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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Review: Dark Matter, “Nowhere to Go” (Series Finale)

A very inconsistent season of Dark Matter ends with a season finale that is also somewhat inconsistent. (And I finally get to see it; thanks for taking your sweet time, Microsoft.)

A promotional image for Dark Matter season threeRyo receives a stay of execution as Teku arrives at the helm of a fleet of Zairon warships, extending an olive branch. Through little more than dumb luck, Teku has stumbled across a crucial piece of intelligence: the location of Ferrous Corps’ secret war fleet.

The time is now right to deal a decisive blow to Ferrous and end the corporate war for good. But as is so often the case on Dark Matter, not all is quite as it seems.

In many ways “Nowhere to Go” is Dark Matter at its best. It’s got all kinds of twists, reversals, and betrayals. It’s got action and excitement. It’s got yet another performance from Jodelle Ferland that makes me want to reach through the screen and hug her. And it builds to a heart-stoppingly intense climax and the most dramatic cliff-hanger yet.

Still, there are some things that don’t sit right with me.

I think their reason for not killing Ryo immediately is a good one, but I’m not ready to forgive him, and I’m not sure I want to see him back as a member of the crew. I’m torn because Alex Mallari Jr. is a great actor and I’ve been a fan of his character from the beginning, but after all that’s happened, it just doesn’t feel right for Ryo to be accepted back into the fold. And frankly he just worked better as a villain.

It also seems like we may have lost a cast member again, and I’m not sure what upsets me more: the possibility this could be another fakeout, or that it could be another real death. We’ve had too many of both, and it’s getting tiresome.

The cast of Dark MatterThere’s also the lingering legacy of the missteps that have dogged season three. This should have been the season of the corporate war, but it’s ended up as something of an afterthought, and even now at what is supposedly its climax, it’s not really the focus. We didn’t even get to see Nieman.

This is as much a complaint about the season as a whole as the finale, but I am also disappointed by how the blink drive was introduced as this amazingly powerful thing, and then it’s ended up being used for pretty much nothing. Feels like the writers didn’t know what to do with it and just wanted to put that arc behind them.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

EDIT: Shortly after posting this, it has come to my attention that Dark Matter has now been cancelled, which makes this the series finale rather than the season finale.

Well shit.

Obviously I’m upset at this news. I may not have been entirely thrilled with the quality of this season, but it’s still a show with a lot going for it, and certainly the first two seasons were all but flawless. Dark Matter really deserved a chance to redeem itself.

I have recently learned that the show’s creator, Joseph Mallozzi, had the series’ entire plot arc mapped out from day one, with the plan for it to play out over five seasons. I very much admire that kind of forethought, and it made me eager to see how the rest of the arc was going to play out. I suppose now we’ll never get the chance to see it. That seems like a terrible waste.

I just hope the new Star Trek show is good, because otherwise we’re entering into another very bleak period for sci-fi TV.