Dark Matter: Cancelled…Or Is It?

Ray Byers Ray Byers
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September 12th, 2017

Dark Matter: Cancelled…Or Is It?
TV
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Up until a couple of weeks ago, SYFY channel's Friday night line-up has consisted of a couple of smart, engaging sci-fi shows: Killjoys and Dark Matter, both of which aired their season finales within the last several weeks. Unfortunately for one, Dark Matter, it wasn't just the season finale, but the series finale as well.

For those not familiar, Dark Matter primarily concerns six characters who awaken from stasis after their ship, the Raza, is damaged. They awaken with no memories of who they are or how they got there so, as a result, they name themselves after the order in which they awoke, One through Six. They eventually learn who they were: violent criminals wanted on many charges including piracy, theft, and murder. Except for Five, a young girl with no criminal past who seems to not belong with this group at all.

Dark Matter attempts to answer the question: If we lose our memories, do we also lose our personality; are we the same person? The answer for most seems to be a resounding 'No' as they continue to identify as their number instead of their true names, even after learning about their pasts.  Like Farscape and Stargate SG-1 before it, Dark Matter has a diverse crew, thrown together by circumstance, who learn to work together and, eventually, become a family.

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Series co-creator and show runner, Joseph Mallozzi, veteran writer/producer from the Stargate television franchise, took to his blog shortly after SYFY dropped the bad news:

It is with great sadness that I confirm the news.  Syfy has cancelled Dark Matter after three seasons.

To say that I’m incredibly disappointed would be an understatement.

-https://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/september-1-2017-dark-matter-cancelled/

Almost immediately fans took to twitter, expressing dismay, shock, and disbelief.  Fans have had to deal with these disappointments in the past, but in recent years, with the rise in popularity of social media, the rules have changed a little and the playing field maybe has become a little more even.  We have seen this in the past with shows like Longmire where fans rallied streaming giant Netflix to pick up the final two seasons. Dark Matter fans are following suit.

With painful memories of shows like Firefly, Alphas, and Defiance, all of which seemed to end too soon, fans of Dark Matter, with the full support of Mallozzi and under the leadership of twitter user @DarkMatterftl, began a twitter campaign to grab Netflix's attention.  Fans used a series of hashtags throughout the week as dry runs and analytics tests and then went live on Friday with the #RockTheRaza hashtag which users had trending in the US and Canada for over four hours Friday night, including #2 in Canada and #1 in LA and NY.

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It's not just fans getting involved. Mallozzi himself (@BaronDestructo) is an active contributor to the effort as are current stars and guest stars of the Dark Matter series, particularly Melissa O'Neil, Jodelle Ferland, Anthony Lemke, Zoie Palmer, and Alex Mallari Jr. Former Stargate regulars Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, and Lexa Doig all dropped in on the fun Friday as did twitter users from other television series, and the music, book, and comic industries as well.

According to Mallozzi's blog, he's hoping other parties will take notice:

I gathered the aforementioned data and sent it along.  Confident it will go a long way toward impressing interested parties of the strength and scope of the Dark Matter fanbase (and hopefully showing “no longer interested parties” exactly what they’re missing).  We have a follow-up call on Tuesday and this enormous fan showing will no doubt be a hot topic of conversation.

-https://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2017/09/09/september-9-2017-dark-matter-fans-rock-the-raza-and-twitter/

Dark Matter fans are not done.  According to the effort's coordinator @DarkMatterftl's twitter feed, this week will consist of several "fun" hashtags to keep things alive on Twitter followed by another massive "tweetfest" on Friday, 15 September, similar to last Friday's effort. Just like last week, the hashtag will be revealed just prior to the start of the tweet storm at 9 pm Eastern. If you, like me, love this show or are just tired of quality sci-fi shows being cancelled too soon, feel free to follow @DarkMatterftl on twitter and join in on the fun.

When the dust settles and a decision is made, there will be much scrutiny of this effort. If it succeeds and Dark Matter gets a new home on Netflix or elsewhere, fans everywhere will have a reason to hope and a blueprint to follow. Dark Matter will have proven that a show with a strong, vocal fanbase can indeed help save shows. Unlike letter writing and postcard campaigns of the past, social media provides fans a relatively easy way to gather, organize, and come at the networks and streaming companies in an organized, unified effort.

If it doesn't work, at least we, as fans, are able to voice our opinions, frustrations, and concerns. And with information from leading insiders like Mallozzi and others, maybe we can learn what worked and what didn't and next time, come at it from a different angle that just might. Hopefully for Dark Matter, the results will be the former and not the latter.

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