Here are excerpts from Joe Mallozzi’s blog
, on the evolution so far. In chronological order.
Per board rules, I will not be quoting any post in it’s entirety. Click the title to read in full.
September 1, 2017: Dark Matter Cancelled
Where this part of the journey started. We all know what this said. Moving on…
September 2, 2017: Informing and Updating Dark Matter Fans!
This post has some really interesting insight into the business of renewals and cancellations in the TV world, as well as the probable factors in the SyFy boardroom.
As we rolled through Dark Matter’s third season, I was feeling cautiously optimistic about a renewal. Although the ratings had dipped, it wasn’t a huge fall, ultimately less than 10% off last season’s numbers when all was said and done. Compared to the industry average (the last stats I saw pegged the average drop-off at 25%!) I thought we were looking pretty good – especially when you factor in time-delayed viewers (the DVR crowd). Dark Matter was consistently ranked at the top of cable percentage gainers in overall viewers and the key demos. And, perhaps most heartening at the time was the fact that we were nevertheless one of SYFY’s most-watched shows in 2017.
Working against us was the fact that we weren’t a SYFY original. We were an acquisition. For those not in the know, an original is a series that is developed by the network and, more importantly, owned by the network, allowing them to monetize the show through things like international sales, streaming, etc. The network pays a lot more but presumably reaps the benefits down the line. Ideally. An acquisition, on the other hand, is a show that will cost a network considerably less, but doesn’t offer those alternate revenue streams because there is no ownership stake. Due to the costs of originals, networks may go the acquisition route to round out a programming schedule. Also, at the end of the day, audiences generally don’t base their viewing habits on whether or not a show is an original series or an acquisition. They watch what they like. And the more who watch, the higher the ratings. And the higher the ratings, the more broadcasters can charge advertisers. So, at the end of the day, there are pros and cons, risks and rewards to both approaches.
When we found out we were on the bubble, I offered to fly down to SYFY’s L.A. offices and take them through what we had planned for season 4: “Androids! Aliens! Dr. Shaw! Sarah! Kyrden! Wexler! TWO’s daughter! FIVE’s sister!” They thanked me but informed me that the decision would not be based on the show’s creative, so there was no point in going down to pitch.
If it wasn’t creative then, by process of elimination, one would assume it was financial. I’d heard that SYFY had invested in a lot of original programming for 2017-2018, and the recent announcement of their supernatural slate would seem to confirm as much. The production reached out to see if there was anything we could do to help on that front but, again, it was a no-go.
What do? Well, I knew that Earpers had been instrumental in getting a pick up for their show, so I rallied Dark Matter fans to make some noise. And they did in a big way. But still, we remained on the bubble.
The nature of the show I created and developed over many years wouldn’t allow for a nice, neat wrap up at season’s end. Dark Matter’s narrative was designed as a series of set-ups, developments, and payoffs, with multiple parallel storylines that would eventually cross and converge. Season 1 begins with our crew discovering they are criminals and ends with them being hauled off to prison. Season 2 begins with them inside the Hyperion-8 galactic prison and ends with their failing to head off a corporate war and deny a former ally. Season 3 begins with the crew facing off against that former ally amidst the backdrop of corporate war and ends with the alien invasion. Season 4 will begin with our crew, and humanity’s, response to the alien threat… The fact that I have a five year plan (rather than just making it up as I go along) means I know exactly where the various stories are headed. I know all the answers to all of the questions. And having that foreknowledge allows for a much more satisfying narrative when all of the pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place. It also means that no matter how much I could try to wrap things up in a season finale, many questions would remain unanswered. Still, I figured as a final alternative, I could try my damnedest and offer fans some degree of closure by pitching SYFY a 6-episode miniseries to wrap it up. This, unfortunately, was not an option either.
I did NOT quote this entire entry, thought it is as fascinating as it is long. I do
recommend reading the full post!
September 3, 2017: Dark Matter fandom unleashed!
September 4, 2017: The Dark Matter latest!
Update! Since putting it all in perspective for you yesterday, we’ve reached out to several possible new homes for our little series and are presently awaiting word. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, the odds are long – but the initial conversations have sounded very promising. I also mentioned that these things take time, so I don’t expect definite word for another week, maybe two. But again, as soon as I know something, YOU’LL all know something. I promise.
Finally – as we all try to do our part to ensure Dark Matter gets to finish its story, I just wanted to ask some of you not to waste precious time and energy mistakenly targeting those deserving of our appreciation and support.
Killjoys, Wynonna Earp, and The Expanse are terrific productions that earned their success and pickups. They’re three very different shows but they all share a few things in common: a fantastic cast and crew, a terrific fanbase, and some very talented individuals at their respective helms. Michelle Loretta (Killjoys), Emily Andras (Wynonna Earp), and Ty Franck (The Expanse) do really great work, and they’re really great people too. When news of the cancellation broke, all three immediately reached out. They didn’t have to but they did. It was very classy of them and it’s something I won’t forget. Just wanted you all to know.
A few broadcasters are also being caught in the crossfire as well. Please know that Canada’s Space Channel and Netflix have been nothing but wholly supportive of the show and are no doubt as disappointed as any of us by these recent developments. In fact, while I was visiting FanExpo this afternoon, Morgan Hoffman and Ajay Fry, who have long reviewed Dark Matter for Space Channel’s Innerspace, briefly interrupted their signings to come over, offer a consolatory hug, and let me know how much they truly loved the show.
You know who also loved Dark Matter? SyfyInternational. I’m talking SyfyDE, Syfyla, Syfybr, SyfyAU, Syfy_Spain, SyfyFr, SyfyPT, SyfyME and especially SyfyUK. In fact, they loved it so much that they gave fans their very own after show, After Dark.
September 5, 2017: Dark Matter fans get ready to storm the castle!
A glimmer of hope! I’ve heard that executives at a few of the other broadcast options we are reaching out to have taken note of the huge fan response. The tweets, the comments, even the petitions (https://t.co/5bqcMXdpSI
– which, frankly, won’t convince Syfy to change their minds but still serves a great purpose) have caught the attention of the decision makers. However, grabbing their attention is one thing; convincing them is something else. That’s going to take a lot more fan noise – so keep it up, especially during this most crucial week. Let them know how much Dark Matter
means to you! See if we can net us another season or two.
At this point, the biggest thing we’ve got working against us is time. The longer this goes, the more likely we are to lose some of our greatest assets –
CREW: I’ve often said that Dark Matter
owes an enormous debt to the people behind the scenes. Everyone from painters to PA’s, designers to department heads – these incredibly talented individuals are the heart of our show. These are people with families to support who can’t afford to wait and see how things play out. They are, like every one of you, a part of our extended Dark Matter
family and I hate the thought of losing any of them.
CAST: They’re in much the same boat. It’s unfair of us to ask them to wait indefinitely, let other opportunities pass them by, as things drag out.
SETS: We rent the stages which hold our various sets. The longer they sit idle, the more money is lost and, sooner or later, a decision must be made. The costs of rebuilding would be prohibitive, so once those sets come down, that will in effect be it.
This one was all about prep for the first Friday Tweet Storm. Though he did post some awesome fan art
! Click to check it out!
September 6, 2017: Dark Matter fandom, at your battle stations!
The odds may be long and time may be short, but people are taking notice. I received a call yesterday from an old friend who has put me in touch with some interested parties. Although a positive development, one of the biggest hurdles we now face is the various pre-existing deals that complicate matters. For example, after ABC cancelled Agent Carter
, there was a push for Netflix to pick it up, but one of the reasons they ultimately didn’t was because of the pre-existing deals:
“Netflix also tries to own and distribute its titles worldwide, releasing seasons globally and simultaneously, and the structure of Marvel’s existing international deals for Agent Carter made that tricky. “They also have some output deal complexities,” he adds. “So when you pick it up, being able to pick it up globally is difficult even after it’s canceled. Some of those output partners still had it on the air, so they would argue its covered by their output [deals]. Unfortunately, it was a business decision more than a creative one.”
Agent Carter: Netflix explains why they didn’t save it
is as a somewhat different scenario, yet no less tricky. But it’s still not going to stop us from trying to make this work! So at your battle stations!
September 7, 2017: Family, Friendship, and Fandom!
Hey, here’s an interesting article:
Millennials watch more time-shifted content than live TV
But we already knew that as Dark Matter
was making anywhere from 200 – 300% gains
in the key demo over its last few weeks, leading the cable pack
Factor in these time-shifted viewers and Dark Matter
was actually the #1 SCIFI
show on the “syfy channel”
in the KEY DEMO AND OVERALL VIEWERS!
I repeat, Dark Matter
was THE #1 SCIFI SHOW ON “THE SYFY CHANNEL” IN THE KEY DEMO AND OVERALL VIEWERS
So I’ve been taking meetings with various production companies, looking ahead to my next project (hopefully not for another two years) and when the conversation turns to Dark Matter, the response from those I’ve met has been bewilderment and sympathy. Solid ratings, a strong creative and modest licensing fee should have translated to a pickup and yet…
It’s strangely comforting to know that news of Dark Matter’s cancellation has left even industry insiders perplexed.
Upon further reflection, I think one of the issues may have been the rebranding. As I’ve already mentioned, the new slate of shows the network announced run to darker, more paranormal fare which is the opposite of our fun-focused SF series. Also, at the end of the day, beyond the action, adventure, shootouts and dazzling visual effects, Dark Matter is, at its heart, really about one thing: family. It was the theme at the core of every Stargate series I worked on and something I strove to recapture on Dark Matter, this notion of “us against the universe”, the bonds of friendship. It’s no accident that so many of the show’s key discussions take place in the mess hall, with the crew gathered, talking over food and drink like a family at a dinner table. And no accident either that, as the Android eventually gained acceptance as an equal, she came to take a seat at that table and join them.
I’ve always felt that when Stargate fans tuned in, it was, in some ways for them, like connecting with a second family, whether it was SG-1, the Atlantis Expedition, or the Destiny crew. And I feel just as strongly that it’s the same way with Dark Matter. The crew became as much a part of your family as you, our fans, became a part of ours. I don’t know. I suppose that, to certain decision makers, these notions of camaraderie and kinhip might seem old-fashioned or off-brand, but I firmly believe friendship and family are two things that will never go out of style.
I couldn’t agree more!!!!
How many of these 30k+ signatories would get a Netflix subscription if it was the exclusive U.S. home of Dark Matter’s fourth season? I wonder…
An update! Discussions continue on finding our little show a new home. Still a long shot but I’m heartened by the interest from a few industry heavyweights who recognize the show’s worth, its potential, and its passionate fanbase.
More to follow.