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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!

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!

Whoa.  I seriously need to decompress.  I’ve been going at full throttle for almost a year now from the moment Jay called me up to tell me the show was a go.  I went from spinning story ideas to breaking them to writing scripts to prepping the show to producing the show to overseeing elements of post-production.  With my return to Vancouver, I assumed things would slow down a little. but it’s been quite the opposite.  In addition to weighing in on the music and soundscape, I’ve been all over this blog, twitter, and Facebook, trying to get the word out about the show. Not to mention the fact that, not wanting to be caught unprepared if/when the announcement comes, I’ve gone ahead and arced out season 2, come up with the 13 stories (in various stages of detail), and gone ahead and broken our opening two parter.

Back in the day (oh, going back a couple of weeks and far beyond), this little lady used to be my stress-buster:

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I’d prop her up onto my chest and, as Akemi would, we’d “gaze lovingly into each others eyes.  Fifteen minutes…thirty minutes…forty-five minutes…”.  Bubba is more of a momma’s boy and Lulu is a little more aloof so I find myself endlessly perusing senior pug rescues or flagging down owners so that I can stop and say hi to their elderly dogs.

As crazy as it sounds, and despite the fact that Jelly couldn’t really get around the last few years of her life, the house now feels quite empty without her.  This can go one of two ways: I sell the house and move OR I keep the house and adopt a few senior pugs (yes, “few” implies more than “a couple”).  Much will depend on whether or not the show goes for a second season.

Reading usually relaxes me.  And I truly have to make time for the many, MANY books I’ve been meaning to get around to, among the them Alastair Reynolds’ Slow Bullets, John Scalzi’s The End of All Things, “Claire North”‘s Touch, and these…

IMG_8495

Started on them and, for you comic book fans, would highly recommend you check out the following:

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Descenderhttp://comicbookroundup.com/comic-books/reviews/image-comics/descender/1

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ODYC: http://www.excaliburccg.com/odyc-1-from-image-comics-retells-the-tale-in-psychedelic-fashion/ 

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ALEX + ADAhttp://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3329937/comic-book-review-alex-ada-12-high-point-sleeper-hit/

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The Discipleshttp://www.comicbookresources.com/comic-previews/the-disciples-1-black-mask-2015

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Arcadiahttp://io9.com/its-the-matrix-vs-the-apocalypse-in-this-arcadia-1-co-1696811184

Hey, all!  Remember to post your questions for Dark Matter Executive Producer Jay Firestone!  He’ll be dropping by this blog for a Q&A soon!

Your daily dose of Dark Matter links:

http://noeentertainment.com/2015/06/dark-matter-review/

“Most people have a “5 star” rating, I however like a more authentic grading scale. I like when things are so good that I involuntarily thrust my clenched fist into the air in excitement. A.k.a a “hype-fist”. So I give this show, a 5 out of 5 on the Hype Fist Meter.”

http://optimalhumanmodulation.com/2015/06/21/killjoys-and-dark-matter-two-new-must-watch-sci-fi-shows/

“One of the great draws of science fiction is simply the visual bliss it can bring to one’s mind and life, and in both Dark Matter and Killjoys, the art of camerawork, VFX, set-design, and costuming are all top notch. These shows are why HD TV and Tumblr were invented.”

http://talknerdywithus.com/2015/06/21/nature-versus-nurture-the-emerging-personas-of-dark-matter/

“As the second half of SyFy Channel’s pilot episode of Dark Matter is completed, I’m left pondering one of the deeper questions in life: how much of our personality is based on our life experiences, and how much is ingrained in our very makeup?”

http://www.syfy.com/blog/dark-matter-origins

“Dark Matter has some serious science fiction auspices behind it, you could even say that Dark Matter has been a show years in the making. Creators Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie worked together on Stargate SG-1, Atlantis and SGU before bringing the team back together for one more ride to create a gorgeous, epic comic-book. Wait, what?! That’s right Dark Matter began its illustrious voyage to the small screen as a comic book mini series that debuted back in 2012. If you’re looking for full-on submersion in the Dark Matter canon look no further.”

http://io9.com/dark-matter-wonders-how-much-an-unremembered-past-reall-1712951352

“So, is it better to find out who you were and be disappointed or to know nothing? And among the five who discovered a criminal past, whose reaction is the right one? One’s denial? Two’s determination to not let a file dictate her identity? Three’s shrug and good humor ? Four’s conscious choice to ignore it all? Six’s simple happiness at being able to fly?”

http://www.scifivision.com/interviews/2909-exclusive-joseph-mallozzi-on-creating-dark-matter

“I was inspired by the types of shows and the types of stuff I read, like I said a cable show in terms of the structure and the pacing, and then kind of a narrative style. I worked on Stargate for many years, so there’s that. Then I’m a big fan of sort of the Japanese influences, and anime, and comic books, and I think you’ll find all those elements in Dark Matter.”

Jay Firestone, Dark Matter Executive Producer and President of Prodigy Pictures

Jay Firestone, Dark Matter Executive Producer and President of Prodigy Pictures

Well, as promised in a recent blog entry, I’d like to give you all a chance to get to know our extended Dark Matter family by bringing back the guest Q&A’s I used to do on Stargate.  For those not in the know, it works like this: I announce our blog guest after which you’ll have a few days to upload your questions to this blog’s comment section.  Days, maybe weeks later, our guest will drop by tho answer those questions in a dedicated blog entry! I thought it only appropriate that we kick things off with a key architect of the production: Dark Matter Executive Producer and President of Prodigy Pictures Jay Firestone.

As I’ve mentioned previously, you wouldn’t be watching this show if it wasn’t for Jay.  He put together the deal that got the show ordered, then assembled the prep, production, and post infrastructure that got this show made, and then was heavily involved in all aspects of said production, from casting through scripts to final edits.

If you’ve got questions for Jay – which I’m sure you do! – post them in the comment section.  I’ll be gathering them up and sending them his way Wednesday, so don’t delay!

Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present… The Dark Matter Boys’ Choir:

*

Season 3 musical episode here we come!

Some interesting Dark Matter-related links:

http://www.threeifbyspace.net/2015/06/dark-matter-episode-2-review-its-bubba-time/

“Dark Matter is a character-driven show that’s well-written and full of great dialogue. Only two hours in and I already feel like I know these people even though they don’t quite know themselves yet. ”

http://geekswithwives.com/syfy-has-found-dark-matter-pilot-review-spoilers/

“This series has started with action, drama, humor and spaceships and I don’t mind saying that’s right up my street. ”

http://sidelinebuzz.com/dark-matter-is-a-surprising-catch-for-summer-television/

“The last theme of “Dark Matter” is being immersed in the mystery of the characters situations as we know only as much as they do. Finding out the facts and being on the same page as them gives us a more enriched understanding of the story. Because the audience has to constantly guess what will happen next, (as if they are a member of the group themselves), the viewer is going to keep on coming back to know more. Especially since each character has a complex past, which in light of it has to create a present persona. This style stages an interesting mystery for audience members to try and piece together week by week.”

http://www.thetvjunkies.com/dark-matter-pilot-part-2/?utm_content=bufferf9963&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

“Dark Matter‘s second episode amped up the action from last week, as the crew found themselves in conflict with the Ferrous Corporation on the ground and in the sky.”

http://www.tv-eh.com/2015/06/20/review-dark-matter-takes-mysterious-intriguing-next-steps/

“Because I’ve been covering television for years, I have a bit of a suspicious streak when it comes to storylines. I’m always looking for the red herring, the twist, the other shoe to drop. Because of that, watching Episode 2 of Dark Matter turned into an exercise in conspiracy theories and experiments.”

http://www.denofgeek.us/tv/dark-matter/247130/dark-matter-episode-2-review

“What makes Dark Matter unique and potentially great is its innovative exploration of human nature and the concept of being “born bad.”

Dark Matter episode #102 aired last night in North America and Australia.  What’d you all think? I’ll be rolling out the behind-the-scenes pics, vids, and tidbits in the coming days – once most of the rest of the world has caught up – but would love to hear your thoughts and theories!

Dark Matter’s second episode airs tonight on SyFy and Space Channel at

10:00 p.m. EST/7:00 PST

And 10:00 PST

I’ll be live tweeting through both broadcasts.  Who’ll be joining me?

In preparation for tonight’s big event, I’ve been dropping a few sneak peek screen caps on twitter…

The fallout.

The fallout.

The Android and FIVE bond.

The Android and FIVE bond.

Who's the baddest?

Who’s the baddest?

Don't mess with TWO.

Don’t mess with TWO.

Panic on the bridge.

Panic on the bridge.

Trouble comin' at ya!

Trouble comin’ at ya!

So, who is the baddest crew member?

***

I want you to rank them, #1-#7, from “super badass” to “cause for concern”.

Dark Matter’s second episode airs tomorrow night at 10 p.m. on SyFy!

And 10 p.m. EST and 7: 00 PST (repeated again at 10 p.m. PST) on Space Channel in Canada.

Here’s a sneak peek at the Dark Matter episode #102 photo gallery:

DARK MATTER --

DARK MATTER — “Episode Two” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Melissa O’Neil as Two, Mark Bendavid as One — (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

DARK MATTER --

DARK MATTER — “Episode Two” Episode 102 — Pictured: Jodelle Ferland as Five — (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

DARK MATTER --

DARK MATTER — “Episode Two” Episode 102 — Pictured: Anthony Lemke as Three — (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

DARK MATTER --

DARK MATTER — “Episode Two” Episode 102 — Pictured: Anthony Lemke as Three — (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

DARK MATTER --

DARK MATTER — “Episode Two” Episode 102 — Pictured: Alex Mallari Jr. as Four — (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

The TVJunkies.com preview episode #102:

http://www.thetvjunkies.com/dark-matter-preview-attack-of-the-multi-corp/

Melissa O’Neil (TWO) talks strong female characters:

http://www.tv-eh.com/2015/06/18/strong-female-characters-continue-their-evolution-on-dark-matter/

Alex Mallari Jr. (FOUR) interview:

http://scifiandtvtalk.typepad.com/scifiandtvtalk/2015/06/still-waters-run-deep-interview-with-dark-matters-alex-mallari-jr.html

I Talk Nerdy:

http://talknerdywithus.com/2015/06/17/interview-with-joe-mallozzi/

Episode #101 reviews:

http://noobist.com/uncategorized/dark-matter-episode-one-review-recap/

http://spotlightmonster.blogspot.ca

http://television.thedigitalfix.com/content/id/2347/dark-matter-series-premier-101.html

Series preview from TV Goodness:

http://www.tvgoodness.com/2015/06/12/dark-matter-series-premiere-preview-interview/

Talking Dark Matter with TV Rage:

http://www.tvrage.com/news/11537/joseph-mallozzi-talks-about-new-sci-fi-series-dark-matter

And some interesting no less interesting non Dark Matter-related links:

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Author, editor, scifi enthusiast, and occasional guest of this blog, Lou Anders, is poised to release the second book in his YA fantasy series Thrones and Bones.  Nightborn, the follow-up to Firstborn, hits the shelves July 14th.  More info here.  And wallpapers!  http://exlibriskate.com/book-blast-nightborn-by-lou-anders/

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The Guardian serves up a Best Recent Science Fiction Novels Review Roundup. Leading the list – none other than another friend of this blog, Alastair Reynolds, and his novel Poseidon’s Wake:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jun/18/science-fiction-review-roundup-alastair-reynolds-poseidons-wake-sarah-lotz-day-four?CMP=share_btn_tw

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Another friend of this blog, author Paul Cornell, has a new creator-owned comic book coming out in August:

http://www.paulcornell.com/2015/05/this-damned-band/

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Hey, speaking of friends of this blog – what is author (and former Stargate: Universe Creative Consultant) John Scalzi been to?  Well, there’s this:

http://torforgeblog.com/2015/06/09/new-ebook-novella-the-life-of-the-mind-by-john-scalzi/

http://torforgeblog.com/2015/06/16/new-ebook-novella-this-hollow-union-by-john-scalzi/

Post your questions if you got ’em.  In preparation for tomorrow’s new episode of Dark Matter, I’ll be doing a mailbag!

With episode #102 on deck (This Friday at 10 p.m. on SyFy and Space Channel), let’s finish up our overview of the Dark Matter pilot, episode #101… 1) That pendant you’re wearing…

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 2.58.28 PM

So, the miners have a pendant exactly like the one ONE found in his room.  They’re waiting for a shipment of arms – just like the one’s our crew is carrying after discovering a bunch of weapons in their cargo hold.  Coincidence?  To quote my girlfriend, Akemi: “Myyybe!”  Or mybe not.  Guess time will tell…

IMG_8515

Above: the actual view out the entranceway.  We smoked the hell out of it, had VFX paint out the utility pole, and generally blew out the shot so that we could tie it into the look out the back of the marauder – which was actually sitting on one of our standing sets.

Blow out!

Blow out!

On the day - pumping the atmosphere. The boys hang out with their big guns.

On the day – pumping the atmosphere. The boys hang out with their big guns.

2) Okay, I’ll admit…that part sounded bad.

Blow out!  But notice the outline of the quarry in the BG.

Blow out! But notice the outline of the quarry in the BG.

One of my favorite deliveries of a line in the pilot comes compliments of Marc Bendavid (ONE): “Okay, I’ll admit…that part sounded bad.”  It not only shows off some nice comic timing, but does a nice job of hinting at his character: that endearing earnest awkwardness.

Hey, check out the shuttle!

Hey, check out the shuttle!

Shooting through the front windows proved a real pain in the butt.

Shooting through the front windows proved a real pain in the butt.

All the pretty lights.

All the pretty lights.

The console

The console

The wheel

The wheel

Green screen out the front

Green screen out the front

As I said, our actual shuttle (the Phantom Class Marauder) was located on one of our standing sets.  It was gimbaled to allow us to gently rock it during flight sequences.  On the first go, the guys went a little overboard.  It looked downright turbulent.  I blame Akemi’s bourbon cookies. 3) I just carved out their and left them for my mother to find.  The bitch!  (beat)  I hope they’re bringing back some real food.  I’m starving!

Just two women sitting around the bridge of a spaceship, not talking about guys.

Just two women sitting around the bridge of a spaceship, not talking about guys.

Whenever I would ask first-time viewers which character they were drawn to most after watching the pilot, opinion varied – but the majority answered FIVE (played by Jodelle Ferland).  She is compulsively watchable – and all sorts of intriguing. 4) The least we can do is nothing which, for the record, is what I’m suggesting we do.

IMG_1265

Probably my favorite scene in the pilot.  The debate offers flashes of insight into to all of our characters.  My favorite subtle character moment comes when TWO (Melissa O’Neil) makes the decision for the group.  Early on in the episode, she assumes the command position – and everyone else falls into line.  Here, after a lengthy debate, the crew votes: 2 in favor of keeping the weapons; 3 in favor of giving them to the miners.  She casts the deciding vote.  Or does she?  Upon closer scrutiny, you realize that she did no such thing.  She doesn’t side with either, choosing instead her own 50/50 compromise – and, again, everyone falls into line. Don’t mess with #2Boss!

P.S. THREE’s “Clean up your tray, pretty boy!” was a terrific Anthony Lemke ad-lib. We get a lot of those.  And, occasionally, they even find their way into an episode!

5) Make sure to lift with the back; takes pressure off the knees.

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While re-watching the director’s cut of this scene, I immediately flagged the aforementioned line: “Make sure to lift with the back, takes pressure off the knees.”  Wait a minute!  That doesn’t make sense!  And then realized: Of course. It’s not supposed to make sense.  This was one of those rare occasions that I actually forgot the line I wrote and came back at it with fresh ears – and laughed. Yes.  I actually laughed at my own joke.

6) The big reveal!

Dark Matter was inspired by many sources – comic books, novels, t.v. shows, and movies – but one of the bigger influences was a show called The Shield that had what was, in my opinion, one of the greatest punch-to-the-gut endings of a pilot…ever!  It painted its “heroes” in the poorest light possible, then spent the rest of the series attempting to rehabilitate them in the eyes of the viewers.  I’ve always been drawn to stories of redemption, whether it be Kurt Busiek’s Thunderbolts, Terry Nation’s Blake’s 7, or E.M. Nathanson’s The Dirty Dozen.  Growing up, I always rooted for the bad guys.  So, I suppose it’s only appropriate the “heroes” of Dark Matter are bad guys, the worst of the worst. When I was developing the series, I worked towards four HUGE WTF?! moments I knew I wanted to hit early.  The first comes at the end of episode #101 with the reveal of their identities.  The next two come over the course of this first season (I’ll flag them in time).  And the last…well, the last comes in that final sequence that caps of season 1.  It’s gonna blow your mind!

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