writes: “How come ONE and THREE don’t just tell what really happened?”

Answer: THREE doesn’t tell because he sees an opportunity in keeping ONE’s secret and ONE isn’t telling perhaps because he fears the reaction he’d get from the rest of the crew.  As THREE points out, it does make him the lead suspect in their communal memory wipe.

2cats writes: “1) Why did Six go to the clinic when the Raza has a med-bay? Couldn’t the Android run the table diagnostic and treat him?”

Answer: The ship’s med-bay isn’t equipped with what is needed to generate a skin graft.

“2) How did One and Three escape the chairs if only the chest wires were loosened? Their hands and feet were tied separately.”

Answer: Presumably, with a little more maneuvering room, the same way they loosened the chest constraints.

“3) Was it difficult filming the face-to-face between One and Jace?”

Answer: Difficult, no.  A little complicated and time consuming?  Yes.

“4) Was that a mini-electric car motoring by in the background?”

Answer: Why, yes, it was.  Station security.

“5 Was that Akemi playing the coughing lady in the clinic, wearing the brown boots?”

Answer: Nope.  She’s holding out for a larger role.  Season 2 maybe?

Mike A. writes: “In the tease at the end of episode three, Jayce was on Cygni-4, and in this episode, they were all on Shaofu-2, correct? ”

Answer: Correct.

2cats writes: “I assume, now that the crew is broke, the David Hewlett character will soon make an appearance. He’s their agent – right?”

Answer: It seems like a good bet we will be seeing Tabor Calchek very soon…

DP writes: “Would someone who was a sociopath because of childhood experiences still be so if he/she had amnesia? Would a born psychopath still have the skills to manipulate people and pretend to be normal if he/she had amnesia?”

Answer: Very interesting that you would ask those particular questions.  Maybe we’ll find out.

July 3, 2015: Dark Matter Dog Clues! Episode 4 tonight! Directed by Amanda Tapping!

I was in the costume department, talking to Dark Matter costume designer Noreen Landry when I noticed the pictures of the dogs lining the back wall.  How cute, I thought.  A different dedicated dog for each episode.  And then, on closer scrutiny, I realized that it was much more than that.  Yes, a different dog for each episode.  And, yes, each dog with a different look.  But each different look was on theme, a little teaser of every one of our episodes…

Episode 1: Space Dog
Episode 1: Space Dog

Appropriately enough, in our first episode, the crew awakens on a spaceship.

Episode 2: Miner dog
Episode 2: Miner dog

In our second episode, the crew assists a mining colony in fending off an attack by a powerful multi-planetary corporation.

Episode 3: Space suit dog.
Episode 3: Space suit dog.

In our third episode, the Android (and later ONE and SIX) undertake a perilous EVA.

Episode 4: Casino dog?
Episode 4: Casino dog?

In our fourth episode…well, I’ll let the above dog pic offer a hint.

Yes, tonight’s the night.  Dark Matter is BACK with an all-new episode, this one directed by amazing Amanda Tapping (Stargate’s Samantha Carter).  She did a brilliant job on this episode and, in the time she spent with us, garnered a whole new fan contingent amongst our cast and crew.

If you weren’t around reading this blog back in February, here are my behind-the-scenes write-ups on “The Amanda Tapping Experience”:

https://josephmallozzi.com/2015/02/11/february-11-2015-introducing-dark-matter-editor-wendy-hallam-martin-amanda-tapping-takes-the-directing-reins/

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https://josephmallozzi.com/2015/02/12/february-12-2015-space-travels-with-amanda-tapping/

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https://josephmallozzi.com/2015/02/13/february-13-2015-back-in-familiar-inertial-dampened-climate-controlled-faster-than-light-territory/

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https://josephmallozzi.com/2015/02/19/february-19-2015-a-casting-hint-cat-t-shirt-day-on-shaofu-2/

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https://josephmallozzi.com/2015/02/20/february-20-2015-director-amanda-tappings-last-day-birthday-bash-on-shaofu-2-a-visit-to-the-space-station-clinic/

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A few episode #104 previews:

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http://www.thetvjunkies.com/dark-matter-preview-where-the-raza-goes-trouble-follows/

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http://www.spoilertv.com/2015/07/dark-matter-episode-4-advance-preview.html

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http://www.threeifbyspace.net/2015/06/dark-matter-episode-4-preview-face-off/

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The past comes back to haunt members of the crew during a stopover at a space station, during which Four makes a stunning discovery, while Two and Five learn that some games of chance come with surprising risks. Elsewhere, Six receives some unwanted attention at a local clinic; and One and Three’s attempts to sell the weapons in their cargo hold lands them at a dangerous disadvantage.

I’ll be live tweeting both the east cost and west coast broadcasts!  Hope to see you all online tonight!

July 2, 2015: Completing the Dark Matter Episode 103 overview!

1) I went through the vent.

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This is my favorite scene in this episode.  A lot of nice little beats here, from FIVE’s slow bullet spill to THREE’s uncertain weighing of his guns.

Rehearsing the standoff.
Rehearsing the standoff.

2) You might want to hurry.

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This scene in the final cut is a shortened version of what was originally envisioned.  From the script:

ONE, SIX and FIVE head out. TWO trains her weapons on THREE and FOUR.

THREE: Is that really necessary?

By way of an answer, she motions for them to raise their hands – a little higher. They do.

—After a cutaway to the rescue, we cut back to the bridge where:

TWO still has her guns on THREE and FOUR. Beat.

THREE: Look, they’re back on the ship, we’re safely in FTL. We done here?

She doesn’t move.

THREE: It wasn’t personal. We were –

TWO: Just looking out for yourselves.

THREE: Looking out for all of us.

Off TWO –

THREE: If the shields had failed while we were waiting for them to haul him in, we’d be singing a different tune now. We were lucky.

He has a point. She lowers her guns. THREE and FOUR lower their hands.

THREE: Alright. I’ll be in my quarters. Let me know when we get to the station.

He starts off. She stops him with –

TWO: Not so fast. We’ve got to finish something first.

Off a confused…

— We SEGUE TO THREE in the hot seat, finishing up his lie detector test.

3) You would’ve done the same for us.

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In the original script, this scene played out much differently.  ONE gets an injured but still conscious SIX to the infirmary – where they are later joined by FIVE and the Android.  Executive Producer Jay Firestone felt that the episode needed more jeopardy in order to a build to its satisfying conclusion, and so the original scene was rewritten and replaced by this much more dynamic sequence.

4) We move on.

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Well, whaddya know?  THREE was telling the truth after all!

We come away with three conclusions from this scene:

1. Even if one of the crew members was responsible for their communal mindwipe, he/she doesn’t remember.

2. The communal mind wipe may have been an accident, the result of a crude program designed to target someone else’s memories.

3. In TWO’s words: “Finding out whoever did this is going to be next to impossible.”

Ah, well.  Two out of three anyway.

5) Looking out for number one.

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This was another scene that played out a little differently from the way it was originally scripted.

In the script, he leans in and kisses her.  She pulls back.  He immediately backs off and apologizes.  There is an awkward exchange and then, he leaves.

I actually preferred this original version which made TWO more emphatic and clear but, in this instant, production concerns necessitated a tighter version.

6) One final round of discovery!

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Just as we draw closer to some answers, a few more questions are thrown our way. How did FIVE know where to look?  Does this suggest some sort of past connection to the mysterious key card and the gun?  Will we be learning more about the key card as the season progresses?  Will that gun pay off in some way further on down the line?  Do the writers actually have a game plan?  Tune in to find out!

7) Goodnight!

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Ah, the bookend.  We conclude our opposite in much the same we started – with our Android on the bridge, giving the crew the 411.  THREE seals up his vent, SIX touches up that nasty burn on his arm, while FOUR considers – oh, yeah! – that ring he discovered in the puzzle box.  Yet another loose end we’ll presumably be getting around to sooner than later.

Much sooner.

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8) Jace.  Jace Corso.

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So, after everything our crew went through, the burgeoning suspicion and shifting alliances, the suspected sabotage and lie detector test, we must finally come to terms with the fact that we’ll probably never know who was lying.

Until about five (show) minutes later with the final reveal of an all too familiar face sitting at a bar on some space station.  The guy, a dead ringer for one, says he’s been after The Raza for a while now, looking to catch up with someone.

Wonder who?

P.S. This concluding WTF?!! scene was shot by Episode 4 director Amanda Tapping since this Cygni 4 bar set up was shot concurrently with the upcoming bar, lounge, casino, and back room scenes in #104.

PPS.  Isn’t that space station establisher amazing?  Kudos to Lawren Bancroft-Wilson and our VFX team on the gorgeous visuals.

July 1, 2015: The Dark Matter episode 103 discussion!

1) Yes, I am an excellent information source.  Thank you.

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And the hits just keep on coming.  More bad news in the form of gamma radiation being emitted from the remains of a Type 1a supernova.

The revised reveal of our ship from the gang at VFX:

Again, the challenge in scenes like these is to keep the pace up and all of our characters alive (in other words, involved either directly through dialogue or indirectly through cutaways).  There’s a lot of ground to cover here but flashes of humor go a long way toward breaking up the exposition, something I learned from my occasional technobabble-filled days on Stargate.  These beats, mainly involving our Android, go a long way toward humanizing her character, making her more sympathetic, and adding dimension to her seemingly straight-forward personality.  I’ve noticed some people bumping on these seemingly emotional responses.  At times, she is almost childlike in her reactions.  “But she an Android!  It doesn’t make sense!”.  It doesn’t?  Sort of like…

2) On the other hand, sometimes she makes a lot of sense.  Good luck.

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Why is she wearing a spacesuit?  “But she an Android! It doesn’t make sense!”. Until, of course, it does.  The Android volunteers to effects repairs by executing a perilous EVA.  And THREE is only to happy/relieved to let her go.  As far as he’s concerned, it’s nothing personal – because he doesn’t really see our Android as a sentient entity imbued with a personality.  At best, a machine with a  personality template, but certainly not some”thing” to worry about.  On the surface, his attitude may seem cold but an argument can be made that he does have a point. But let’s table that debate for later…

The ever-sassy Zoie Palmer suits up!
The ever-sassy Zoie Palmer suits up!

3) That’s why I like her.  She’s just like the rest of us.

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Amid all the suspicion, the shipboard paranoia, and the overwhelming feeling of isolation, personal connections are made and it’s interesting to see who gravitates towards who and how these relationships evolve over time.  One of my favorites – and one of my favorites to write – is the friendship between these two very different crew mates: the imposing, grounded, wizened SIX and the diminutive, impulsive, young FIVE.  He plays the role of the protector, offering words of comfort here but, in the situations, it’s often FIVE who offers up the words of wisdom, in this instance when she says: “She’s just like us.”, which echoes her “Well, same with them maybe, right?” in episode 102 in which she drew a parallel between the Android’s “killbot” programming and the crew’s apparent past disposition toward violence.  When you think about it, the Android IS just like them in many ways (the fact that they’re all starting over after having their memories wiped being the most obvious), but she’s ESPECIALLy like FIVE: well-intentioned and a key member of the crew, but immature in many ways and incredibly lonely. And, speaking of connections, the relationship between FIVE and the Android is another one of my favorites that develops over the course of this first season.

4) I sincerely hope you’re right.  But if anything goes wrong out there, it will be your only chance.

Running through the Android's departure scene.
Running through the Android’s departure scene.

The Android suits up and, despite the obvious dangers, elects to forge ahead and complete the crucial repairs – while FIVE and SIX look on back on the bridge.  I really want to say more about this scene but, for time being, I’ll hold off.  Just make a mental note – and then let’s come back it later in the season.  Plink!  That’s the sound of the penny dropping.

Rehearsing on the bridge.
Rehearsing on the bridge.

5) Too late.

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The Android is successful – but ends up disabled by the electro-static charges.  A little about this sequence, in pictures…

Early set construction.  What a difference a coat of paint makes!
Early set construction. What a difference a coat of paint makes!
Shooting on the day.
Shooting on the day.

In order to reach the trench, the Android must walk down an extreme-angled wall, something easy enough to do in zero-g, but a little trickier to demonstrate in our Earth-based production environment.  So this is what we did…

We set up a section of the trench, floor in the foreground and walls in the background.
We set up a section of the trench, floor in the foreground and walls in the background.
We enlist our stand-in, the lovely Krysta Lee.
We enlist our stand-in, the lovely Krysta Lee.

With 1st AD Grant Boyle supporting her, our stand-in walks down one angle section and up the next.  The shot is a close-up of her booted feet:

I trimmed the head off the second shot and we were good to go!

P.S. The coupling housed within the section of the retractable section of the trench is a visual effects, compliments of our VFX team lead by Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson.

6) Whoa, whoa, whoa.  We’re on the clock here, remember?

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THREE makes FOUR another pitch and, this time, he’s a little more successful in having his would-be ally hear him out.  Why?  Because, from a purely logical standpoint, he makes sense.  As TWO will later tell ONE: “We felt it was worth the risk to save the Android; they didn’t.”

7) Or now.  We can talk about this now.

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There’s nothing I like more than a good stand-off – and this is a great one.  After THREE and FOUR seal themselves in the bridge with the intention of jumping to FTL, FIVE shorts the door console, allowing the rest of the crew access to the ship’s nerve center.  The shots of ONE, TWO, and SIX walking in guns raised – and the complimentary shot of THREE and FOUR drawing on them – never fails spike the adrenaline every time I watch this act-ending sequence.

Hey!  Check out these behind-the-scenes vids at SyFy.com featuring Marc Bendavid (ONE), stunt coordinator John Stead, VFX supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson, and production designer Ian Brock:

http://www.syfy.com/darkmatter/videos/dark-matter-backstage-episode-1

http://www.syfy.com/darkmatter/videos/dark-matter-designing-the-raza-sets

http://www.syfy.com/darkmatter/videos/dark-matter-building-the-raza-vfx

June 30, 2015: The Dark Matter episode 3 breakdown!

Picking up where we left off yesterday – let’s continue our rundown of Dark Matter‘s third episode..

1) So somebody in this room wiped our memories and probably killed that kid.

You're probably all wondering why I've gathered you here...
You’re probably all wondering why I’ve gathered you here…

TWO comes clean about what she’s learned – the fact that someone did, in fact, upload a program into the stasis pods that targeted their memories.  This not only suggests someone among them was responsible for their collective amnesia, but also strongly suggests that many of their memories may now reside in FIVE’s subconscious.  Then, they suddenly drop out of FTL and the Android announces there is something wrong with the ship.

Some pretty major revelations!   Sure, but the aspect of this scene that has garnered a surprising amount of attention is the fish tank in the background. Gorgeous but, alas, not an actual fish tank.  You’ll notice in this episode, and moving forward, that the screen at the back of the mess changes, cycling through a variety of different Earth-based nature videos – a little touch of home for our distant crew.

2) Dead bodies, hacked stasis pods, now this?  There’s a whole lot of things going wrong on this ship.

Oh, there's your problem right there.
Oh, there’s your problem right there.

The Android informs them there’s a problem with the ship.  THREE suspects sabotage or, at least, a sabotage of the ship’s diagnostics – and he wastes no time pointing the finger of blame at our resident tech monkey, FIVE.  Big brother SIX predictably rises to her defense and, again, we get a taste of how the various shipboard alliances and relationships are shaping up (something we explore over the course of this episode, this entire first season, and beyond).

I love these types of scenes that include the entire crew but, truth be told, they are incredibly challenging to shoot.  Not only does the director have to cover seven different characters, but he/she also has to keep the scene dynamic.  No easy task, particularly given the fact that exposition drives a huge chunk of this scene.

3) No, not the door.  What’s behind the door.

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Thought we’d forgotten all about the mystery door, huh?

In an obvious attempt to win himself an ally – and possibly get himself inside – THREE shows FOUR the big metal door.  Anthony Lemke and Alex Mallari Jr. are great together here and I especially love this scene because it offers up a rare glimpse of FOUR’s dryer than dry sense of humor.

4) We’re bad company.

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SIX is really the only other crew member capable of going toe to toe with TWO, and he does so here – a follow-up to their initial clash on the bridge.  Only three episodes in and fractures are beginning to show.  And, by the way, he’s not wrong about the dangers present on the ship – and the fact that it’s no place for a  “kid”. As for his stab at TWO’s reasons for keeping FIVE around…well, we’ll have to wait and see.

5) It’s chocolate protein pudding day!

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The crew sits down to a new-fashioned lie detector test compliments of the ship’s Android who monitors their physiological responses for tells.  I noticed a few people who watched this sequence commented along the lines of: “Why are they taking turns answering each question?!  It doesn’t make sense!”  Dudes, seriously?  The jumping between the various crew members answering the same question is a visual conceit, a fun shorthand that touches on everyone’s responses without having to cycle through each individual session.  The sequence, edited by the marvelous Teresa Hannigan, is accompanied by a terrific score compliments of Brad Pinkerton.

Coincidentally (or not!) the episode aired on Friday, June 26th which, it turns out, WAS Chocolate Pudding Day!

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Maybe the kid IS psychic!

6) We’re not asking.

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2, 4, and 6 pay 3 a visit so they can ask him to take the lie detector test.  He refuses because, as he puts it, he doesn’t “trust that robot”.  If you devised a drinking game in which you’d have to do a shot every time THREE uses the term “Android”, you’d go very thirsty.  What’s of particular interest in this scene  is the fact that FOUR is among the trio who strong-arms THREE, reinforcing the point he made earlier during the training room sequence: He wants answers, dammit! 7) If you shoot him, you may skew the results.

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Hey, you know who I love?  The Android.  She’s a blast to write for because she’s a delightfully humorous character – played by a delightfully humorous actress (Zoie Palmer).  After informing the crew of the potential pitfalls of shooting THREE, she proceeds to grill him…

The Android detects lies AND reads palms!
The Android detects lies AND reads palms!

And, just when we start getting some answers, the proceedings are interrupted by another shipboard emergency.  This one worse.  MUCH worse!

Some Dark Matter-related links to check out: Ratings – http://www.tvwise.co.uk/2015/06/dark-matter-opens-big-for-syfy-uk-with-nearly-400k-viewers/ Whoa!  An incisive analysis of the show and its characters.  The author picked up on certain story elements others have missed.  A very interesting read: http://tv-remote-viewing.com/2015/06/27/dark-matter-walk-on-the-wild-side/ Another very interesting read: http://www.philpercs.com/2015/06/syfys-dark-matter-and-moral-aspects-of-personal-identity.html “In the show, the memory loss serves as a plot device to allow formerly evil characters to explore a newfound goodness. But, more than making for an interesting show, if my intuition that this is a plausible response in this situation, I think this suggests something deeper about us.” Melissa O’Neil (TWO) interviews Anthony Lemke (THREE): http://www.space.ca/show/dark-matter/episode/melissa-oneil-interviews-anthony-lemke/646421/ Anthony Lemke (THREE) interviews Melissa O’Neil (TWO): http://www.space.ca/show/dark-matter/episode/anthony-lemke-interviews-melissa-oneil/646418/

June 29, 2015: Dark Matter Episode 103!

So, what did everyone think of Dark Matter’s third episode?  Questions? Concerns?  Theories?  Got it all figured out?  Who wiped their memories?  Why? What’s behind the big metal door?  What’s the significance of FOUR’s ring?  Who killed the boy?

Check out my weekly episode debrief with TheTVJunkies’ Bridget Liszewski for some additional hints:

http://www.thetvjunkies.com/dark-matter-episode-3-postmortem-the-real-jace-corso/?utm_content=buffer3b631&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

This episode was written by former Stargate Executive Producer Martin Gero who has been busy of late, working on his new show, Blindspot, which premieres September 21st on NBC.  While our first episode focused on the mystery surrounding our crew and the second episode was more an action-driven entry, episode 3 delves into our characters, shifting alliances, burgeoning shipboard paranoia.

1) I hope you’re all enjoying a hearty breakfast.

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There’s nothing I like more than a good bookend and the scene of our Android, standing on the bridge playing the role of cruise director, offers just that.  It does a nice job of visually conveying a pervasive sense of loneliness – her, standing alone, then cutting to our crew who, though enjoying a communal meal, are seemingly equally alone with their own thoughts.

Setting up the mess table scene.
Setting up the mess table scene.

Until THREE breaks the silence – allowing them all a much-needed cathartic release.  Ultimately, THREE is odd man out, left alone with his thoughts – and everyone else’s leftovers.

2) You wanna play a game or something?

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Perhaps no one is feeling more lonely than FIVE who, already feeling like an outsider, can’t convince anyone to spend some time with her.  SIX is exhausted, ONE is busy reading and FOUR – well, he’s got other things on his mind.  By the way, ONE references the book he is reading as “a classic”, but we never get a good look at the cover.  Like most everything else in this show, this seemingly innocuous element will come back later in the season – but for now, I’d like you all to guess at the title.  Guess correctly and I’ll send you a copy of the book!

Jodelle Ferland (FIVE) also takes the time to read a classic.
Jodelle Ferland (FIVE) also takes the time to read a classic.

FIVE finds herself back in the ship’s vents, exploring its maze-like labyrinth.  Her search strangely, inexplicably (?) takes her to a small utility room in the ship’s underbelly where she makes a horrifying discovery: a dead body!  Dum dum DAAA!

3) Did you want to organize a funeral; prepare parting remarks?

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A scan of the body reveals he was a young boy, coincidentally (?) around FIVE’s age, who died of a single gunshot wound.  ONE immediately jumps to the conclusion that one of them may have been responsible.  TWO dismisses not so much the notion but the very prospect of considering the possibility.  She sees the futility in and suggests they move on.  This, of course, does not sit well with ONE who finds her decision, and seeming lack of compassion, objectionable.

Running thru the infirmary scene.
Running thru the infirmary scene.

The dead boy is played by a terrific young actor named Gage Munroe.  Wait!  How do I know he’s terrific?  Because I watched him deliver a great performance – beyond just playing dead on an infirmary table and gurney.  When?  Well, suffice it to say we’ll be exploring this particular mystery in an upcoming episode.

4) Have fun playing with your stick.

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Not to be so easily dissuaded, THREE drops in on FOUR, seeing in him a like-minded soul guided by self-interest.  And he’s correct.  Up to a certain point.  FOUR may be as mercenary as THREE, but he’s much more even-keeled, logic-driven over emotionally motivated.  THREE makes his pitch and FOUR politely hears him out, before turning him down – with the understanding that HE feels the time isn’t right.  He’s not saying no, just no for now.

I can’t move on from this scene without mentioning two things.  The first is Anthony Lemke’s ad-lib “Okay, have fun playing with your stick!” that almost had me burst out laughing at the monitors the second is Alex Mallari Jr.’s incredible dedication to his role, specifically his mastery of the various weapons in that training room.  Over the course of the season, you’ll note, he uses them all – with seeming deadly precision.  Chalk it up to Alex’s hard work, dexterity, and skill.

5) What if some of our memories were…what if they weren’t all gone?

Setting up the shot.
Setting up the shot.

A nice bonding moment between FIVE and SIX (did I mention how much I love these two together) in which she gives voice to what we already kind of suspect. Something lead her to that room; that body.  The kid was her age.  She probably knew him.  She feels bad because she DOESN’T feel bad – or, maybe, should feel worse.  SIX attempts to console her and talks about fresh starts (a recurring theme throughout this episode and the series as a whole).  In the comfort and connection of the moment, FIVE suggests that, maybe, all of their memories aren’t exactly gone.  Damn, it’s so hard to keep secrets on a spaceship!

6) She has all our memories in her head and you knew it!

You do NOT want to get on SIX's bad side.
You do NOT want to get on SIX’s bad side.

As I was saying: secrets.  The worst part about them is when they get out.  And such is the case here when an angry SIX barges onto the bridge and accuses TWO of keeping the truth from them: that FIVE has everyone’s memories hidden away in her subconscious.  TWO calmly informs him that she wanted to confirm it as fact first before sharing the information.  SIX is far from convinced however…

Let’s check out some Dark Matter reviews:

http://www.mikesfilmtalk.com/2015/06/28/syfys-dark-matter-promising-space-opera/

“This is a promising new show and one that already keeps the interest level high and has the viewer trying to guess where the series will go from this excellent beginning.”

http://www.threeifbyspace.net/2015/06/dark-matter-episode-3-review-trust-no-one-except-maybe-three/

“The Understatement of the Year award, from last night’s episode of Dark Matter, goes to One – “We may have lost our memories, but I think it’s pretty safe to say we didn’t lose our personalities.” And as we get to know them, seven distinct, conflicting, mistrusting, potentially deceitful personalities are emerging. Isn’t it great?”

http://www.spoilertv.com/2015/06/dark-matter-episode-3-review-electric.html?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_term=Autofeed#link_time=1435464431

“This show has proven that it has a strong grasp of who these characters are and this episode does an outstanding job of further developing them. Already we’re beginning to see character growth as their shared experiences are having an effect on all of them.”

And these Dark Matter interviews:

Actor Anthony Lemke, Dark Matter’s THREE, chats with The Action Elite:

http://theactionelite.com/2015/06/anthony-lemke-interview/

“I believe really strongly in folks with creative minds and active imaginations and I think science fiction or fantasy speaks to those people. I think it’s a positive thing to be an adult and maintain a youthful imagination and creativity moving forward. Plus, I think we are actively engaged in shaping the future. People who make sci-fi and people who read sci-fi and are part of that community and directly involved in shaping what our future looks like.”

Actress Melissa O’Neil, Dark Matter’s TWO, chats with the Calgary Herald:

http://calgaryherald.com/entertainment/television/calgary-actress-melissa-oneil-charts-new-path-with-sci-fi-series

“He saw the breakdown for this character and said, ‘You have to audition,’” says O’Neil, in an interview from her home in Toronto. “I was in the middle of callbacks and had the chance to take over a leading part on a Broadway show for a few months or keep auditioning for a TV show. (My agent) really encouraged me to take a chance. He said, ‘You’ve already played that part in Toronto. Do something new.’ And I’m so glad I did. Because it’s been such a ride.”

June 27, 2015: Dark Matter! Comics! I’m #3?!!

So, Dark Matter’s third episode aired last night in the U.S., Australia, and Canada. If you watched it, what did you think? Since the episode will be airing in different parts of the world over the next few days, I’m going to hold off on weighing in with my insights – but plenty of behind-the-scenes pics and vids coming your way! Hmmm.  It would appear I’ve been demoted.  When Akemi first moved to Canada, I was her #1 guy.  Then, as she settled in, I dropped to #2 behind this guy –

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And I could live with that.  Bubba does have his charms.  But with a recent addition to the household, I’ve dropped in the ranking yet again, losing my spot to THIS guy –

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Roomba-chan, as Akemi refers to him, has pretty much had the run of the place since moving in last week.  He putters around, keeps to himself, but isn’t above nudging the house’s other inhabitants if they get in the way.  I dare say he has a bit of an attitude.  But, I suppose, sometimes women like the bad boys.

Trying to take some time off to catch up on my reading.  For you comic book fans, here are my recommended reads – some titles with an SF bent:

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Injectionhttps://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/injection-1

Warren Ellis is at his cutting edge best in this strange and wickedly humorous series, a mix of SF and the supernatural.

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Broken Worldhttp://www.comicbookresources.com/comic-review/broken-world-1-boom-studios

With Earth facing an extinction level event, those connected enough to book safe passage flee the doomed planet, leaving behind the mad, the downtrodden and the very, very unlucky.

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Roche Limithttp://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=22121

A scientific and military expedition runs into trouble during a mysterious mission to an off-world colony.  Suggestions of conspiracies and time paradoxes abound!

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Squadron Sinisterhttp://ca.ign.com/articles/2015/06/18/squadron-sinister-1-review

I don’t read a lot of superhero titles (Nick Spencer’s hilarious Ant-Man being an exception) but I positively love Marc Guggenheim’s exploration of this mercenary, duplicitous, wholly unpredictable team.  Sound familiar, Dark Matter fans?

Dark Matter-related links for you to check out… Taking Charge interview with Melissa O’Neil (TWO): http://scifiandtvtalk.typepad.com/scifiandtvtalk/2015/06/taking-charge-interview-with-dark-matters-melissa-oneil.html “It amazes me that they took a chance on someone who never worked in television before to take on a role like Two, but I am truly humbled by it. I’m having such a good time coming to set every day and figuring out who this woman is and how to help tell her story as best I can.” Tabula Rasa: SyFy’s Dark Matter: http://www.criticsatlarge.ca/2015/06/tabula-rasa-syfys-dark-matter.html “Patient storytelling and a talented cast of Canadian actors makes Dark Matter a welcome addition to the television field, and right now the series tops my list of new summer shows. And, I should hasten to add, it also honest-to-goodness fun.” SyFy Embraces the Dark on Friday Nights: http://www.tvtyrant.com/2015/06/26/new-syfy-shows/ “As the characters are told more and more about their pasts – information that may or may not be true – will they become the people they are purported to be? Or are their futures black slates, unencumbered by their pasts?” Review: Wait…What?  On Dark Matter: http://www.tv-eh.com/2015/06/27/review-wait-what-on-dark-matter/ “Dark Matter just messed with my brain. After making a bunch of notes during Friday’s third episode, I basically had to throw everything I thought I knew out the window thanks to that final scene aboard the space station.” Dark Matter: Mutineers, Saboteurs and Trust Issues: http://www.thetvjunkies.com/dark-matter-episode-three/ “Episode three was a surprisingly solid instalment to the series, considering the entire episode was set solely on the ship. I think it says a lot about the actors and the writing to be able to make a compelling hour of television within a confined space. In a relatively short amount of time, we’ve come to care about these people and the relationships they’re forming with each other.” Dark Matter Episode 3 review: https://bladeofthesashurai.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/a-sashurais-review-dark-matter-season-1×03-there-is-no-sound-in-space-hence-the-no-one-hearing-you-scream-in-space/ “It may be nothing, but the subtext is there that eventually Three will eventually care about Five like a big bro cares for a little sis. It’s entirely too early to call this but the thing with anti-heroes is they end up doing the right thing because of someone else and not necessarily because they believe in that right thing. By establishing this nuisance-style relationship between the two, they are in fact setting up scenarios that should pay off with three finding a way to redeem his attitude by saving her life and or something similar.” Dark Matter Episode 3 review: http://sidelinebuzz.com/review-dark-matter-episode-3/ “All in all, this was a great episode. The best element of it is the deeper group dynamics being explored, and how these dynamics will ultimately determine the course of these characters fates in the episodes to come.” Thoughts on the show and Episode 3: http://www.examiner.com/article/geeky-tv-commentary-killjoys-and-dark-matter “Even though this show is a little on the side of slow-burn, it looks like episode four will really be adding to the story, and that’s a good thing!”

June 26, 2015: Dark Matter episode #102! Pics! Vids! Secrets!

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Who is ready for an all new episode of Dark Matter?!

Tonight at 10 p.m. EST/PST and 7 p.m. on SYFY and SPACE CHANNEL!

What’s in store for our mercs?  Well…

“Sabotage is suspected and the onboard paranoia surges when the ship mysteriously veers off course. To bring the systems back online, a perilous spacewalk is required; at the same time, Five makes a shocking discovery.”

And there’s this –

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And this –

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And this –

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And this –

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And this –

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The episode was written by the lovely Martin Gero (StargateThe L.A. ComplexBored to DeathBlindspot – premiering Monday September 21st after The Voice on NBC!) so you DO NOT want to miss it!

Join us online at 10 pm EST and PST as the cast and I live tweet the episode!

Finishing up our discussion of Dark Matter Episode #102…

1) It’s Bubba Time!

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The boys prep for battle – and THREE introduces his guns…which, regular readers of this blog already know, were named after my dogs…

The original Lulu and Bubba!
The original Lulu and Bubba!

2) Game on!

Comin' at ya!
Comin’ at ya!

This big’s action piece kicks off with an amazing oner compliments of fab director T.J. Scott.  The long take STARTS ON the Ferrous Corps guards taking fire, then SWINGS OVER to catch them rappelling, FOLLOWS them down and up the stairs where on gets blasted by BUBBA, HANGS ON ONE and THREE as they exchange fire with the enemy, PAN OVER to THREE leaping over a railing (one of my favorite beats!), then PAN BACK to ONE drawing the assist from Mireille and OVER TO more mayhem.

There’s a great FOUR sequence in which he jumps down to save a miner, snagging one of the corporate guards, then takes out a second guard.  The final version sees this scene cut out here but, in the director’s cut, it actually continues with –

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FOUR hoisting himself up and running the length of the overhead pipe, jumping the railing, and taking out another two guards on the raised platform.  No stunt person required.  It was all Alex Mallari Jr. and I wish I could have kept these beats in the final cut.

Alex Mallari Jr. (FOUR) gets the drop on the Dark Matter crew.
Alex Mallari Jr. (FOUR) gets the drop on the Dark Matter crew.

All of our main players get their opportunity to shine: ONE gunning down the oncoming guards, FOUR proving why he’s a master of the blade, THREE blasting with Bubba and then two-fisting it.

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It all culminates in a Butch & Sundance moment with our heroes, hunkered down and SIX facing certain death at the hands of Sgt. Voss.

3) Shields!

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One of my favorite moments in this episode is TWO’s authoritative command: “Shields!” and the cut to the Ferrous Corp. destroyer opening fire on The Raza.  Then, the two Mikkei Cruisers arrive, flanking our hero ship.  Love it!

4) Blaze of glory?

Butch and Sundance, Dark Matter style.
Butch and Sundance, Dark Matter style.

Facing seemingly insurmountable odds, the boys decide to go out in a blaze of glory.  They jump up, guns at the ready only to realize – the enemy has left.

5) I got a better offer.

Behind the scenes on episode #2.
Behind the scenes on episode #2.

A vexed Commander Nieman pays TWO a visit and discovers her in the company of her new allies: Commanders Sakey and Truffault of the MCS Sujin and Murukami. Commander Truffault, played by the marvelous Torri Higginson (Stargate: Atlantis’s Elizabeth Weir), informs Nieman that the planet is now under the protectorate of The Mikkei Combine.  I love Torri’s performance here, parts Weir, May West, and all sorts of kickass.

It's nice to have friends in high places.
It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Who knows if or when we’ll ever see her character again (Episode #110).

Torri grabs a snack after laying a verbal beatdown on a corporate rival.
Torri grabs a snack after laying a verbal beatdown on a corporate rival.

6) For me, right now, I think that place is up on that ship.

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ONE bids Mireille a fond farewell.  They just went through hell, faced certain death, saved each other’s lives, and he risked all to help her and her people.  A goodbye kiss is perfectly acceptable.

P.S. Love that beautiful shot of ONE standing in the rain.  Thank you, director T.J. Scott.

7) We can spend some quality time getting to know each other.

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TWO brings the rest of the crew up to speed on how it all went down.  It was brains over brawn as one of the women of The Raza saved the day.  Again (If you’re counting, TWO restores life support in the opener, turns off the security protocol that shuts down the android before she can kill the boys, the Android initiates the evasive maneuvers that allow them to dodge the missiles).  With some time to kill before the next space station stopover, they can spend some quality time getting to know each.  Which they will.  In a big way next episode!

8) Because we’re dangerous!

The episode is capped off with one of my very favorite sequences – directed by T.J. Scott, edited by Wendy Hallam, with music by Ben Pinkerton.  It’s a beautiful and haunting montage that touches on each of our crew members revealing, in the final beat, that all are, in fact, a list of suspects in the mystery surrounding their stolen identities.

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I leave you with a few Dark Matter-related links:

http://www.hollywoodsoapbox.com/?p=13443

“Syfy recently premiered its new space drama, Dark Matter, and it’s a lot of fun. Featuring a group of talented actors bringing to life a rich plot with many possible routes, the show should have a long, healthy run on the network.”

https://tvgeektalk.com/previews/dark-matter-preview-episode-three-photos-video/

“I love the mystery, the characters are intriguing (and hilarious!), and there’s plenty of room for other interesting, secondary storylines to run on top of the main arc.”

http://wormholeriders.net/darkmatter/?p=1

“We here at WormholeRiders strongly suggest all science fiction fans make sure to tune in each week for thirteen exciting episodes on Syfy in the USA, the Space Channel in Canada, and Syfy affiliated stations all over the world! Your support, by watching and tweeting live, is critical and will most likely help ensure that Dark Matter has many more seasons in the future!”

June 25, 2015: We’re going to Comic Con! Dark Matter episode #102! More pics! Vids! Secrets!

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Yes, it’s official!  Dark Matter will be at San Diego Comic Con!

Our panel is scheduled for the night of Thursday, July 9th from 7:15 pm – 8:15 pm in Room 6BCF!

Those in attendance will include cast members Melissa O’Neil (TWO), Jodelle Ferland (FIVE), Roger Cross (SIX), and Anthony Lemke (THREE), Executive Producers Jay Firestone and Vanessa Piazza, and yours truly (provided they can tear me away from the dealer alley).

So, who’s coming?

Continuing our discussion of Dark Matter’s second episode…

1) She’s gone!

The guys have been stood up.
The guys have been stood up.

The boys bid the miners a fond farewell, then hightail it back to marauder where they discover…The Raza is no longer in orbit.  TWO abandoned them!  In the script, this revelation was the act out and, after the commercial break, we would come back to a second marauder scene in which the guys debate their very bad situation.  One by one, they leave until on THREE remains.  It takes him a few seconds to realize the futility of his position and he heads off to catch up with them.

The episode was 4 minutes long, we needed to lose something and, in the end, this extra scene struck us, ultimately, superfluous.  No doubt it will show up as a deleted scene somewhere down the line.

2) Could you be more specific?

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The miners are hopelessly outmatched, outgunned, outnumbered – and have no idea what Ferrous Corp. has planned.  FOUR takes it upon himself to find out by “questioning” the prisoner.  This was Alex Mallari Jr.’s audition scene and it was his cool, calculated and controlled performance that won hi the role.  He and actor Kerr Hewitt (who plays the part of Sgt. Voss) are terrific in this scene.

A similar tactic was used over a decade earlier.
A similar tactic was used over a decade earlier.

It was smooth sailing – once we eventually got started, but there was a delay shooting this scene (first one up on the day) because it was decided the set’s windows were wrong.  More to the point, they weren’t a visually match for all of the warehouse interiors we’d already shot.  These were the windows when I first visited the set…

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Pictured above where the windows we shot.  Same windows, but rotated.  Well, not just the window but the entire back wall of the set…which took 90 minutes to fix.

Ah, the attention to detail!

3) We’ll never be able to hold this position.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 3.35.23 PM

Thanks to FOUR’s no fuss no muss interrogation technique, we discover that Ferrous Corp. plans to target their antiquated reactor; trigger a blast that will level the entire facility.  In other words, make it look like an accident.

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The reactor was actually part of a water filtration plant that offered us a bunch of great looks.  Prior to even setting foot in the place, however, we were given a run-through of the various procedures to follow in the event of an emergency covering everything from ammonia leaks to marauding dingos.  The scariest for me, however, were the big honking red buttons that studded the walls of the entire facility.  We were informed that pushing these buttons would shut down the show plant – and result in the production having to pack up and leave.  So it was imperative we NOT press these big red attractive-looking buttons!

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To dissuade cast or crew members from pushing the buttons, or accidentally leaning up against them, Production Designer Ian Brock caged them in these imposing-looking (but ultimately easy pull-away) structures.

4) I bet you regret not teaching me how to fly that shuttle now!  Do I ever!

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As the guys prep the miners for their last stand, SIX comes to the logical conclusion that they are doomed – BUT there may be a way to win the day by making the battle too costly for Ferrous Corp. to pursue.  He suggests going up in their shuttle and taking out the corporate destroyer.  On the surface, it seems like a foolhardy act and yet, upon closer scrutiny, one realizes that SIX has carefully thought things through.  He can die on the surface with all of them in a losing cause OR he can die up in orbit, possibly saving everyone else’s lives in the process.  Again, SIX demonstrates a cool reasoning and selflessness that certainly suggests leadership material…

Director T.J. Scott scouting the location.
Director T.J. Scott scouting the location.

The scene ends with ONE watching SIX walk off O.S.  BUT the actual scene doesn’t end there.  There is a long shot in the director’s cut in which SIX climbs up this seemingly endless stairwell.  Actor Roger Cross must have done it a half dozen times on the day, no doubt working up a great leg burn and good sweat in that big leather coat.  Unfortunately, the episode was running long so we had to cut it.  Another deleted scene to look forward to when the time comes: SIX’s endless stair climb!

5) I’m the only one who can save you now.

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Alas, SIX gets as far as the Marauder before he is surprised by a miner in the company of the now freed Sgt. Voss.  The turncoat is played by Canadian t.v. legend Pat Mastroianni who started off in the biz starring as Jerry Jeremiah (or, as my writing partner likes to say, “The original Joey Jeremiah” although I’m not sure why because there was only one).  Pat is in great company in an episode full of great local talent which includes the likes of Amanda Brugel, Rob Stewart, Chloe Rose, David Richmond-Peck, Sean Arbuckle, Kerr Hewitt, Alex Courey…and a familiar face from my Stargate days who I’ll be discussing in my next blog entry!

In the meantime, here are some Dark Matter news items to tide you over…

TheTVJunkies preview episode #103:

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http://www.thetvjunkies.com/dark-matter-preview-experiencing-technical-difficulties/?utm_content=buffercd4ee&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

“Zoie Palmer fans rejoice! The Android plays a major part in Episode 3 after a technical error with the ship sets the Raza off-course. But it’s not just her tech abilities that come in handy–One convinces the Android to help out the crew in a pretty ingenious way after the crew start to become suspicious of one another. Really, what can’t she do?”

https://dailygeekette.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/dark-matter-and-killjoys-bringing-sci-fi-adventure-back-to-syfy/

“These two shows, Killjoys and Dark Matter, air on Friday nights after Defiance, and in my opinion, they are definitely worth checking out.”

Melissa O’Neil chats with the gang at The Mind Reels and talks about how I kept the cast guessing until the very last shot of the series:

https://youtu.be/Xw2czgt9v4s

June 24, 2015: Dark Matter episode 102! Pics! Vids! Secrets!

Continuing our behind-the-scenes insight in Dark Matter’s second episode…

1) “Who doesn’t like a good song?”

The boys head down to the planet to complete the delivery and get the hell out of Dodge.  ONE continues to agonize over the situation.  Partly, it’s his desire to take the moral high ground here, but much of it is driven by the guilt he feels.  All evidence suggests that The Raza crew heisted the weapons delivery these miners are anxiously awaiting, their only slim chance at defeating the forces of Ferrous Corp.  Not only will they only be getting HALF the weapons they desperately need but, tragically, they won’t know “no more help is coming.”

For his part, THREE doesn’t seem all that bothered by the approaching calamity and even enjoys himself in the doomed miners’ company, playing drinking games with them while ONE looks on disapprovingly.

Hard to gauge FOUR and SIX’s reaction but it’s almost certain they do feel sympathy for the miners but, unlike ONE, will not allow their emotions to dictate their actions.  FOUR is inscrutable but SIX admits: “Hey, if you’ve got another suggestion that doesn’t involve us dying here with them…” signalling a willingness to help trumped by a reality check.  Again, another suggestion that SIX is TWO’s equal in terms of judgement.

2) “Ferrous Corporation destroyer!”

Concept design by James Robbins
Concept design by James Robbins
Detailed VFX model
Detailed VFX model by VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson and his team.
And finished
And finished

While the guys are down on the ground, boozing it up, the ladies are up in orbit, holding the fort.  TWO and FIVE have a little chat just starts getting interesting…

FIVE: Well, I guess the next big mystery that needs solving is who stole our memories.

TWO: Nobody stole our memories.  It was an accident.

FIVE: No it wasn’t.

At which point they’re interrupted by the Android.  Hmmmm.

They join the Android on the bridge and she informs them that a ship has just dropped out of FTL.  It’s a Ferrous Corp. destroyer.  Uh oh.

3) “That actually went better than I thought it would!”

The Ferrous Corp troops confront the miners.  ONE makes one last ditch effort to head off the coming conflict.  And FOUR proves what he said to THREE earlier on the marauder.  The sword IS faster than the gun.  At least in this case.

Before
Before
And After.
And After

This was a complicated battle sequence that changed from the script stage.  In the initial concept, the Ferrous Corp Officer draws his gun and turns to face them – but FOUR is lightning fast, drawing, slashing, and sheathing his sword in the blink of an eye.  The officer turns, stunned.  A red line forms across the base of his neck and his head slides off.  The second it hits the ground – all hell breaks loose!  FOUR uses the decapitated corpse as a shield while the others draw their guns.

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Walk it off, buddy.  Walk it off.
Walk it off, buddy. Walk it off.

1st AD Brandon Tataryn trying to get that head arc just right…

That is one amazing dummy head!
That is one amazing dummy head!
Deleted shot
Deleted shot
P.S. Anyone catch this quick shot of THREE covering ONE as it all goes down?  Now that's a team player!
P.S. Anyone catch this quick shot of THREE covering ONE as it all goes down? Now that’s a team player!

In the end, the sequence proved overly ambitious but we saved the decapitation thanks to our VFX team.  The officer draws, FOUR slashes and, as the officer spins, you can see his head begin to rotate off his neck.

Corporate guards on standby
Corporate guards on standby
Hey, buddy, no lying about.  We've got a scene to shoot.
Hey, buddy, no lying about. We’ve got a scene to shoot.
Stunt coordinator John Stead giving everyone their marching orders.
Stunt coordinator John Stead giving everyone their marching orders.

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Action star Roger Cross...in action!
Action star Roger Cross…in action!

Another thing to note during this gunfight is the moment when one of the miners gets the drop on a Ferrous Corp guard and shoots him – to no effect.  These soldiers were prepared for the miners antiquated weapons – but didn’t count on the firepower our crew carries.

4) “So, do either of you possess offspring?”

FIVE gives his FOUR a helping hand.
FIVE gives his FOUR a helping hand.

Meanwhile, back on the ship, the ladies entertain.  TWO tells FIVE to make herself scarce and she does, hiding out in the ship’s maze-like vent system.  But being the curious sort, she does some exploring – and ends up in FOUR’s quarters where she helps herself to that puzzle box he found back in episode #101.  While she busies herself trying to solve it…

The Android attempts small talk with the Ferrous Corp escort.  What makes this exchange so brilliant is Zoie Palmer’s delivery – AND the way she drops her gaze at the end of the shot, making the awkwardness all that more palpable.

TWO has a sit down with the Commander of the FCS Deliverance played by the terrific David Richmond-Peck (who I last worked with eight years ago on an episode of Stargate: Atlantis called “Harmony”, coincidentally the last time I worked with Jodelle Ferland as well).  He makes her a deal.  She seems to consider it…

P.S. Melissa O’Neil’s delivery of “How much?” at the end of the scene makes me NOT want to EVER play poker with her.

More tomorrow.  For now, I leave you with some great Dark Matter-related links to check out:

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An episode 2 post-mortem:

http://www.thetvjunkies.com/dark-matter-episode-2-postmortem-moving-on-from-past-events/

An episode 3 preview: “Who Knows What?”

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http://www.threeifbyspace.net/2015/06/dark-matter-episode-3-preview-who-knows-what/

From page to screen:

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http://www.syfy.co.uk/galleries/dark-matter-from-page-to-screen-the-graphic-novel-that-inspired-syfys-hit-show

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 8.07.56 PM

http://www.syfy.co.uk/galleries/why-are-the-raza-crew-so-dangerous-take-a-look-back-at-the-key-moments-from-dark-matter

I chat with The 7th Matrix:

http://the7thmatrix.com/blog/2015/6/23/dark-matter-joe-mallozzi

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular Tam Dixon!

June 23, 2015: The Dark Matter episode 102 breakdown! Pics! Vids! Behind the scenes insights!

Dark Matter episode #102 has aired in most of the world (I know because, this afternoon, I was live tweeting the episode with viewers watching on @syfynl, @SyfyFr, and @Syfy_Spain) so that means I can offer a little behind the scenes insight into the episode…

1) The mugshots…

In the comic book, the assorted mugshots flash up on screen and the visual display delivers the punch.  Director T.J. Scott suggested that the mugshots should flash up one at a time with our Android reading off the names and rap sheet.  It was a brilliant idea that really delivered on that WTF?! reveal.

These mugshots were one of the first things we shot for the show.  The characters of Jace Corso/ONE (Marc Bendavid), Marcus Boone/THREE (Anthony Lemke), and Griffin Jones/SIX (Roger Cross) were shot against a nondescript backdrop on swivel chairs to allow for movement and profile views.

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1st Assistant Art Director Roxanne Borris did her usual spectacular job generating the graphics for these mugshots.  Note the details: fingerprints, DNA scan, voice recall, and last known whereabouts in the lower right corner.  And, of course, the Galactic Authority emblem.

We differentiated two rap sheets from the rest, the one belonging to Portia Lin/TWO (Melissa O’Neil) and the other belonging to Ryo Tetsuda/FOUR (Alex Mallari Jr.) because we wanted to suggest that, unlike the other guys, these two were not necessarily career criminals – OR had yet to be caught and serve any actual time for past transgressions.

On the surface, it may just seem like an arbitrary decision…but as I’ve said in previous interviews, we’re seeding clues throughout this series.  Sometimes, even the subtlest and most inconspicuous of elements turn out to be pieces to some bigger puzzle.

Instead of mugshots, we wanted TWO and FOUR’s photos to be security cam captures.  These were shot weeks later by our stunt coordinator and second unit director John Stead.

The staircase FOUR is coming up is actually a back stairwell to the production office…

While TWO’s quasi industrial setting is actually the back wall of one of our stages…

On the day - Portia Lin!
On the day – Portia Lin!

As for FIVE (Jodelle Ferland) – well, we didn’t do one for her.  Why isn’t she up there with the rest of them?  Well, that’s something she wonders herself…

2) But I CAN smell them!

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 1.33.22 PM

…in one of my favorite scenes in this episode.  Zoie Palmer and Jodelle Ferland (The Android and FIVE) are simply great together.  I love the interaction between their characters – and this is a relationship that develops quite nicely over the course of this first season.  This exchange, by the way, was Zoie’s first audition scene.  Later, during production, she suggested adding a line at the end of the scene: “But I can smell them!”.  It’s small touches like this (and the “Okay, TWO” line that ends the tease, another Zoie Palmer addition) that make the character that much warmer and endearing.

 3) From superbadass to cause for concern…

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Another favorite was the “Rate us from superbadass to cause for concern” marauder conversation between SIX (Roger Cross) and THREE (Anthony Lemke).  These two play off each other so well that their performances would have me laughing every time I’d rewatch this scene.  Anthony’s “You’d rate her higher?  Yeah…” couple with Roger’s look of stunned disbelief is comedy gold.  THREE’s final reach up for the controls and SIX waving him off was an ad-libbed bit of business that perfectly capped this exchange.

4) Who made you team leader?

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And speaking of favorites, this next scene offers up two of my favorite performances by Melissa O’Neil and Marc Bendavid.  From the get-go, TWO is faced with a push and pull from opposing sides – ONE and his ethical altruism embodying a bright future and THREE and his mercenary outlook representing their dark past.  As their leader, she must walk the fine line between them, well aware that doing the right thing is not always the right thing to do, while selfishness comes with a cost as well.  She must balance a commanding presence with empathy for her crew…something that is often easier said than done.

5) When that shuttle comes back, I want you on it.

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After a seemingly inconsequential exchange between THREE and FOUR (“I’ll have your head cut off before you could even draw.” – file that bit of dialogue away for future reference), TWO pulls ONE away to have a little conversation with him.  The marauder and the corridor are actually on two different stages on two different locations and, as a result, these scenes were shot days apart.

Here, TWO completes the balancing act – commanding in the previous scene; empathetic here.  The nice hard smack she gives him before she turns to leave sounded a lot more impressive on the day.  For some reason, the sound of that slap was dampened – which is a shame because I really loved it.

Finally, boys may be boys – but she’s not about to let them get away with it, calling him on it with a parting no look: “And stop staring at my ass!”.  In the words of Eric Cartman: “Respect my authoritah!”

Final two days to get those questions in for Executive Producer Jay Firestone!

June 22, 2015: Dark Matter Episode #103 coming your way!

Ooooh.  Looks like things are heating up aboard The Raza.  What’s in store for our intrepid crew?  Well, if you must know: paranoia, suspicion, revelations, potential sabotage, a shocking discovery, and one of this season’s biggest WTF?! episode enders!

Hey, guess what I did today?  That’s right!  I live tweeted the Dark Matter episode 2 airing with our UK fans.  If I can swing it, I’ll also be live tweeting with Dark Matter fans in France, the Netherlands, and Spain tomorrow.  Check your twitter feeds for the #DarkMatter hashtag!

Hey!  Check out these Dark Matter links:

An interview with the ever-awesome Amanda Tapping on directing, Dark Matter, and her humanitarian work:

http://www.westender.com/arts/reel-people/back-to-deep-space-with-dark-matter-director-amanda-tapping-1.1976123

“However you look at it, Tapping’s game is tight: directing; mentoring; fundraising; parenting. Her plate is full, and yet, despite her countless passion projects and obligations, Tapping isn’t done with acting. Not by a long shot.”

I offer some insight on Dark Matter’s second episode (and look ahead to  episode 3!): 

http://www.thetvjunkies.com/dark-matter-episode-2-postmortem-moving-on-from-past-events/utm_content=buffer6741c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

“For the answers to all these questions, and many more that we had after watching Episode 2, The TV Junkies sat down for a post-episode chat with showrunner Joseph Mallozzi. Mallozzi was kind enough to give us details on each character’s perspective, what it was like filming the episode’s large action sequences and a little preview of what lies ahead in the coming weeks on Dark Matter.”

Dark Matter episode 2 recap:

http://noobist.com/nerdgasm/dark-matter-episode-two-review-recap/

“Some things are worth sticking around for…like the second episode of Dark Matter. The crew of mercenaries begins to deal with the aftermath of learning their true identities, their employer decides to take control of their failed mission, number four asks a very important question, and more on “Episode Two” of Dark Matter. Spoiler alert!”

Celebrating a return to space-based programming:

https://medium.com/@RodFaulkner/killjoys-and-dark-matter-the-welcome-return-of-space-opera-to-tv-cf4d933627da

Dark Matter features explosive action, but it also promises to explore deeper themes involving identity, destiny, and self-determination.  Not too dark or too light, the show strikes an impressive tonal balance between the two, resulting in a compelling and enjoyable viewing experience.”

Dark Matter episode #103 promotional photos:

2Boss (Melissa O'Neil) in action!
2Boss (Melissa O’Neil) in action!
#FOURCLAN (Alex Mallari Jr.) in action.
#FOURCLAN (Alex Mallari Jr.) in action.
Hey!  Where's Robot going?
Hey! Where’s Robot going?
Anxious times on The Raza.
Anxious times on The Raza.

Get the word out!  Dark Matter is addictive viewing!

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular Tam Dixon and Harry!

June 21, 2015: Dark Matter links! Comic book recommendations! And the need to de-stress!

Whoa.  I seriously need to decompress.  I’ve been going at full throttle for almost a year now from the moment Jay called me up to tell me the show was a go.  I went from spinning story ideas to breaking them to writing scripts to prepping the show to producing the show to overseeing elements of post-production.  With my return to Vancouver, I assumed things would slow down a little. but it’s been quite the opposite.  In addition to weighing in on the music and soundscape, I’ve been all over this blog, twitter, and Facebook, trying to get the word out about the show. Not to mention the fact that, not wanting to be caught unprepared if/when the announcement comes, I’ve gone ahead and arced out season 2, come up with the 13 stories (in various stages of detail), and gone ahead and broken our opening two parter.

Back in the day (oh, going back a couple of weeks and far beyond), this little lady used to be my stress-buster:

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I’d prop her up onto my chest and, as Akemi would, we’d “gaze lovingly into each others eyes.  Fifteen minutes…thirty minutes…forty-five minutes…”.  Bubba is more of a momma’s boy and Lulu is a little more aloof so I find myself endlessly perusing senior pug rescues or flagging down owners so that I can stop and say hi to their elderly dogs.

As crazy as it sounds, and despite the fact that Jelly couldn’t really get around the last few years of her life, the house now feels quite empty without her.  This can go one of two ways: I sell the house and move OR I keep the house and adopt a few senior pugs (yes, “few” implies more than “a couple”).  Much will depend on whether or not the show goes for a second season.

Reading usually relaxes me.  And I truly have to make time for the many, MANY books I’ve been meaning to get around to, among the them Alastair Reynolds’ Slow Bullets, John Scalzi’s The End of All Things, “Claire North”‘s Touch, and these…

IMG_8495

Started on them and, for you comic book fans, would highly recommend you check out the following:

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Descenderhttp://comicbookroundup.com/comic-books/reviews/image-comics/descender/1

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ODYC: http://www.excaliburccg.com/odyc-1-from-image-comics-retells-the-tale-in-psychedelic-fashion/ 

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ALEX + ADAhttp://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3329937/comic-book-review-alex-ada-12-high-point-sleeper-hit/

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The Discipleshttp://www.comicbookresources.com/comic-previews/the-disciples-1-black-mask-2015

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Arcadiahttp://io9.com/its-the-matrix-vs-the-apocalypse-in-this-arcadia-1-co-1696811184

Hey, all!  Remember to post your questions for Dark Matter Executive Producer Jay Firestone!  He’ll be dropping by this blog for a Q&A soon!

Your daily dose of Dark Matter links:

http://noeentertainment.com/2015/06/dark-matter-review/

“Most people have a “5 star” rating, I however like a more authentic grading scale. I like when things are so good that I involuntarily thrust my clenched fist into the air in excitement. A.k.a a “hype-fist”. So I give this show, a 5 out of 5 on the Hype Fist Meter.”

http://optimalhumanmodulation.com/2015/06/21/killjoys-and-dark-matter-two-new-must-watch-sci-fi-shows/

“One of the great draws of science fiction is simply the visual bliss it can bring to one’s mind and life, and in both Dark Matter and Killjoys, the art of camerawork, VFX, set-design, and costuming are all top notch. These shows are why HD TV and Tumblr were invented.”

http://talknerdywithus.com/2015/06/21/nature-versus-nurture-the-emerging-personas-of-dark-matter/

“As the second half of SyFy Channel’s pilot episode of Dark Matter is completed, I’m left pondering one of the deeper questions in life: how much of our personality is based on our life experiences, and how much is ingrained in our very makeup?”

http://www.syfy.com/blog/dark-matter-origins

“Dark Matter has some serious science fiction auspices behind it, you could even say that Dark Matter has been a show years in the making. Creators Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie worked together on Stargate SG-1, Atlantis and SGU before bringing the team back together for one more ride to create a gorgeous, epic comic-book. Wait, what?! That’s right Dark Matter began its illustrious voyage to the small screen as a comic book mini series that debuted back in 2012. If you’re looking for full-on submersion in the Dark Matter canon look no further.”

http://io9.com/dark-matter-wonders-how-much-an-unremembered-past-reall-1712951352

“So, is it better to find out who you were and be disappointed or to know nothing? And among the five who discovered a criminal past, whose reaction is the right one? One’s denial? Two’s determination to not let a file dictate her identity? Three’s shrug and good humor ? Four’s conscious choice to ignore it all? Six’s simple happiness at being able to fly?”

http://www.scifivision.com/interviews/2909-exclusive-joseph-mallozzi-on-creating-dark-matter

“I was inspired by the types of shows and the types of stuff I read, like I said a cable show in terms of the structure and the pacing, and then kind of a narrative style. I worked on Stargate for many years, so there’s that. Then I’m a big fan of sort of the Japanese influences, and anime, and comic books, and I think you’ll find all those elements in Dark Matter.”

June 20, 2015: The Jay Firestone Q&A! The Dark Matter Boys’ Choir! Dark Matter links!

Jay Firestone, Dark Matter Executive Producer and President of Prodigy Pictures
Jay Firestone, Dark Matter Executive Producer and President of Prodigy Pictures

Well, as promised in a recent blog entry, I’d like to give you all a chance to get to know our extended Dark Matter family by bringing back the guest Q&A’s I used to do on Stargate.  For those not in the know, it works like this: I announce our blog guest after which you’ll have a few days to upload your questions to this blog’s comment section.  Days, maybe weeks later, our guest will drop by tho answer those questions in a dedicated blog entry! I thought it only appropriate that we kick things off with a key architect of the production: Dark Matter Executive Producer and President of Prodigy Pictures Jay Firestone.

As I’ve mentioned previously, you wouldn’t be watching this show if it wasn’t for Jay.  He put together the deal that got the show ordered, then assembled the prep, production, and post infrastructure that got this show made, and then was heavily involved in all aspects of said production, from casting through scripts to final edits.

If you’ve got questions for Jay – which I’m sure you do! – post them in the comment section.  I’ll be gathering them up and sending them his way Wednesday, so don’t delay!

Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present… The Dark Matter Boys’ Choir:

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Season 3 musical episode here we come!

Some interesting Dark Matter-related links:

http://www.threeifbyspace.net/2015/06/dark-matter-episode-2-review-its-bubba-time/

“Dark Matter is a character-driven show that’s well-written and full of great dialogue. Only two hours in and I already feel like I know these people even though they don’t quite know themselves yet. ”

http://geekswithwives.com/syfy-has-found-dark-matter-pilot-review-spoilers/

“This series has started with action, drama, humor and spaceships and I don’t mind saying that’s right up my street. ”

http://sidelinebuzz.com/dark-matter-is-a-surprising-catch-for-summer-television/

“The last theme of “Dark Matter” is being immersed in the mystery of the characters situations as we know only as much as they do. Finding out the facts and being on the same page as them gives us a more enriched understanding of the story. Because the audience has to constantly guess what will happen next, (as if they are a member of the group themselves), the viewer is going to keep on coming back to know more. Especially since each character has a complex past, which in light of it has to create a present persona. This style stages an interesting mystery for audience members to try and piece together week by week.”

http://www.thetvjunkies.com/dark-matter-pilot-part-2/?utm_content=bufferf9963&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

“Dark Matter‘s second episode amped up the action from last week, as the crew found themselves in conflict with the Ferrous Corporation on the ground and in the sky.”

http://www.tv-eh.com/2015/06/20/review-dark-matter-takes-mysterious-intriguing-next-steps/

“Because I’ve been covering television for years, I have a bit of a suspicious streak when it comes to storylines. I’m always looking for the red herring, the twist, the other shoe to drop. Because of that, watching Episode 2 of Dark Matter turned into an exercise in conspiracy theories and experiments.”

http://www.denofgeek.us/tv/dark-matter/247130/dark-matter-episode-2-review

“What makes Dark Matter unique and potentially great is its innovative exploration of human nature and the concept of being “born bad.”

Dark Matter episode #102 aired last night in North America and Australia.  What’d you all think? I’ll be rolling out the behind-the-scenes pics, vids, and tidbits in the coming days – once most of the rest of the world has caught up – but would love to hear your thoughts and theories!