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This morning, I attended my last mix in Toronto.  I can’t tell you how awesome this new season of Dark Matter looks and sounds.  Everything from the visuals to the soundscape to the music is incredible and an enormous ramp-up from the show’s first season.  We have a lot of very talented people working on this show, both in front of and behind the camera, and I cannot wait for you to see what we have in store.   I await our July 1st premiere with a mix of pride, excitement, and apprehension.

You’d think that, with production on season 2 wrapped and post-production nearing the halfway mark, I could relax.  But no.  Today, I wrote up the one pager for the proposed Dark Matter spinoff (You heard it here first, folks!).  Although it shares similarities with the original, this series will offer a far out premise that SF-fans will truly get behind.  But more on that in the coming months…hopefully.

Meanwhile, I hit the 16 page mark on that super-secret scifi project I mentioned in an earlier blog entry.  Roughly one third of the way through the pilot, I’m still aiming to have a completed first draft by mid to late June.  At which point I can switch off and have my partner set up the new series while I spin and break Dark Matter’s third season.

Then, it’s off to L.A. for some long overdue meet ‘n greets.   I have four more pilots (and a simply adorable horror feature script) in search of a good home and I’d love nothing more than to get the ball rolling or any or all before heading back to Van and starting script work on Dark Matter’s third season.

September, Akemi and I will be Tokyo(and possibly Osaka)-bound for two weeks and, upon our return – or, hopefully, well before – I should have word on Dark Matter’s fate.  I AM feeling positive.

Should it all fall into place as expected, we’ll be returning to Toronto in October for prep and then, in November,the commencement of principal photography on our third season.  Three episodes by December, the holiday break, then back for the final ten and then…

The spinoff?

The new scifi series?

One of the pilots?

The horror film?

I open up a gelato shop and spend the entire summer reading?

Any suggestions?

P.S.  One more Dark Matter season 2 trailer out, this one an extended version chock full o’ interesting insights.  You can track it down tonight or wait until tomorrow for the full shot by shot breakdown!

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Door to the bridge – under construction.

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The bridge – under construction.  Lights, monitors, texturing and details still to come.

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From the outside looking in.

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One of the command consoles.

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Closer… I’m thinking a rotating command chair up front and center.

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Shooting on the bridge of the Ishida cruiser.

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On the heels of THIS awesome 15 second promo from the gang at Syfy Publicity and Marketing:

Comes THIS awesome 40 second trailer from the gang at SyfyInternational:

Let’s break it down!

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Big heavy security doors slide open on a familiar sight (for those who saw the promo): THREE, TWO, and FOUR stripped down, carrying what look like piles of clothing.  But where are they going?

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Editing trickering or answer?  Could this be the Hyperion-8 Intergalactic Maximum Security Prison alluded to in the off-season?  If so, it looks like our crew don’t exactly receive a warm welcome from the prisoners.

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“What is this place?”asks THREE.  Maybe we have our answer?

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We hear SIX inform someone: “Galactic Maximum Security Facility” over a gorgeous establisher of what we can only presume is the place itself.  Which begs the question – IF our crew manage to get outside, what then?  The atmosphere looks decidedly Inhospitable.

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“It was you,”says FIVE in apparent disbelief.  You who?  I’m sure you can all make your educated guesses.

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Oh damn!  She slaps a uniformed SIX.  Payback for what happened in the season 1 finale?!

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Brown is the new black!  A shot of TWO in what looks like prison attire.

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FOUR clutching what appears to be a set of those standard prison issues stands in a cell as a force shield activates behind him.  We hear someone say: “You and your friends…”

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“…need to understand the way things work.”  Who is this guy offering the “helpful” advice?

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Welp, THREE seems to be learning the way things work in this prison compliments of a left cross delivered by a kick-ass fellow prisoner.  Could this be the mysterious Nyx Harper (Melanie Liburd), the potential new crew member alluded to over the hiatus.  If so, we’re off to a rough start!

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Well, now. Who is this mystery woman flanked by the two swordsmen.  Could this be Misaki, Han-Shireikan, the new Commander of the Imperial Royal Guard of Ishida?  She looks like she means business.

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ALL business!

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Frank Potente, who we now know is playing the role of Inspector Shaddick of the G.A.’s Serious Crimes Division pulls a gun on FIVE.  On FIVE!

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Oh, damn.  Things DO NOT look good for FIVE.  But she seems defiant.  What’s got Shaddick so mad?  And why is she taking it out on the kid?

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A beautiful shot of The Raza dropping out of FTL.  “There’s a war coming,”says someone.  A war coming? Between who?  And what does it have to do with us?

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“THE PAST IS DANGEROUS”.  Yes, that much was made very clear in season 1.  And the past CAN come back to haunt.

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“What did you do on that ship?”Shaddick asks someone, presumably interrogating one of our crew.

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A shot of FIVE using the neural links.  Is this part of the interrogation or something else?

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FOUR in his prison issues clutching a blade, facing off against…someone?  How’d he get a sword inside a maximum security facility?  And who is he about to slice and dice?

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“THE PRESENT IS DEADLY” – as we’re learning.  And there’s apparently nowhere to hide.

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Is that our Android, looking VERY relaxed, in what appears to be a bar?  Long hair?  New look?  “You don’t think I can handle myself?”she asks.

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Hmmm.  Our mystery woman clutching a sword in what could be the B-side to the earlier shot of FOUR clutching a sword of his own.  Is FOUR about to add one more to his growing body count – or has he met his match.  And, hey, who’s that standing in the background, watching.

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Our Android (if that is really her) proves that she CAN take care of herself – in brutally efficient fashion.

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“THE FUTURE IS DARK”.  Oh, it is, it is.  As I’ve been telling anyone who will listen, this season will put the “dark” in “Dark Matter”.

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A very determined FIVE says: “Kill them all.”  Coincidentally, that’s the name of our second episode of the new season.  Who is she talking to?  Who is she talking about?  Cold!

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The prisoners throw someone – could be a guard – off one of the upper levels. THAT is quite possibly a reprimandable offense.

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All hell breaks loose in Gen. Pop.  THREE appears to be fighting side by side with the helpful advisor from earlier on.

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A section of the Hyperion-8 facility, around the area of hangar bay, is wracked by an enormous explosion.

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Rapid-fire quick cuts!  This first – a battered and bleary THREE.  This shot matches a shot from the previous promo but, in the that one, a strange green interactive light plays in one of his eyes.

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ONE, looking business casual – a far cry from the prison issues being sported by TWO, THREE, and FOUR.  Where’s he at if he’s not in Hyperion-8 with the rest of the hardened criminals?

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TWO smiling.  I don’t know about you, but there’s something unsettling about that smile.

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FOUR looking like he’s about to lay down a serious beatdown.

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FIVE looks…unhappy.

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SIX looking downright angry.  But with who?  And why?

What do you think?  Did you catch anything I may have missed?  Let’s discuss!

And prepare for Dark Matter’s second season, coming your way soon!  Check out our international premiere dates…

July 1st: U.S. (Syfy) and Canada (SpaceChannel)

July 2nd: Australia (Syfy Australia)

July 4th: U.K. (Syfy UK)

July 5th: Spain (Syfy Spain)

July 11th: Germany (Syfy Germany)

More premiere dates to come!

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Rex/Shutterstock

Rex/Shutterstock

Franka Potente Joins ‘Dark Matter’ Season 2 As Recurring

And the Dark Matter season 2 casting rollout continues with the announcement that Franka Potente (The BridgeCopperRun Lola RunThe Bourne Identity) will be joining the show in the role of Chief Inspector Shaddick of the Galactic Authority’s Serious Crimes Division.  “She is cool, calculated and determined to prove the crew of the Raza were involved in the destruction of Iriden 3.”

Iriden 3… Iriden 3… Ring a bell?  Mikkei Combine research facility?  White hole technology?  An “accident” that claimed some 15 000 lives?  Yeah, you remember.

This announcement follows to other big casting announcements for the show’s second season…

Melanie Liburd’s casting as the mysterious Nyx Harper:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/melanie-liburd-adds-roles-in-game-of-thrones-as-red-priestess-dark-matter-to-slate-20151117

And Shaun Sipos’s casting as the former surgeon with a dark past Devon Taltherd:

http://www.syfy.com/darkmatter/blog/dark-matter-shaun-sipos

A few more big casting announcements to come!

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Here’s the thing about awards, awards shows, and awards organizations.  The best nominee doesn’t always win.  Hell, the “best” nominee rarely ever wins because, in spite of what people tell you or what camp you happen to fall into, the vast majority of people base their votes on friendships, familiarity, popularity,  ideas, or messages.  Those who do vote for “the best” tend to select from a fairly narrow range of possibilities – based on friendships, familiarity, popularity, ideas, or messages.  It’s somewhat bewildering, occasionally downright frustrating, to see awards go to certain works while other equally great (occasionally better) works go ignored, often not even making a preliminary list of nominees.

As a fairly voracious reader, I read a lot of books in 2015, many of them award nominees, just as many lesser-known works from lesser-known (to me) authors.  And, as I began to check out the 2016 releases, I looked back at the titles I enjoyed in 2015 and thought: “That deserved some sort of recognition.”.  And then: “Hell, I should just give out my own awards.”

I read a lot across a wide variety of genres.  I can make a well-informed decision.  I know what I like.  And, most importantly, I AM opinionated.  So, why the hell not?

At first, I thought I’d call my awards The Jovians (Get it?) but discovered the Jovian Awards (for Fantasy & Science Fiction) already exists.  My second choice would be the Saturn Awards but, alas, that too has been taken.  A quick google search turned up –

Mercury Awards – for music
Venus Awards – for local working women in business
Mars Awards – for designers (named after the chocolate bar, not the planet)
Neptune Awards – for marketing
Pluto Awards – for SciFi, fantasy and alternate history books
Kepler Awards – for European young scientists
Uranus Awards – surprisingly available!

In the end, I settled on something a little more in keeping with the wayward, independent spirit of these awards: Rogue Star (“a star that has escaped the gravitational pull of its home galaxy and is moving independently in or towards the intergalactic void” [wikipedia]).

Presenting awards in three categories (only because I didn’t read enough potential entries in any of the alternate categories.  Also, I need to get out there and watch more movies.).  Great reads all.  Check them out!

***

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL

NOMINEES

Bitch Planet, vol. 1 – Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro, Image
Divinity – Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine, Valiant
Jupiter’s Circle, vol. 1 – Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, Image
Saga, vol. 5 – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Image
The Walking Dead,vol. 23 Robert Kirkman and Stefano Guadiano, Image

WINNER

Saga, vol. 5 – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Image

***

BEST SHORT STORY

NOMINEES

“A Murmuration” – Alastair Reynolds, Interzone
“Calved” – Sam J. Miller, Asimov’s
“Re: re: Microwave in the break room doing weird things to fabric of spacetime” – Charles Yu, Terraform
“So Much Cooking” – Naomi Kritzer, Clarkesworld
“Today I Am Paul” – Martin L. Shoemaker, Clarkesworld

WINNER

“Today I Am Paul” – Martin L. Shoemaker, Clarkesworld

***

BEST NOVEL

NOMINEES

Beyond Redemption – Michael R. Fletcher, Harper Voyager
The Flicker Men – Ted Kosmatka, Henry Holt and Co.
Half A War – Joe Abercrombie, Harper Voyager
Touch – Claire North, Orbit Books
The Traitor Baru Cormorant – Seth Dickinson, Tor

WINNER

Beyond Redemption – Michael R. Fletcher, Harper Voyager

***

Congratulations to the winners.  You can pick up your prize – in the form of a beer – should we ever cross paths!

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I’d like to say that it came to me in a dream but, in truth, it came to me as I was lying wide awake at 5:30 a.m.  My french bulldog had stirred me out of a deep slumber, pacing around until I got up to let her out and, once her business was done, returned to bed where she immediately drifted off.  No insta-sleep for me though.  While Lulu lay beside me, snoring up a storm, I stared up at the ceiling and, over the course of the next two hours, came up with the premise of my new SciFi series.

I eventually drifted off, slept for a couple of more hours and then awoke creatively rarin’ to go.   Throughout the day, while I was walking the dogs and running errands, I broke the story: a tease, five acts, a tag, colorful characters, big stakes, humor, and my trademark twists, turns, shocks and surprises.

The plan is to write the pilot between now and when the Dark Matter writers’ room kicks off on June 12th, hopefully set it up for a fall of 2017 premiere, and convene a second writers’ room in August.

It’s all coming together nicely – except, of course, for the title.  I hate coming up with titles (which is why I had YOU, the fans, choose all the Dark Matter season 2 episode titles.  Thanks.).  So how about it?  Despite the fact that you know absolutely nothing about the prospective new show, what cool SF titles would you suggest?

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Hey, check it out.  I’ve bee twitter verified!  Do you know what that means?!!!

Yeah, me neither.

Meanwhile, over on my dedicated Dark Matter @DarkMatter_show – twitter account, I’ve been uploading behind-the-scenes pics from the first season finale:

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THREE drops off the laundry.

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Jodelle clowning.

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The troops get their marching orders.

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Searching the vents – an homage to Alien.

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Yes, it’s true.  Dark Matter’s excruciatingly adorable Android, played by the equally excruciatingly adorable Zoie Palmer, has agreed to drop by and do a little fan Q&A. If you have questions for Zobot, post them in the comments section.  I’ll gather them over the course of the next few days, then relay them via subspace in an encrypted data burst directly to her neural matrix (via The Raza of course).

DARK MATTER -- "Episode Twelve" Episode 112 -- Pictured: Zoie Palmer as The Android -- (Photo by: Russ Martin/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

DARK MATTER — “Episode Twelve” Episode 112 — Pictured: Zoie Palmer as The Android — (Photo by: Russ Martin/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

Three questions per customer, so make ’em count!

If you’re not following my dedicated Dark Matter twitter account (@DarkMatter_show), these are some of the BTS pics you’ve been missing:

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While, over on Reddit, I continue my trip down SG-1 memory lane:

Stargate Memories: Watergate, The First Ones, Scorched Earth

As our second to last day of main unit photography on Dark Matter’s second season draws to a close, I leave you today with some pics from…one of our new episodes:

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Airlock inside.

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And out.

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EOS-7 lost and found department.

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Representing the Galactic Authority: Jim Codrington

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Representing the Galactic Authority…

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A snacking Kris Holden-Reid.

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