Syfy and Space launch their newest collaboration Friday night with a tandem premiere of Dark Matter, a new drama series from Joseph Mallozzi, one of the minds behind the Stargate series franchise. Set almost entirely on a ship that’s adrift in space, the show focuses on seven core characters, who awake from stasis with no memory of who they are or why they’re there.
Mallozzi says the initial episodes will track closely and then deviate from the namesake comic book. “If you read the first two issues of the comic book, it’s almost, word for word, the first episode of the series. [Issues] three and four of the comic book are very close to episode two,” he explains. “[In] terms of spoilers, you guys are going to get a sneak peek at episodes one and two by reading the first two issues of the comic book or, you know, as in the paperback. But then, after that, all bets are off.”
Syfy and Space are also premiering Killjoys next week and Mallozzi says the more the merrier. “I think [programming them together is] a fantastic idea and I’m so excited about it. I don’t really think there’s such thing as competition. Maybe my naiveté is talking there,” he admits. “But, I think it’s so great when people enjoy something and they want more [of the same type of genre and are] able to have it. I hope they’re going to enjoy our show and want more and get another one.”
“Tonally, [our show is] a lot of fun. At the end of the day, I think … fans … like to tune in for the character and just essentially to have a good time. And I think that’s what we’re going to offer them,” he says. “[I’m] not sure how serialized the other shows are. But, our show is very serialized [with] twists and turns and surprises.”
A lot of Dark Matter is set on the ship, but Mallozzi says they will find a balance in season one so that it’s not all-consuming. “We have an amazing standing set and we’re going to make use of it. [As] is the case with most of the ship-based shows like Star Trek or Stargate or Firefly, the ship almost becomes a character in itself,” he explains. “[We’re] going to be getting off. We’re going to be visiting planets. We’re going to be visiting space stations. [We] want to avoid that claustrophobic feel, so we’ll definitely be opening things up.”
The actors talked a little bit about how their characters are distinct and fit into the larger ensemble. Bendavid’s character, One, is the first out of stasis, and he’s essentially the most bewildered of the crew at their predicament. “One is really enjoyable to play … because he is surrounded by people who have some kind of quick proficiency at something and he is sort of always falling on his face. [He] always makes a mess of himself,” he says. “You never see any malice or vindictiveness really in him … It was fun to be around all these sort of sexy, lightning-fast action figures and [be] the one whose jet pack seems to be broken.”
Melissa O’Neil likes that her character, Two, seems to have innate leadership skills that present themselves almost at will. “One time, we were doing a cast read-through. And we were sitting around the table read, and I think it was Anthony who remarks that most people who are actors are actually the younger sibling or [the] only child in a family. And … everyone [at the table] was either a younger sibling or an only child, except for me. It definitely caters well to who Two is in that she very organically takes on this leadership role that everyone seems to just accept,” she says. “She was so much fun. She is direct and straightforward and she gets to kick a lot of ass.”
Anthony Lemke plays Three, and he’s the character with the most swagger right out of the gate. “[Everything] that Marc said about One, that’s pretty much the opposite of Three. And if I could extend the jet pack analogy, I’m the guy with the jet pack that works but doesn’t always know the right thing to do with it. And that’s the fun,” he points out. “[He’s] impetuous and he says what other people may or may not be thinking but certainly what he is thinking that he shouldn’t say. And it’s a lot of fun to play that kind of character and especially within the context of a crew who [are] so well-defined.”
The series will be premiering almost simultaneously all over the globe, and the cast and Mallozzi plan to be active on social media. “It’s about having the largest conversation you can have with the largest number of people and really getting momentum behind the show. [It’s] rolling out within a couple of days literally in almost every single country [where NBC Universal has a presence],” explains Mallozzi. “So, it really is almost a global conversation that’s happening within a couple of days for this show. We’re super thankful to the network … for giving us that privilege because it’s not the case for every show.”
In addition to Tweeting, Mallozzi also contributes other treats around the Web. “I maintain a daily blog and I will be continuing throughout production to upload behind-the-scene tidbits, pictures, videos, and stories, including some behind-the-scenes stuff from episode one or two of the guys showing off their beautiful singing voices,” he teases.
Check back throughout the season for more from our conversation.
Photos courtesy of Dennys/Ilic/Syfy; Video courtesy of Syfy.