An Interview with Joseph Mallozi, Creator of Dark Matter

I had the opportunity to talk with the creator of one of my favorite shows, Dark Matter, Joseph Mallozzi about the show and its cancellation after the third season.  Here’s what he had to say about that.
How did you come up with the idea for Dark Matter?
I’ve always been a big fan of bad guys and the notion of redemption, so I built a series around these narrative elements. I wanted to take a group of individuals, the worst of the worst, and rehabilitate them in the eyes of the viewers. I took my cue from shows like The Shield, The Sopranos, comics like The Thunderbolts, anime like Cowboy Bebop, and shows like Stargate and Farscape.
What drew you to the project? The fact that I created it.
What’s the most unique aspect of the show?
A number of things come to mind. The serialized nature of the show, something rarely seen in sci-fi. An undercurrent of humor that runs through all the episodes, something that is atypical of much modern sci-fi television. The characters in particular are all very unique in very different ways.
How does Dark Matter differ to other SYFY shows?
As stated above, its serialized nature and sense of humor make it stand out. It also always sets out to set up and knock down classic sci-fi conceits, everything from time loops to time travel, gunslingers and hackers.
Is Dark Matter similar to the Stargate Universe or are they completely different?
They are different in tone (SGU was much darker) but similar in that, at the end of the day, the notion of family is at the heart of both shows.
How did you get started in the business?
I actually got my start writing for animation, worked my way up to development, story- editing, then transitioned to live action teen sitcoms before moving on to one hour action adventure shows and, eventually, landed on Stargate.
What drew you to Science Fiction?
I have always been a huge fan of science fiction. I grew up reading Asimov, Ellison, Clarke, and a host of comics which, while not technically science fiction, possessed many sci-fi elements.
Are you currently working on any other projects?
I’ve been presented with some great opportunities but, after 20+ straight years of working, I’m taking a little break.
What’s your favorite aspect of working on DarkMatter?
My favorite aspect of working on the show was always the people – the cast and crew that became like family to me.
How’d you cast the show?
We simply cast the best actors for each role. Having 9 finished scripts before we even went into prep allowed me to choose the very best scenes for each audition. And one thing I looked out for in particular was a sense of humor. I needed my cast to be great, but I also wanted them to be funny. And each one we cast delivered that sense of humor I was looking for in their auditions.
What was the hardest thing about filming the show?
The hardest thing about filming the show was making sure to be very efficient, preparing early, producing on the page, scheduling tightly, and making sure our limited budget ended up on screen.
What was the best thing?
As before, the best thing about the show was the people I worked with.
Why do you think the show’s fans are so loyal to it?
I think the fans are loyal because we are loyal to the fans. We care about them and I think it shows, through the casts’ interactions with fandom at various cons or online.
Why did the show get cancelled?
Good question. I’ve heard various theories but, at the end of the day, that’s all they are.