The summer television season is ready to kick into high gear, and with so many new shows on the landscape, it’s hard to know which ones to watch. One of those new players will be the Canadian series Dark Matter, premiering on Syfy and Space on Friday, June 12 at 10 p.m. ET. The show will follow the crew of a spaceship that wakes up with absolutely no memory of who they are or how they got on board. These total strangers must now band together to survive and uncover the truth.
Are you not sure if this one is worthy of your time and investment? The TV Junkies spoke with co-creator Joseph Mallozzi, a veteran of the Stargate universe, about the series and what fans can expect from Season 1. After chatting up Mallozzi, we’ve got eight reasons why fans will want to check out Dark Matter. Check those out below, along with Mallozzi’s thoughts about each.
1. It’s Character Driven
According to Mallozzi, “I keep hammering home the same points when talking about the show, but it’s character driven. The characters are super colorful and very varied. Different people respond to different characters when watching the show for the first time.”
2. It’s got a sense of humour
“It’s all about the characters and I think what makes these characters so easy to connect with is a sense of humour. It’s so important and humanizes the characters and allows the viewers to really connect with them,” says Mallozzi. This sense of humour is something that will set Dark Matter apart on the science fiction landscape he says, because “I find that there’s a lot of dark, very dry sci-fi which is great, but over the past few years there’s been a movement away from the sense of humour. It’s surprising given the wild success of a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy, which is kind of a fun romp. You can have the best of both worlds, deal with darker themes but still have that sense of humour.”
3. You don’t have to love sci-fi to enjoy it
Dark Matter isn’t just for the hardcore, sci-fi loving fans out there says Mallozzi. According to him, Dark Matter will also satisfy “fans who may not be fans of sci-fi, but who went to see Guardians of the Galaxy, and not going in for sci-fi, but enjoyed the show as a spectacle and the characters and the sense of fun to it. It’s like the early Star Wars movies and Stargate, that’s what we’re aiming for with Dark Matter, the type of show where you don’t necessarily have to be a sci-fi fan but you can become one watching the show.” Above all, it’s about one thing for Mallozzi and crew, no matter what the reason fans have for tuning in: “It’s just going to be a fun ride. Fun is the operative word.”
4. It won’t string us along
“One of the things I promise the audience is I’m not going to string everyone along. There’s going to be plenty of mystery but each season will offer answers,” promises Mallozzi. What will that mystery revolve around? Well Mallozzi has some hints in that, “the who and why [of why the crew is on board] is the overarching mystery for Season 1, and in the season finale we find out who and why.” In fact setting stories up and paying them off is one of Mallozzi’s main goals with the show. “There will be plenty of mysteries to uncover and we’ll be setting stuff up and paying it off,” he says. “So hopefully it’ll be a lot of fun for viewers who like to piece the puzzle together, that they’ll be able to play detective,” says Mallozzi.
5. The Awesome sets
“We actually have an incredible set,” Mallozzi enthuses. “We approached this first season like a miniseries. We wrote a very efficient production. The money ended up on screen. The standing sets are amazing. Our ship is awesome,” he promises. But the ship isn’t the only place we’ll see the Dark Matter crew; Mallozzi explains that “It’ll be a ship-based show, the ship is essentially like Star Trek and the home away from home for our viewers. We’ll also see the crew get a chance to go off and stretch their legs and visit space stations and visit planets.”
6. Kickass female characters
The science fiction genre is no stranger to kickass female characters. In the past we’ve seen such characters as Stargate’s Carter or Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck, and currently on TV with the women of The 100.Dark Matter falls right in line. “Everyone gets a chance to have fun and fire guns and kick ass, but more often than not it’s the women, led by Melissa’s (O’Neil) character (Two) that saves the day,” says Mallozzi. It’s something that other cast members have picked up on as well. “It’s funny because I was looking over the episodes and Anthony (Lemke who plays Three) just commented on something and said ‘you know more often than not the women are the ones that basically kick ass and save the guys on the show,’ and I’m looking and was like ‘shoot, you know he’s right,’” recounts Mallozzi.
7. Great Guest Stars
Dark Matter boasts an array of fun guest stars during its first season, especially for fans of science fiction. The first season will see a visit from Will Wheaton (Star Trek, The Big Bang Theory) who “plays a wealthy tech entrepreneur who has a vested interest in our crew. He plays a character pretty much against type,” previews Mallozzi, before adding that “in this case he plays a pretty scary guy. He was terrific.” Mallozzi also adds that, “we will be seeing him again in Season 2.”
Stargate alums David Hewlett and Torri Higginson also guest star with Hewlett playing “a character called Talbor Calcheck who is the team’s handler – getting them missions and such, sort of the Charlie from Charlie’sAngels,” says Mallozzi. Stargate fans may see the resemblance between Calchek and Hewlett’s Rodney McKay “in that he’s kind of a slick, a little arrogant, but there’s a sense of humour that makes him kind of a charmer but at the same time kind of annoying as well,” Mallozzi says. Like Wheaton, Hewlett is someone Mallozzi sees back for Season 2. For her part, Higginson will play Commander Delaney Truffant, a commander of another ship and unlikely ally for the Dark Matter crew. Mallozzi says that Higginson’s Truffant is, “terrific and another strong, very commanding character with just a touch of Mae West in her.”
Finally, fans should look for upcoming Orange is the New Black Season 3 addition Ruby Rose to pop up in Episode 7 when “we end up opening up a box and discovering an entertainment model Android who is played by Ruby,” says Mallozzi. Wendy is “the total opposite to our practical, shipboard Android (played by Zoie Palmer),” he explains.
8. Fun stuff for fans of the comic
Dark Matter is based off the graphic novel of the same name, and fans of the comics will get a little something extra out of the first two episodes of the season. Mallozzi promises that “fans of the comic book will see very much, for instance the first two issues which comprise the first episode, are very, very, very close to each other, even down to certain shots.” Having read the comics will also give those fans a bit of an edge since “the first two issues of the comic book are just peppered with surprises, little twists and turns, and fans who’ve read the comics will have a step up on those who haven’t. But then there are a few little surprises in the second episode and then moving forward it’s hopefully just surprise after surprise.”
Fans looking for even more insight into Dark Matter should be sure to check out Mallozzi’s well-maintained blog for insights on filming, Dark Matter characters and fun behind the scenes stories.
Will you be tuning in to Dark Matter? What has you most excited about this new series? Sound off in the comments below with your take.
Dark Matter premieres Friday, June 12 at 10 p.m. ET on Space and Syfy.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.