Archive for the ‘science fiction’ Category

Well, this is interesting.  Apparently, Canadians are HUGE fans of science fiction television:


“During the 2014-2015 broadcast year Canadian TV sci-fi series Orphan Black on Space (4.3 million viewers*), Dark Matter on Space (3.7 million), Between on City Total and Killjoys on Space (both 3.2 million) each reached roughly 10% of the Canadian population. In addition, these shows performed above their respective channel averages in the very desirable 18-34 demographic.”

That’s 10% of the Canadian population that tuned into our little show.

Tell me more…


Not bad.  It brings to mind another scifi series that far surpassed expectations when it aired on Canada’s Space Channel several years back.  I’ll give you a hint…


Speaking of Stargate, the giveaways are enroute.  We sent off the last one this morning.  Akemi, as always, personalized each envelope…


Pictured above: Canadian bunny, coasters in hand, on his way through the stargate to gforce’s house!

Toronto-bound tomorrow morning!  Hoping I can get some writing done on the flight.

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Another day, another giveaway!

Up for grabs in today’s blog entry, the above-pictured caps from all three Stargate shows.

I’m posting early so that readers in the U.K. can participate as well.

To win all three caps, all you have to do is be one of the first to correctly answer the following six questions…

Match the Stargate: SG-1 characters with their Farscape parody counterparts from 200.

What were the names of the warring countries in Stargate: Atlantis’s “The Game?”

Which crew member does Eli end up settling down with in Stargate: Universe’s Epilogue?

Where was the Stargate: SG-1 episode Nightwalkers shot?

Which Stargate: Atlantis episode had the place holder title: “The Grapes of Wraith”?

What was our endearing nickname for the Stargate: Universe alien race known as The Nakai?

That’s it!  I’ll announce the winner in tomorrow’s blog entry.  Good luck to all!

The winner of yesterday’s SG-1 coasters is…gforce.  Gary, do I have your mailing address?

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A buddy of mine is clearing out his place and came across a slew of Stargate swag – keychains, coasters, golf trophies.  He did a little research and was amazed by the value fans have placed on similar unique items.  Out of curiosity, I decided to check out some of the more readily accessible boxes in my crawlspace and came across these interesting pieces –


The Stargate: Atlantis phone.  At one point, it used to work.  Maybe it still does – provided I can find the charger.  I remember it used to power up and down with a Kawoosh!


I’ve never been a hat guy so these three haven’t seen much action.



Stargate: SG-1 compact?  Sure!  Why not?


A rundown of some of the Stargate props/artifacts available back in 2010.  What were they?  No idea.  The book is still in its sealed plastic.


Now this is a pretty cool weighty duo.  Perfect for those Stargate-themed parties!



Now THIS is pretty nifty.  It’s the media package that went out prior to the Stargate: Universe release.  Press the button on the front cover and the chevrons light up!


The book offers a series overview in addition to character breakdowns.


And, of course, tucked in the back are dvd’s of our three part opener: Air I, II and III.  I remember something similar being released for Stargate: Atlantis that included a mini water-filled aquarium of sorts.  I have that somewhere.  I think.

I suppose I could put these up on eBay and make a couple of hundred dollars.  OR I could reward you long time fans with a few giveaways.  What do you think?

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Some of my very favorite moments from Dark Matter’s first season.

Introducing…The Android!

Wendy takes down the Android.

Derrick Moss revealed.



Now THAT is a cliffhanger!

She’s baaaack!

The guys talk a good game.  This gal PLAYS a great game!

Uh, did WE do that?

A long overdue thank you.

A machine…with friends.

Android’s day out.

It was one of us!

The memory wiper revealed.

Finale WTF?!


Thanks to @SpaceChannel for the #DarkMatter gifs!

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to blog regulars and birthday celebrants gforce and pennlynn.  Happy Birthday, Gary and Penny!

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Today, we kicked off the third and presumably final week of the Dark Matter second season writers’ room.  We’ve broken eight scripts to date and, tomorrow, we’re going to jump ahead and beat out the BIG season finale.  We figure with so many balls in the air, it makes sense to know exactly where we’re ending up so we can reverse-engineer some of the developing storylines and ensure everything dovetails in dramatically satisfying fashion.

Like last year, plenty of twists and turns, shocks and surprises, humor and pathos, with the added bonus of a more aggressive, kick-ass crew, faster pacing, bigger and better visual effects, new technologies, and cool SF elements underpinning all of our stories.  As my writing partner put it today: “Scifi fans are going to LOVE this season.”

In the meantime, I’ve finished my first draft of Episode 202 (Paul is writing 201).  What can I say?  The final act is CRAZY.

So, what would you all like to see in season 2?  Do tell.

The Galactic Authority storm the ship!  A few behind-the-scenes pictures from the Dark Matter season 1 finale…



Jeff Teravainen as Galactic Authority Lieutenant Anders

Jeff Teravainen as Galactic Authority Lieutenant Anders


Melissa O'Neil (TWO) and stunt coordinator John Stead - on their way to an intergalactic super max.

Melissa O’Neil (TWO) and stunt coordinator John Stead – on their way to an intergalactic super max.

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Back to the mailbag:

2cats writes: “When is the background from green screen added – in post? I dabble with Adobe Premiere for little video stuff, but I can imagine it being a lot of work to add backgrounds to HD film. How many film editors does DM use?”

Answer: The show used three amazing editors in season 1: Paul Day, Wendy Hallam, and Teresa Hannigan.  The “background” is added by our VFX crew (lead by VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson) during the post-production process.

clevere writes: “Are those doors manual or automatic?”

Answer: Much like Stargate, the doors on Dark Matter are manual, dependant on the impeccable timing and opening/closing skills of on set carpenter Jesse Partin and set dresser Jean Brophey, among others.

Tim Hendrix writes: “Will there be any repercussions when the crew finds out who wiped their memories?”

Answer: Probably.

“Can the Raza find a stray dog in one of those remaining hidden compartments?”

Answer: Jodelle has been lobbying for a space cat.

Woody writes: “What’s the time frame from the start of filming to airing?”

Answer: Last season, we started in early January and finished the first week of May, approximately four months later.  This season, we’re looking to start a little earlier and have at least one episode under our belt before heading off for the holidays.

airelle writes: “So the fish (looks like a tank on the wall) in the show, special effect?”

Answer: It’s practical playback, not a visual effect.  Or a real aquarium.

2cats writes: “And I too, like Tam Dixon want to know why do the sets have to be packed up until used again?”

Answer: Our standing sets continue to stand throughout hiatus.

Drea Crysel writes: “Are we gonna get to see Lulu n Bubba in Season 2 guest starring in the role as aliens?”

Answer: We’re in protracted negotiations with their agents.

duptiang writes: “what does a producer/writer do for the next few months?”

Answer: Come up with stories and scripts for Season 2.

shaneac1 writes: “Hey Joe is know this may be a long shot but by any chance do you know if amazon is going to put Dark Matter on prime for their instant video service?”

Answer: I don’t know about Amazon, but I DO know that the show will be available for binge-streaming in a couple of weeks.

Drea Crysel writes: “How much of the original Outer Limits factor into or otherwise influenced DM?”

Answer: That was one of the few SF shows/comic books/movies/anime that DIDN’T influence DM.

Ponytail writes: “Where does everybody go when production stops?”

Answer: Usually to work on other productions.

Drea Crysel writes: “So whose idea was it to give the bridge the feel of ST Enterprise?”

Answer: That was our brilliant Production Designer, Ian Brock.

Dallas Marshall writes: “BTW, how’s LuLu?”

Answer: Much better.  Now we have to get her down to her “flying weight”.

Tim Hendrix writes: “Can you give us a clue about how much of the Raza and its contents have not been discovered by the crew?”

Answer: There may be as yet unaccessed sections of the ship still waiting to be discovered – or existing unseen sections that may be repurposed for other uses (like, say, hydroponics).

“Have you decided on a good name for the massive, rabid and dedicated fan base as yet? Would you consider putting it up for a vote?”

Answer: Sure, what are your suggestions?

gforce writes: “I love the concept of Transfer Transit, and was wondering who came up with the idea. Was it yours, something that grew from discussions in the writers’ room, or was it an already existing idea?”

Answer: When I was first developing the series, I wanted an alternate means of travel that would allow solitary passenger to move from point A to point B without having to use a ship.  At first, I considered something along the lines of stargaze-like  transit points situated at space stations throughout colonized space but ultimately decided it was too much like Stargate.  Eventually, I came up with the idea of transfer transit which was inspired by the works of Cory Doctorow, David Brin, John Varley and Richard Morgan in which an individual is able to “back-up” their consciousness in the same way we would save a document draft on our computer.  I liked the idea of back-up bodies and elected to use them as part of an alternate means of travel, placing certain restrictions on their use (ie. the host body must remain in the sender pod until the connection is severed, failure to return to the receiver pod for recycling and memory transfer means all memories made during experience are lost, etc.).  For years, I sat on the series, the idea, and what I thought would be a fantastic tease that involved one of our main characters (seemingly) being killed in an episode’s opening.

“Given the recent introduction of the new Apple TV and the “Content as apps” concept, do you ever see a time in the future when shows (like DM for instance) are “app” based rather than (or as well as) broadcast based?”

Answer: Absolutely.  Eventually, technology will eventually allow viewers to access programming however and whenever they want either through standard viewing options, app-based content, or via direct transmission to the mind chip installed in your brain.

Sylvia writes: “Heya Joe, Is anyone involved/working on shirts (black) with the DM logo? ”

Answer: Not yet, but I grow impatient and am considering making my own.

Greg D writes: “In the episode where ONE learns he’s Derrick Moss, we see a bit of his personal bio on the computer screen. He’s born on Earth. Will we be learning anything about Earth in season 2? Will we be visiting?”

Answer: While there are no plans to visit Earth in season as of yet, there’s a possibility we will learn more about its place in the grand scheme of things.

Drea writes: “I’m not sure if someone else asked this already, but are we gonna hear more from Cyrus King in season 2?”

Answer: Possibly.  We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in season 2!

ceresis64 writes: “You’ve answered about Derrick Moss coming back. I was going to ask this too, how did he know to alter his appearance to Jace Corso? He must have had prior knowledge that Corso was a criminal and would be joining the Raza crew? Did he use his wealth to gain information or is Derrick Moss a dodgy businessman?”

Answer: This would be the most scenario, yes.

“You said we’d know more about Titch in S2, didn’t Five say in her dream that when she looked in the mirror she thought it was One but his face was different, then we found out that One was Derrick Moss. So, Titch is One?”

Answer: You’ll find out early in season 2.

“Will we see a flashback to show us how Six found out what he was really on the Raza for?”

Answer: Yes.  This will be answered right off the get-go.

“And why is Six on the Raza? Is it to turn over the crew to the GA , which he has done (perhaps as a deal, Six not going to jail for his part in the massacre) or a bit more? […] Did he also enter her dreamstate to not just save her, but to see if she’d give away the key’s hiding place?”

Answer: Answers come early in season 2.

“Will we see all the crew’s stories, in S2 as to how they all eventually end up on board the Raza?”

Answer: Again, this is one of the possible stories we’re considering.

“Who actually owns the Raza?”

Answer: The crew.

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Executive Producer Vanessa Piazza on set with Consulting Producer Ivon Bartok.

Executive Producer Vanessa Piazza on set with Consulting Producer Ivon Bartok.

One of the questions I get asked a lot is: “What does a producer do?”.  The answer is: “It depends.”  Some producers oversee scripts and various other creative aspects of production, from casting to costumes.  Other producers oversee the numbers, things like scheduling and budgeting.  Still other producers deal with the broadcasters, agents, and lawyers.  And then there are those producers who do much of the heavy lifting before the show even gets on the air, selling the series and closing the deals that get it that first season green light.

Usually it’s one or the other.  Or the other.  Or, the other.  In the case of Dark Matter Executive Producer Vanessa Piazza, it’s all of the above.  She was instrumental in getting the show picked up and since then, through pre, production, and post, has been HEAVILY involved in everything from casting and production design to mixes, music, and marketing.

Yes, Vanessa not only does it all – but does it all really, really well.  So it should come as no surprise that she was recently recognized for her incredible talents.

The hottest Canadian talent you’ve never heard of [unless you read this blog on a regular basis] but will:


I’m a fan!

Let’s get to more of your questions…

lewis writes: “If Dark Horse decides to do another limited series comic of Dark Matter would you & Paul write a whole new story line with our favorite space faring crew or use some of the tv scripts? Also, illustration wise would you use the look of the crew from the original comic series or incorporate the look of the actors?”

Answer: I hadn’t even considered the scenario.  In a best case scenario, five years from now after the show has run its course, Paul and I would be free to write the unseen adventures of the Raza crew (the ones we’ll get to know over the course of the show’s run.

Randomness writes: “1) Will the Android take on more human traits as the show goes on? You know, like aspiring to be more than just a regular Android and maybe, you know, be more human like?”

Answer: It’s possible.  I don’t want to give too much away, but we do have a significant story arc planned for everyone’s favorite Android in season 2.

2) Any plans to do an episode based around any spatial anomalies, like say something that makes time go all funky aboard the ship or something? could be fun!

Answer: Yep, could be a lot of fun.  Let’s find out when Episode 207 airs.

3) How do you feel about alternate universes with relation to the show?

Answer: Pretty good.  Pretty damn good.

4) Can we expect any more revelations regarding Derrick Moss?

Answer: Yes, very early on.

5) Now that Six has betrayed the crew, can we expect some heated discussions between him and the remaining crew when everything has settled down?

Answer: Oh, you can bet that any future conversations between SIX and his fellow crew members will be passionate.

6) I’ve wanted to know more about Three prior to the lost memories, will his backstory be touched upon more next season?

Answer: Yes, we’ll be delving deeper into THREE’s past in season 2.

Drea Crystal writes: ” In the SG series seems most of the very best episodes, resulted from a writing collaborative … So am naturally wondering why the decision to have you each take turns writing individual episodes on your own instead of working together? or at least have you all collaboratively consulting on most of the episodes?”

Answer: On Stargate, even though Paul and I were co-credited though much of the franchise’s run, we actually started writing separately around season 7 of SG-1.  Much like Stargate, Dark Matter is a collaborative effort – but it starts with Paul and I.  In the case of season 1, I had the thirteen stories in mind before we even assembled the room.  Once the show was green lit, my writing partner Paul Mullie, and consulting producer Martin Gero got together and hashed out all the story beats – every moment of every scene of every act in the script.  Paul and I oversaw all the scripts, revising when necessary and, once we were in production, I made necessary changes or, in some cases, additions (many of the FIVE-Android scenes).  Back on Stargate, Bard Wright and Robert Cooper oversaw all the scripts in a similar manner.

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