Posts Tagged ‘scifi television’


Well, well, well.  Look who it is.  Director Martin Wood (Stargates SG-1 and Atlantis) hits the streets of Toronto – in his trademark shorts.  Yes, if there are two thing I remember about Martin Wood from our days on Stargate, it’s: 1) His penchant for wearing shorts year round, and 2) His onscreen cameo character, Major Wood, always lugged around a giant wrench.

Alas, no giant wrench on Dark Matter (but who knows?  We’ve yet to shoot his episode, #111) but the shorts are still in full effect!


We had our final (?) notes session with Executive Producer Jay Firestone the other day.  Soon after, we made the necessary changes and released our season finale, episode #113.  As I may have mentioned, I want to approach each season as a instalment in a book series.  And so, #113 offers answers to many of the questions we set up over the course of our initial 13 episode journey and includes one HUGE reveal.  But I made a point of scripting it in a way that keeps the mystery reveal a secret…until our very last day of production.  A LOT of theories swirling around set right now…


B 1st Assistant Camera Marcel Janisse enjoys lunch in the infirmary’s isolation chamber.

I’m thinking it’s high time for another mailbag.  If you’ve got questions about the show, post away.  I’ll answer later in the week.

I’m also thinking of doing one of those reddit AMA’s.  How do they work?

Finally, here’s another look at the Dark Matter teaser trailer:

Over 47k+ views and counting!  Share!  Share!  Share!

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It’s here!  It’s here!  The Dark Matter teaser trailer is finally out!  Share!  Share!  Share!

Head on over to IGN.com for the write-up and links:


When SyFy told us they wanted to produce a one minute teaser trailer for the show, my initial response was “Impossible!”.  We only had two locked episodes with no finished visual effects.  How could they possibly produce a compelling trailer?

Well, I stand corrected.  This first teaser trailer is pretty darn terrific.  A big thanks to Gary Morgenstein, Katherine Nelson, Bill Trojanowski, Samantha Agnoff and the rest of the gang at SyFy Publicity & Marketing!  Great job on this one and I look forward to the next VFX-laden trailers to come!

SyFyFridays returns to SyFy June 12th with an SF triple header!  A two part premiere of Defiance kicks things off at 8:00 p.m.  And Dark Matter has the 10:00 p.m. slot.

Circle the date on your calendars and SHARE THE HELL out of our trailer!

And here’s a little behind-the-scenes pic to tide you over until tomorrow.  Locked and loaded.


Allow me to end today’s entry with a shout out for my long-time buddy, Lou Anders, who is about to publish the second book in his Thrones & Bones series (Nightborn hits the shelves July 14, 2015).  Meanwhile, Lou’s been keeping busy, touring.  And, apparently, his characters are going places as well: http://louanders.blogspot.com/2015/04/thrones-bones-characters-for-fate.html

Thanks, all.  And get the word out.  We’ve already got over 22k views and counting.  I want to reach 50k by Sunday!

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Dark Matter Goes International!


“LONDON — TV series “Dark Matter” is going global on Syfy following its U.S. premiere on the channel on June 12.

It will air on Syfy in 86 countries, including the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Australia. Regions where it plays on the channel include Asia, Central Europe and Latin America. […]”

Great news!  This means that the next time I travel to Tokyo, I’ll be able to stay in and watch Dark Matter on Universal Channel (Japan)!

We’re still a ways from finished visual effects, but there’s some very positive early buzz on the show.  People who have watched the rough cuts of our first two episodes are very excited by what they’ve seen.  The feedback has been fantastic and we keep hearing the same things: “Great characters!”,  “Great sets!” and, most importantly “Fun!”.

Let’s celebrate with the final instalment in our Four Days of Tabor Calchek feature:


I saved the best for last.  This one’s going to be my new desktop wallpaper!


Can’t wait to see the Tabor Calchek cosplayers at Comic Con next year.


The awesome Bruce McDonald was in the ship’s underbelly this morning, shooting his final scene for episode #107.  Love this guy.  It was a pleasure working with him – and an equally great pleasure watching his director’s cut of same episode (minus that outstanding scene).  It’s going to be great.  But don’t take it from me.  I screened it for Akemi the other night and she couldn’t stop talking about it.

Another director I’m a huge fan of is Ron Murphy who followed Bruce today, shifting the action to the mess – and episode #109.  It was a festive atmosphere. Especially after we broke out the party favors:


Tomorrow: Editing!  Infirmary!  Bridge battle!  Jay’s notes on the season finale! And rum cakes!

Not necessarily in that order!

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I admire people who dress like they just don’t care – what other people think. Lady Gaga.  Don Cherry.  And, of course, Dark Matter‘s Tabor Calchek.  I knew the gang in wardrobe was going to have a lot of fun dressing him – maybe, I suspected, a little too much fun.  So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I made my way down to the costume department last month for a sneak peek at Tabor’s outfits. I was treated to a lot of comfy wear (see previous blog instalments) and then a bit of flash in the form of the type of shirt usually reserved for disco enthusiasts or East European gangsters.  I loved it, but had only one small request.  Instead of just having him in his underwear, lets give Tabor pants. Pleather pants!


And, voila!  He’s ready for business.  Or a night out on the town!


I was up at 4:30 this morning so that I could prepare my breakfast, see to the dogs, and then take the hour long drive to Hamilton for today’s 7:00 a.m. main unit call.  It was still dark by the time I rolled into the crew park.

Hell, it was so early, it was late!


Shooting in the woods today.  And I mean that in two senses of the word.


Also, occasional slashing and stabbing.


“A” 2nd Assistant Camera, Michael Purdon, color codes sticks for blocking.


Okay, what I mean is, when the actors come to set, the director will “block” a scene with them, deciding who moves where and when.  Once that has been decided, “marks” are placed on the floor (usually tape, color coded for each performer, but, in today’s case, sticks) so that everyone knows exactly where they should be standing and/or moving to in order to “hit their mark”.


It was, thankfully, our final location day for episode #109.  I suppose it could’ve been worse.  It could’ve been raining.  On the other hand, it could’ve been just slightly better with the addition of snow.  Ah, I suppose I can just get Lawren, our VFX Supervisor, to add some in post.  How hard can it be?


Consulting Producer Ivon Bartok and actress Melissa O’Neil (TWO) try to stay warm.  Hey!  It’s winter again!

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Today, I spent time on three different units.  Woke up at 6:00 a.m., took the loooong drive to Hamilton for 8:30 a.m. call on not one but TWO second unit shoots (Director Ron Murphy on those owing barn scenes from episode #106, and Director Bruce McDonald on those final few farm house scenes for episode #108). It was uncomfortably cold when I arrived but, after an hour or so, the weather warmed up.  Then it rained, and it got cold again.  I took the looooong drive back to Etobicoke and arrived in time for main unit lunch, then spent the rest of the late afternoon and evening on set, first watching Director T.W. Peacocke shoot scenes for episode #108, then watching Director John Stead shoot outstanding (in both senses of the word) scenes for episode #105.  What a day!  And the high point was a double dose of actress Jodelle Ferland who is, quite frankly, perfection.


A little something from the Art Department and Transport to help set the mood. Anyone remember Damnation Alley?


Director Bruce McDonald is a rock star!


Dressing warmly – and peacefully – for the weather.


The rarely seen sled cam.


I tried to shoo this homeless man off set – until I realized he was VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson.


Moving video village.  That tent came in handy today.


Second unit for episode #108 was shooting in the cabin (background) while second unit for #106 was shooting in the barn (foreground).


A couple of Lemke’s: Anthony and Tanya (no relation).  Note: Anthony’s injuries sustained during one of our trademark heated “script discussions”.


Directors Bruce McDonald and Ron Murphy exchange pleasantries – before the rivalry begins.  Ron fires the first salvo by stealing their camera.


Ron directs actress Jodelle Ferland (FIVE) on shuttle spotting.


Watch your step back to crew park!


Like I said, those tents sure came in handy.

Tomorrow, another visual piece of the android puzzle.  What’ll it be, belt or hair?

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“Girls who like Cinderella have nightmare marriage.  Statistics show.  It’s data!”

– Akemi today, on our walk back home from lunch.

I guess it makes sense.

Today also saw us visit the post office so that Akemi could sense her dad a chocolate shipment.  Apparently, his stock is running low.

Of course no overseas shipment would be complete without the appropriate cartoon commentary that the post office employee must take great pains to avoid covering with the appropriate stamps.


“Hey, it’s a french bulldog!”I said.

“It’s not a french bulldog,”Akemi informed me, clearly disappointed.  “It’s a rabbit.”

Upon closer scrutiny, yes, of course.  A rabbit.


I couldn’t help but take a picture of this.  It would seem certain customers are obsessive ringers.

Hey, spoke to the gang at SyFy this week and the plan is to target April for the big Dark Matter roll-out.  So, in a couple of weeks, you’ll finally get a first look at all OF the Dark Matter concept art, designs, set and cast pics I’ve been sitting on for the past couple of months.  As for that awesome guest casting announcement, I urged them make it official this week.

But who knows?

Sunny day today!  Got the dogs out and even worked on a  new Android scene with Zoie Palmer.  Great fun.  That’s why we call her The Wizardress.  Much to her surprise as you can sense from the following text exchange:

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 4.57.43 PM


Spacelog writes: “What can you tell us about that planned Stargate Extinction comic book that never was.”

Answer: Alas, not much.  Last year, I was contacted by a publisher about the possibility of writing some stories for a planned Stargate comic book series.  I loved the idea – but my creative plate was full with the various projects I had in development.  HOWEVER, I did tell them that I’d be very interested if I could translate Stargate: Extinction, that unproduced Stargate: Atlantis movie script, into a four-part comic book one-off.  They loved the idea and approached MGM about the idea.  And that was the last I heard of it.  Maybe they felt it would get the way of the planned reboot?  Too bad.  I think it would have been great fun for long-standing fans of the series.

Debra writes: “Any idea yet on when the series will be shown?”

Answer: Dark Matter will premiere this summer.  And maybe sooner than you think!  Official announcement still to come.

dasndanger writes: “What (if any) is the relationship between the world in Dark Matter, and our earth?”

Answer: Dark Matter is set in a distance future in which multi-corps have gone out and colonized other worlds in order to exploit their planetary resources.  These multi-planetaries are the big interstellar power players while the G.A. (Galactic Authority) ensures that law and order is maintained.  A smattering of independent worlds exist as well, former colonies and powerful family-run republics.  Earth is Homeworld Alpha.

Ponytail writes: “Have any of your visits to Tokyo (Robot Restaurant) influenced some of your writing/vision/color in Dark Matter?”

Answer: There’s a definite anime influence running through Dark Matter.  Some quite obvious; some less so.

Scott writes: “Will there be any epic space battles, with lasers and missiles and stuff?”

Answer: Yep.  Epic space battles.  Missiles, yes.  Lasers, not so much.

JustLookAtTheFlowers writes: “1. Will the episodes be serialized or stand-alone type episodes?”

Answer: The show will be heavily serialized.  Stuff happens EVERY EPISODE.  Twists, turns, ongoing character arcs.  Perfect for binge-watching.  Or viewing the night it airs to avoid potential office and online spoilers!

“2. When can we expect Syfy to start promoting this show with an updated website, interviews, trailers?!”

Answer: Yes.  April’s the month!

ivonbartokfans writes: “1. Is Zoie’s cat still around?”

1. Yep, Zoie’s cat, Cloverblob, is most definitely around.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, my date with her did not exactly go as planned.  I sent Zoie the following text not long afterwards:

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 4.54.03 PM

And we had the following exchange:

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 4.55.56 PM

“2. How many cat t-shirts does everyone own? Who has the record?”

Answer: No idea.  But I’ve seen a varied bunch!

“3. Is Robert Cooper a possibility to direct an episode?”

Answer: Nope, but he did write one – the episode we’re presently shooting now, #107.

“4. Are you and Ivon doing March Madness this year?”

Answer: It’ll be tough since we’ll be on set – but we’ll definitely try to catch a few games.  Go Cyclones!

BoltBait writes: “I see that Terry Pratchett passed away today. I’ve never read any of his book but am inspired to. Where should I start?”

Answer: I started with Guards! Guards!  But the entire Discworld series is great.

PBMom writes: “And I too want to know if Jelly had her butt in the water bowl for any particular reasons?”

Answer: Because it was comfy?

JT writes: “Was wondering if you could write about how you select the directors for each episode, what they bring to it, what you’re looking for from them etc.”

Answer: We’ve selected directors based on our past experience with them (Paolo, Ron, John, and Lee through their past work with Jay and Vanessa), (Amanda, Bruce, Martin, John, and Andy through their past work with me), and whole-hearted recommendations (T.J. and T.W.).

mylhibug writes: “I’m rewatching all the SGU episodes and am reminded that I love the music from the show. My questions are as follows: Who picked the music for that show? Will Dark Matter have a similar feel when it comes to music? Is there a SGU soundtrack out there that can be purchased?”

Answer: The late great Joel Goldsmith was our music composer through all three Stargate shows.  Dark Matter will have a different feel when it comes to its music.  As far as I know, an SGU soundtrack was never released.

Tam Dixon writes: “How many seasons does the series bible outline?”

Answer: The series bible is in my head.  And it covers the entire journey of the ship’s crew.  Ideally, five season’s worth.

“How do you make chili oil and how do you eat it?”

Answer: Not sure but my guess is you drop a few chilis in some oil along with the appropriate herbs and let it all sit for a week so as to allow the flavours to infuse.

“Is the new guy David Hewlett?”

Answer: Wouldn’t that be awesome?!

anas bensidi writes: “Hi Mr Mallozzi, I just wanted to know if dark matter will be more like a guardians of the galaxy meets battlestar galactica thing with a more serialized tone to it or is it gonna be fun and light all the way as was SG1 for example or any show with the adventure of the week thing?”

Answer: Hmmmm.  Guardians of the Galaxy meets BSG sounds like fun!  Dark Matter will definitely be more serialized that SG-1 – but it will maintain a sense of humor.

Randomness writes: “Will we see any heart warming or memorable bonding moments between certain members of the ship’s crew this season?”

Answer: Yes.  Lots of nice bonding moments.  Also lots of nice antagonistic moments as well.

“Offworld, on a space station anywhere really, will we see moments where a crew member is interacting with someone who isn’t a member of the crew on their own in any significant capacity?”

Answer: Yep, plenty of those moments as well as we explore the individual backstories.

“Can we expect disagreements between the crew as to what direction a mission should take, or how a important decision should go?”

Answer: The crew aint one big happy family to start.  There WILL be some heated disagreements.

“When the crew aren’t doing anything important, we will see what they like doing in their downtime, like hobbies, or just refinement of skills, things like that?”

Answer: Yes, we’ll explore what they do on the ship on their off-time.  Also what they do for a little R&R when they hit the local space stations.

“Has to be asked, in terms of fight scenes, who do you think gets the most action?”

Answer: They all see action but, if I had to pick the crew’s top fighters, I’d definitely go with the ladies.

“Do you believe time travel stories have a place on Dark Matter?”

Answer: Sure, eventually.

“Which member of the crew would you say is the most diplomatic in a crisis situation?”

Answer: Definitely Two and Six.  They walk a fine line between the rest of our more opinionated crew members.

shaneac1 writes: “well Joe my question is has a trailer been put together to be viewed by the syfy channel and if so what was there reaction.”

Answer: Reaction to the prod cuts of episodes #101 and #102 has been overwhelmingly positive.  SyFy is working on the first trailers as I write this.

dasndanger writes: “Are any of the episodes completely done, and if so, have you watched them through, and if so, what do you think?”

Answer: We have a few locked cuts, but are still months away from finished episodes.  Music, color timing, and VFX take time.  I absolutely love everything I’ve seen – and am really looking forward to the fan response.  It’s gonna be huge!

Scott writes: “Will Dark Matter have an opening theme song and intro for each episode, similar to SG-1 and Atlantis, or will it be like SGU and many of the newer shows these days, with just a 5-second title clip and no music (hopefully not)?”

Answer: The latter.  Alas, most productions are moving away from those big opening theme songs in favor of shorter intros (that allow for more story screen time).

no1zoieplamerfan writes: “Any idea when we’ll finally get to see an image of the lovely Zoie Palmer the way she’ll appear as the Android?”

Answer: I expect we’ll start seeing those cast pics sometime in April.

Sparrow_hawk writes: “I’ll add my plaintive voice to Sylvia’s” Dark Matter swag would be really nice – will there be some available and when?”

Answer: Executive Producer Jay Firestone has already talked to me about the possibility of Dark Matter swag, from posters and t-shirts to exclusive models of ships and weaponry.  Stay tuned!

livingforcreativity writes: “When production wraps on Season 1, will you move back to Vancouver for the summer?”

Answer: Most definitely.  Akemi and I (and the dogs) head back to Vancouver in June.  I’ll hopefully be spinning stories for season 2 though July in August and then back here for production on Dark Matter‘s second season in winter of 2015.

“Are any of the other shows you were pitching still in development (with a real possibility of actually getting a ‘go’ order?)”

Answer: Yes.  I still keep hearing rumblings about A.K.A.

Lowriders95s10 writes: “Any idea when you will be releasing episode titles?”

Answer: I’ve been releasing episode titles all along: #101, #102, #103, #1o4, #105, #106, #107, #108, #109, #110, #111, #112, and #113!

bambamfans writes: “Good to hear Ron’s cutting the directorial mustard. I wish I could see dailies. They sound like fun. Do you have a viewing room or just watch on a laptop or TV?”

Answer: I watch the dailies on my laptop whenever I can pop back into my office between meetings.

Ponytail writes: “The correct spelling of whisky is W-H-I-S-K-E-Y! Whiskey! Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey!! The other way makes me think of cat hairs, whiskers!”

Answer: Depends what you’re drinking: http://www.thekitchn.com/whiskey-vs-whisky-whats-the-di-100476

Sylvia writes: “Please, what was name of realllllly smooth whiskey from Washington?”

Answer: Dry Fly Washington Wheat Whiskey: http://www.dryflydistilling.com/whiskey/

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Today marked the conclusion of our first full week of production on Dark Matter – or, as the call sheet will tell you: “Day 6 of 89″!  Today saw some sword slinging, cosmic cat and mouse, big reveals, and an FTL jump.  In other words, just another day at the office.


The ladies can’t stop talking about actor Roger Cross’s smile – but I suggested they be wary of his warm embrace!  I informed Akemi that he would be dropping by to watch football this weekend.  “Who’s Roger?”she asked.  “The guy who almost broke my back,”I replied – which elicited a laugh.  A laugh!  from my own girlfriend!

The make-up department makes actor Alex Mallari Jr.'s tattoos disappear.

The make-up department makes actor Alex Mallari Jr.’s tattoos magically disappear.  In about an hour.

Our screen grab of the day  –

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 8.43.46 AM

Oh, it may look like some random shot – but it’s key.  Which you’d know if you read the comic book.

Our socks of the day, compliments of Natalie Cooper.  Yesterday was purple with unicorns.  Today…


It’s baby blue gnomes.  According to Natalie, her collection is big enough to last us through this first season.

And finally, Alex Mallari Jr. regales us with yet one more Dark Matter Dance of the Day:

One musical episode coming up!  #FOURCLAN

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