Season 3 premieres Tuesday on Syfy.
Series creator Joseph Mallozzi on Dark Matter's third season
Joseph Mallozzi, creator of SyFy’s Dark Matter. needs little introduction to fans of the sci-fi genre. As a writer and executive producer of the Stargate franchise, his credentials speak for themselves.
With Dark Matter heading into its third season – it has its premiere on SyFy tonight – Mallozzi has taken the step from writer and producer on an established favourite to creator of his own show, one that he originally conceived as a comic book on the Dark Horse imprint.
The writer insists, though, that the two shows aren’t too different. “They’re very similar in tone,” he says. “One of the things I loved about writing for SG-1 and [Stargate] Atlantis was the underlying sense of humour in both shows, and that’s something I set out to recapture in Dark Matter.
“In addition, after all the action and adventure, the Stargate shows were very much about family, whether it was the SG-1 team or the Atlantis expeditions.
“Viewers tuned in to spend time with O’Neill, Carter, Daniel and Teal’c because they were almost like a second family to them. I think it’s much the same way with the Dark Matter crew. They are mercenaries, this galaxy’s most wanted, but when all’s said and done, they’re family.”
The Dark Matter team may be family now, but when they awoke at the beginning of season 1, they were a group of unrelated and amnesiac strangers trapped in space, rather than a more-traditional Star Trek-style family. Mallozzi admits he was keen to push the envelope with his new creation.
“I wanted a story that started off with a clean slate of sorts, a start point that would allow us to build a narrative in which our characters and audience progressed as one,” he explains. “In other words, throughout the show’s first season (and beyond), our characters are finding out about themselves and their world at the same time our audience is discovering their secrets.
"The fun of this reverse formula is that it allows you to create stock first impressions, and then slowly undermine them as the show progresses.
"For instance, we introduce the character of One as a principled fish-out-of-water, and fans were saying: ‘He doesn’t belong on the ship. It doesn’t make sense.’ And yet as we begin to reveal more of his backstory, it does make sense. Or take a character like Three, who just seems like a typical gunslinger in those first few episodes – and yet as we begin to reveal more and more about him, his character gains depth and becomes more real. The amnesia premise presents storytelling challenges, but on the other hand, offers up some great opportunities as well.”
Syfy may be a relative newcomer as TV channels go – its current incarnation celebrates its eighth birthday on July 9, although it has existed in previous formats since 1992 – but it has already proved a big hitter with successful original programming, including the 12 Monkeys television adaptation and the inimitable Sharknado movies.
Mallozzi is clearly feeling at home with the channel. “I love working in sci-fi for SyFy,” he says. “The world of science fiction definitely allows you to tell such a wide variety of stories. One episode could be heavily techy, while another could be more action-adventure driven. Another could be character-centred, while another can be a comedy. The genre offers you amazing opportunities – and I can’t thank SyFy enough for giving us the stage to tell these stories.”
Dark Matter season 3 premieres on Syfy tonight at 10pm, exclusively on OSN.