I’d like to express my appreciation to everyone who reached out over the past twenty-four hours or so to express their anger, sadness, and gratitude after hearing about the cancellation. As I wrote on twitter: “I am both touched and astounded by your passion, your loyalty, and your white hot relentless rage.”
Today, I’d like to try to shed a little light on the circumstances surrounding Dark Matter’s premature demise and let you know what’s next. Before I proceed, however, I’d like to apologize in advance if this entry feels slightly unfocused. Between the stress of the move, the cross-country flight, the jet lag, the time change, the news of the cancellation, the furious attempt to acknowledge the online response, the noisy air conditioner in my new place, and the gauze-like bedroom curtains that do nothing to shield us from the blazing night-time lights of the Roger Center, I’m a little tired. But here goes…
As we rolled through Dark Matter’s third season, I was feeling cautiously optimistic about a renewal. Although the ratings had dipped, it wasn’t a huge fall, ultimately less than 10% off last season’s numbers when all was said and done. Compared to the industry average (the last stats I saw pegged the average drop-off at 25%!) I thought we were looking pretty good – especially when you factor in time-delayed viewers (the DVR crowd). Dark Matter was consistently ranked at the top of cable percentage gainers in overall viewers and the key demos. And, perhaps most heartening at the time was the fact that we were nevertheless one of SYFY’s most-watched shows in 2017.
Working against us was the fact that we weren’t a SYFY original. We were an acquisition. For those not in the know, an original is a series that is developed by the network and, more importantly, owned by the network, allowing them to monetize the show through things like international sales, streaming, etc. The network pays a lot more but presumably reaps the benefits down the line. Ideally. An acquisition, on the other hand, is a show that will cost a network considerably less, but doesn’t offer those alternate revenue streams because there is no ownership stake. Due to the costs of originals, networks may go the acquisition route to round out a programming schedule. Also, at the end of the day, audiences generally don’t base their viewing habits on whether or not a show is an original series or an acquisition. They watch what they like. And the more who watch, the higher the ratings. And the higher the ratings, the more broadcasters can charge advertisers. So, at the end of the day, there are pros and cons, risks and rewards to both approaches.
Dark Matter was an acquisition and, as such, didn’t have the type of money typical of an original series. As such, we had to run a very tight ship – producing on the page and running a highly efficient production. This way, we made sure that as much of the money we had ended up onscreen:
So, despite the fact that we were an acquisition, our ratings were holding (and, I pointed out, really delivering in the +3’s and +7’s delayed viewers). From a creative standpoint, we were ending the season in a BIG way: a space battle and an alien invasion. Season 4 would promise to be all about that massive alien armada and the burgeoning android insurrection. Androids and Aliens! I mean, how much more SYFY scifi can you get than that?!
When we found out we were on the bubble, I offered to fly down to SYFY’s L.A. offices and take them through what we had planned for season 4: “Androids! Aliens! Dr. Shaw! Sarah! Kyrden! Wexler! TWO’s daughter! FIVE’s sister!” They thanked me but informed me that the decision would not be based on the show’s creative, so there was no point in going down to pitch.
If it wasn’t creative then, by process of elimination, one would assume it was financial. I’d heard that SYFY had invested in a lot of original programming for 2017-2018, and the recent announcement of their supernatural slate would seem to confirm as much. The production reached out to see if there was anything we could do to help on that front but, again, it was a no-go.
What do? Well, I knew that Earpers had been instrumental in getting a pick up for their show, so I rallied Dark Matterfans to make some noise. And they did in a big way. But still, we remained on the bubble.
The nature of the show I created and developed over many years wouldn’t allow for a nice, neat wrap up at season’s end. Dark Matter’s narrative was designed as a series of set-ups, developments, and payoffs, with multiple parallel storylines that would eventually cross and converge. Season 1 begins with our crew discovering they are criminals and ends with them being hauled off to prison. Season 2 begins with them inside the Hyperion-8 galactic prison and ends with their failing to head off a corporate war and deny a former ally. Season 3 begins with the crew facing off against that former ally amidst the backdrop of corporate war and ends with the alien invasion. Season 4 will begin with our crew, and humanity’s, response to the alien threat… The fact that I have a five year plan (rather than just making it up as I go along) means I know exactly where the various stories are headed. I know all the answers to all of the questions. And having that foreknowledge allows for a much more satisfying narrative when all of the pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place. It also means that no matter how much I could try to wrap things up in a season finale, many questions would remain unanswered. Still, I figured as a final alternative, I could try my damnedest and offer fans some degree of closure by pitching SYFY a 6-episode miniseries to wrap it up. This, unfortunately, was not an option either.
We, on the Dark Matter production team, tried our damnedest. And you, the fans, tried your damnedest. We ALL tried our damnedest. And still we were cancelled.
So, where does that leave us? Besides cancelled of course? Well, as many of you have pointed out, there are other options we could pursue, although finding someone to step in and take SYFY’s place is easier said than done (for reasons I’ll save for another blog entry).
For now, know that we’re doing everything possible to save the show. It may take weeks before we have our answers but I promise to let you know as soon as I hear anything. In the meantime, do you part by keeping Dark Matter alive. Tweet, retweet, post and respond! Let ’em know what they’re missing!
It’s the Q&A you’ve all been waiting for! Actress Zoie Palmer (Dark Matter’s Android) offers insight into her character, her process, and her love of soup!
Now some of you may not be aware of it, but the Android character was originally envisioned as male. But, when it came time to cast “him”, we cast a wide net, opening up the role to all ethnicities and genders. Zoie was terrific in her first audition and, thus, received a call-back for the second round. In round #2, she delivered a flawless soliloquy of techno-babble that could have only been equaled by Samantha Carter herself. Someone in the room (It may have been me?”) asked if she could do it in a British accent. And she did – once again, flawlessly. “I can do a Jamaican accent too!”she offered. And did. It was a final audition that won her the part…and also set up that infamous Android-speaking-in-accents scene from season!
On to the Q&A…
Night-Cat writes: “I have only one question for Zoie: Does that hair hurt? Because it looks like it hurts. Oh, and also does it require its own antivirus software?”
gforce writes: “Zoie, one thing that I figure would be very hard to do is play the Android with just the right amount of “android-ness”. I think it would be very easy to over play it to the point of silliness, but you seem to have it nailed! Was that a difficult balance to achieve? And, do you use any kind of guide or approach that let’s you do it so well?”
You’re right gforce, figuring out this character was a tough one for me, tougher than I originally realized. Part of that difficulty was due to the fact that she isn’t a human and I have never played a non-human character before. All of my training as an actor is about how to bring as much human as humanly possible (ha) to any given character. Oddly enough this applies to The Android too but figuring out how to apply it to the Android was the greatest of challenges. How does a non-emotional, strictly practical, non-human reach an audience? How does such a creature connect to the other characters? Can she at all? These were all my questions and as the two seasons have gone by and have slowly figured out some of the answers…well, I hope I have. What I love so much about this character is that I am challenged very much to keep pushing to keep digging to make her deeper and stay true to who or what she really is. Very challenging, very rewarding
dasndanger writes: “Hello, Zoie – We (hubby and I) love your character!
1. How difficult is it to keep a straight face while in character?”
Hi dasndanger, thank-you to you and your husband for your support of The Android. As for this question, it can be hard to keep a straight face. It can be very hard if I’m doing a scene with Melissa O’Neil who brilliantly plays the character “TWO.” For some reason she and I have a hard time not laughing all the way through some scenes, couldn’t even tell you why, just seems to happen. So yes is the short answer, but somehow we always manage through.
“2. Is it harder to nail your lines when talking ‘robotically’ than when delivering them in a natural way?”
It was at first. I used to memorize them speaking naturally and then do them in Android on the day. Now for some reason I can’t memorize them unless I do it in The Android tone. Funny hey?
“3. What is one of your favorite aspects of playing an android that is unique to such a character?”
I think I love how totally loyal she is to her crew. Despite the fact that she is not human she would die for any of them if she felt it would save them. I believe that about her. I’m not sure if the writers would agree with me necessarily but I think she would in an instant.
no1zoieplamerfan writes: “Hi Zoie! First I just want to say you’re doing an awesome job as the Android! My questions are as follows 1. What was it about the character that drew you to audition for the role?”
This is a very different character than any I’ve done before. It shouldn’t be hard for an actor to make a layered, deep feelinged human interesting. But to make a machine interesting, to have none of the tools that us actors rely so heavily on such as facial expressions, nervous ticks, hand gestures, to have none of those and to make a character interesting is a great challenge. I have to pause here and say that I couldn’t do it at all if it wasn’t in the writing. So much of what makes The Android compelling is because Paul and Joe have made her so. They have written scenes that have allowed me some freedom and have just been interesting in and of themselves. The challenge of this character and ironically the humanity of her was what drew me to her and still does.
“2. Where were you when you got the news that you had gotten the part?
3. If you could play any other character, who would it be and why? Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!”
I think I was at home when I found out I got the part, pretty sure at home in my living room. As for what other character would I play, I think perhaps THREE. The female version of THREE would be fun to have a kick at.
shouldwritemore writes: “1. Who has u in stitches the most whilst shooting ur scenes?”
You may not believe this but its definitely Alex Mellari Jr. who plays “FOUR.” He is funny funny funny, not to mention smart and handsome and talented, not a bad guy to work with at all!
Mike A. writes: “Zoie: Are you lobbying Joe and Paul to let you wear something different, just once? (And not a spacesuit
Actually, are you lobbying them for anything? Story ideas, cooking tips, VCR repair tricks…..?”
Ha! Well, I don’t know that I would call it lobbying but once in a blue moon I mention an idea but it’s not so much a big storyline idea or an outfit idea but just a moment here and there in a scene. Paul and Joe don’t need any help from the likes of me, they know exactly what they’re doing and they’re fantastic at it.
shyone65 writes: “Hi Zoie
1. Which is easier for you reciting Dr Lewis’s medical Jargon or The Androids Technical knowledge?”
For sure Dr Lauren Lewis’s lines were easier than The Android’s mainly because I understood what I was talking about. Sometimes with The Android I have to read it several times to really get a handle on it, or I have to look it up online, or I have to text Joe, or I have to panic…y’know, one of those things.
“2. Do you like performing your own stunts?”
I do, very much. That said, I can’t perform them all. John Stead our brilliant stunt coordinator really choreographs some very challenging stunt work and then we rely very heavily on out outstanding and mind boggling stunt performers who come in and do extraordinary things all while making it look like it’s no big thang. We are very lucky with our entire stunt crew, they really are exceptional and it is a great belief of mine that stunt performers deserve a great deal more recognition that they often get. If I didn’t have stunt doubles on this show, believe me, you’d notice!
“3. What was your favorite book when you were growing up?”
I very much liked The Catcher In The Rye.
relaxygirl writes: “Zoie, I mean Ms. Palmer. What do you think of the name Minerva? Also, I’m a huge fan of Instant Star- any comment there? Wait one more question- Why no responses on your tweet page? You would make many peeps happy.”
Minerva? Well wasn’t that a characters name on HARRY POTTER? I looooooooooved the HARRY POTTER books and movies A LOT. So, Minerva is a good name…. sorta. I’m thrilled you liked INSTANT STAR, I loved shooting that show and loved the cast very very much. They were a very talented group of peeps and I still see them all from time to time.
Verb1970 writes: “3 questions for Ms Palmer
1) how’s the hair porn doing now that the “trump do” is so popular?”
Ha, I’m not sure I know….
James writes: “Hey Palmer! Your AWESOME btw!
Q1: what’s your number?”
People keep saying my number is 7
“Q2: what’s ya address?”
“Q3: when ya gettin your own show? ( unanimous pole: we’d sit and watch you pick your teeth for an hour if we got the chance)”
I will very soon do a “periscope” of me picking my teeth. You’re welcome.
Anna Cherry writes: “I really enjoyed the scenes where Zoie played the Android that we know as well as the Android in Red when looking for faults in her programming. It was amazing to watch, how was it to play both parts?”
It was actually a ton of fun to do the twinning scenes. That’s what its called when you’re in a scene with yourself. I loved everything about that because you have to pay a great deal of attention to what you’re doing. You have to make very specific choices and you have to try to remember what you did when you were in the scene as the other character. There’s a lot going on and I loved it. The challenge of course with twinning The Android is that they’re not so different from one another and so I really had to figure out how to make them different enough that you could see it, even a little, but not so different that it wasn’t believable.
Tanja writes: “So here are my 3 questions
~ Did you ever got hurt during stunt scenes?”
I have been hurt in stunt scenes but nothing major, bruises mainly. It’s to be expected that you may be a bit stiff or tender the day after a major fight sequence but overall they are very safe. We have an incredible stunt coordinator in John Stead and safety for him is paramount so I always feel completely relaxed trying anything he asks of me because I know he’s through it through a hundred times before bringing it to me.
“~ How do you get prepared for your scenes?”
So much of the “prep” work is done before I get to set because in tv you shoot quickly as there’s a lot to do in a day, so the bulk of most actors’ work is done at home, just you and the script and your imagination. In terms of how I get prepared to actually shoot, I’m someone who needs some time alone, so I’m often in my trailer as much as possible when I’m not needed to shoot in order to go over my lines, focus, get centred, get out all of the stuff from my head that I don’t need in the next scene. And then, and this may sound strange but all the practical stuff like being hungry or thirsty or whatever, you don’t want to be thinking about any of that while you’re shooting a scene. You don’t want to be thinking, “boy I’m hungry” when you’re trying to be present in a moment with your acting partner, so I make sure I eat well and I have water with me etc. Sounds all a bit trite but as actors our bodies and minds are all we have to use so they need to be free of unnecessary stuff.
“~ Can you influence how the character of the Android will grow? How you like her to be?”
Both Joe and Paul are amazing at what they do, writing the show, creating the characters, the stories, the arcs of each of the characters so if I’m honest I typically feel great trusting them to do what they do best. The other thing that’s so great about them is that they also are very open to any thoughts we have about our characters or storylines so if I bring them something regarding my characters I’m always met with an openness to discuss which I believe is all an actor could possibly ask for and I’m very grateful to get to work with them both.
Brianna Culberson writes: “What type of pet would The Android have on the Raza? What would she name it?”
Probably a pet rat. Dunno why, just seems about right. Probably name it RATBOT
Robin Hess writes: “Hi Zobot!!
Q1. What is the hardest thing you have you have encountered with the android’s outfit?”
We often have a “mic pack” on for sound. It has to be attached to your body somewhere but there’s not a lot of places to put it in a skin tight “onsie” Also, once it is attached, going to the bathroom is a good time, I’ll let you picture all that in your head. Enjoy.
“Q2. How would you describe the android’s personality since she is an android?”
Clinical. Dry. Rational. Optomistic. Pesimistic. Child like. Literal. Those are all words that come to mind.
“Q3. What have you found you like or dislike about playing this character?”
I like how in the moment she is, how honest, how real, how she is one hundred percent in whens she’s doing anything. I have enjoyed figuring out how to play her and how to bring little nuances that hopefully communicate different things. I don’t think there is anything I dislike about playing “The Android,” but it is challenging in a way I haven’t experienced with other roles I’ve had. Obviously my dialogue is a challenge and I have to spend a great deal of time being very focused to learn it. It’s funny. The part that is the most interesting for me with this characters is also what is the most challenging, but overall I very much enjoy playing her.
Casey Van Cleve writes: “How hard is it to learn the lines of a Android?”
It’s hard but it’s gotten easier for me now that it’s my second season. I’m starting to get used to it.
Jacquelyn May writes: “One- How long does it take to put your number tat on?”
Not long at all, Lynda McCormack, our wonderful makeup artist is incredible at what she does and could probably put it on with her eyes closed now, so its pretty quick. Taking it off on the other hand is a whole other story, it takes longer to do that because its a professional grade fake tattoo so it really takes a liking to my neck.
fpmolina writes: “My Android questions three:
1) are you going to be using anymore accents this season, loved the jealous accent scene from last season.”
Hmmm, can’t tell you that, they’ll kill me if I tell you things… I don’t want to die
“2) do you think you will ever get a love interest on the show?”
I sure hope so, poor wee Android needs a little bit of love in her life doesn’t she? Sad lil lonely lil droidette needs someone to call her own, so heres hopin’
“3) what is the best thing you have eaten on set?”
Soup. They always make a really great soup and I LOVE soup!!!!!
Michelle Deen-Alston writes: “1) Will we see more of android this season?”
I believe you will.
“2) You play the android so well, but I was wondering, is there a lot of blooper or are you able to stay in character?”
There’s definitely bloopers. I mess my lines up from time to time. Sometimes they just won’t stay in my head or I get tongue tied and then keep messing up the same word. Often if Melissa O’Neil and I are in a scene together, there will be at least one take we can’t get through. I’m not sure what it is with the two of us but we laugh for some reason. Just seems to happen.
Maggie L80 writes: “Thanks for setting up the Q & A with Zoie. My questions: Any inspirational performances that you draw upon for The Robot?”
Not specifically for The Android but every time I watch an actor who inspires me, it’s in there y’know. You take them all with you. They’re in you then and everything in me gets drawn on and some of it is used in a character I play. The Android is no different. She is different parts of me, my life, my friends, things I’ve seen and done. It all gets accessed and the parts I need get put into the work. So in short, everything inspires each character I play.
“Your favorite color?”
I don’t have one. I’ve never had one. And when I was a kid I would make up a colour when anyone asked me what my fave colour was. I’d say blue, or yellow or red or whatever but inside I knew I was just making it up. I’ve never had a fave color or number or anything like that. I’ve never really understood it.
cathyweaver30 writes: “Zoie,
1) Will we ever see @cloverblob in an episode?”
If she has anything to do with it, then YES.
“2) What is your favorite episode of Dark Matter and why?”
Thats a tough question because there are so many great eps but I really enjoyed the very first ep of the whole series because it really felt like the audience and the characters were in the same place of the complete unknown. It was a huge episode of discovery for everyone and I thought it was some really great television.
Cheri P writes: “Kudos for the amazing job you have done as The Android.”
“1. You indicated that you were not a fan of working out or going to the gym. How do prepare for the physical demands of your character?”
I don’t really prepare physically. I just kinda jump in there and go for it. It’s kind of how I deal with anything physical, I see it in my head and then I just go for it!
“2. Who was your childhood idol?”
Hmm, I’m not sure that I had an idol, but I very much looked up to Meryl Streep as a young kid and she’s been a huge inspiration to me in my career. She’s obviously a tremendously talented actress who can seemingly do just about anything. I think what I respect about her so much is her commitment and dedication to her craft. She’ll do nearly anything to create a believable character and she will immerse herself in it until she gets it. I have a huge amount of respect for that.
@BaddassMer writes: “does Android get pulled apart and put back together this season”
… ummm pulled apart? Ouch! I sure hope not, but if so… OOOOOOUUUUCCCCHHHHH!
“any other parts of you’re anatomy get molded”
An Android never talks about her mouldy parts.
anthrod127 writes: “Question for Zoie, will you be kicking more ass in season 2? How much of the stunt fighting do you do? “
You never know, there may very well be the odd Android fight scene in season two. As far as how much I do, the answer is, I do as much as I feel I can. Also, John Stead the stunt coordinator checks in with me to see how comfortable I am with a move. If I’m in any way uncomfortable, then our extraordinary stunt doubles jump in. There are some things John would just automatically give to the double because it’s simply not safe for me to attempt. The stunt doubles are so talented and make me look outstanding so I’m more than happy to stand back and let the pros do work their magic.
cpinzone85 writes: “Hi Zoie, first I just wanted to say you’re a magnificent woman, incredible actress and a huge inspiration in my life. I have so many questions for you but I’ll ask just a few:
1. What’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever done for you?”
Hmmm, weirdest? I don’t think of many things as ‘weird” but I think seeing my face tattooed on someone still catches me off guard. It’s just something I don’t think you ever get used to, seeing your face on the anatomy of someone else. Fans have made birthday video messages for me in the past which was so lovely and so thoughtful and really made me smile and feel good – that was a lovely gesture that really meant a lot to me. I’m so genuinely grateful to the fans because their passion for the show or for us actors is real and genuine and very special. It’s true and meaningful and it may sound all a bit cheesy but I’m very moved by the people who send letters and reach out.
“2. If you were single and I asked you out on a date, would you say yes?”
Yes, of course.
Janie writes: “So… Zoie Palmer: you are my favorite android of all time. I am so excited to see you in my living room again! (huge Lost Girl fan). Your cat should take a lead from Joe and give fan shout outs on Twitter!! Thanks to both of you for doing this.
1. I saw an interview where you said that you do indeed think the android has a range of emotions so your affect is never totally flat. Is it hard to stay so reserved the whole time?”
It’s not hard in that I want to burst into emotion all the time but the challenge is to somehow portray more with very few tools. That’s what I’m often trying to figure out in any given scene.
“2. I’ve never seen the android smile. Does she or can she smile?”
It’s both a good observation and a good question. I believe The Android can smile but I’m very resistant to having her do it. I want to use it when it really calls for it and I think there will be a scene where I go, “yes, it should happen here”.
“3. What keeps you busy in your free time and do you have any upcoming projects between season 2 wrap and the beginning of season 3 (we all cross our fingers for S3).”
Everything keeps me busy when I’m not shooting. The rest of my life really. When we’re in production it’s very busy and many things end up on a kind of hold until you’re wrapped. So once I’m wrapped I like to reintroduce myself to life, to friends, to my hobbies, to reading, to walking, to my pets, to filling myself up so that I may bring more and more to my characters.
“3.1 (: It’s always about your hair, right? How the hell do they get it into that curl and how long does it take you to get it out?”
The hair is quite a process performed by the very talented Renee Chan. The whole thing takes approximately an hour but it’s in two stages. First it’s the curlers and then I’m sent over to have my makeup done. Once that done, I go back to Renee who then begins the artwork and in truth I don’t know what she does. I have my face in my script running my lines and then at some point she asks me to bring my head up so she can finish the front and thats it. It’s done. It is complicated and because she’s so good she just does it everyday and looks incredible.
Templeton writes: “Question for Zoie, will Android and Four finally hook up this season, or is she just too emotional for his taste?”
The Android and Four eh? Wow, there’s an interesting combo. I think the word on the street is that the strong silent types are dynamo in the bedroom so, well, here’s hoping.
Jordan Thane writes: “Qns for Zoie – The Android was fairly isolated in the first season, will we see her included more in the action, maybe leave the ship to go on missions, get in a fight or two, meet some other Androids?”
Hmmmm, you may just be on to something there.
“We know Kris Holden Ried is guesting and because I love you two working together, do you get to work with him?”
Maybe maybe maybe.
“What are you most excited for us to see in this upcoming season?”
For you guys to see it, I think you’re going to love it!!!
bambamfans writes: “Thanks Zoie for responding to our questions. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your performance as the Android and what she’s brought to the Raza crew. I loved the stunts, the accents & I’m fascinated with the way you speak in the role. I hope one day you’re invited to an Aussie convention, test out the accent.
1. I realise you can’t speak yet regarding the Android’s exciting arc and perhaps even physical appearance in Season 2 for spoiler reasons. Could you share your reaction when Joe and Paul shared what they had in mind for the Android or when you read the first script?”
I love all of Joe and Paul’s ideas for my character. It may sound like I’m just saying that but it’s really true. These guys know exactly what they’re doing and every time they tell me what they have in store my reaction is “wow, you’re brilliant”.
“2. Is there a member of the cast that you didn’t have many solo scenes with in Dark Matter Season 1 that you’d like to have a scene with and why?”
Well I don’t often have solo scenes with many of the other cast members. I had several with “Five” in season one and really enjoyed that and I’d happily welcome solo scenes with any of them. Each of the actors brings something really special to their character so it’s so much fun to have a real moment with them from time to time.
“3. Have you ever said you had a particular skill to get a job and then had to perform it? If so, what was the skill?”
Ha, well early on in my acting career I think I said I could do anything anyone asked me if I could do. “Miniature carvings out of tree bark? Yes absolutely, of course I can.” But you do have to be careful because if they’re asking, it’s likely because you’re going to need to actually do it.
Audrey E. writes: “First of all, THANK YOU Jo’ and Zoie for this wonderful opportunity !
– Also, Jo’ talked about a new outfit for the Androïd this season ? What do you think of it ?”
I really like the new outfit for The Android, but I also miss the old one sometimes. T hey each have a very different vibe to them and inform the character quite a bit.
Melissa writes: “1 question: Will you marry me?”
Michelle writes: “So question for Zoie, when she’s at the console typing does she ever type out sentences to see if anyone is paying attention?”
I do type out sentences and I have this slightly paranoid theory that the keyboards are actually hooked up to printers that are always on and are printing every random thing I type in some room somewhere that’s hooked up to twitter or something and there’s some account somewhere where everyone can log on and see it all. Member how I mentioned paranoid? Yeah.
seaskycafetriste writes: I am glad that I went to Philadelphia to meet you.
Q3: in the real world, if you have the capability of the Android, which skill you want the most? And what will you do with this skill?”
In my life I’m very emotional, very sensitive and can’t shut that off. In part it’s very useful for my chosen career but it would be nice to have the rational of an Android sometimes. I’m sure many people would relate to that, just to make decisions based on reason and not emotion. I don’t think I would really want to live that way, but it might be nice sometimes.
adherentbodhi writes: “@ZoiePalmer are you excited that DM is aired in Taiwan and Asia?”
I think it’s great anywhere Dark Matters airs! I think it’s such a fun show and I really hope it’s enjoyed everywhere!
Alicia writes: “Is the Android forever learning, like any AI? Which would mean that the more time she spends with the crew, the more she understands them and their feelings. She doesn’t need to literally feel to actually understand what feelings are. So will she become way more “empathetic” I guess in a way, for this new season? It would only make sense for an AI to explore deeper and deeper.”
This is a wonderful question. I do believe The Android is always learning, I do believe she “evolves” so to speak and figures out each situation she’s in from other things she’s learned from the past, from the other crew members etc. In terms of whether or not she’ll become more empathetic – hmmmm, we may just have to wait and see.
Carl writes: “For Zoie,
1. You worried way too much about that pesky other android, you are way more interesting and more attractive for it.”
That’s very kind of you Carl. I will try to remember that
“2. How do you express so much with your movements and expressions as subdued as they are?”
Again thank you. It’s a challenge definitely and one I’m still working on. This character is great in that the more I play her the more I’m learning about how to play her. It’s a first for me in a lot of ways to play such a character so just as The Android learns about people and things, so do I about the character and how she works.
“3. Have we seen the end of the alternate/copy of you that was diagnosing you? Please don’t let her come back and wipe you out!”
Hmmm, you mean The Red Android. She is scary isn’t she? She’s sooooooo, well, Android like. I’m not sure we’ve entirely seen the last of her just yet
CathyL writes: “Hiya, so glad to be able to ask Zoie questions. 1. Did Joe follow up on his promise to Cloverblob to have her in S2?”
This is a question for Cloverblob’s representatives. I know nothing of this.
2. Since you play The Android, do you prefer Android phones over IPhones?
Ha! I own an iPhone.
3. What kind of music does The Android like most, I’m guessing Techno.”
I think The Android is partial to classical music.
Ranae writes: “My question is did it require a lot of takes when the jealous android spoke with several different accents? I can’t watch that scene without cracking up? Your portrayal of the android is so fun and engaging.”
Thanks very much! That was such a fun scene for me to do. I have to say, I was actually quite nervous because I had to do them all in one take. I couldn’t mess up any of the accents, so I was nervous. It’s hard to flip from accent to accent so I wasn’t entirely sure I could pull it off. I was lucky and it worked out, but it was definitely a really fun moment for me.
Sandy writes: “Questions for Zoie…
1. If the Android were to meet Dr. Lauren Lewis (aside from noticing the physical resemblance hee) what kind of interactions do you think they have… would their be lots of scientific curiosity?”
I think Dr. Lauren Lewis would be both fascinated with and protective of The Android. I think she’d want to learn everything she could about her but also she’d feel like she had a responsibility to be ethical with The Android and to make sure nobody mis-treated her. I imagine Dr. Lauren would keep The Android a secret for quite a long time.
“2. What do you like to do during your downtime while filming on set?”
I read the next scripts. I get on my phone and chat to friends. I eat and eat and eat. I hang out with the rest of the cast, or with Joe or with Ivon, or anyone else who’ll hang out with me. Just about anything is what I do.
“3. If you weren’t an actor what would you passionately pursue?”
I’m not sure really. I only know I definitely couldn’t sit in an office all day. I’d likely do something with animals. I just know that whatever I do in life, it needs to have some freedom involved. I’m not the kind of personality who could sit in a building at a desk. It’s just not in my nature.
Lily writes: “Questions for Zoie:
1) What is the typical lead time of receiving the script for an episode prior to shooting?”
It’s different from show to show, but typically a few days to a week. Joe and Paul are very good to us and get us the scripts as soon as possible.
“2) Have you ever consider leaving the bar-code tattoo on your neck to see how the public react when off set?”
I never take the barcode off at the end of a shoot day. I just go home with it on and take it off there. And yes, I have absolutely forgotten it’s on and found myself in the grocery store with a lot of people staring at me. As it’s a tattoo I forget it’s there and all of a sudden I’m wondering why I’m getting a lot of weird looks.
“3) Does the Android sleep, recharge, or neither?”
You may just find out that very thing this season. Or you might not. But you might….. you know, maybe.
Angela Merry Pavlica writes: “Do you have a middle name? If so would you tell us fans what it is?”
Sure my middle name is “Ann” which means that my initials spell ZAP.
What motivates/inspires Zoie Palmer to be such a beautiful human being inside out?”
That’s a very kind thing to say. I have been so very lucky in my life. I had the good fortune of being born in a great country and then coming to yet another great country full of opportunities. I have wonderful parents who taught me about the kind of person I want to be in this world. It was very important to them that I treat others, whoever they may be, with respect and kindness and I’m very grateful to them for that. You don’t get anywhere on your own in this world and that’s no different for me. I had a lot of help to get where I am and so I’m just trying to spread it around a bit. There a lot of people in this world that do a whole lot more than I. I’m just trying to do my part
Work progresses on Dark Matter season 2. Today brought a fresh round of auditions – and a handful of very strong candidates. Casting the part of Nyx is going to be especially challenging because our casting director, Lisa Parasyn, and her team have assembled some truly terrific talent. Some great choices among the candidates who auditioned for Devon, Misaki, and Arax Nero as well.
Construction on our new sets begins next week and we have some pretty amazing plans in the works (but you already know that, don’t you?). I’ll be sure to snap plenty of “Before” pics so that you can compare once the show airs next year.
Yes, with Dark Matter‘s second season still a ways away, here are a few visual tidbits to tide you over – a sneak peek at what we have in the works for you compliments of Production Designer Ian Brock, Art Director Russell Moore, Set Designer Doug Slater, and Concept Illustrator Sanford Kong…
“Dark Matter took a bloody trip down memory lane in its memorable sixth episode, giving us a huge insight into the history of some of the crew members, and adding new fuel to the raging nature vs. nurture debate.”
” Although the hunt for resources is still center stage as the main problem to be solved in Dark Matter, some much-needed back story came out of “Episode Six,” and my expectations were sent into a tailspin. It’s a pleasant sort of disorientation, and the questions and theories these new details inspire greatly enhances my enjoyment of the series, which is quickly becoming a highlight of Syfy’s summer lineup.”
“The show is building on their drives and gives them each a reason to push forward and accomplish a specific goal. Once we figure out One, Two, and Three’s official pasts, we’ll finally be rounded out. Although I’m suspecting that their memory wipes were an agreed plan, I do like that each character isn’t tied to another in any specific way. Good diversity. More episodes like this please.”
” The future of the show depends on if Dark Matter can dole out information on these mysterious backstories while keeping the present interesting. It’s not an easy task, and to Dark Matter’s credit, it’s done a decent job of it up to now.”
And a nice little write-up of Episode 105 and the show in general I missed:
“Dark Matter then is a fantastic addition to Monday night television and, if the ratings stay strong, should become a nice little earner for the Syfy channel. It certainly has all the elements needed to go the distance, with good characters and a sense of mystery underpinning the story. “
***Post your spoiler-free Dark Matter-related questions in the comments section and I’ll answer them in tomorrow’s dedicated “Dark Matter Q&A” blog entry! U.K. and international post-premiere Q&A’s to follow!***
Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular ponytail!
“Dark Matter’s 13-episode first season is destined to be an action-packed mix of drama, humour and adventure in the mould of Stargate and Firefly. Any similarity to the former is not coincidental given that Mallozzi and Mullie have a long history with that franchise.”
“I’m always drawn to the underdog a little bit, I’m drawn to those characters that are a little bit outside, a little bit quirky, a little bit disconnected. I think there’s a ton of places you can go. Even on Lost Girl I think every character felt a little bit like an outsider. It was a group of outsiders. They all sort of found each other and connected in that way.”
“Thematically for the show, you have the two poles, in a way, of how to approach life,” Lemke explained. “We have the side that is very moral, and the other is very instrumental. Whatever you can do to live another day is kind of what my character is all about.”
Great Anthony Lemke (Dark Matter’s THREE) video interview:
“Where,” you no doubt are asking, “is that awesome VFX -laden trailer you promised us?” Well, they’re stuck in the pipeline (like Homer Simpson in that waterslide) and, hopefully, will be coming your way BEFORE the premiere – because, after all, that’s the whole point of releasing this trailer: to get you even more excited about Dark Matter (as if that were possible!) and let any potential fence sitters and naysayers know just how cool this show will be!
Another teaser promo, compliments of Space Channel. “We’re dangerous!”:
A little insight into the construction of our space stations…
We wanted a uniform look for our space stations suggestive of a single architectural vision – but one we could play with, making changes to background and structure to vary the looks as our crew visited different locations.
We went out to our former Stargate Production Designer, James C.D. Robbins, who came back to us with a terrific concept…
James Robbins: “The first concept drawings that Joe & Paul wanted me to work on was for a space station. I was forwarded a handful of images as direction. The PD was looking to make the whole structure compact- still incorporating modular elements but more like a series of steel geodesic mushrooms radiating from a central column.
My first pass at the space station was well received, but the idea of modular pods attached in an organic cluster was nixed as the physicality of shooting the ‘ins and outs’ of sets that all have a different direction for “up” was deemed impractical.”
James Robbins: “So I developed a single axis column design topped with a “pod” that was the size of a small city. After a few notes, the final version that went to VFX is below.”
Once we’d locked our design, it went to our VFX team lead by Visual Effects Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson.
Lawren Bancroft-Wilson: “When it comes to building a space station (of which our team has done a great deal over the years) we know it always comes down to how much detail can we add to sell just how immense the scale needs to be. We were lucky to have a good deal of lead-time to really hammer out the needs of a civilian inhabited space station model. Communication relays, habitable sections, docking bays, etc. Being able to look down the road we also knew that we would be required to create variations on these deep space outposts that were build from generally the same principles and resources. The design we took from the concept had to be modular in a way that a space station on one side of a galaxy would be reminiscent of another, but different enough to reflect the economics of what that particular pocket of space could support.”
Lawren Bancroft-Wilson: “Through the various iterations of the grey scale models, you can see detail being built up and scale being accessed (as seen with our ship in one of the docking bays).”
Lawren Bancroft-Wilson: “Developing the light kit helped to give life on the inside of the space station, deciding what areas were habitable and which were not. One of the really nice details of this particular build was how much of the interior of the docking bays we were able to create so that once our ship is inside we can actually see out the windows to the realistic 3D interior of the bay.”
Although the architectural construction of these way stations will be similar, looks will vary…
Today’s entry is dedicated to longtime blog regular ponytail!
“There is a lot of dark sci-fi out there that is great,” he explains. “But a lot of fans are missing a fun sci-fi series and there hasn’t been one on a ship-based show for awhile. We set out to make a fun show with a sense of humour while at the same time putting viewers on the edge of their seat every week.”
Lari Burkhart offers up her list of What To Watch In June: Among her picks…
“What do you get when you have 6 amnesiacs and a spaceship? A SyFy original series, obviously. Throw in an android and the writers from Stargate and you’ve also got me sitting on the couch anxiously awaiting this premiere!”
“The small screen is due for a new sci-fi saviour, and this could be it.”
The ship’s underbelly! Probably my favorite standing set.
Two floors of fun!
Note the floor design and texturing. It’s the little touches…
Looking up at the second level. Check out the ceiling designs. Never underestimate the importance of floors and ceilings!
Watch your step!
Readying for Day #1!
Shooting in the underbelly, episode #101.
Finally – missed this the first time around. Here’s a Stargate reference from Archer:
And, speaking of Stargates, check out this almost fully functional 3D printed stargate.
No, it can’t send you to other planets. Yet!
*** Oh, and one more thing! Tomorrow, at 12 PST, 3 EST, I’ll be chatting with Simon Applebaum on Tomorrow Will Be Televised (BlogTalk Radio).
Good Saturday morning, Dark Matter followers! Catch co-creator/executive producer Joseph Mallozzi LIVE Monday on Tomorrow Will Be Televised, the program all about TV. He’ll take your phone calls and chatroom reaction to Syfy’s new series–Monday at 3 p.m. Eastern time, noon Pacific on BlogTalk Radio (www.blogtalkradio.com) and Brooklyn Independent Media HD (NYC-wide on Verizon Fios/Brooklyn-wide on Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems and RCN). Tune in and spread the word!
“If this series not popular, I really can’t believe.”
– Akemi last night after watching the producer’s cut of episode #113, our season finale.
Her words echo the sentiments of my writing partner who said pretty much the same thing, in less economical fashion, after viewing prod cuts of our first two episodes:
“So, having seen the first two eps in close to finished form, I’m left thinking this: If this show doesn’t succeed, then I don’t know what people want. This is as good as television sci-fi gets. Seriously, if we don’t get a second season, then I should just retire and you should go to the Sorbonne and eventually open a restaurant.”
Well, I’m cautiously optimistic because, when it comes right down to it…
Me: I hope the show does well.
Akemi: Me too. The dogs have to eat.
Wow! The gang at MenLifestyle offer up this handy guide to Dark Matter complete with series overview, character descriptions, and cast bios:
And, finally, thanks to everyone who inquired after or offered well-wishes for Jelly. She’s been very low energy these past couple of days. At this points, it’s in the hands of the vets and, hopefully, their ability to locate the treatment she needs.
Jelly, of course, thanks each and every one of you for your concern.
Check ’em out. A day too late for the wrap party, but pretty awesome nevertheless – my custom-made Hieronymous Bosch Garden of Earthly Delights tie suit from The Knotty Tie Company (http://www.knottytie.com). I think I may follow up with a round of Salvador Dali this summer.
Alas, there were many, many more crew members in attendance – but between all the drinking and snacking and execution of awesome dance moves, I didn’t have a chance to snap them all. But I’ll miss them no less!
A sneak peek at the Dark Matter season finale. In the final shot, the crew enters the bridge as this season’s mysterious Big Bad swivels around in the command chair to reveal their true identity: Space Cat!
See, this is the type of behind the scenes photos fans love. Actor Anthony Lemke (Dark Matter’s THREE) eats an egg salad sandwich.
While actor Roger Cross (Dark Matter’s SIX) enjoys his morning coffee. Try to take it away from him and THIS happens –
Meanwhile, back on the ship –
Someone forgot actress Jodelle Ferland (Dark Matter’s FIVE) in the airlock!
Actor Alex Mallari Jr. (Dark Matter’s FOUR) shuttles our special guest star back to her trailer between scenes.
Actor Marc Bendavid (Dark Matter’s ONE) wants your coffee.
Well, well, well. Look who it is. Director Martin Wood (Stargates SG-1 and Atlantis) hits the streets of Toronto – in his trademark shorts. Yes, if there are two thing I remember about Martin Wood from our days on Stargate, it’s: 1) His penchant for wearing shorts year round, and 2) His onscreen cameo character, Major Wood, always lugged around a giant wrench.
Alas, no giant wrench on Dark Matter (but who knows? We’ve yet to shoot his episode, #111) but the shorts are still in full effect!
We had our final (?) notes session with Executive Producer Jay Firestone the other day. Soon after, we made the necessary changes and released our season finale, episode #113. As I may have mentioned, I want to approach each season as a instalment in a book series. And so, #113 offers answers to many of the questions we set up over the course of our initial 13 episode journey and includes one HUGE reveal. But I made a point of scripting it in a way that keeps the mystery reveal a secret…until our very last day of production. A LOT of theories swirling around set right now…
B 1st Assistant Camera Marcel Janisse enjoys lunch in the infirmary’s isolation chamber.
I’m thinking it’s high time for another mailbag. If you’ve got questions about the show, post away. I’ll answer later in the week.
I’m also thinking of doing one of those reddit AMA’s. How do they work?
Finally, here’s another look at the Dark Matter teaser trailer:
Over 47k+ views and counting! Share! Share! Share!
When SyFy told us they wanted to produce a one minute teaser trailer for the show, my initial response was “Impossible!”. We only had two locked episodes with no finished visual effects. How could they possibly produce a compelling trailer?
Well, I stand corrected. This first teaser trailer is pretty darn terrific. A big thanks to Gary Morgenstein, Katherine Nelson, Bill Trojanowski, Samantha Agnoff and the rest of the gang at SyFy Publicity & Marketing! Great job on this one and I look forward to the next VFX-laden trailers to come!
SyFyFridays returns to SyFy June 12th with an SF triple header! A two part premiere of Defiance kicks things off at 8:00 p.m. And Dark Matter has the 10:00 p.m. slot.
Circle the date on your calendars and SHARE THE HELL out of our trailer!
And here’s a little behind-the-scenes pic to tide you over until tomorrow. Locked and loaded.
“LONDON — TV series “Dark Matter” is going global on Syfy following its U.S. premiere on the channel on June 12.
It will air on Syfy in 86 countries, including the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Australia. Regions where it plays on the channel include Asia, Central Europe and Latin America. […]”
Great news! This means that the next time I travel to Tokyo, I’ll be able to stay in and watch Dark Matter on Universal Channel (Japan)!
We’re still a ways from finished visual effects, but there’s some very positive early buzz on the show. People who have watched the rough cuts of our first two episodes are very excited by what they’ve seen. The feedback has been fantastic and we keep hearing the same things: “Great characters!”, “Great sets!” and, most importantly “Fun!”.
Let’s celebrate with the final instalment in our Four Days of Tabor Calchek feature:
I saved the best for last. This one’s going to be my new desktop wallpaper!
Can’t wait to see the Tabor Calchek cosplayers at Comic Con next year.
The awesome Bruce McDonald was in the ship’s underbelly this morning, shooting his final scene for episode #107. Love this guy. It was a pleasure working with him – and an equally great pleasure watching his director’s cut of same episode (minus that outstanding scene). It’s going to be great. But don’t take it from me. I screened it for Akemi the other night and she couldn’t stop talking about it.
Another director I’m a huge fan of is Ron Murphy who followed Bruce today, shifting the action to the mess – and episode #109. It was a festive atmosphere. Especially after we broke out the party favors:
Tomorrow: Editing! Infirmary! Bridge battle! Jay’s notes on the season finale! And rum cakes!