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Archive for the ‘science fiction’ Category

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting up the mess table scene.

Setting up the mess table scene.

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

2) You wanna play a game or something?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Running thru the infirmary scene.

Running thru the infirmary scene.

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

4) Have fun playing with your stick.

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

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

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

Setting up the shot.

Setting up the shot.

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s check out some Dark Matter reviews:

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

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

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

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

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

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

And these Dark Matter interviews:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s in store for our mercs?  Well…

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

And there’s this –

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And this –

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And this –

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And this –

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And this –

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

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

Finishing up our discussion of Dark Matter Episode #102…

1) It’s Bubba Time!

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

The original Lulu and Bubba!

The original Lulu and Bubba!

2) Game on!

Comin' at ya!

Comin’ at ya!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Shields!

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

4) Blaze of glory?

Butch and Sundance, Dark Matter style.

Butch and Sundance, Dark Matter style.

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

5) I got a better offer.

Behind the scenes on episode #2.

Behind the scenes on episode #2.

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

It's nice to have friends in high places.

It’s nice to have friends in high places.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8) Because we’re dangerous!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, who’s coming?

Continuing our discussion of Dark Matter’s second episode…

1) She’s gone!

The guys have been stood up.

The guys have been stood up.

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

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

2) Could you be more specific?

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

A similar tactic was used over a decade earlier.

A similar tactic was used over a decade earlier.

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

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

Ah, the attention to detail!

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

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 3.35.23 PM

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

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

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

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

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

Director T.J. Scott scouting the location.

Director T.J. Scott scouting the location.

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

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

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

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

TheTVJunkies preview episode #103:

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

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

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

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

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

https://youtu.be/Xw2czgt9v4s

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

1) “Who doesn’t like a good song?”

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

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

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

2) “Ferrous Corporation destroyer!”

Concept design by James Robbins

Concept design by James Robbins

Detailed VFX model

Detailed VFX model by VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson and his team.

And finished

And finished

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

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

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

FIVE: No it wasn’t.

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

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

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

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

Before

Before

And After.

And After

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

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Walk it off, buddy.  Walk it off.

Walk it off, buddy. Walk it off.

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

That is one amazing dummy head!

That is one amazing dummy head!

Deleted shot

Deleted shot

P.S. Anyone catch this quick shot of THREE covering ONE as it all goes down?  Now that's a team player!

P.S. Anyone catch this quick shot of THREE covering ONE as it all goes down? Now that’s a team player!

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

Corporate guards on standby

Corporate guards on standby

Hey, buddy, no lying about.  We've got a scene to shoot.

Hey, buddy, no lying about. We’ve got a scene to shoot.

Stunt coordinator John Stead giving everyone their marching orders.

Stunt coordinator John Stead giving everyone their marching orders.

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Action star Roger Cross...in action!

Action star Roger Cross…in action!

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

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

FIVE gives his FOUR a helping hand.

FIVE gives his FOUR a helping hand.

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

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

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

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

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

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An episode 2 post-mortem:

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

An episode 3 preview: “Who Knows What?”

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

From page to screen:

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

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 8.07.56 PM

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

I chat with The 7th Matrix:

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

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

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

1) The mugshots…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the day - Portia Lin!

On the day – Portia Lin!

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

2) But I CAN smell them!

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 1.33.22 PM

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

 3) From superbadass to cause for concern…

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

4) Who made you team leader?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey!  Check out these Dark Matter links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dark Matter episode 2 recap:

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

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

Celebrating a return to space-based programming:

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

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

Dark Matter episode #103 promotional photos:

2Boss (Melissa O'Neil) in action!

2Boss (Melissa O’Neil) in action!

#FOURCLAN (Alex Mallari Jr.) in action.

#FOURCLAN (Alex Mallari Jr.) in action.

Hey!  Where's Robot going?

Hey! Where’s Robot going?

Anxious times on The Raza.

Anxious times on The Raza.

Get the word out!  Dark Matter is addictive viewing!

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

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