SALT LAKE CITY — Last August, the season three finale of the Syfy series “Dark Matter” ended on a cliffhanger. In what may be an unprecedented move, the showrunner of the canceled production is taking to Twitter to live-tweet his vision for the first episode of a potential fourth season.
Joe Mallozzi served as the showrunner for “Dark Matter” and also produced a significant portion of episodes in the “Stargate” franchise. “Dark Matter” is set in space and follows the stories of crewmates who awake on a ship with no memory of their prior lives. Even their identities are initially a mystery, resulting in character names such as One and Two.
On May 16, Mallozzi posted a breakdown of the first act of the yet-unproduced episode live on Twitter and said he would be posting the second act Thursday evening.
“The tweets I was posting last night were a rundown of what I had planned to kick off ‘Dark Matter’s’ fourth season,” Mallozzi said.
The tweets appear to have taken both fans and actors by surprise.
“Okay, yeah … I’m here for this,” said Alex Mallari Jr., the actor who played the character known as both Four and Ryo Ishida, in response to the impromptu Twitter announcement.
Okay, yeah.. I’m here for this https://t.co/J9hpySldn0
— Alex Mallari Jr (@AlexMallariJr) May 17, 2018
Anthony Lemke, the actor who played Three/Marcus Boone, responded, “What!!!”
— Anthony Lemke (@ranthonylemke) May 17, 2018
Melissa O’Neil had the lengthiest cast response. The actress who played the role of Two/Portia Lin shared a bittersweet comment.
“What could have been … , ” she wrote on Twitter when Mallozzi began to describe the opening scene. “This is a bit painful to read, Joe! No doubt this would have been a great opening.”
What could have been… this is a bit painful to read, Joe! No doubt this would’ve been a great opening. https://t.co/vLmJ6yYOfS
— Melissa O'Neil (@Mel13Oneil) May 17, 2018
More than a few fans sympathized with her forlorn comments.
“Knowing that there were 2 more seasons worth of material after the cliffhanger cancellation is like reading 3/5 of a book & then having someone rip it away,” tweeted Katy Cole, a fan from Cleveland, Ohio.
I want to see a 4th season of #DarkMatter because the show has a great story with so many amazing & lovable characters. Knowing that there were 2 more seasons worth of material after the cliffhanger cancelation is like reading 3/5 of a book & then having someone rip it away.
— Katy Cole (@SuperKaytee) May 17, 2018
“Joe has had years to work on and refine a wonderful tale about what it means to be human,” tweeted Tom Gardiner, a “Stargate” and “Dark Matter” superfan behind the popular social media efforts to revive both shows. “To have that taken away 3/5 in is just cruel.”
Besides being one of the best science fiction stories/shows I've ever seen, the entire 5-year tale has been written. Joe has had years to work on and refine a wonderful tale about what it means to be human. To have that taken away 3/5 in is just cruel. #DarkMatter
— Tom Gardiner (@Thogar) May 17, 2018
Mallozzi may keep what happens beyond the next episode a secret, but he shares the very public pain associated with seeing his dream cut short after three seasons.
“It’s a form of therapy for me to finally be able to reveal what I had planned,” wrote Mallozzi in an email interview. “It was incredibly frustrating not to be able to finish my story and revisit these characters.”
Mallozzi experienced another dose of frustration recently when he spearheaded an effort to persuade MGM that fans wanted a revival of “Stargate” rather than a reboot that erases nearly two decades of story.
“The revive ‘Stargate’ campaign is on hold,” he said. “The fact that the studio didn’t even acknowledge the fan efforts was disappointing, and, I think, will make a lot of the existing ‘Stargate’ fanbase particularly critical when that fourth series is released.”
“A blown opportunity,” he added.
The cancellation of sci-fi programming and related fan attempts to revive axed series are becoming common themes as an influx of sci-fi programming also results in a higher number of cancelled shows.
Sci-fi fans recently shared their views on Twitter about the cancellation of another popular TV show which is aired on Syfy, “The Expanse.”
“I’m too mad right now for proper comments,” wrote sci-fi fan Kellie Zielinski on Twitter.
“I’m really done with Syfy. They cancelled too many shows I loved,” wrote Jesse Blue on Twitter. “Syfy is no channel anymore I want to support.”
Zielinski and Blue joined a host of other fans who shared views ranging from vulgar expletives directed at the Syfy Network to understanding comments recognizing changing viewer habits sometimes negatively affect fans.
Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group, which owns Syfy, declined an interview request for this article.
“I think fans have perfectly fair expectations,” Mallozzi said. “If they support a show and that support translates into viewers, then they should be rewarded with further seasons.”
Mallozzi hopes his tweets will spur enough interest for a “Dark Matter” revival but acknowledges it is not his primary motive.
“These rundowns are a small way of offering everyone some closure,” Mallozzi said. “At the heart of ‘Dark Matter,’ like the ‘Stargates,’ is the notion of family, the idea that, despite disparate views and conflict, your family members have your back.”
Mallozzi will have the back of his fans as he shares more secret details about “Dark Matter” via his Twitter account at @BaronDestructo each night this week at 7 p.m. MST.
* This article was originally published in the Deseret News on May 17, 2018.