Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Dark Matter TV Series

Dark Matter
TV Series

Just a quick heads-up about an old bit of entertainment making the streaming rounds.

Before they disappear it forever, do watch some of the episodes of Dark Matter.

Just a quick Google tells you:

Dark Matter (TV series) - Wikipedia
Dark Matter is a Canadian science fiction series created by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, based on their comic book of the same name and developed by ...
No. of seasons‎: ‎3 Original release‎: ‎June 12, 2015 – August 25, 2017
No. of episodes‎: ‎39 (‎list of episodes‎) Based on‎: ‎Dark Matter series of comics

Yes, and the TV Series availability on various delivery systems, (Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Prime, YouTube etc. ) tells you more than you want to know about it.  They are still charging money for this series, so it should be around a while m
ore.  When it becomes free, it will be about to disappear. 

It is made from a comic, and the TV Series is mostly by the same people who created the Comic.  As a result, the fabrication is what I would term "thin" -- or screenwriters call "on the nose."

The Characters are formulated from a formula  -- not a hint of the USA channel's "Characters Welcome" quirkiness.  The quirks that are included (an android, a woman subconsciously imprinted with everyone else's missing memories, a tough guy, a martial arts guy, a boss woman) are formulaic.

So why should you look into it?  Because it seems to be aimed at early-teen or pre-teen boys -- the classic audience for science fiction.  If you are writing Science Fiction Romance, you have to shift the target audience, or broaden it.

The lack of dimensionality and nuance is what sells to that pre-teen boy audience.

But this TV series went 3 seasons and was cancelled.  Yes, it had fans, but not enough for the actually cheap production to cover costs.

Writers looking to create stories for an adult audience that is at least 50% female (if not more) can learn a lot about how to do that by studying this TV Series.

The signature of a genre resides in what must be LEFT OUT, much more than it does in what must be INCLUDED.

Consider last week's post on Theme-Conflict Integration and what that has to do with Character and Genre.


Dark Matter has one, tentative, embarrassing kiss in the first 3 episodes.  It has males and females confined in a space ship.  All the characters are portrayed as amnesiacs who were wanted for horrible crimes.

They have innate, trained skills -- but no existing Relationships among them.

Does Relationship depend on memory?

Is Character a function of memory? 

Is morality a function of memory? 

How important is memory?

Amnesia/Romance novels are not usually my favorite fare, but I've read a lot that were deep, revealing, thought-provoking and even funny and heart-warming.

Dark Matter is not a Romance in any sense.  It is way too thin for that. 

Watch some of it -- if not all -- and consider how to fundamentally change the story into a Romance.  You can use a similar plot (though it would morph if you shift the story-line), and tell the Love Conquers All story.

What has to be conquered?  A lifetime as a crook, mercenary, killer, kidnapper, felon.  How do you conquer that?  Amnesia wipes it out?  Or is there Soul level karma to be addressed first?

Can Love ignite and burn away sin? 

Does Love really Conquer All?

How can there ever be an ever-after, never mind a Happily Ever After? 

Dark Matter, as a TV Series, is what screenwriters (SAVE THE CAT!) call a "Bottle Show" (the setting is inside the bottle of the ship), and a "Monster In The House" story line, as the crew doesn't know if whoever swiped their memories is still onboard.

To me, the scripts seem like a class writing exercise rather than production drafts.

But that makes it like fanfic, something so transparent you can learn from it, learn to see yourself making the same errors, learn to avoid those errors.

With all those flaws, I have to add that I like Dark Matter better than I thought I would.  The flaws I see now would not have seemed like flaws to me when I was twelve.  Going off to find clues to who you really are is a teen thing. 

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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