Call it Canada’s summer of sci-fi. That’s certainly how it’s shaping up, with Space’s newbies Dark Matter and Killjoys and Showcase’s returning Defiance all gliding across our screens for the upcoming couple of months.
The first out of the gate is Dark Matter, a space opera created by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, the duo behind the Stargate franchise. Starring Anthony Lemke (19-2), Roger Cross (Continuum) and Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl), Friday’s debut catches up with a group of people who awaken from a deep sleep to find themselves on a space ship and with no memory of how they got there … or who they are. The idea for Dark Matter first came to Mallozzi back when he and Mullie were deeply entrenched in Stargate: Atlantis; they turned the idea into a graphic novel first before shopping it to networks as a series.
Mollozzi is quick to highlight a feature of Dark Matter that kept him enthralled in projects like Farscape and Firefly: humour.
“There is a lot of dark sci-fi out there that is great,” he explains. “But a lot of fans are missing a fun sci-fi series and there hasn’t been one on a ship-based show for awhile. We set out to make a fun show with a sense of humour while at the same time putting viewers on the edge of their seat every week.”
It doesn’t take long for either of those plot points to appear in Friday’s debut. After awakening from sleep, the crew—One (Marc Bendavid, Bitten), Two (O’Neil, Broadway’s Les Misérables), Three (Lemke), Four (Alex Mallari Jr., Robocop), Five (Jodelle Ferland, The Cabin in the Woods) and Six (Cross)—begin to investigate their surroundings. Three is a sarcastic lover of weaponry who likes to shoot first and ask questions later, a rogue Mallozzi likens to Han Solo, Five is energetic and full of snark and One provides the leadership the squad so badly needs. The ragtag group uncover a seventh individual aboard: the ship’s android (Palmer), who makes a memorable first impression.
Who are they? Where are they? Where are they going and what the heck is locked behind a massive steel door in the bowels of the ship? The answer to the first question is delivered by the end of the debut while leaving things open for character evolution.
“Going back over my writing over the years is this idea of redemption,” Mallozzi says. “Nature vs. nurture. Are you born bad or are you a product of your environment? People form the strongest of friendships with their former enemies and the strongest of enemies with their former friends. It’s fascinating to me.”
As for what’s lurking behind that massive door? Mallozzi promises that will be resolved halfway through the season.
“We’re not going to string you guys along,” he says with a laugh. “There are setups and payoffs along the way. We’re going to find out the answers to two mysteries this season: who wiped their memories and what is behind that big metal door.”
Let the summer of sci-fi commence.
Dark Matter airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space.