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Yes, from today until November 17ish, we’re celebrating my birthday – as is the custom.  I kicked things off this morning by hopping on twitter and personally thanking everyone who sent me birthday wishes.  About thirty minutes in, Akemi suggested I might be better off simply liking everyone’s efforts otherwise I’d be spending the better part of my birthday online.  So, I’ve tried my best to acknowledge everyone but, just in case, thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday here, on twitter, Facebook, reddit, and China’s weibo.

Hey, it feels like just yesterday I was talking about the various projects I’m considering and now I’ve heard word that there will be an announcement on one of those projects tomorrow.  And it’s one that might be familiar to longtime followers of this blog (and before I set off an internet frenzy, no it isn’t Stargate or Dark Matter-related).  Anyway, it’s in the early stages, but I’m very excited about it – partly because of the source material, and partly because it will see me working again with some old friends.

I’m off to read more Dark Matter fan letters.  I leave you with a few more items up for grabs…

After Dark mugs.

Dark Matter backpacks.

Posters!

Blurays!

And hoodies!

 

A little R&R – specifically “Rest” and “Reading”.  Last night, I finished Dennis Lehane’s “Gone, Baby Gone”, staying up until a little past one a.m. to blaze through the book’s final 250 pages.  A terrific read.  One of my favorites of 2017 which, at 170 titles and counting, is turning into a banner reading year for me.

And I’m putting all of this reading to good use by partnering with some production companies in a bid to secure the film & television rights to a few of the books I’ve enjoyed.  We’re in the early stages now, but we’re circling a good dozen titles that I believe have great series/miniseries potential.

In addition, I’m in early discussions to help develop another sci-fi series.  Ideally, I’d prefer to pitch and set up my original ideas, but this one, despite not being my own, is a great premise with the potential for some standout character dynamics – something I value above all else.  Just as importantly, I really like the series creator and the other people involved in this project, so I’m making this one a priority.

Also at the top of the list is a project that will see me reunite with an old friend.  This one’s in early development but you’ll be hearing about it in the coming days when the press release comes out.

I’ve already had preliminary discussions about a couple of intriguing comic book properties and, in two weeks, I’ll be in L.A. meeting and greeting.  Hopefully, these meetings will be the first step in going out with my own pilots (I’m sitting on five in all).

Although it sounds like a lot, the reality is, in this business, you need to have a good dozen things on the go in the hopes that one, maybe, will hit.  Such was the case a little over three years ago when, following numerous starts and stops and seeming dead-ends, it appeared one of my pilots was dead while the other was as good as green lit.  Then, in the course of 24 hours, everything changed and that as-good-as-green-lit pilot was dead while that dead pilot…well, that dead pilot was Dark Matter.  So, you never know…

 

 

We are living in the Golden Age of sci-fi viewing.  Thanks to the rise of deep-pocketed streaming platforms, the expansion of superhero-themed properties to the “small screen”, and a long overdue recognition of the value of genre programming, fandom today has more choices than ever when it comes to feeding their sci-fi fix.

But with the power of choice comes great responsibility.   Where do you commit your time?  And potential subscription fees?  Who has the most to offer?

Well, after amassing a sizable show list, from Agents of SHIELD to Westworld, I put each broadcaster to the test, evaluating them across a range of criteria: quality, quantity, variety, and status of their sci-fi slate, support for their sci-fi programming relative to their other offerings, fan outreach, recognition, and respect.  And, when all was said and done, these were my Top 10 Sci-Fi Broadcast/Streaming Homes:

#10. FREEFORM

A lot of love for genre programming in general here, but there’s a definite commitment to sci-fi with shows like Stitchers and Beyond. Ultimately, Freeform lands the tenth slot on the strength of its upcoming series: Cloak & Dagger, New Warriors (Squirrel Girl!), and Misfits remake.

#9. CRACKLE

Coming in at number nine is this feisty digital streaming service looking to make a splash in 2018 with not one, but two intriguing offerings.  First, there’s The Tribe, a post-apocalyptic series that I’ve heard described as The 100 meets The Walking Dead.  And then there’s The Row which focuses on a group of death row inmates who avoid execution by “volunteering” for a deadly space mission.  Killer premise.

#8. BBC AMERICA

Being Human, Class, Torchwood, Orphan Black and, of course, the grandaddy of science fiction television, Dr. Who – BBC America has a solid track record in this arena.  Looking forward to what they have in store…

#7. ABC

They’ve got Agents of SHIELD presently airing its fourth season (with the incredible Ming-Na Wen), Marvel’s Inhumans,  Somewhere Between that focuses on a mother’s attempts to avert the fated murder of her young daughter, and the upcoming The Crossing which sees America becoming home to an influx of refugees…from 250 years in the future.

#6. AMC

Like superheroes, I put zombies in the sci-fi camp if their origins are based in science (fiction) rather than the supernatural, and that’s the case for two of AMC’s entries here: The Walking Dead and its offshoot Fear the Walking Dead.  The high octane Into the Badlands gets the nod as well, as does the android-centric Humans.

#5. THE CW

The 100, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, the forthcoming Black Lightning series.  Need I go on?

#4. FOX

FOX comes in at #4 on the strength its commitment to science fiction, past (Firefly, Fringe, The X-Files, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Sliders, The X-Files) and present (The X-Files, The Gifted, The Last Man on Earth, The Gifted, The Orville).

#3. HULU

In addition to going all in on Stephen King’s time-hopping 11.22.63, Hulu aims to follow up on its brilliant The Handmaid’s Tale with a bevy of sci-fi offerings including Future Man, Dimension 404, Freakish, and Runaways.

#2. AMAZON

Amazon’s streaming service vaults into the #2 spot thanks to a burgeoning sci-fi slate that includes The Man in the High Castle, the recently launched Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, and a trio of intriguing upcoming adaptations: Larry Niven’s Ringworld, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, and Greg Rucka’s Lazarus. There’s also Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens that is really more fantasy than science fiction, but I mention it for its post-apocalyptic setting.

#1. NETFLIX

And all alone at #1 is the current king of sci-fi programming.  Let’s break it down: Black Mirror, Dark Matter, Sense 8, The OA, Stranger Things, Travelers, 3%, Daredevil, The Defenders, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, The Punisher.  Upcoming: Lost in Space, The Umbrella Academy, Altered Carbon.  And I’m sure there’s much, much more.

Honorable Mentions: The CBS All Access and Stargate Command streaming platforms offer up a plethora of classic sci-fi (Every Star Trek series and every Stargate series respectively), in addition to a couple of exclusives (Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access and Stargate: Origins on Stargate Command). HBO doesn’t do a lot of sci-fi, but when they do, they invest in some impressive production values.  Finally, Canada’s Space Channel is home to great content including the aforementioned Star Trek: Discovery, The Expanse, and Killjoys among others but it didn’t make the list because, sadly, if you’re not in Canada you’re out of luck.

So, what do you all think?  What are your go-to sci-fi homes?  What are you watching and what are you looking forward to watching?

 

So, yesterday I gave a shout-out to the gang at MGM who reached out to me in an effort to save Dark Matter.

Today, another shout-out.  This one for a former syfy executive, Chris Regina, who was the channel’s point man on the series for Dark Matter’s three year run.  He was a tireless promoter of our little show – reading every script, watching every episode, always giving us meaningful input and, more importantly, championing Dark Matter when others may have overlooked it.  We – the cast, the crew, and the fans – lost a passionate, and crucial ally when Chris left syfy in late June.

Chris Regina on set with Executive Producer Jay Firestone

A big thank you to Chris for three amazing years – and best of luck on his exciting new position…which I hope to hear more about when I visit L.A. at the end of the month.

Well, I spent the better part of an afternoon reading about a hundred letters from Dark Matter fans.  All I can say is Wow.  A lot of beautifully written, heartfelt expressions of gratitude for a show that obviously meant a lot to so many of you. It may have looked like I was choking up, but I can assure you that was just the fiery residue of the scorpion chilis I must have got in my eyes.

Anyway, here are a few of the outfits we’ll be sending out to some lucky letter-writing fans…

And more!

In truth, pretty damn close.

So often, you’ll hear stories long after the fact.  Like how Apple almost brought Stargate: SG-1 back for an iTunes exclusive 11th and final season.  Or how Canada’s Space Channel attempted to save Stargate: Universe.  But in this case, the events are fairly recent  – a last ditch effort to save Dark Matter spearheaded by some old friends.  An effort that, had it been successful, would have seen characters from the world of Stargate crossover into the Dark Matter universe.   Or, technically and creatively, vice-versa.  I kid you not.

Not long after word broke of the syfy cancellation, we had several interested parties reach out to us.  One of the most intriguing of them was was MGM, my former home for 12 glorious years while I was working on the Stargate franchise.   They loved the show.  They were aware of the fanbase.  And they recognized a great opportunity.

Over the course of a week, with the window of opportunity to save the show growing narrower, I had several long and involved conversations with Simon Graty (EVP & GM Domestic Networks at MGM Studios), Kieran Dickson (Editorial Director at MGM), and Jenny Stiven (Consultant, Digital/Social Strategy & Content, Influencer Marketing).  The plan, if successful, would have seen Dark Matter’s fourth season premiere on MGM’s streaming platform, Stargate Command, alongside the upcoming Stargate: Origins series.  Perhaps equally intriguing was the prospect of doing some sort of Dark Matter/Stargate crossover that would rev up the fanbase in advance of further original Stargate programming down the road.

The two things working against us were time and existing contracts, the latter which proved our undoing.  BUT we came so close –

To a fourth season of Dark Matter.

To a sci-fi crossover for the ages.

Ultimately, we weren’t successful, but I want to thank MGM, and especially Simon, Jenny, and Kieran, for reaching out and trying to make it happen.

Today, Ivon and I caught up with a couple of the individuals who orchestrated that attempted 11th hour save (Jenny and Kieran), as we sat down with them, and Gateworld’s David Reed, for late lunch and three hours of reminiscing about the old Stargate  days.

Watch for our interview, and many more, coming to Stargate Command.

Back in Toronto – but our return trip was not without incident.  Given the fact that we were traveling with two small dogs, you’d figure I might encounter a problem going through security, maybe on the flight, possibly even at baggage claim – but Lulu and Suji were incredibly well-behaved.  They sat snuggled down in their little sherpa carriers for much of the journey, solely poking their heads out once we’d exited the airport.  Exhausted but really relieved, Akemi and I walked over to the taxi stand to grab a cab for for the ten minutes ride home, but there were none to be had.  Oh, there were cabs there – plenty, all lined up – but none would take us because of the dogs.

Beck Taxi, Co-Op Cabs, and several others flat out refused even though the dogs were in their carrier – and it was raining.

Suji and Lulu exchange WTF? looks.

Hey, I get it.  There’s no law requiring taxis to transport dogs.

Alternately, there’s no rule requiring me to ever take another taxi in Toronto.

Here’s your chance to win a memento from Dark Matter, one of Syfy’s most-watched scripted shows and most watched sci-fi series of 2017.  Normally, we’d reward you with another season of your favorite show but, since that’s not possible, we’re offering up props, costumes, and swag!

November 15 is the deadline to get your “What Dark Matter Means To Me” letters in for a chance to one of these awesome prizes…

DM (Dungeon Master?) hats.

Raza crew mugs.

Raza beanies.

Ambrosia’s necklace with hidden decoder inside (Episode 305, “One Last Card To Play”).

The Android’s space ukulele (Episode 304, “All The Time In The World”).

FIVE’s mug.

FOUR’s prop puzzle box – doesn’t open (Episode 101/102).

Ishida Cargo hold key.

Robots x2 from Baines’ workshop (Episode 302, “It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This”).

 

Bars – space currency.

Hrothgar/ONE’s pendant (Episode 101/102).

Functional space light.

Space “meds”.

Subspace transponder (Episode 203, “I’ve Seen The Other Side Of You”).

Sarah’s necklace.

Two Raza fuses.

And I’ll continue to post more swag, props, and costumes as they are catalogued and photographed.

Remember, when it comes to Dark Matter, #ItsARealFanThing!

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