Since 2009, long-time blog followers of Joe Mallozzi, executive producer/writer of the beloved Stargate franchise, have been reading about the comic book story that we came to know as Dark Matter, co-written by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie (his long-time writing partner). It came to life in a comic book series in 2011/2012 followed by a graphic novel both published by Dark Horse Comics. In the fall of 2014, his blog readers were treated to frequent updates as preproduction for Dark Matter began, the comic book/graphic novel now turned television show produced by Prodigy Pictures (Jay Firestone and Vanessa Piazza who also served as executive producers) for the Syfy Channel. Our appetites for updates were insatiable. It beckoned the return of space-show-loving fans’ beloved Syfy Fridays (with Defiance and Killjoys as part of the trifecta powerhouse). It has been such a privilege to see this original work evolve over all these years.
In the lead up to the premiere on Friday, June 12 on the Syfy Channel in the United States and on Space in Canada, entertainment sites and bloggers who had access to the screener were receiving it very well. The internet was abuzz with Dark Matter love. It was no surprise that the ratings were high as well, with a rating slightly higher than Defiance (Killjoys would not premiere until June 19).
Episode one set up the show, both characters and players, as all shows do. The cast included ONE (a.k.a. Jace Corso) played by Marc Bendavid (Bitten, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Hard Rock Medical); TWO (a.k.a. Portia Lin) played by Melissa O’Neil (Broadway’s Les Misérables, Jesus Christ Superstar); THREE (a.k.a. Marcus Boone) played by Anthony Lemke (Lost Girl, The Listener); FOUR (a.k.a. Ryo Tetsudo) played by Alex Mallari, Jr. (True Justice, Debug); FIVE (a.k.a. The Kid) played by Jodelle Ferland (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Stargate Atlantis); SIX (a.k.a Griffin Jones) played by Roger Cross (Arrow, Motive, Continuum); and The Android played by Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl, The Guard). Some aspects did deviate from the comic series but only insofar as some characters’ sexes and a tweak of the crimes they allegedly committed. Otherwise, it stayed true almost word for word. While I really enjoyed the comic book series, it was nice to see it play out visually as a TV series.
Episode one opened similarly in the way the world of Stargate Universe was revealed to us—a walkthrough of the ship, going down corridors, although that was apparently not the intent. The ship, after all, is also a character. The dialogue from the script of episode one and the comic book issues 1 and 2 were pretty much word for word. By the end of the episode, the characters learn of their real names, but still have no memories of their past history that the computer screen was sharing with them. The computer-retrieved footage of a sketchy figure, who could be obviously identified as actor David Hewlett, appeared to the shipmates. Stargate fans will rejoice in seeing this beloved actor again.
Who has racked up the most bodies? In the TV show, the numbers are never revealed of their alleged crimes. On the comic book page, the true numbers belonging to FOUR (Ryo) and TWO (Portia) are obscured by the heads of those characters, but as far as ONE (Jace), THREE (Marcus), and SIX (Griffin) are concerned, these were their numbers:
Jace (ONE): 212 counts of murder, 279 counts of assault, 75 counts of kidnapping, 130 counts of trafficking, 309 counts of theft. (In the show, the crimes were the same as the comic book).
Marcus (THREE): 123 counts of murder, 175 counts of assault, 13 counts of kidnapping, 42 counts of smuggling. (In the show, his crimes were murder, assault, kidnapping, and piracy).
Griffin (SIX): 36 counts of murder, 107 counts of assault, 13 counts of piracy. (In the show his crimes were murder, assault, and smuggling).
In the show, Ryo (FOUR)’s crimes were murder, assault, piracy. Portia (TWO)’s crimes were murder, assault, arson, theft, and piracy. There was no file for The Kid.
By episode 2, the actors were fitting well into the skin of their characters. Some questions were answered; more questions appeared. Other mysteries remained unsolved. Stargate Atlantis fans were also pleased to see Torri Higginson appearing on the series. Another science fiction favorite, David Richmond-Peck, also had a role in this episode. Hopefully we will see more of them in future episodes.
What was clear by the end of episode 2 is that the witty banter and humor of what we loved about the Stargate universe is in Dark Matter. People who loved the action sequences from Stargate would love the action especially in this episode. People who love seeing women in roles that are commanding and powerful would be fulfilled. People who liked the comradery that was part of the Stargate world would be satisfied in this aspect as well. It’s all packed inside this wonderful gift of a show. The only thing missing is you. Be a part of the great light of Dark Matter.
(Dark Matter airs on Friday nights on Syfy at 10 pm eastern/9 pm central time).