Though our primary focus here at The 7th Matrix is on sci-fi web series and online short films, every so often there comes a mainstream project so exciting, we decide to feature it in this space.
The new science fiction television series Dark Matter is just such a project.
Having premiered on June 12, 2015 on the SyFy Channel in the U.S., Dark Matter is one of the key series that heralds the network's recommitment to scripted science fiction programming.
It is also part of the highly anticipated return of space operas on television.
We had the great pleasure of conducting a Q&A with series creator and showrunner Joseph Mallozzi.
Mallozzi was very generous with his time, and in providing fascinating insights into the show's genesis and production - as well as giving a tantalizing tidbit regarding the future of Dark Matter!
T7M: Who or what first inspired your love of science fiction?
JM: My mother! Growing up, she fostered my love of reading by gifting me the classics: Asimov and Clarke in particular. On some school nights, she'd make me go to bed at 9 p.m., then wake me up for the late night scifi movies: The Omega Man, The Planet of Apes, etc.
T7M: Dark Matter began its life as a comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics, created by you and Paul Mullie. How did you two conceive the core idea behind the project's intriguing premise?
JM: Growing up, I was always fascinated by bad guys and especially drawn to the notion of redemption. My favorite shows focus on flawed, some might argue villainous, protagonists: The Shield, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad. I wanted to take this theme of redemption and examine it in an SF setting.
T7M: Did you always intend for your comic to be adapted into a television series?
JM: Yes. The series concept came first. Rather than go out and pitch it, we decided to publish it as a comic book first and then take it out. We partnered with Dark Horse Comics, created the four issue limited run that was collected into a trade paperback, and used it as a visual aid to help sell the series.
T7M: For our readers who may not have seen the show yet (you all get on that!), how would you describe its premise?
JM: Six individuals wake up from stasis on board a ship with no memories of who they are or how they got on board. Their search for answers leads to more questions - and a dangerous journey fraught with twists, turns, and betrayals.
T7M: How far ahead do you have the series plotted?
JM: I already know the end of the story, the journeys of all seven of our characters. As in real life, it won't be a happy ending for everyone.
T7M: Dark Matter's central characters are a fascinating, dynamic bunch. How difficult was the casting process?
JM: Casting is always a challenge. You go in with a set idea of how you envision the character and then have those notions upended by the process. Some roles were very challenging to cast; others quite simple. In the case of TWO, we saw over 250+ actresses for the role. It was a long process. In the case of THREE, Anthony Lemke, I was ready to offer him the part after his first audition.
T7M: Which of the show's core characters do you most identify with?
JM: To be honest, I think I'm a little bit of THREE (brash, hotheaded, sarcastic) and a bit of FIVE (kooky, unpredictable, a tad immature).
T7M: What distinguishes Dark Matter from other space operas that have come before it?
JM: The show is heavily serialized - and I promise fans won't have to wait too long to get some answers. At least some of them.
T7M: You were executive producer on the long-running and popular Stargate tv franchise. What is the main challenge of running a show you created yourself?
JM: Producing the show is easy if you have talented people working for you - and I did. The cast, crew, and everyone involved in the production was terrific, so I felt no real pressure in that regard. The heavy burden, the stress, comes in the laborious, mentally exhausting days and weeks after launch - the push to get the word out, to track audience response and ratings, to see it succeed. At that point, it's truly out of your hands and it can be incredibly frustrating.
T7M: At this point in Dark Matter's production, what has been your proudest moment?
JM: There were plenty, but I think that the moments that were the most meaningful to me were those instances where members of the cast and crew told me how much they enjoyed working on the show. It's wonderful to make a great show and to be successful but what truly touched me were the number of people who woke up so damn early every morning, busting their butts on twelve hour days, came in on the occasional weekends and still had a great time doing it.
T7M: Are there any other projects you are working on that you would like to let our readers know about?
I have four other pilots out and about - but can't say more about them at the moment. Who knows what the future holds?
So there you have it. Very interesting insights about the production of one of the most promising and exciting science fiction series to debut on SyFy Channel - from the creator himself!
Mallozzi also has a long-running blog, where he provides even more behind-the-scenes commentaries and sneak peeks! It's great reading, so check it out here: https://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com
Also, make sure to visit the official site for the show: Dark Matter
Plus, The 7th Matrix founder Rod Faulkner wrote about his initial impressions of the show here (hint: there was much rejoicing in the land!): https://medium.com/@RodFaulkner/killjoys-and-dark-matter-the-welcome-return-of-space-opera-to-tv-cf4d933627da
Dark Matter airs Fridays on the SyFy Channel at 10PM (EST), 9PM (CST).
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