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Is July over yet?  Following a frustrating few weeks, I was looking forward to saying goodbye to 2016’s most miserable month and, just when the end was in sight, two more irritating little developments made it in, right under the wire.  It was a double dogtor visit for this duo…IMG_8457

Patient: Lulu

Age: 9

Issue: She does this weird thing where she drags her hind legs whenever she’s on gravel.  But only on gravel.

Diagnosis: Potential neurological issues.

Suggested treatment: Surgery.

Estimated cost: $6400

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Patient: Bubba

Age: 14

Issue: Two tiny masses on his head.  A year ago, he had a similar one removed that tested malignant pre-surgery, then benign post-surgery.  Aspirations of these latest growths have yielded inconclusive results.

Suggested treatment: Surgery

Estimated cost: $3600

Ultimately, what gives me pause is not the price of the surgeries but the fact that both dogs will have be anaesthetized for the procedures, always a bigger risk with these brachycephalic (snorty) breeds.  Also, they aint gettin’ any younger.  I’m leaning toward delaying Lulu’s surgery until further symptoms develop, and maybe holding off on Bubba’s until he requires his next dental so that he’ll only have to be put under the once.  Akemi and I still have to discuss.

What a nice change of pace it is to go from sitting at my laptop all day, working on scripts for season 2 to…sitting at my laptop all day, working on scripts for season 3. Turns out I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew (or, really, write) in the time allotted – three scripts in two months.  Seems doable if not for the fact that I’m not working off any handy writers’ room-generated outlines since these were three episodes that didn’t get the “full treatment”.  301 is more or less complete – but, in all fairness, I had the month of May (between wrap, cutting, and mixes) to hammer out the story on my own.  Progress on 303 is akin to walking a tightrope without a net – and approaching a pissed-off-looking seagull a the halfway point.  Yeah, I saw it sitting there when I embarked on my perilous journey but I assumed it would have taken flight by the time I drew closer.  No dice.  And don’t even get me started on 304!  Tack on an end-of-August L.A. trip and you have all the makings of neural burst.  And not the good kind.

Oh, yeah.  A new episode of Dark Matter airs tomorrow tonight.  For those of you watching live (Bless your hearts!) it’s on at 7 pm PDT/10 pm EDT on Syfy and Space Channel.

Some Dark Matter news…

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Dark Matter – We Voted Not To Space You – Advance Preview: “Masterpiece” by Amiee Hicks at SpoilerTV

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Kris Holden-Ried Joins Dark Matter Cast In Recurring Role by Michael Ahr at Den Of Geek.

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Yesterday, I took a little break from writing to join Akemi on a VR adventure!  Our longtime friend Steve Bocska, a veteran of the gaming world, arranged a visit to Vancouver’s Charm Games for a sneak peek at what they have in the works.

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Akemi was unbelievably excited as we arrived at their offices.  While I was getting an overview of Charm Games, Akemi was literally bouncing with excitement and, the second they pulled out the head set, Akemi was handing me her purse and volunteering to go first.

We used HTC’s Vive headset and controllers for the immersive room-scale experience.  And what an experience it was.

Alan and Derek

Alan and Derek

Tyler

Tyler

Our affable and informative hosts on this day were company co-founders Alan Jernigan and Derek Young, and engineer Tyler McCulloch.  They opened with an undersea demo that had Akemi jumping around, waving her hands, and then, at one point, down on the floor interacting with the virtual jelly fish.  “We appreciate her enthusiasm!”remarked one of the guys as she traipsed by, Oohing and Aahing, as she attempted to chase down a school of fish.

Getting started

Getting started

Akemi in action…

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Petting the baby jellyfish

Petting the baby jellyfish

I followed and the first thing I thought, as I made my way through a dark underwater cavern was: “Holy shit.  Horror games would be unbelievable in this environment.”  I was also impressed by the program’s ability to create in-realm parameters – cavern walls, iron-wrought barriers, and teetering drop-offs (my acrophobia kicked in at one point) – to keep players from walking into real world obstacles.

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Next was a sneak peek at something they had in the works.  I’ve been sworn to secrecy but, trust me, it was pretty awesome.  There was a puzzle component to the game that had me a little baffled at first.  At one pint, Akemi was yelling at me to “Be more aggressive!” – something she had no problem doing when it was her turn, working those controllers like a champ!

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A HUGE thanks to the gang at Charm Games for giving us that sneak peek, and an equally HUGE thanks to Steve for arranging the visit.  Akemi hasn’t stopped talking about it.

Guess I know what I’m getting her for Christmas!

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Friday night, it’s an all-new Dark Matter – “Episode 18: We Voted Not To Space You”!  7 pm PDT/10 pm EDT on Syfy and Space Channel!

So, what’s in store for us and the crew of The Raza?  Well, looks like plenty of trouble.  A potential settling of accounts.  Oh, and some very atypical goings-on with our Android!

Intriguing, no?

Also on the Dark Matter front…

Executive Producer Jay Firestone speaks to Crave Online about what lies ahead:

Inverse’s Justin Andress argues that Dark Matter is Basically a Mass Effect TV Show.  That’s a game, I’ve been told.

And, over at SciFiAndTVTalk, Steve Eramo Catches Up with Dark Matter’s Paul Mullie.

This episode ran long so we ended up trimming some scenes, and dialogue, at both the script and post-production stage. In yesterday’s blog entry, I offered up some of the stuff we had to lose for time.  Here’s more of – what might have been…

While everyone else heads off onto the station, FOUR stays behind to check on the latest developments regarding Zairon and its ongoing war with Pyr.  A little reminder that our resident swordsman has bigger fish to gut, skewer, and fry:

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INT. RAZA – FOUR’S QUARTERS

FOUR sits at his desk, watching a news report. ONSCREEN, NEWS ANCHOR #2 speaks. In the BG, the insignia’s of the warring parties (Zairon and the Principality of Pyr) accompanied by a map of the interstellar conflict.

ANCHOR #2: At the heart of the conflict is a territorial dispute between the two independent colonies. A long-standing source of contention, the region, known as Enriss Sector became the flashpoint for open warfare following its annexation by Zairon on the heels of a coup that deposed Pyr’s ruling theocracy earlier this year.  (beat)  The hostilities have, so far, been limited to the two planets directly involved as the two dozen strong League of Autonomous Worlds has remained neutral, officially calling on both parties to suspend their military campaigns pending the resumption of peace talks.  (beat) Several corporations who have had their travel and trade routes disrupted lobbied the Galactic Authority to take action –

He turns off the computer, gets up and leaves the room.

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This next one was more of a trim.  In the script, the second scene at the transfer transit office starts off with an amusing  little back and forth between Nyx and TWO before the receptionist’s return…

INT. SPACE STATION – TRANSFER TRANSIT RECEPTION AREA

TWO and Nyx talk while they wait for the receptionist.

NYX: The kid?

TWO: Couldn’t ask for a better shipmate. Smart, savvy, incredibly capable. Looks can be deceiving. Underestimate her at your own risk.

NYX: Ryo?

TWO: He takes a while to warm up to you but despite the strong silent persona, he’s a passionate guy. Hard to figure at times but there’s no doubting his loyalty.

Nyx considers that response in particular – then notices TWO waiting for her to continue. Hurriedly –

NYX: Boone?

TWO: He’ll grow on you.

The Receptionist comes out of the back.

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Some dialogue cuts here and there over the course of the ensuing scenes and then on to this FOUR/Android scene that had to be excised for time.  This moment, coupled with the earlier scene of FOUR getting the update on Zairon’s ongoing war with Pyr, help paint a picture of a man growing increasingly frustrated with his inability to help his home world.  This notion – and just the shot of the Android walking onto the bridge, arms laden with shopping bags – made this scene a hard one to lose:

INT. RAZA – BRIDGE

The Android, clutching her shopping purchases, walks onto the bridge and notices FOUR standing there, wholly absorbed on the onscreen image of his memory template (last scene in Episode 203). The Android sets aside her purchases.

ANDROID: Your old neural imprint.

FOUR: Yes.

The Android considers FOUR studying the template.

ANDROID (O.S.): How long did it take you to start dreaming?

FOUR turns and throws her a look.

ANDROID: Thoughts and images from human memory form the basis of REM and NREM dreams. Without memories to process, brain mechanisms are incapable of producing cognitive contents.

FOUR: On the second day, I dreamt I was back in stasis, awake but unable to free myself. It’s a dream I’ve had many times since.

ANDROID: Would you care to hear my psychological analysis?

FOUR: Not especially, no.

ANDROID: You’re troubled.

He throws her a look.

ANDROID: That wasn’t a dream interpretation; simply an assessment of your current frame of mind based on your present actions and roughly a dozen physiological indicators. (beat) You want to remember, but fear the costs.

FOUR stares at the onscreen data.

FOUR: Perhaps a small price to pay for a far greater reward.

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Finally, because the episode was timing long,, I elected not to lose a concluding montage sequence, choosing instead to simply use the last shot of said montage: the Android, on the bridge, considering the upgrade she received from Victor.  One could argue the other beats are neither here nor there but I, personally, miss the scripted moment of FIVE discovering a gift-wrapped toothbrush on her pillow…and knowing exactly who it’s from:

MONTAGE OF –

A) INT. RAZA – INFIRMARY

SIX, seated on his bed, lies back down and stares up at the ceiling, deep in thought.

B) INT. RAZA – TWO’S QUARTERS

TWO studies FIVE’s sketch.

C) INT. RAZA – DEVON’S QUARTERS

Devon takes a hit – and gets high.

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D) INT. RAZA – TRAINING ROOM

FOUR is training alone with his bo staff. He stops, looks over as Nyx strolls in and helps herself to another staff. They exchange smiles – and fight.

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E) INT. RAZA – FIVE’S QUARTERS FIVE walks into her room and notices a little gift-wrapped present sitting on her pillow. Curious, she picks it up, unfurls the bow, unwraps it – and reveals the toothbrush inside. She smiles.

F) INT. RAZA – BRIDGE The Android, alone on the bridge, holds up and considers the software upgrade she was given.

I’m going to talk to Syfy and our post-production team about releasing these deleted scenes as online extras.  Stay tuned!

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“Episode 17: We Were Family”

Kudos to Dark Matter stunt coordinator John Stead for the phenomenal job directing this episode.  Loved this episode’s western feel, the beautiful character moments and, of course, his trademark action sequences!

This episode ran long so we had to lose some dialogue, and a few scenes, to get it to time.  Much of it I don’t miss.  Some, I’m sorry didn’t make the final cut…

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Following the flashback tease of the kid in the closet, we go to our opening sequence, then, in the original script, would have opened the episode with a scene involving TWO and THREE on the bridge.  The script was timing long and I made the decision to cut this scene that, ultimately, has most of its salient points covered in ensuing scenes anyway:

INT. RAZA – BRIDGE

TWO stands at one of the consoles, checking out the onscreen data. THREE walks in.

TWO: Looks like we’re about an hour out from the space station.

THREE: We’ve got half this galaxy looking for us. You really think stopping anywhere is a good idea?

TWO: We’re out of food. We don’t have much choice short of going into stasis.

THREE considers, then walks back and hits the console, sealing the door so they can’t be overheard.

THREE: And what’re we doing about our guests?

TWO: That’s something we have to discuss. (beat) Nyx wants to stay. She says she has nowhere else to go.

THREE doesn’t seem all that enthused with the idea.

THREE: And the others?

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At which point we segue to a shot of the ship in flight, then go to the TWO/DEVON scene in the infirmary.  A few lines of dialogue were deleted from the director’s cut – some of it pertaining to Devon’s backstory…

TWO: You can contribute something. Your medical training makes you an asset.

DEVON: I can think of less dangerous ways to make a dishonest living, thank you. No offense, but this ship is a magnet for trouble.

TWO: Got someone out there?

DEVON: Parents who I don’t talk to anymore. I’ve grown to love my alone time.

TWO: So, what does this mean? When are you planning to leave us?

DEVON: Soon. Maybe just…not right away. If that’s okay?

TWO: Your call.

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Then, we go to the THREE/Arax mess scene.  We had to lose some dialogue in the editing suite.  It always kills me to lose the funny bits but, alas, it was either that or trim actual story beats.  Arax’s pitch is similar to the one he gives TWO in the previous episode so I didn’t feel bad losing part of it here.

INT. RAZA – MESS

THREE chows down in rather boorish fashion, mouth open, fishing into his back tooth to dislodge a piece of food. REVEAL Arax seated across from him, staring in disbelief.

ARAX: I’ve seen some mighty horrific things in my days, but that ranks right up there.

Arax gets up, goes to the coffee table and pours himself a drink.

THREE: You know how a near-death experience gives you a greater appreciation for life, making you really cherish the moments you have left? Well, switch out near-death experience for prison food.

ARAX: Can I pour you a double?

THREE: It’s not even lunch yet. (beat) Single shots fine.

Arax pours another one. THREE notices the bottle.

THREE: Hey, where’d you get that bottle?

Arax walks over, hands him his mug and takes a seat.

ARAX: Found it in the store room, behind a crate.

THREE (pissed): That’s my private stock. It’s for special occasions – weddings and such.

Arax raises his glass in toast.

ARAX: Come on. This IS a special occasion. A toast – to our new partnership.

THREE: You sound like a guy who’s sticking around. Well, thinks he’s sticking around anyway.

ARAX: Ah, you guys would be crazy to dump me.

Off THREE –

ARAX: I’ve got connections, pull with criminal outfits from here to the edge of colonized space. Weapons, back-up, intel – I’m your guy.

THREE: When you put it that way, you’re right. We’d be crazy to dump you. And you’d be crazy to stay. We’ve pissed off the G.A., Traugott’s gunning for us –

ARAX: And you’ll stay one step ahead of ’em, like always. I’m confident in your abilities – which I plan on making use of somewhere down the line. Partnerships run both ways, right?

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Okay, now THIS is where it gets painful.  The director’s cut of the scene in FIVE’s quarters included an exchange in which FIVE references the events of the season 1 finale and apologizes for accusing TWO of selling them out.  TWO is understanding and the exchange concludes with a hug and an understanding that their relationship remains strong.  At the end of the day, you could argue it’s unnecessary, that their actions confirm as much, but I still think it was a sweet exchange and a nice bonding moment for the two characters.

INT. RAZA – FIVE’S QUARTERS

FIVE, sitting at her desk, re-jigging some piece of gak. TWO steps up to the open door and KNOCKS.

FIVE: Hi.

TWO enters –

TWO: Did you get a chance to finish that sketch?

FIVE: Yeah.

FIVE grabs a sketch sitting on a nearby table and walks it over to TWO. INSERT – A sketch of the setting from TWO’s memory (Episode 203) – the alley with the distinct building in the B.G.

TWO: Thanks.

TWO goes to leave but FIVE stops her with a –

FIVE: Hey.

TWO glances back at FIVE, awkward, looking like she’s got something she wants to say. She hesitates, then –

FIVE: I’m sorry.

TWO: No need to apologize. You had to stop me. If I got control of the ship –

FIVE: Not for that. For ever doubting you. When the G.A. were about to take the ship. I should’ve trusted you but…

TWO: There was a lot of mistrust going around that day. We all made mistakes.

FIVE: Sure but I guess I just wanted to know – to make sure…well, we were pretty good friends once and –

TWO: And we still are. Best of, okay?

TWO brings her in for a hug. FIVE is palpably relieved.

Best of friends

Best of friends

TWO looks at the sketch.

TWO: You did a really nice job.

FIVE: I don’t get it. Something really bad happened to you there. Why would you want to go back?

TWO: I don’t, but I have a feeling that, sooner or later, I may not have a choice.

Off TWO –

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Now a rare case where an entire scene was excised from the director’s cut, this one involving almost the entire crew meeting up at the airlock before heading onto the space station.  Some funny bits with FIVE and the Android, THREE and Arax being frat boys, and, of course, TWO calling the shots and playing the role of den mother.  The scene also includes a very subtle hint that FIVE is developing a crush on Devon.  The director’s cut was actually peppered with these subtle little looks from FIVE that I, ultimately, felt wasn’t really working so I ended up losing.  Interestingly, some reviewers have nevertheless picked up on the possibility that FIVE is smitten with the ship’s new medic.

INT. RAZA – CORRIDOR OUTSIDE THE AIRLOCK

TWO, Nyx, THREE, Arax, and Devon are waiting at the airlock. FIVE and the Android round the corner and approach.

ANDROID: Sorry to keep you waiting.

They all stare back at the Android.

ANDROID: FIVE has asked me to accompany her – for her protection.

FIVE: Yeah. Space stations are scary.

Of course no one is buying it.

TWO: Okay.

Space stations are scary!

Space stations are scary!

THREE: You sure we don’t need her here?

ANDROID: My neural link allows me remote access to ship’s systems. I don’t need to be on board to ensure its security. Besides, FOUR has elected to remain behind.

TWO: Alright then. Group A –

Motions to her and Nyx –

TWO: We’re on research. Group B –

Motioning to FIVE who smiles up at Devon –

Crush

Crush

TWO: You’re on med supplies. And Group C –

Motioning to the boys –

TWO: You’re on –

THREE/ARAX: Booze!

TWO: Right. Any sign of trouble, get in touch –

She taps her comm –

TWO: And fall back to the ship.

She hits the console. The airlock slides open and they’re off.

I leave you with this interview in which I discuss the episode – and its ramifications – with Kelly Townsend of TV Junkies.

More behind the scenes goodies in tomorrow’s blog entry!

It’s been  busy week for Dark Matter.  More reviews, reactions, and interviews! Tomorrow, we role into my behind-the-scenes insights into “Episode 17: We Were Family”!

Never forget that Dark Matter doesn’t forget it’s clues and sub-plots from last season, everything connects and everything will be made known in its due time. We’re almost half-way done and I still feel like we’re just getting warmed up… by Sahurai at Blade of the Sashurai

We should definitely be thanking our neighbors to the north for more than a few things; but one of the biggest could be its being the savior of North American Sci-Fi on TV. One in particular that I have watched and very highly recommend is Dark Matter… by Dave Ward Nerd Nation Magazine

AfterBuzz’s Yael Tygiel gets Dark Matter’s Alex Mallari Jr. and Anthony Lemke in bed…

Alex Mallari Jr. and Jodelle Ferland talk to TV Equals:

Melissa O’Neil and Anthony Lemke talk to TV Equals:

Melissa Liburd and Executive Producer Jay Firestone talk to TV Equals:

A group interview:

Alex Mallari Jr. and Anthony Lemke talk to Seat 42F:

Jodelle Ferland and Melissa O’Neil talk to Seat 42F:

A little something for the StargateDark Matter, and science-minded.  Meet the Physicist Behind the Science of Stargate by Jacqueline Ronson at Inverse profiles former Stargate science advisor Mika McKinnon who, incidentally, helped me out by offering me her expert input on a facet of “Stuff To Steal; People To Kill”, the eighth episode of Dark Matter’s second season.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend, here’s the SDCC Dark Matter panel c/o the fine folks at Syfy:

Also at Comic Con:

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Crave Online’s Blair Marnell talks to The Women of Dark Matter

Dark Matter “Episode 17: We Were Family” recaps, reviews and reactions:

Welcome Back, Son by Tom Gardiner at Three If By Space

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We Were Family – With Six You Get Replicants by Michael Knox-Smith at Mike’s Film Talk

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Robot Romance and What’s a Titch? by Cort Robinson at Pure Fandom

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Good stuff from Canada that is as good as any recent series that comes to mind, or maybe even better… By Craig Suide at SciFi Movie Page

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Dark Matter has a lot of balls in the air right now, and so far they are being successfully juggled. More episodes like this one would make an impressive storytelling display and an overall successful season to come… by Michael Ahr at Den of Geek

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This season continues to deliver to an exceptional standard every single week and our faith in the writers only grows with each passing episode… by Christopher Hart at The Nerd Recites

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For whatever number of episodes are in this season, they have a handle on the pacing that has given us a lot for only being on the fourth… by Jideobi Odunze at Geeked Out Nation

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Dark Matter, you keep building these relationships like this and I will be a fangirl for life… by Jen Stayrook at The Workprint

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This was a strong and powerful episode with an incredible amount of character growth. I think this is my favorite episode yet this season and that’s taking into account that I adored the first two episodes… by Aimee Hicks at Spoiler TV

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I mentioned in the comments of a previous review that Three was becoming my favorite character on this show, and Dark Matter Season 2 Episode 4 only reinforces this sentiment… by Kathleen Wiedel at TV Fanatic

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This episode revealed that everyone is going to be faced with new choices as the series progresses. Whether they are for the better or for the worst is the real question… by Leaf Miranda at The Young Folks

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Josh and Anna of Geeksiders weigh in:

DARK MATTER -- "We Were Family" Episode 204 -- Pictured: Zoie Palmer as The Android -- (Photo by: Russ Martin/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

DARK MATTER — “We Were Family” Episode 204 — Pictured: Zoie Palmer as The Android — (Photo by: Russ Martin/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

Tonight, it’s an all-new episode of Dark Matter!  “Episode 17: We Were Family”, aka Episode 204, aka “A Very THREE Reunion”, aka “Android’s Day Out”!

7 pm PDT/10 pm EDT on Syfy and Space Channel.

Join me for my final live tweet for the foreseeable future and then check out what should be my last live after-show Periscope at 8 pm PDT/11 pm EDT.  I’ll be using Akemi’s iPad for the event so I should, hopefully, be able to make out everyone’s names in spite of the app’s crappy choice of color backgrounds.

DARK MATTER -- "We Were Family" Episode 204 -- Pictured: Anthony Lemke as Three -- (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

DARK MATTER — “We Were Family” Episode 204 — Pictured: Anthony Lemke as Three — (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

A LOT going on in this episode and I’ll have plenty to say about it after it airs.  The upcoming blog entries will be chock full o’ BTS pics, vids, and stuff that didn’t make the final cut.  Stay tuned!

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For those of you who WILL be joining in the live-tweeting tonight, here (compliments of blog regular and live-tweeting expert PBMom) are some things to remember…

“How to get Dark Matter to trend tonight:

1) Don’t use #DarkMatter before the designated time: 1 HOUR before Dark Matter airs.

2) One # term per Tweet. (Only one hashtag because Twitter doesn’t count tweets towards trending with multiple hashtags. Their algorithm does not pick it up.

Example: If everyone needs to use #DarkMatter there should be a coordinated effort that everyone just use that and not something else. So if someone tweets #FourClan #DarkMatter it won’t count towards trending at all.

3) Lots of people tweeting matters more than the number of tweets.

4) Those with lots of followers help out a lot!

5) Private accounts must have their locked status removed, as the tweets from these accounts do not count toward the trend tally.

6) Retweets are the easiest way to help out the trending effort. Just search for the hashtag, and retweet the ones that have just one hashtag.

7) Thank the sponsors.

(This is true for ANY show. Sponsors do pay attention to this. Often with DVR viewing, commercials are skipped. When people go out of their way to thank the sponsors means a great deal to them. For example: Thank you @subway for sponsoring #DarkMatter. It s a fabulous show. I think a sandwich would go well with it! ) They help with the retweets when they see things like that.”

In case you missed it yesterday, here’s one of my many favorite scenes from this season:

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