It is been a long wait for a superb new space based science fiction series here in the wormhole and we are absolutely ecstatic to see that SyfyFriday has returned around the world!!
The “Dark Matter” premiere has once again proven that a superb scripted series space based science fiction drama not seen on television since the likes of Stargate Universe (2009) and Battlestar Galactica (2004), can, and will be embraced by science fiction admirers worldwide!
Dark Matter fans clearly remember Saturday July 14, 2012 at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) and trying to make my way to the one of the highlights of the journey, the Dark Horse Comics booth where autographs of the legendary comic book were being signed by none other than Joseph Mallozzi himself!
Due only to the sheer size and attendance of the San Diego Comic-Con 2012 crowd, coupled with the time needed to navigate there, and ultimately being already booked in a series of San Diego Comic-Con Press Rooms, meant my copy of Dark Matter would have to go unsigned by Joseph Mallozzi at San Diego Comic-Con!
To my sheer delight, and millions of fans around the globe, in fact almost everyone we know, a short three years later, Dark Matter has become the reality is was originally envisioned for, a hit television science fiction drama!
Created by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie of Stargate fame, Dark Matter includes coordinating producers Martin Gero and Ivon Bartok, also well known for their Stargate lineage. Stand by fans, the Dark Matter team will be back in San Diego for Comic-Con 2015!
Dark Matter also sports talented creators as executive producers from the much beloved “Lost Girl” series including Jay Firestone, Vanessa Piazza, Caitlin Brown (associate producer), Mike Richardson (executive producer) of the fabled “Hellboy” series, “12 Monkeys” Keith Goldberg (executive producer), and line producer Norman Denver of “Bitten” fame!
As with any such dramatic effort, our group of six humans and an android, will have recognizable characteristics that audiences will relate to, bond with, and enjoy as much as they did the original comic book!
The story arc is described by the creators as “The crew of a derelict spaceship is awakened from stasis with no memories of who they are or how they got on board. Facing threats at every turn, they have to work together to survive a voyage charged with vengeance, betrayal and hidden secrets.”
With the exception that The Android in Dark Matter the television series is now female, it seems certain the creators will be fairly faithful to the story arc from the comic book. What will be revealed as the character bonding with the comic book to science fiction television drama audience will be both fun and exciting to behold!
Dark Matter features so many gifted lead actors we must list them all! We begin with the superb series stars (listed in numerical character order); Marc Bendavid (One / Jace Corso), Melissa O’Neil (Two / Portia Lin), Anthony Lemke (Three / Marcus Boone), Alex Mallari Jr. (Four / Ryo Tetsuda), Jodelle Ferland (Five / Das), and Roger R. Cross (Six / Griffin Jones). The seventh series lead is non other than the talented Zoie Palmer who portrays “The Android”!
Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, the brilliant creators of Dark Matter, choose wisely regarding the premiere season series Directors who will undoubtedly bring the action, adventure, mystery and perhaps even romance to life on our television or computer screens each week.
The industry veteran notables encompassing over a century of experience among themselves feature Ron Murphy (Lost Girl, Seed, Heartland,), and T.J. Scott (Gotham, Andromeda, Orphan Black), will each direct two episodes during the 2015 premiere season.
Further revered directing talent with a science fiction, and dramatic flair, include Paolo Barzman (Killjoys, Being Human, Haven), Bruce McDonald (Bitten, Regenesis, Lexx), T.W. Peacocke (Saving Hope, The Listener, Haven), Lee Rose (Lost Girl, True Blood, Beauty and the Beast), John Stead (XIII: The Series, Earth: Final Conflict), and Stargate science fiction goddess Amanda Tapping (Olympus, Continuum, Sanctuary, and of course Stargate SG-1!). Each one of these gifted creators will each bring their skills to the forefront directing one episode of Dark Matter in 2015!
The supporting cast of characters is wonderful as well, featuring many recognized and accomplished actors including Adam Chuckryk, Alex Courey, Amanda Brugel, Chloe Rose, Christian Bako, Conrad Pla, David Hewlett, David Richmond-Peck, Gage Munroe, Jessica Sipos, Jon Cor, Kirsten Alter, Matthew G. Brown, Rob Stewart, Stephen Farrell, Tara Yelland, Torri Higginson, Wil Wheaton and newcomer Yoseph Chang!
With leading and supporting actors, who have appeared in “24“, “Andromeda”, “Bitten“, “Continuum“, “Lost Girl“, “Motive“, “The Strain“, “Stargate“, “Star Trek“, and “Warehouse 13“, to name but a few, the quality of the characterizations as envisioned by the screen writers, directors, and producers of Dark Matter most certainly came to life before our eyes and ears during the premiere pilot episode!
The precise purpose of the Dark Matter mission remains to be explored in the television version, but the story arc will no doubt introduce science fiction aficionados to what we have learned from the promotional trailers, that a disoriented crew awakens on a cool looking space ship on a journey in deep, uncharted space, with new planetary adventures around every corner of the galaxy!
In the opening sequences, Dark Matter seekers learned that a lost, apparently derelict spaceship, is cruising the galaxy. Onboard, the six-person crew awakens from stasis chambers. How long they have been there, somewhere deep in space, and why they aboard are mysteries wrapped in an enigma? Until they meet the seventh “person” on board the Raza, The Android (Zoie Palmer) who will help not only unlock the secrets of their past, but guide them on their missions in the future!
Taking names numbering from one to six (until the end of the pilot episode), their hapless memories erased, or likely deliberately suppressed, the “crew” has no recollection of who they are or how they got on board. The only clue to their identities is a cargo bay full of weaponry and a destination we learn about as the episode mystery is revealed: a remote mining colony that is about to become a war zone.
With no idea about which side they are on, the six members will obviously faced a deadly mission. Will the amnesiacs of Dark Matter learn their miscreant history, and become good citizens, or will the evil from their past bedevil them?
What this reviewer enjoys most of all is to simply see a new Space Opera on television once again! This reviewer therefore gives the Dark Matter Pilot (first of a two part episode) a straight “A”.
Team WHR will place our senior staff of Patricia, Pam and Holly who will conduct detailed analysis of this outstanding series. All of us here at WormholeRiders cannot wait until as the Dark Matter series continues to unfold!
Even more exciting is the fact that Dark Matter will be seen in virtually every major television market world-wide in an eighty-six (yes 86!) country journey that began last Friday June 12, 2015!
Pilot (Part One):
The epic new Space Opera begins on what appears to be a large space ship drifting in some unknown galaxy in deep space. With massive VFX flare we the viewers are treated to interior shots that rival any science fiction movie in history.
This reviewer was later thrilled by the Faster Than Light travel of the ship which were unique and beautiful to behold!
As we venture from the outside to the inside of the ship we will learn is named “The Raza”, we are inside interior corridors with electrical sparks flying and steam being released. The ship is obviously in series trouble as we here over the intercom “life support is at 15%”.
It is here that our adventure begins as one by one we meet the characters in relative order to the names. As the camera zooms in to the first stasis chamber, we find One (Marc Bendavid aka Jace Corso) emerging as the ships claxon is counting down to the end of life support. One charges barefoot through the ship looking for something familiar. We wonder if he knows where he is going?
Two, a beautiful brunette (Melissa O’Neil aka Portia Lin), wakes up from her own forced sleep. Two seems to know where she is going quickly finding One in a control room of sorts.
Without so much as a hello, Two proceeds to attack One who tries to defend himself to no avail as Two knocks One out with a clean series of arse kicking blows! Sure enough, this character does know something, proceeding to the computer controls, and restores the life support systems.
The next crew member, Three, (Anthony Lemke / Marcus Boone), a rather rugged looking fellow shows up and meets One and Two holding two flashlight weapons, demanding: “Who are you?”
The three characters have to admit, somewhat sheepishly, that they do not know who they are, setting out to explore the ship together.
As the adventure continues we meet the other inhabitants who have been placed in stasis for reasons not yet known. Four, (Alex Mallari Jr. aka Ryo Tetsuda), Five, (Jodelle Ferland aka Das), and Six, (Roger R. Cross aka Griffin Jones). Based on their behavior, each has been placed on “The Raza” for a specific purpose, likely for the talents they have learned or acquired in their past. None of these details is revealed until the end of the Pilot episode.
Of all the characters, one seems a bit young and has gorgeous turquoise hair with wild clothing (Jodelle Ferland). In fact the costumers of Dark Matter have created an excellent wardrobe for each of the Dark Matter characters which have temporarily assume names, based on the order in which they were awakened from stasis.
At this juncture, many viewers must have speculated the crew was revived in that order for a specific reason, such as leadership. Is One the natural leader? If so why was Two able to activate the automatic systems to repair life support? For that matter, what caused the life support system to go awry in the first place? Was this a method to create a feeling of comradeship amongst them? Is this also why their memories have been suppressed, so as to begin their missions with a blank state?
As the crew continues to explore the ship, our new science fiction friends come across a room filled with crates. Three opens one of the crates, which is found to contain weapons and other paraphernalia. A smile can be seen on each person as they realize that they will be able to defend themselves in close combat. The question all must consider is; against whom, and for what purpose?
Two, assuming leadership, instructs the group of amnesiacs to pair off and explore the ship. She picks Five as her partner, perhaps to protect the younger woman from the men? Two and Five seek out and find the ships computer control center.
Three and Six seek out and find the cockpit. One, who is with Four ponders their fate articulating a question with no answer at present; just how long they were in stasis? Four and One find a physical fitness, defense training and sword fighting room. One asks Four if he knows how to use this type o weaponry? Four’s instinct or memory returns as he swooshes the weapons, ending with a pair of swords at the throat of One; who receives his answer quite directly at the edge of a sword!
In another room, Three finds a stasis chamber containing what appears to be a sleeping blond haired woman. Viewers who are familiar with the Dark Matter comic book know this is The Android. Many may be reminded of Data from the Star Trek The Next Generation series, or perhaps the women of the Stepford Wives movies fame for the blank stare of The Android.
The character, as we come to find out, has an android like stare just like “Ash” as in Alien or “Bishop” in Aliens. The blank stare perfectly portrayed by Zoie Palmer, is certainly in a different kind of role for this talented actor. We here at WormholeRiders look forward to the chemistry develop between the amnesia stricken humans and beautiful android on their upcoming sojourn through space!
The blank stare does not last very long as “The Android” quickly kicks the tar out of Three and Six who are stunned at this development. Obviously expecting another human sleeper, our space cases are in deep trouble. Six communicates to Two that they are under brutal attack. It quickly becomes obvious that The Android can overcome anything physical that the humans can deliver. One and four both fail as had Three and Six. Somehow Two, who has an affinity with the ships computer systems, deduces that The Android must be part of the ship.
Deactivating her in the nick of time, after getting her hand chopped off, The Android returns to her blank stare. Whether or not Two is remembering her computer skills, or they are such an instinctive part of her psychology, is not known at this time.
Nevertheless, her five crew mates appear to have no objections when Two claims to have reprogrammed The Android and be able to in effective control the synthetic being, at least for the time being!
Two, seemingly having cracked the code to the ships computers shares that The Android has a neural network connection link to the ship’s main computer. Sound like a fairly handy thing to have on “your side” if you ask me! After being reprogrammed, The Android claims she has no recollection of what just happened, and is willing to follow the orders of her new task master, Two!
The Android also advises the crew that no information about their real identities exists. Somehow this reviewer believed that The Android has another command protocol running that instructs her to follow the orders of the crew, IF they were able to save the ship.
To reiterate, this reviewer is convinces The Android is following another protocol and is deliberately withholding the information, at least until another event triggers the next reveal for viewers!
Two orders the now cooperative Android to execute a full ship diagnostic and restore all computer systems. The Android, surprisingly, and blithely agrees to any order she is given… By Two. Could it be that Two has some control over The Android not yet revealed? This reviewer believes the answer is yes for two reasons
1). Two is spending a lot of time with The Android, and
2). Two keeps instructing The Android to “show me” each time The Android performs some task.
Is this going to develop into a problem, or will Two become loyal and use her skills to aid the entire team? This bit of mystery remains to be revealed. During this exchange we learn that the ship is transmitting a distress signal. The next question needing an answer is; To whom?
We also learn that someone has fired missiles, likely homing in on the distress signal. The Android again proves helpful, first using the ships engines to evade the attack (from whom we do not know), and then take the ship into FTL to their “original destination”.
Each following scene of the Dark Matter Pilot “peels the onion back slowly” so to speak, as each crew member discovers hidden items about their skills and characters that have been erased from their memories.
Five appears to be medically inclined and tinkers with some gizmo until she is able to activate it. Four, sword master, finds a mysterious box and becomes enthralled with it.
The lesson here is quite clear; whenever the men of The Raza act arrogantly on this particular ship, they will get their frakking arse kicked.
One of the more enjoyable scenes and humorous lines in the Dark Matter Pilot was when viewers thought that Two was in One’s cabin the next morning for a sexual encounter; “I suggest you wear pants”! Can there be any doubt that romance between these characters is sure to bloom in the future? From the look on One’s face, we can be certain his answer is YES!
After they arrive on the surface of the planet, they are met by inhabitants in an old factory building. Having thought earlier that the weapons where simply a shipment to bring to the people on the planet, our new space drama friends are confronted by seemingly paranoid villagers with weapons already!
While chatting over a beverage, the planetary folks reveal that a company named “Ferrous Corporation” has already raided a nearby “Terrium” (an energy source) mine nearby and wants to take over the planet. Who wants to bet that our friends from “The Raza” have actually been sent to kill these innocent mining folks to eliminate any resistance when “Ferrous Corporation” invades?
Before we (or the crew) get that confirmation, we learn from the miners that “Rothgar” went away to purchase weapons to fight “The Raza”. One suspects that he and his fellow amnesiacs are the weapons suppliers. Also that “Rothgar” told then the weapons suppliers arrived would have a necklace would identify them as allies, a necklace like we have seen aboard “The Raza”.
The crew returns to the ship where they debate about helping miners outright or sell the weapons to them. Two, who has become the de-facto leader, suggests a vote, which ends up in a tie. Two decides suggests they keep half the weapons to sell and bring the rest to the miners when the real shocker presents itself.
In the final scene The Android has recovered more information from the ships damaged computer bank revealing the identities of everybody on the crew, except for Five. We learn the Dark Matter crew are all apparent miscreants, criminals with sordid histories of murder, theft, and kidnapping! One is actually named Jace Corso, Two is named Portia Lin, Three is Marcus Boone, Four is Ryo Tetsuda, Five is named Das (not revealed at this time), and Six is named Griffin Jones.
Two then shares with everybody that “The Raza” is not the name of their team of assassins, but that of the ship itself! The final episode reveal is that the crew has been sent to the planet to kill all the miners! Yikes!
We here at WormholeRiders strongly suggest all science fiction fans make sure to tune in each week for thirteen exciting episodes on Syfy in the USA, the Space Channel in Canada, and Syfy affiliated stations all over the world! Your support, by watching and tweeting live, is critical and will most likely help ensure that Dark Matter has many more seasons in the future! Thank you.
Please feel free to share this article with your friends, co-workers and or family and to leave your comments! We look forward to you visiting our dedicated review and analysis web site for Dark Matter in the future!
Or as many of our readers and visitors often do, visit WHR on Twitter, WHR on Facebook or visit me on Twitter by clicking the text links or images avatars in this news story. I and the WHR team look forward to Seeing You on The Other Side!“