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Shooting the THRANdroid duet!

Don’t miss Dark Matter Episode 304: “All The Time In The World”!  Tonight at 6:00 p.m. on SYFY and Space Channel!

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About 18 years ago, my writing partner, Paul, and I landed staff positions on a little scifi series called Stargate: SG-1 (You may have heard of it!).  With one script under our neophyte belts, we were given the green light to start work on our second.  It was based on a pitch that involved the team traveling off-world to a planet facing imminent extinction.  In an attempt to stave the coming apocalypse, certain members of this civilization were “resetting the clock”, inadvertently trapping SG-1 in a  recurring 24 hour time loop.

When it came time to hash out an outline, series co-showrunner Robert C. Cooper had a few notes:

1 – We already have one cool piece of technology on the show = the stargate!  Use it instead of our proposed “time-loopy device” to create the problem.

2 – Forget the people on this other planet.  Let’s make this episode about OUR characters.  Focus on them and their efforts to get out of the loop.

3 – Play up the humor of the situation.

As we received more notes on the planned script, it suddenly dawned me.  “We’re doing Groundhog Day!”, a reference to the Bill Murray comedy which sees his character, weatherman Phil Connors, reliving the same day over and over and over again.  Rob’s response was “Yeah!” and to throw me a look that seemed to say: “It took you this long to figure it out.”

I considered.  We couldn’t just do a Stargate version of Groundhog Day.  Could we?

Well, before there was Groundhog Day there was a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode called “Cause and Effect”.

And before “Cause and Effect”, there was Ken Grimwood’s novel Replay.

And before Replay there was a Philip K. Dick short story called “A Little Something for Us Tempunauts”.

And before “A Little Something for Us Tempunauts”, well, it’s possible there was something else.

The point is I could have thrown my hands up and said “It’s too similar to something that’s already been done” and moved on.  Of course, had I done that, I never would have co-written “Window Of Opportunity”, an episode very similar to Groundhog Day – that nevertheless consistently ranks as one of Stargate fandom’s favorite episode of the entire 300+ episode franchise.  And how to account for this episode’s lasting popularity?  Well, how about the fact that, while the time loop premise has been done before, what makes it so memorable is OUR CHARACTERS being trapped.

WoW offers so many memorable moments: the juggling, the Fruit Loops, the kiss, golfing through the stargate.  It was fun and funny and, despite its similarities to what had come before, stood out and left a lasting impression for many fans.

Fast-forward to this same time last year.  We were assembling the Dark Matter writers’ room in anticipation of a third season pick-up.  Among the numerous stories I wanted to tell was our own version of the time loop episode.  And so, after breaking our first three episodes, we sat down to beat out the story.  We went back and forth, argued, hit roadblocks, reconsidered and then, by day’s end, we had…absolutely nothing.  I went home that night, came up with second narrative attack, and presented it to the room – only to have it go up in flames.  Eventually, we tabled Episode 304: The Time Loop Episode, and moved on to Episode 305.  By the we wrapped up the season 3 writers’ room, we had 7 outlines for the first 8 or so episodes.  I don’t have to tell you which episode we never got around to breaking.

That summer, I wrote the scripts for Episode 301 and 303 but, before sitting down to start on 304, I decided to do a little research.  And said research involved me reading Dick’s “A Little Something for Us Tempunauts”, and watching movies like Run Lola Run and Groundhog Day and Source Code, and checking out t.v. episodes like Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Cause and Effect”, The X-Files’ “Monday”, Supernatural’s “Mystery Spot”, Farscape’s “Back and Back and Back to the Future”, Futurama’s “Meanwhile” and “The Late Philip J. Fry”, Star Trek: Voyager’s “Coda”, and a lot more.  I wanted to distill the time loop narrative to its structural touchstones, and then write the greatest time loop episode ever – one that honored what came before but would be uniquely Dark Matter in its approach.

I was, admittedly, scared to death as I sat down, sans outline that Saturday morning, and started writing.  And, as I wrote, the pieces of the story started falling into place: the mid-loop start, harried THREE, the Android’s assist, third time’s the charm, the complication, the flash-forwards, the treasure trove of teasers.  I ended up writing 32 pages that day, the most I’ve ever written in one sitting, then finished the script the following day.  And then I slept for about 12 hours.

The episode was directed by Ron Murphy and he did a terrific job in delivering one of the craziest episodes we’ve ever done on this show.

And then there’s the cast, lead by Anthony Lemke and his loopy THREE: Melissa O’Neill, Zoie Palmer, Jodelle Ferland, Ayisha Issa, Mishka Thebaud, Alex Mallari Jr., and guest star Michael Reventar – all of who tear it up.

Don’t believe me?  Check out Aimee Hicks’ preview at SpoilerTV or Tom Gardiner’s preview at ThreeIfBySpace or…

Greg David for TV, eh?: Things Get Loopy In Episode 4

We’ve gotten a mere peek at Anthony Lemke’s comic timing over the past two seasons. This week’s script allows him to go full-on and it’s a goshdarn treat. I won’t give anything away but I’ll admit I watched pretty much every scene Three was in with a stupid grin on my face. Even the soundtrack in those scenes is different, with a funky bass thump to note this isn’t your usual Dark Matter episode.

Jennifer Griffin for ScreenSpy: The Raza Crew Grapple With Time in Episode 304 “All The Time in the World”

I won’t lie. We’re kind of excited about this one.

Mary Powers at TVGeekTalk: Dark Matter Advance Preview: All The Time In The World

It’s been a while since we had a Three-centric episode, and this one reminded me of what a great talent Lemke brings to the role and how fortunate the series is to have him.

Seriously.  If you have plans tomorrow night that DON’T involve staying home to watch this episode of Dark Matter, change them!

Dark Matter Episode 304 – Friday, June 23rd at 9:00 p.m. EDT (6:00 p.m PDT) on SYFY and Space Channel.




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So, the people across the street and two doors down have put THEIR house up for sale…coincidentally, a week after we put OURS on the market.  Seriously, dudes. They’re having an open house this Saturday and I intend to swing by, posing as a potential buyer.  At some point, when it’s at its most crowded, I will casually (and loudly) note: “Hey, for just a little more money, you can get the much nicer house up the block.  It’s bigger, brighter, and NOT HAUNTED!”.

The power wash guy came by yesterday and did a top to bottom cleaning of the house exterior.  The stonework, the walkways, even the ornamental garden Buddha look brand spankin’ new.  Tomorrow, the photographer comes by to take some snaps of the house for the listing.  After that, it’ll be smooooooth sailing…until, ugh, another round of back to back two-hour open houses this weekend.

No matter how things shake it, I have a feeling I’ll be pleased.  One the one hand, we can sell the house and cash out of the market, buy a nice place somewhere else and bank the difference.  On the other hand, we can keep the house and adopt this guy Akemi has her eye on…

Suji desperately needs a brother to boss around.

My man Tom Gardiner explains Why Dark Matter 304 Is The Ideal Episode For New Viewers

While the episode brings up past events and hints at future ones, none will detract from a new viewer’s enjoyment. In fact, these events will serve as an enticement to learn more rather than confuse or frustrate. And this episode is funny as hell. Everyone loves to laugh, and this is easily the most comedic episode of Dark Matter to date. If you watch, you’ll see the comedy isn’t just for laughs, but is also integral to both the story and character development.

Meanwhile, I talked to Space.com’s Elizabeth Howell about Dark Matter’s third season:

War Is Coming In This Season Of Syfy’s Dark Matter

In the spirit of “Breaking Bad” or “The Sopranos,” the new season of Syfy’s “Dark Matter” will continue to offer weekly surprises and twists for its fans, promised showrunner Joseph Mallozzi in an interview with Space.com.

Love this article.  Wired’s Adam Rogers says Sci-Fi TV Doesn’t Have to Be ‘Prestige” – It Can Just Be Fun

Dark Matter and Killjoys both follow crews of spaceship-flying antiheroes—amnesiac criminals in the former, working-class bounty hunters on the latter—struggling against various interplanetary conspiracies. Wait, you think. Isn’t that just Firefly with a Canadian accent? Well, yeah, but also: no! For one, that trope goes way back. (What, no one remembers Blake’s 7?) But for two, the trope-y-ness works, because in the right hands, a “trope” is just a structure for making stories you care about.

Another day (or two), another episode broken.  This one, Episode 4.03.  That ending!  Gaaaah!  AmIRight?!!!

We spent the last couple of hours of the day spitballing Episodes 4.04 and 4.05. I’m hoping we can roll right into the breaking them tomorrow morning.  We need to have seven outlines by the time we’re done next Friday, or nobody’s going home!!!

I’ve noticed a number of you have posed questions in this blog’s comments section about the direction of the show.  I will be answering all of your questions – over the next few weeks as each new episode airs.

Have heard from five different people who watched screeners of this Friday night’s episode, “All The Time In the World”, and actually took the time to message me and tell me how much they enjoyed it.  Thanks for that.  Tell your friends!  If there’s one episode you don’t want to miss, it’s this one!

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Dark Matter returns tonight to its regular 9:00 p.m. time slot with a brand new episode: “Welcome To The Revolution”!

The crew tries to broker peace for a rebellion, but they won’t go out the way they came in.

The TV Junkies’ Kelly Townsend: Dark Matter Preview – The Raza Stumble On A Revolution

The corporate war is still in full force on Friday night’s “Welcome to the Revolution” as the crew find themselves intercepting a battle between Ferrous and Trauggot in their search for their old semi-ally Tabor Calchek (David Hewlett). In the process, they discover they’ve landed in the middle of a tense fight for independence between colony workers and Traugott security.

The Nerd Recite’s Christopher Hart: Will The Raza crew really kill Ryo Ishida in Dark Matter season 3?

The show’s strengths lay in the interconnectedness of our crew and how they would do anything for one another, despite their rogueish ways. So murdering Ryo – old memories or not – won’t come without consequences for the show.

Nerd Element’s Natty Willy: Dark Matter’s Melissa O’Neil Teases Season 3

I was on my phone texting Joe Mallozzi (our showrunner) and telling him how much I loved Five’s entire backstory. I think that thread will become quite the fan favourite. And, yes, we will learn a bit more about Two/Portia’s past. We continue to learn quite a bit more about everyone’s past this season.

Dark Matter season 4 writers’ room update!  2 episodes down; 11 to go!

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Tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m., on Syfy and Space Channel, it’s an all-new episode of Dark Matter.

Welcome To The Revolution: After receiving a distress call from a former associate, the crew of the Raza find themselves in the middle of a colony’s fight for independence.

An Advance Preview of “Welcome To The Revolution” by SpoilerTV’s Aimee Hicks.

It is a big episode with big consequences and even bigger surprises. Not everyone will make it back to the Raza and this episode has a very high body count.

And here’s a sneak peek scene from tomorrow night’s episode:

Dark Matter ups the ante – and welcomes returning fans – in Episode 3 by Greg David at TV, eh?

Anthony Lemke told us Season 3 delves into Three’s journey, and that means one thing: more Sarah! Yup, Natalie Brown is back in “Welcome to the Revolution,” but not in a way you’d expect and it has a stunning effect on Three. We can’t wait to see where this story goes.

Welcome to Junuary in Vancouver.  Akemi, who has unfortunately already packed away all her winter clothes, is already looking forward to that return trip to Toronto.

Today, the writers’ room made some major headway on Episode 402 – agreeing on a story AND breaking a tease and the first two acts.  Once we get past that tricky third act, it’ll be smoooooth sailing.

Tonight, we celebrated with sake, Sapporo, and (yakitori) sticks!


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We did it!  We did it!  We broke our first episode!

And it’s a chunky little monkey packed full of actiony-twisty-turny-funny-charactery goodness!  Now all we have to do is break twelve more and we’ve got ourselves a fourth season!

FanBros’ Jason Payne’s Interview With Dark Matter’s Melissa O’Neil

Space is a vast, unpredictable and, on occasion, unfriendly place. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he is the only main antagonist but Ryo’s journey, which is decidedly separate from the rest of the crew, is heavily featured. I think the fans are going to lose their minds in the best way as this particular storyline unfolds before them.

I talk about season 3 with SpoilerTV’s Aimee Hicks

If you look back to Episode Seven, the Wendy the Robot episode, the one where we introduced Sarah and killed her off in the same episode, she’s in a stasis chamber and the power goes out and she dies. Then we check in with all the characters and then we go back and see Five, and if you look at that scene, Five is staring down at Sarah in her stasis pod and then she kind of cocks her head in kind of a curious way and then we’re out. And I remember when the episode aired, a bunch of people were like, “Oh, that’s kind of weird, why was Five giving her the look?” And, you know, it’s a follow-through that I had planned for a while and finally, the start of Season Three was where we found the opportunity to do it.

Innerspace’s Morgan Hoffman and Ajay Fry offer a Dark Matter Recap of the show’s two- part opener:

Baz Greeland of TheDigitalFix offers his take of 3.01 Being Better Is So Much Harder

Well Dark Matter season three certainly opened with a bang and the didn’t let up for a rather thrilling 42 minutes of television which demonstrated how the show had really started to live up to its promise by season two’s end.

OMFGTV’s Taylor: Dark Matter Recap: Ohana Means Family

Welcome back aboard the Raza for Part 1 of the two-part season premiere of Dark Matter where all systems are down and our little family of anti-heroes is broken apart even further.

Dark Matter Of Opinion offers, well, an opinion of Episode 301

Torri Higginson is amazing to have around any day, but when she leaned around that corner to take out those Ferrous goons, it was magic.

And for those of you who missed After Dark, here is the first (two) episode of the Dark Matter after show compliments of SyfyAustralia:

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Yesterday, the Dark Matter writers’ room focused on season and character arcs.  Today, it was all about our two part opener as  we beat out not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, but SIX interlinked narrative threads.  Season four will be, in a word, “crazy”.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Tomorrow, once we get over those two little speed bumps, we’ll move on to actually breaking Episode 401 and 402.

Akemi was in the neighborhood and dropped by – with a box of Beard Papa’s mini creampuffs…half of which she ate.

How about some behind the scenes pictures from Episode 302 “It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This”?

Director Bruce McDonald and the Android give FIVE the bad news.  She’s suffering from Cascading Entropic Failure.

No, wait.  That’s another show.

Jodelle Ferland (FIVE) – all innocent like.

Richard Fitzpatrick (Baines) and Jodelle Ferland (FIVE) run through their first scene under the watchful camera eye of Director Bruce McDonald.

Bruce loses it!

Director Bruce McDonald commits an oopsy on guest star Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Dr. Borsa).

Alex Mallari Jr. (and Emperor Ryo Ishida) are out of control!

Caution: Cowboy On Set!


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