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Dark Matter - Joseph Mallozzi Exclusive Interview - Isn't That A Paradox Post-Mortem and Season Four Updates



I had a chance to talk to Dark Matter's Co-Creator/Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi about tonight's episode and next week's episode in addition to the chances of a hopeful Season Four. In this part of the interview, you will get to read all about tonight's episode, Isn't That A Paradox, and what is going on behind the scenes regarding Season Four. In addition, he explains what we as fans can do to help ensure that Season Four gets a chance to be made. Hint: be vocal! We all want more Dark Matter, so start spreading the word now. Every new person that watches brings the show one step closer to a renewal. So sit back and enjoy this fun interview.

SpoilerTV: Because of the serialized nature of the show I really think it would be perfect if you could release the episodes all at one time.

Joseph Mallozzi: I think it's the perfect binge-worthy show, and I kind of like fashioned it that way, so that you always watch like with one eye on the screen and one eye on the clock and like "Oh My God" there's only five minutes left and then you're like "Ah, I've got to wait til next week!". I was kind of hoping that would make it kind of appointment television. It's just so weird now, the networks went from "hey we want serialized shows because those are doing really well on cable" to back to now we don't want serialized shows. It's tough to gauge, but I mean in terms of story-telling this type of story-telling is the most fun and the most satisfying to write.

STV: Didn't SyFy doing something like that with 12 Monkeys this year? They released the whole season across three nights.

JM: Yeah, yeah! So many things go into pick up decisions, obviously ratings first and foremost but there's the overnights, then there's the plus three, then there are plus seven, and other things that factor into it. How much of an investment does the network have in the show? Do they own it? Do they not own it? Do they own a piece of it? What do they realize? What kind of cachet does the show have? So, we're living in an age now where so many things go into a show's pick up that it's really hard to fathom or guess really. On the one hand you think you're in a good position, and then it turns out you're not, on the other hand you think you're in a bad position, and then it turns out you're in a better position than you thought. So, who knows?

STV: How is Dark Matter looking for Season Four?

JM: I will say I really, honestly, I have no idea. There was a slight drop in the ratings but it was like overall, it was like ten percent which is actually quite good. We have like a built in audience we have a great Friday night line up with Killjoys and Wynonna Earp. We're all three very different shows but yet I think we complement each other very well. So, I'm kind of hopeful, on the other hand, I'm kind of a little anxious because I know SyFy just greenlit a whole bunch of original shows that they put a lot of money into. I guess we just wait and see. I was kind of hoping we'd hear something at Comic Con, but, you know, it becomes doubtful now that the panel has come and gone that we'll get that green light, so I guess we're going to wait to see how the last few episodes do. Hopefully, we finish strong. You know obviously, I think, I don't know, the last time I checked I think we were averaging, in the key demos, like a .16 and last year we averaged .17, so we're not that far off. If we can actually finish strong, which I'm hoping we will because I think the last six episodes are pretty amazing starting with 308, that airs tonight. They're all very different episodes, but they're very character-centered, very team-centered, and a lot of surprises coming your way.

STV: They all seem to play pretty big into the mythos of the series?

JM: Yes. You know a lot of the stuff we've kind of been setting up over the course of these first three seasons we start really paying off. Things that we hinted at, like Episode Eleven which you haven't seen yet, The Drawf Star Conspiracy, really builds on kind of a story that seemed like a throwaway story in Season One, but has kind of built and as will happens on the show something that doesn't seem important early on ends up being much more important or will have much more weight as the series progresses and that's the case in Episode Eleven. Then things come to a head with Ryo Ishida in Episode Twelve and it's a fun family reunion of sorts. Then the finale, like I mention on the blog, it's like one of those topsy-turvy episodes where, you know, friends become enemies, enemies become friends, and we end the series in a surprising fashion. You know people complained about the cliffhanger last season, surprisingly they didn't complain that much about the Season One cliffhanger, although I think they were very different endings but I think the ending for Season Three is very different. I don't know if you want to call it a cliffhanger or not, but it certainly opens the door to a "Holy Crap" Fourth Season for the show. So you know it, sets things up and sends things in completely different directions that we have never done on the show, so hopefully, we'll get to bring that to you.

STV: Earlier today I was listening to an interview that Melissa O'Neil did at Comic Con and she seemed to indicate the cliffhanger is more character based than series based I guess is how she described it. It's more based on where the characters are left hanging.

JM: Yep, that's true. The Season Two finale was very much "Who will survive?" and the end of this cliffhanger it’s going to be like "Holy Crap" what now? Or "What's next?"

STV: That sounds like that's going to be amazing.

JM: I hope so. It's just so hard, I watch these episodes so many times and you can kind of lose focus. There are things that you didn't like at first, that after a few repeated viewings become even more problematic to you and you kind of blow it out of proportion and then there are things that you like that you watch over and over again that you think is great and who knows how the audience will react.

STV: Getting into episode specifics, we all know how well Ryo knows the crew, yet it kind of seems like he underestimated Five in 308. He knows what she's capable of, in my mind she should have been the first one he took down, but he seemed distracted.

JM: Oh yeah. Absolutely, he is totally aware and like when Ash took the ship and he encounters Five and she's like “I'm just a kid”, and he's like, “Yeah, nice try! The Emperor told me all about you.” So basically he knows what kind of a threat she is, really it wasn't so much underestimating, she's just that good and that quick and one of the things he hadn't counted on was Sarah who played kind of a pivotal role in reversing things in that episode and giving Five the opportunity to get the upper hand on the Hacker.

STV: And that hacker, kind of looks like that same being that we saw, at the end of Two's episode in Season One, is there a relationship between those two?

JM: No, that is an assassin. In Episode Twelve [Season One] at the end Rook comes in and there's an old man lying in the bed and there is a suggestion where he says “how old is this body? It’s twenty-five, see what happened?” Apparently, the body deteriorates for some reason and he basically needs a prototype body, which is basically why Two was created and why Rook is working on these prototypes. We don't really know, we can assume they're to house something, what we don't know, and we're going to find out in Episode Eleven.

STV: In our prior interview you mentioned that the 309 we get to see is not the original 309. So are we ever going to get to see the original 309 or is the story from that just scrapped?

JM: Yes, I'm hoping to do the original 309 in Season Four if all the pieces fall into place. It's just one of the things when you're in production there are so many moving pieces, and one thing falls out and it kind of has this domino effect. It was a story I wanted to do for 309, but from a production standpoint I couldn't do it, so I had to kind of scramble for an episode. I wrote Episode 304, the time loop, in almost like a day and without an outline, it just went by really quickly, because it's a humorous episode and I love the kind of sense of humor that kind of shines light on our characters. And so, I wanted to do something like that and I thought wouldn't it be fun to bring them back to the past and originally I was toying with the idea of the 1950's, but then ultimately I decided on 2017 and I describe it as Back to the Future meets Stranger Things and having seen the episode I'm sure you see the elements I'm referring to. It was just kind of a blast, it was a type of show that I'm hoping people who are not familiar with Dark Matter check out and appreciate. It's an episode that doesn't really require that much advance involvement in the show. You can actually just enjoy the adventure, the time travel adventure for what it is. I'm kind of hopeful about that episode giving us a little bit of a bump. It's one of my favorite episodes. Episode Four, the time travel one was a favorite, this episode, Episode Eight that airs tonight which is a big Ryo Ishida throw down. You mentioned Episode Ten which I love which I describe as our feeliest episode ever. A lot of really great scenes between the characters there is an Android/Five scene, an Android/Six scene in the Marauder, there's the Android/Three scene in the mess. We delve into the backstory, we find out the Android gets a name, and then Episode Twelve is another favorite of mine, it kind of parallels the Episode Twelve from last year the bloody coup where Ryo Ishida takes power. We kind of come full circle but what's so interesting about this episode is one of the things I mentioned early on that's interesting about Ryo Ishida is that he has Four's memories, but he also has memories of Ryo Ishida when he was aboard the Raza so he knows these characters better than they know themselves. And this will be an opportunity for him to relay some secrets, if you will. And one of those secrets is something that was hinted at back in Season Two when Ryo got his memories back he was avoiding Three and Three was like "For some reason he's avoiding me and I have a feeling that he knows something about me that he that doesn't want to talk about." and what the hell could it be? Well we're going to find out what the hell it is in Episode Twelve.

STV: The cast spends a lot of time in the same set over and over, well the same Studio anyway, did they enjoy getting out for 309 and being in different environments?

JM: Yeah I think they did, I think the crew especially loved just going out and not having to worry about disguising locations and just being somewhere totally different. I think everyone had a really good time just because it’s an atypical episode. Those are the type of episodes I just love and in general on the show, reminds me of Stargate a lot in that we can do very different types of stories. Like Episode Eight is a very Diehard type of episode and Nine is kind of our funny comedic time travel episode, we do twisty turny alternate universe episodes and we do sort of kind of more grounded kind of philosophical episodes like Episode Three we're dealing with the colonies and the burgeoning war and how it affects things and sort of politics. Then we do kind of the fun action-driven episodes like the premiere where all the characters are separated and everyone is doing something different and having to work to survive and hopefully come together at the end and move forward.

STV: You did something in 309 that I don't recall you having done before in the you finally set the time frame for the series prior to 309 we didn't we didn't really have a full grasp of when the series was set.

JM: We had no way around it, we had to and one of the things that I didn't want to but in the end basically my writing partner, Paul [Mullie] was like “Oh we've got to” it kind of opens the door and causes a branch of questions that will be answered in time. The cheapest of which is technology, it's somewhat baffling on the surface that we do have such amazing technology in terms of ships and in terms of FTL drive but other aspects of technology are fairly close to contemporary but certainly not as advanced as other aspects and the question is why is that and we’ll have an answer for that in the future.

STV: In Episode 309, Two and Three spend a lot of time together and I've seen a lot of chatter that I don't necessarily agree with but I thought I would ask to get some clarification. There are some people that are feeling or seeing chemistry between those two. They think they're going to get hooked up at some point. I don't see it, myself, from what I've seen, but I thought I'd get you to clarify it, are they just two friends that are growing closer or is there a potential for something else?

JM: Well they did hook up back in Season One and at the end of Season One they have that conversation where he kind of hints that he has feelings for her but things happen and they move on and neither of them have gone there since. They've got bigger issues, bigger other things to deal with. I'm not going to answer it either way. I'm saying the fact that there was something in the past and that there was a suggestion of potentially more might suggest that there is a possibility but in the case of this episode I think he was really maybe reaching out to her as more a friend and kind of fellow crew member in that she's been carrying a lot of guilt since the events of the season finale and the feeling that she was, directly or indirectly, responsible for Nyx’s death. So that's kind of weighed heavily on her and she's been out of sorts. Now suddenly she’s in a world where the Galactic Authority are so far away there's no Corporate War she’s kind of finally able to relax a bit and he sees this so you get that nice little scene when they’re at the park and he tells her “Sure you're the commander but we're all here to help. You're not the only one who has to shoulder the load, let us help out a bit”. Those little moments are nice but I think they're motivated more by certainly caring but more from a friendship perspective.

STV: Speaking of the park was that one of your dogs or just another cute dog that Two was being charmed by?

JM: That was Melissa's dog, Tehya, in fact, I just screened the Episode Nine behind-the-scenes special featurette and Melissa is interviewed with Tehya, and it’s actually kind of a funny behind-the-scenes where Melissa's doing final touches on Tehya. They talk about the episode but she also talks about Tehya, who looks a lot like Lulu except she's a much younger girl, she's about half Lulu’s age.

STV: She was adorable and she was hamming it up for the camera.

JM: She was perfect! Spinoff!

STV: Winding this down when can we hope to maybe hear about a Season Four and what can people do to try and help get to Season Four?

JM: I don't know, anytime between now and frankly a month after the last episode airs is when we'll hear. Right now, just on the surface, we need to get the ratings up, that will certainly help. We have a very passionate fan base, which is great, hopefully, they can get the word out and get other people onboard and other people interested to check out the show. If there's an episode to do it 309 is it, so I'm kind of really trying to push 309 as hopefully a jumping on point or a point for non fans or non-Dark Matter viewers to come check out the show and see what we have to offer and hopefully that'll pick up the ratings and SyFy will have no choice but to pick us up.

STV: For those that aren’t a part of a Nielsen Household, how much does watching it on SyFy's website and on Netflix help?

JM: Everything certainly helps, you know obviously International, Canada, Netflix, but right now SyFy is the one who's making the call, so SyFy. The ratings on SyFy are really key at this point.

STV: But they do look at the international numbers, like from Canada and Australia and overseas?

JM: They certainly help, but I mean, as I said, right now SyFy is the ones that are making the call and they're not making the call based on for instance numbers in Canada or Netflix numbers they're basically making the call based on the numbers on their network.

STV: Yeah they want to see how it does in the US.

JM: Yes exactly.

STV: We've seen situations on other networks with other shows where they can get canceled in the US but still survive internationally or like up in Canada. Would that ever be a future for Dark Matter or is it too ingrained with the SyFy brand?

JM: I'd rather not go down that route only because it would be so much easier if SyFy picked us up and then we continue on with a fourth season and hopefully the fifth season and I get to finish the story that I had planned to tell. There are potential other scenarios but those are always so tough. It's the type of stuff that we looked into with Stargate. Ultimately for whatever reason, it didn't happen, a lot of the times it's not even for lack of a desire on the part of potential new homes like Netflix. Sometimes it's legalities that kind of trip it up. I think that was the case with Agent Carter where there was talk of Agent Carter going on, everybody loved the show, but it was just they couldn't get it to work and it wasn't from a lack of desire. It was just an impossibility, you open up a can of worms if you start going down that road. Like I said tune in, check it out, get the word out especially for next episode. Too often fans will rally after the fact with petitions and such. I seriously doubt the efficacy of petitions. I think ratings help a lot more.

That's it for the first part of the interview. We talked extensively about the next episode, and trust me, after you see it you'll have questions too and want to know all about what's going on. Following next week's episode, we'll have the second part of this interview that goes into great detail regarding the mind blowing episode coming your way.

Very special thanks to DJRiter for her transcribing assistance.

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