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Joseph Mallozzi Promises To Put The Dark in Dark Matter in Season 2 

Photo Credit: Dennys/Ilic/Syfy
Photo Credit: Dennys/Ilic/Syfy

[Warning: General spoilers ahead]

On the heels of a jaw-dropper of a first-season finale, Dark Matter returns to Syfy for season 2 on Friday July 1st. I participated in a press visit to the Toronto set this February, where we interviewed the cast and crew, including the showrunner, Joseph Mallozzi, who happily chatted with us about the show throughout our visit. In this first installment, he talks about the origin of the series, his five-year plan, building the mysteries, and what’s on deck for season 2.

It’s fairly understood that the show sprang from the Dark Horse comic of the same name, but Mallozzi shared that the comic itself actually spun off from a pilot script he’d written for the show. “[I wrote the pilot script] during the fourth year of Stargate: Atlantis, and thought I’d roll into [it afterward], and then Atlantis kept getting picked up and picked up, and then the year [I didn’t expect it], we were cancelled.”

“Development people love established properties. We approached Dark Horse about publishing the pilot script as a four-part issue. [Co-executive producer Vanessa [Piazza] put the deal together. More often than not you pitch and [they can’t see it],” he explains. “With the comic book, they could see it. It was a great selling tool. Dark Horse has expressed interest in continuing it [alongside the series] but I have my hands full with this.”

“[Creating the comic] was as a great learning experience. We had a great artist, Gary Brown. His characters designs were great. When it came time to develop the show, we went in a different direction. When we were casting, we decided to use the [comic’s] characters as a template…which opened up the genders. [For example], in the comic, the Android is a man. We [also] wanted to give our set designer carte blanche on the ship, and he came up with six or seven designs. I liked the stocky, bulldog look [best].”

Photo Credit: Steven Wikie/Syfy
Photo Credit: Steve Wilkie/Syfy

Because Mallozzi spent several years developing the show, and had the first 12 episodes of the first season drafted by the time they were casting, he had room to plan out his mysteries and stagger his reveals, including the major reveal at the end of the pilot on who the crew were, and at the end of the first season, who the mole was. It’s all part of the carefully calibrated balance that Mallozzi works hard to sustain.

“One of the things that drives me nuts about mystery shows is [when] they hold on to the mystery too long or they never answer it. I wanted to accelerate the story. I have a five-year plan,” he shares. “I know where each year will end. [We’re looking at the larger themes of] ‘are people born bad, or is it part of their environment?’ I like exploring the idea of redemption through these seven characters. There’s not going to be a happy ending for all of them, like in real life.”

“We know exactly where we’re going in season 2. One of the things I loved is that these characters are all sort of tabula rasa. They start off on the same level as the audience. They’re finding out about themselves at the same time as the audience. As the first season progresses, we add depth to these characters.”

“Three [Anthony Lemke] came off as an asshole in the first episode. I was surprised how many people hated him after the first episode. As the season progresses, we found out his backstory and it humanizes him, and now he’s a fan favorite, which was always the plan. I was surprised about how much he was hated in the beginning.”

Photo Credit: Steven Wikie/Syfy
Photo Credit: Steve Wilkie/Syfy

Mallozzi adds that the show has something for everyone, but humor is vital to the mix. “People tune in for the hook, and we have a lot of great hooks, but they stay for the characters…and I think we have seven very diverse, very interesting characters,” he points out. “Equally important is a sense of humor. I told the actors when I was auditioning them that I was looking for talent and [humor]. All the characters, I think, are funny in different ways, from subtle to overt.  I think humor goes along way in allowing an audience to connect with these characters and this show, and it humanizes them.”

“I figured out the backstory for these characters long ago, and it’s fun to bring them out in bits and pieces. In season 2 we’re going to be proactive and they’re going to take the fight to these enemies that we’ve established over time. Season 1 was very micro, on a character level, and very ship-centric. Season 2 we’ll be going out more, finding out about the universe and colonized space and the corporations and the fact that it would seem that we’re heading for a corporate war, and that forms the back drop. There’s significantly more world building.”

Dark Matter season 2 premieres Friday, July 1st at 10/9c. Check back for more interviews from our visit.

You can find Mallozzi on Twitter, and he also shares all things Dark Matter on his blog.

Season 1 of Dark Matter is available online, and June 13th on DVD and Blu-ray. Here’s the new extended preview of season 2.

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