About Tyler F.M. Edwards

Freelance writer, fantasy novelist, and nerd of the highest order.

A Fly on the Wall to the Save Dark Matter Campaign

As there so often is when a good sci-fi show is cut down too soon, there is of course a fan campaign to try to save Dark Matter.

A promotional image for Dark Matter season threeThis has been a bizarre thing for me to watch, stirring up odd and vaguely nostalgic feelings. As longtime readers may remember, I was very heavily active in the campaign to save Star Trek: Enterprise for many years, until it became glaringly obvious that the last hope was gone.

For that reason, I haven’t been able to bring myself to be too heavily involved in Dark Matter’s campaign. My days of crusading for sci-fi TV are behind me, I think. I simply don’t have the heart for it anymore.

But I have been following the campaign here and there. Most of the efforts seem to be focused on Twitter, which does bring out my inner curmudgeon a little bit. “Back in my day, we had to track down the email addresses of CBS executives and send them personally written letters. Uphill! In the snow! Both ways! And we liked it! Now all you have to do is use a bloody hashtag?!?”

But in all seriousness, I do wish them the best. I’d love to see Dark Matter survive for another season or two, or at least get a mini-series to wrap up the story as happened with Continuum.

It does seem the campaign has a lot of momentum, so they’ve got that going for them. They’ve even received support from a number of media figures. The one that really surprised me is that Ed the Sock has apparently been quite outspoken in Dark Matter’s support. Did not see that coming.

Five being badass. Again.But then again he has been championing the cause of Canadian TV for a while now, and he’s always had an interest in nerdy stuff, so I guess it isn’t too strange now that I think about it.

If you’re not Canadian, Ed the Sock is… Actually I have no idea how to explain Ed the Sock. You’re on your own there.

The best place for updates seems to be Joseph Mallozzi’s blog, and if his most recent post is to be believed, today will probably be the day we know for certain whether the Raza will rise again or be silenced forever.

I’m expecting bad news, but I hope to be wrong about that. It’s a show that deserves to continue.

I’ve been thinking about Dark Matter a lot over the past couple weeks, and while it’s easy to write it off as a simple but fun action-adventure, I can’t escape the feeling there is something special about this show.

For one thing, while Dark Matter doesn’t go out of its way to beat the drum of diversity the way, say, Star Trek does, the fact is you’ve got a show with a multi-racial cast of characters with a more or less even gender split led by a badass queer woman. That’s pretty impressive when you think about it.

Left to right: Alex Mallari Jr. (Four), Roger Cross (Six), Anthony Lemke (Three), and Melissa O'Neill (Two)And of course, the characters are all excellent, displaying some real sophistication to the writing that belies the show’s pulp feel. As always, being I’m a dude you can take my view on such things with a grain of salt, but I think Two does a great job of being a strong female character without being written as a “strong female character,” if you get my drift.

The thing I really about Two is not so much that she’s the leader, but why she’s the leader. She just sort of naturally assumed that position through the sheer force of personality. She’s a natural born leader. It’s rare for a show to be able to sell that concept entirely by showing and not telling, and far rarer still for that kind of role to be given to a woman.

And of course Five is simply a triumph, for all the reasons I’ve enumerated whenever I’ve gushed over her in my various episode reviews. It’s so rare that the geeky, smart characters get to play the hero every bit as much as the fighters. That deserves so much respect.

The others are excellent, too. Really the cast doesn’t have a weak link. In the past I might have said Three, but after the latest season even he’s wormed his way into my heart. But Two and Five are the ones who deserve the most recognition, in my view.

So yes, I hope against hope that Dark Matter will somehow survive.

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WoW: Where I’m At

I’ve been pretty diligent about blogging on the various class stories in World of Warcraft as I’ve completed them, but along the way I’ve neglected to talk about the rest of my adventures in Azeroth. It’s time to rectify that, so without further ado, I present you my thoughts on the Tomb of Sargeras, Argus, and more.

My demon hunter soars over Argus in World of WarcraftIf you’re not up to date on the 7.2 and 7.3 content that’s currently been released, here be spoilers.

Tomb raiding:

When you think about it, it’s pretty strange it’s taken so long for the Tomb of Sargeras to appear in WoW, isn’t it? It’s been an important location in Warcraft lore since the 90s.

Anyway, it’s a good raid. I like it. It’s the first raid I’ve done in a long time that feels truly epic and important, and it’s got a lot of fun boss fights.

I was a mixed on Kil’jaeden being a mid-tier boss. He’s the sort of character who’s usually reserved for an end of expansion encounter, and even then, I’ve spent a long time thinking we players should never have the chance to defeat him (Sunwell doesn’t count since he hadn’t even fully entered Azeroth).

But his fight does feel suitably epic and intense, and I realized that I was still thinking of the old Kil’jaeden, the one from before the great Draenei retcon that blew up lore as we knew it.

Fighting Kil'Jaeden within the Tomb of Sargeras in World of WarcraftHe used to be this immortal avatar of evil, the personification of darkness itself. But after the retcon, he’s now just another warlock. An ancient and unusually powerful warlock, yes, but still, just a warlock. He’s not the legendary figure he once was.

So I guess it’s okay for him to be ganked by a gaggle of random mortals halfway through an expansion.

His death cinematic and the reveal of Argus was great, too, though I wish they hadn’t gone through with sticking Argus in the sky for everyone even if they haven’t done the fight yet. Rather spoiled the reveal.

Mind you, it’s impossible to ever avoid spoilers where WoW is concerned. No one in the community — including the devs themselves — has any respect for that sort of thing.

The hand of fate:

Due in large part to my enmity for the Draenei, the seemingly inevitable journey to Argus is something I’ve long-dreaded. I remain relieved that it’s merely a patch and not a full expansion.

As I’ve played through it, I’ve gone back and forth on my feelings on it.

The view of Azeroth from Argus in World of WarcraftThe defeat of the Burning Legion is not something I ever expected or wanted to see, but it does seem increasingly likely that’s where we’re headed. The whole appeal of the Legion was that they were nigh-unstoppable. You could fend them off — you could save your world — but you could never hope to end their threat entirely.

But now we’re invading their home turf, and it looks like the Legion will soon be a thing of the past.

I was also initially bothered by how many non-Legion Eredar — Broken and Army of the Light alike — have apparently survived and continued fighting the Legion all this time.

I can think of no better symbol of how utterly the Legion has been defanged. They were introduced as the end of all life, and now it turns out they couldn’t even stamp out all resistance on the world that is their base of operations. They’re not very good at this, are they?

But then I realized that the Legion has been neutered for a long time now. I keep wanting them to be as terrifying as they were in Warcraft III, but the fact is that ship has sailed.

When I consider the damage that’s been done to the Legion’s lore over the years, Argus is about making the best of a bad situation. Seen through that lens, it’s doing a very good job, and if you let go of the Legion as the Ultimate Threat and view it simply as a threat, it’s actually a great ride.

The horrors of Argus in World of WarcraftArgus is a scary place. The mobs are pretty tough by WoW’s meager standards, there are elites and mini-bosses everywhere, the environments are hellish, and overall you really do get the impression that this entire planet wants to kill you. It’s one of those places where you feel like a complete badass just for setting foot there, and I haven’t gotten that feeling this strongly since Icecrown.

I’ve heard some people say that Argus is a pain to navigate, and that’s probably true for someone who can’t double jump and glide, but I brought my demon hunter there, and for her, Argus is a playground. I can get almost anywhere by finding a cliff and gliding. It’s wonderful.

Right now, the place is teeming with players, so there’s a great “D-Day” feel to the place, too. This is definitely one of those moments where I’m glad to play MMOs. Single-player games just don’t capture quite the same feeling, no matter how many NPCs you cram in.

I’ve enjoyed the story, as well. Even the Draenei stuff, mostly.

It probably doesn’t hurt that Argus paints the Draenei in an incredibly bad light. Now that we know many of their people stayed behind to fight, the Draenei are no longer these saintly embodiments of all goodness and virtue. Suddenly we realize they’re the deserters who left their friends and family to die. Dare I say, do the Draenei have nuance now?

Alleria Windrunner in World of WarcraftI was a bit suspicious around the reintroduction of Turalyon and Alleria, given how forced Khadgar’s sudden return to the spotlight has felt, but whacky timeline issues aside, I’m finding their stories very intriguing (especially Alleria’s, not surprisingly).

The most interesting thing is that I get the distinct impression their story doesn’t end with Legion’s. In fact, it seems like it’s just getting started…

I just hope Alleria doesn’t wind up too anti-Horde. I mean, historically, she’s been extremely anti-Horde, so it would make sense, but I’d like at least one Windrunner sister to find a place among the Blood Elves. It’s hard for me to get over Vereesa betraying her own people, and whatever Sylvanas may have been in life, it’s clear she no longer feels any loyalty to Quel’thalas.

I want a Windrunner I can cheer for. I don’t want to have to choose between how much I like Alleria and how much I like the Blood Elves.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty happy with Argus, and in fact I’m probably more content with WoW now than I have been in a very long time.

Odds and ends:

A scenic view of Val'sharah in World of WarcraftFew other random things to note.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m very underwhelmed by the soundtrack in the two most recent WoW expansions. This is a shame because the music used to be a huge part of the game’s appeal for me.

Somewhere along the line it occurred to me to wonder if there was an add-on that could customize the in-game soundtrack. Turns out there are several. I picked Epic Music Player. You can use it to import your own music, but I’ve been content to just play with the existing WoW soundtrack, which is all pre-loaded into the add-on.

I set up customized play-lists for each Legion zone, drawing on my favourite tracks from Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, and Mists of Pandaria, plus some of the better Legion songs. These playlists activate automatically as soon as I enter the corresponding zone.

It’s done wonders for my enjoyment of the expansion, honestly. It’s amazing what a difference a good soundtrack could make.

In other news, I’ve gotten some interesting cosmetics recently.

The Highlord's Vengeful Charger mount in World of WarcraftI’m not much of a mount collector, and while the grind to unlock them is relatively tame, I haven’t the patience to get every single class mount. But as you can see, I did decide to grab the paladin class mount on the grounds that it’s gorgeous (I’ve already had the raven mount for rogues for a while, and I love it).

I especially like the red and grey tint for the paladin mount, as it matches my transmog very well. It leaves silver hoofprints when it runs. It’s lovely.

Also on the subject of mounts, I finally pulled the trigger and got myself the Grand Expedition Yak from Pandaria. It costs almost as much as a full WoW Token, but being able to access a vendor or change my outfit anywhere in the game is a wonderful convenience.

And the Grummles amuse me. It seems very surreal running through the horrors of Argus with the little guys. “WHERE IS YOUR LUCKYDO NOW?”

Finally, as a PSA, it seems the drop rates for many hidden artifact appearances were greatly increased in 7.3. Did someone say…

The Thunderfury, Hallowed Blade of the Windlord hidden artifact appearance for outlaw rogues in World of Warcraft…Thunderfury, Hallowed Blade of the Windlord?