Posts Tagged ‘Stargate’


Well, what do we have here?  It’s a Stargate: Atlantis reunion on Dark Matter!  Princess Harmony and Rodney McKay, back together again!  This takes me back…


And this…

Today was our cast read-thru for Episode 207 and, while I can’t confirm that Tabor Calchek will be making a return appearance on the show (There’s a possibility that David just came in to replace the space heaters in the conference room), wouldn’t it be funny if he ended up on the ship and had to go toe to toe with our Android?

Hey, while we’re on the subject of Stargate/Dark Matter, here’s a little something for an upcoming episode…


What could we possibly have in store in season 2?

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I was cleaning out my inbox today when I happened across a bunch of old prep schedules and call sheets.

For those of you who are wondering, “prep” is, of course, short for “preparation” and “prepping” an episode involves (in my t.v. producing experience) a little over a week of meetings with director and departments heads in which an episode is detailed, drawn up and discussed.  Here, for example, is the prep schedule for the Stargate: Universe episode “The Hunt” –

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Even though it was prep week on “The Hunt”, early prep work began on later episodes.  There’s a preliminary art department meeting for “Common Descent” and “Epilogue” (suggesting BIG plans for what would turn out to be our final two episodes) followed by a prosthetics life cast with actor Louis Ferreira (to help him achieve that “Old Young” look, as Akemi coined it).

Director Andy Mikita was away and, with the director away, the meetings are pushed to other days.  Note that, while a director begins prep on one episode, another director starts shooting another – in this case, Episode 215, “Seizure”. Also, 2nd unit shoots scenes for Episode 214, “Hope”.  2nd unit usually involves a scaled down crew shooting smaller scenes from a given episode. Also on this day – a casting session!  I remember heading down to the lot and watching auditions in the casting trailer, trying to ignore the trucks that would rumble by at the most inopportune times.

Finally, prep begins early Monday morning with the concept meeting.  With all of the department heads in attendance, we would go through the script, page by page, and break down each scene.  We followed with an art department meeting in which we no doubt discussed the builds for this episode (as I recall, a cave set and a design for the creature)…


…then headed over to props to discuss what was required from them (besides our standard guns, there’s that makeshift spear one of the character wields late in the episode) –

  • And, oh yeah, that severed arm.

    And, oh yeah, that severed arm.

    …followed by a sit-down with the costumes department (we would need to get our uniforms dirty and, in some instances, torn and bloodstained), and, finally, a field trip to scout out some suitably rough terrain in Lynn Canyon where we planned to shoot some of the exteriors.

  • Nice day for a scout.

    Nice day for a field trip.

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Prep week continued full force on Tuesday with some of our biggest meetings: stunts and SPFX (there was that stunt sequence off the top where our camp is attacked by the creature), a playback (not too many big onscreen elements in this one if I recall correctly), and visual effects (the creature was pure CG as was that space deer we see in the tease).

The following day was the extras meeting (always a number of background players in every episode), and then hair & make-up (cuts, bruises, and general disarray).

That's an ouchy.

That’s an ouchy.

Preliminary budgets from the various departments were due to give us a sense of how the episode was costing out.

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No meeting scheduled for the Friday, but that didn’t mean we weren’t busy having discussions, finalizing the details.  A tech survey in the a.m. to Lynn Canyon during which we all sign off on the location and the director finalizes his visual game plan for the exterior sequences.  

Hmmm.  Seemed a lot warmer and dryer on the scout.

Hmmm. Seemed a lot warmer and dryer on the scout.

And then, finally, the production meeting which is a mirror image of the concept meeting except that, by this point, the director and all of the departments know exactly what they’re doing and are in the process of putting the finishing touches on their work.  And, of course, final budgets are due and we find out where our budget stands on the year (which, of course, has a direct effect on ensuing episodes).

Speaking of prep, prep week kicks off on Dark Matter Episode 204 tomorrow with a 10:00 a.m. concept meeting headed by director John Stead.  It’s gonna be fun!

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Well, this is interesting.  Apparently, Canadians are HUGE fans of science fiction television:


“During the 2014-2015 broadcast year Canadian TV sci-fi series Orphan Black on Space (4.3 million viewers*), Dark Matter on Space (3.7 million), Between on City Total and Killjoys on Space (both 3.2 million) each reached roughly 10% of the Canadian population. In addition, these shows performed above their respective channel averages in the very desirable 18-34 demographic.”

That’s 10% of the Canadian population that tuned into our little show.

Tell me more…


Not bad.  It brings to mind another scifi series that far surpassed expectations when it aired on Canada’s Space Channel several years back.  I’ll give you a hint…


Speaking of Stargate, the giveaways are enroute.  We sent off the last one this morning.  Akemi, as always, personalized each envelope…


Pictured above: Canadian bunny, coasters in hand, on his way through the stargate to gforce’s house!

Toronto-bound tomorrow morning!  Hoping I can get some writing done on the flight.

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A buddy of mine is clearing out his place and came across a slew of Stargate swag – keychains, coasters, golf trophies.  He did a little research and was amazed by the value fans have placed on similar unique items.  Out of curiosity, I decided to check out some of the more readily accessible boxes in my crawlspace and came across these interesting pieces –


The Stargate: Atlantis phone.  At one point, it used to work.  Maybe it still does – provided I can find the charger.  I remember it used to power up and down with a Kawoosh!


I’ve never been a hat guy so these three haven’t seen much action.



Stargate: SG-1 compact?  Sure!  Why not?


A rundown of some of the Stargate props/artifacts available back in 2010.  What were they?  No idea.  The book is still in its sealed plastic.


Now this is a pretty cool weighty duo.  Perfect for those Stargate-themed parties!



Now THIS is pretty nifty.  It’s the media package that went out prior to the Stargate: Universe release.  Press the button on the front cover and the chevrons light up!


The book offers a series overview in addition to character breakdowns.


And, of course, tucked in the back are dvd’s of our three part opener: Air I, II and III.  I remember something similar being released for Stargate: Atlantis that included a mini water-filled aquarium of sorts.  I have that somewhere.  I think.

I suppose I could put these up on eBay and make a couple of hundred dollars.  OR I could reward you long time fans with a few giveaways.  What do you think?

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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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Well, well, well.  If it isn’t another Dark Matter guest star with a Stargate connection.  Which of you diehard SG-1 fans recognizes Supreme High Council Per’sus of the tok’ra, who nearly lost his life at the hands of a za’tarc way back in the season four episode “Dive and Conquer”?  Small galaxy, no?

Back when Stargate concluded its awesome t.v. run back in 2010, I knew that, when all was said and done and all the sets had been struck, the final episode delivered, and I took that closing walk from the production offices to my car for the last time, I knew in my heart that there was one thing I would miss more than anything.

The money.

But coming in a close second was the people I worked with, some of whom I’d spent the better part of twelve years of my life along, making three fantastic t.v. shows.  I honestly thought I’d never be lucky enough to work with a group as talented, kind, and supportive as the cast and crew from Stargate.  But four years later, here I am, in Toronto (of all places!), working with an equally talented, kind and supportive and supportive cast and crew.  In many ways, they actually remind me of the old gang, and my experience working with them has been, at times, very reminiscent of the great days I spent on the Stargate franchise.  This, of course, is a testament to the hard work and careful management by Prodigy Picture’s (and Dark Matter Executive Producers) Jay Firestone and Vanessa Piazza who assembled a great team for this project, made up of Lost Girl veterans and other familiar faces.

Anyway, they’re great people – who are all too often unsung heroes of the production process.   So here are a few of the behind-the-scenes individuals who help make this show great…


2nd Assistant Art Director (and budding amateur taxidermist) Kelly Diamond. You’re already familiar with some of her work (the videos for Cosmic Tonic and Intergalactic Pet Shipping! to name a couple), but you’ll see her awesome grapahic/playback skills on full display once the series starts to air.  That Android data stream in episode #103?  That’s her!


If he isn’t juggling the front office action or overseeing supply runs, Production Assistant Kyle Dolphin can be found showing off his physical prowess during the weekly Friday Push-Up contest.  Remind me to show you pics of that time he was drafted to model the space suit.  It’s like he was born to perform an EVA!


I’ve only had the pleasure to work with editor Teresa Hannigan on a single episode so far, but rumor has it I’ll be fortunate enough to re-team with her soon.


On Set Carpenter Jesse Partin notable for, among many other things, riding the mechanical bull that time we shot the casino episode in Hamilton.  Also, he’s our resident doorman – in charge of ensuring a smooth open and close on those sliding ship doors.


The title of “Craft Server” doesn’t do justice to the culinary wizard that is John Schieder.  Mornings, if you’re looking for a breakfast burrito or omelet, he’ll make you one to order.  Then, throughout the day, will ensure you’re well-fed, offering up a rotating assortment of impressive food items, from sausages and schnitzel to greek salads and the best damn clam chowder I’ve ever eaten.

And I’ll undoubtedly miss them all once the show ends.

Five years from now.

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Well, finally!  It’s official!


“David Hewlett is returning to Syfy! This summer Hewlett will reunite with Stargate Atlantis writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie on their new show Dark Matter.

Hewlett will have a recurring part as Talbor Calchek. In a slight change for Hewlett, Calchek is a sleazy agent for unsavory mercenaries who will appear in a four-episode arc.”


Who is Tabor Calchek?  Well…

“Slick, silver-tongued, and more than a little seedy. Tabor Calchek is the team’s handler and the ultimate agent. For the standard 10% commission, he uses his underworld connections as a broker to secure his clients their lucrative assignments. Tabor is sly, manipulative and opportunistic, and can always be counted on to look out for his client’s best interests…right after his own.”

Imagine a cross between Stargate: Atlantis’s Rodney McKay, Entourage’s Ari Gold, and Nic Cage’s Detective Rick Santoro from Snake Eyes, and you’d have a pretty fair approximation of the Tabor character.  His morals are as suspect as his fashion sense, but he is a hoot!  When it came time to cast the role, we reached out to David and made him an offer.  No audition necessary because I knew he would nail it.  And he did, delivering a performance that had us all struggling to stifle our laughter during his takes.  Behind the scene pics to come.  But here’s something to tide you over…


Little known fact: When he’s not acting, David Hewlett works station security on Shaofu 2!


Our second BIG guest star announcement:

“Also guest-starring in the show’s first season will be Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black) as Wendy, described as a “dangerously beautiful android with a full range of pleasure features.”

Well, sure.  That’s one way to describe her, but I prefer…

“Wendy is an entertainment model android designed and built for FUN. The crew discovers her, disassembled in a remote section of the ship and decide to bring her online. Using every bit of her entertainment programming to her advantage, she immediately charms everyone on board – with the exception the ship’s practical work model android who finds Wendy illogical and plain bad company. Resentment brews as the two droids vie for the crew’s attention and affection.”

Ruby landed on our show thanks to the inspired, out-of-the-box casting mind of Dark Matter Executive Producer Jay Firestone – and she was an utter delight to work with.  Smart, sweet, and exceptionally dedicated to her craft, she delivers a one-of-a-kind performance as the multi-faceted Wendy, at turns sunny, sharp, and totally kick-ass.  Oh, and 1000 bonus points to her for being such a compassionate dog rescuer.

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Ruby celebrated her birthday Dark Matter style, with Executive Producer Jay Firestone and the gang playing laser tag.

AND…that’s another wrap!  Episode #108 is in the books and director T.W. Peacocke heads to editing.

Monday, we roll right back into episode #109 with four days of director Ron Murphy’s episode still to shoot.

And then, Dark Matter stunt coordinator John Stead assumes the directing reins on episode #110.

While that goes to camera, it’s another Stargate reunion of sorts as director Martin Wood comes into town to prep episode #111.

And we finish Dark Matter’s first season in fine style, with another Stargate alum as director Andy Mikita drops by to shoot episodes #112 and #113.

I can’t believe we have less than two months to go.  I’ve got to start making plans for my return trip home to Vancouver!

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