Imagine waking up from a deep slumber to a shocking discovery that you have lost track of all that happened in your waking moments, to the extent of forgetting your identity. That was the unfortunate fate of the crew in the derelict spaceship, Raza in the Canadian sci-fi series, Dark Matter. The group of six woke up in stasis pods with total amnesia and no memories of who they are or what their lives were like before awakening.
Although the series was not a hit – rating wise, its great ensemble, action-packed scenes, and intriguing mystery attracted a healthy, passionate, and loyal fanbase. Unfortunately, the fandom wasn’t able to keep it from being canceled after its third season which ended on a big cliffhanger, despite the endgame the creators – Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie – had in mind for the show. Here’s why Dark Matter was canceled after 39 episodes and what hope there is for the fourth season.
What Dark Matter Is All About
Dark Matter is a science fiction series based on the comic book of the same name by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie. It was first turned into a limited series comic in 2012 by Dark Horse comics before Prodigy Pictures teamed up with Space channel to develop it into a TV series.
In 2014, Syfy ordered a 13 episode season for its first outing. Principal photography began in January 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and was done by May 2015. Season 1 premiered on June 12, 2015, on both Space, in Canada and Syfy in the U.S.
Dark Matter follows the crew of a spaceship called the Raza who awakened from stasis with total amnesia. They neither remembered their identities or how they got on board. The team of six were named in the order they awoke, from one to six. One was played by Marc Bendavid, Two (Melissa O’Neil), Three (Anthony Lemke), Four (Alex Mallari, Jr), Five (Jodelle Ferland), and Six (Roger Cross). There is also a droid (Zoie Palmer) who becomes more human as she interacts with the crew.
They stabilized their ship and try to discover their identities as well as uncover what really happened to them. Amidst threats at every turn, they have to work together to survive a voyage charged with vengeance, betrayal, and hidden secrets.
Dark Matter was renewed for another 13 episode season on 5th September 2015 and a 13-episode third season the following year, in September 2016. The third season opened on June 9, 2017, two months prior to its cancellation on September 1, 2017, by the Syfy network.
Why Was Dark Matter TV Series Cancelled?
After season 3 which ended on a big cliffhanger, the fanbase was eagerly anticipating the return of the Raza crew. Although ratings for the show dipped midway during the third season, it was still solid and performed well for the network. Moreover, work had already begun on a six-episode fourth season that had the ending in mind when Syfy pulled the plug on the series in late 2017.
What made it more confusing for fans was that it outperformed several other Syfy series. These other series including Killjoys and The Expanse were renewed even though they had lower ratings than Dark Matter. Furthermore, the network never fully explained the reason for the cancellation, further confounding the fans until series creator, Mallozzi shed light on the matter.
He took to his blog to explain the situation and break down the reasons why Dark Matter was canceled. He explained that the situation was more complex than just rating issues. The major issue was that the series wasn’t a Syfy original but an acquisition. As a result, the network had a little financial incentive to keep the series going, thereby affecting their ability to monetize it. So, Dark Matter was canceled primarily for financial reasons rather than ratings.
Is There Hope For Season 4?
Mallozzi set out after the series was canceled to shop it around to other networks hoping that it would be picked up. Fans and cast also worked hard to get the show picked up by Netflix, Amazon, or any other network. MGM got very interested in acquiring it for their new streaming service Stargate Command to give it a proper finale, besides crossing it over with Stargate.
Sadly, the plan didn’t come to fruition. Time ran out on the actor’s contracts as well as the production’s sets before a deal could be reached, dashing hopes of a Dark Matter return.
Although the cast and crew of the series have since moved on to other projects, series creator Mallozzi strongly hopes that somehow, someway, there will be a way to give fans that series-ending miniseries or better still finish up the story as a comic book. Moreover, with canceled shows such as Twin Peaks and Arrested Development being unexpectedly resurrected, there’s still hope the series finale could happen someday.
It could take years to work out a deal, negotiate contracts, and figure out the way to synchronize schedules, but the Raza crew could still fly again someday.