Guest Post: AMA with Joe Mallozzi

Today marks one year since the last episode of “Dark Matter.” To commemorate the occasion, I am turning over the site to Joe Mallozzi for an exclusive AMA.

Mallozzi is a rock-star in the world of sci-fi television. He has worked on all three series of “Stargate,” was the showrunner of the groundbreaking “Dark Matter,” and just might have one or two more stellar offerings in various stages of development.

More than that, Mallozzi goes to great lengths to interact with fans and make himself available. I’ve written several articles with his cooperation – including one in which he had only a few hours notice. He is witty, competent, and accessible – all without coming across as pretentious.

Read on to see Mallozzi’s unfiltered thoughts on the cancellation of “Dark Matter,” stories from behind-the-scenes of “Stargate,” revelations about your favorite characters – and more!

Kurt Manwaring asks: SyFy didn’t say why they cancelled #DarkMatter. What is your best guess as to the reason?

When the script for Dark Matter first went out, Syfy’s Originals division in Los Angeles passed, but Syfy’s Acquisitions department in New York picked up the series.  Needless to say, Syfy Originals was NOT happy.  From what I’d been told, they hated the script.  Fast forward three years later.   When our point man in New York left Syfy last summer, there was no one there to defend the show, so Syfy cancelled us.

Kurt Manwaring asks: How is working with CGI different today than 10 or 15 years ago?

What has really changed is the quality of the visual effects work and what can be achieved for considerably less money.

Kurt Manwaring asks: What attributes do you consider essential in a good director?

An ability to get those small moments, the looks and throwaway lines that don’t seem all that important in the grand scheme of things yet, in the long run, are those instances that shed so much light on our characters and their relationships, and resonate with viewers.

Peter DeLuise helmed more episodes of “Stargate” than any other director. Photo provided by Peter DeLuise

Irena asks: Since all of our campaigns for #DarkMatter and #Stargate have been unanswered, what are the chances that MGM, Netflix, Amazon or someone else will still become active, in your opinion? Do you think there’s anything else we fans can do?

MGM will definitely launch a fourth new Stargate series.  They were just testing the waters with Stargate: Origins.  The question is what form will said series take?  Will it continue in the pre-existing universe of SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe, rewarding the established fanbase and welcoming new viewers aboard – or will it throw all that out the window and reboot the franchise?

Time will tell.

Kaz Francis asks: How old were you when you got in to writing and what was your first ever story?

I’ve been writing since I was very, very young.  One of the first short stories I remember writing (and handing out to my fourth grade classmates) was a sci-fi tale called “The Town’s Trance” in the spirit of Ray Bradbury’s small town sci-fi works.

Miss Mobious asks: In real life is Richard Dean Anderson as kind hearted and as funny as he appears to be in Stargate? Thanks.

Absolutely.  I’ll never forget my first day on Stargate.  I was in my office with my pugs, working, when Rick came to the door, introduced himself, and welcomed me to the show.  I turned away momentarily to send an email and, when I turned back, he was gone.  Or so I thought.  He was actually lying on the floor, playing with my crazed dogs.  That little encounter, more than any other, sums up Rick for me.

RAGoodYear asks: You wrote The Scourge, and in the opening, we learn that Cameron Mitchell can both understand and speak Chinese…what is the backstory for that?

That was actually a suggestion Ben Browder made after reading the first draft.  I loved the idea as I’m always a fan of throwing the audience those little curveballs.

Suanne Braun asks, “When can I come back to the party?”

As soon as we can get said party started!

Jorge Solis asks: When looking back on the anniversary of #DarkMatter’s last episode, what are you most proud of? The writing, directing, performances?

Looking back on Dark Matter, what I’m most proud of was the on-set atmosphere, the upbeat and positive vibe that guest stars and visitors always picked up on and complimented me on.  It seems like an easy enough thing to achieve but it’s honestly not all that common in this industry.

Colleen Scott asks: Joe, why do you think #DarkMatter is still a huge favorite with viewers?

Because it has something that resonates with viewers – and to which most executives are surprisingly oblivious to: a great core of characters, a sense of family and belonging, and humour.

Raysbyers asks: You read a ton of books…when do you find the time to do all the writing?

To be fair, it’s really my t.v. and film-watching that suffers as a result of all that reading.  I try to set aside at least three hours a day to read.

Raysbyers asks: What exactly is dunking the cosmoc doughnut?

This is a family site so I dare not explain here.

Kaz Francis asks: Will you film any of your food adventures with Zoie Palmer?

I don’t know how Zops would feel about me filming her chewing.

Kaz Francis asks: When will Suji feature in your work like Melissa O’Neil’s dog?

Alas, my gal does not take direction well.  The producers of After Dark wrote a special segment for her, but she was so all over the place it didn’t make the final cut.

Congo Tim asks: In a perfect world, if you could get the whole #DarkMatter cast back and all of the sets, etc., what network/streaming platform would be your choice for production? I assume they all come with their benefits and downfalls.

To be honest, I’m still kind of surprised Netflix didn’t step up to save the show.  I suppose we would have to go with Amazon.

Anthony Lemke and Joe Mallozzi behind the scenes on the set of “Dark Matter.” Photo provided by Joe Mallozzi.

Duane Kennedy asks: If you had the chance to write a story starring a marvel super villain, of your choice ,who would it be.

Mysterio of course.

Kaz Francis asks: Stargate was everything to me in my teens, it got me through a lot. Did you have show like that when you were growing up?

I was a big fan of the original Star Trek series.  I was also a huge fan of Get Smart.  And the 60’s Batman t.v. series as well!

Larry Augustin asks: What SciFi stories that have not been brought to video would you like to see on either TV or the big screen?

Well – I am looking forward to John Scalzi’s, “Old Man’s War.”

Mark Da Silva asks: Are there plans for a SG-1 or Atlantis movie, or is it too late? #Stargate

No plans, but it’s never too late!

Tom Gardiner asks: What’s your favorite “affordable” (I know, it’s a relative concept) whisky?

Nikka By the Barrel, a great blended whiskey.

Tom Gardiner asks: How can you enjoy food so much and still be thin?

I worry a lot.  Also, the secret is to have a mid-afternoon latte every day.

Christopher Judge and Tom Gardiner, SDCC 2014. Gardiner is a sci-fan superfan behind the “Stargate Now” movement and an editor at “Three if by Space.” Photo provided by Tom Gardiner.

Colleen Scott asks: Joe, was there a story for Atlantis that you wish you could presented in another season?

All of the stories I wanted to tell were briefly outlined in my AU Season 6 post: September 30, 2008: An AU Season 6!

Melanie Spicer asks: Was there ever any thought on having Cam and Vala hook up in the series?

Nope.  There was, however, some consideration to having Cam and Dr. Lam hook up.

Judy Arsenault asks: Ok, I’m wondering, Joe…do you have another sci-fi series that you’d like created?

Hmmm.  Not sure I understand the question.  If you’re asking whether I have some other original sci-fi series ideas poised to go – Why, yes!

Christina asks: We know you have a love of comics, reading and good food. But what kind of music do you like to listen to?

I’ll listen to music while working out.  Otherwise, I can’t be bothered.

Christina asks: Favorite Stargate Series to have worked on?

Oh, without question: SG-1.

Marcia asks: If even ratings and being able to carry itself financially doesn’t seem to be enough to guarantee a renewal these days are you having to change how you approach new series? It has to be hard to plan story arcs that can carry forward.

Yes.  My new approach is to not approach SyFy Channel.

Diesel asks: How old would an average asgardian be?

Good question.  Off the top of my head, I’d say older than us but younger than Jupiter.

Stray asks: If we ever met Portia’s daughter, how old would she be?

She’d be about four-to-five.

Davis asks: What do you think about Stargate Atlantis Legacy Novels??

I’ve never read any of the novels, but I think it’s great that fans have a means of checking out new adventures of familiar favorites.

NukedFlouder asks: Would #DarkMatter have continued to show all of the events we saw when the Android was skipping through time, or could the events have been changed by the crew knowing?

I had plans to pay off each of them.  The last one would have been the most interesting…

Marcia asks: At this point I would probably ask how you keep your sanity dealing with the networks…so it will be hard to pick which show the question pertains to. I’ll flip a coin. I think that’s how they do the lineups now anyway.

All part of the business.  🙂

HPFan64 asks: #DarkMatter has too many unanswered questions to let it die. What’s the deal is with black ships? Will Four rejoin the Raza? Will Three be rescued? What about Six? And Two? Will Five find what she’s looking for? The corporate war? A girl needs closure!

The question of how FOUR rejoins the Raza, whether THREE and SIX are rescued, and what happens to TWO can be found in the Dark Matter season 4 virtual episodes I uploaded to twitter.  More to come!

June 25, 2018: Dark Matter Virtual Season 4 – Episode 4.02, Act 5!

Radiolares asks: I want to know more: it’s as simple as that. What happens indeed when reformed criminals are thrown against an alien force with an agenda that is so much larger than anyone can imagine, in the middle of corporate, imperial and robotic conflicts

And I want to give you more.  Somehow.  Some day!

By Kurt Manwaring

Writer. History nerd. Latter-day Saint.

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