Dark Matter | Vol. 2 / No. 16.2

Amanda Tapping and Chris Judge in 2008; Photo: Wikimedia Commons user Pattymooney.
Amanda Tapping and Chris Judge in 2008; Photo: Wikimedia Commons user Pattymooney.

Okay, this is only kind of a #FeministFriday post, and it’s because the world will soon get more of two of my favourite badass sci-fi actors: Amanda Tapping and Torri Higginson. But I’m also super-excited about this new science-fiction show and wanted an excuse to geek out.

Long story short, the writers behind Stargate: SG-1 wrote something called Dark Matter back in 2011 (or maybe earlier) that was intended to be a TV show. They couldn’t find any takers, so Dark Horse Comics made it into a limited-run comic book series. Fast-forward to this year, and Syfy has picked up the TV rights, so it’s going to be a show after all! The best part is that it seems like the writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie get to have a hand in the casting, because two Stargate franchise favourites have now been brought on board.

Amanda Tapping played Samantha Carter — genius scientist and excellent shot with a P-90 — for all ten seasons of SG-1, and Torri Higginson played the expedition leader Elizabeth Weir for the first four seasons of Stargate: Atlantis. (I’ve always said that science fiction is where it’s at if you want strong female characters.)

So what’s Dark Matter about? The basics (in comics-land) is that six people — three men, two women, and a young boy — wake up on board a space ship in orbit around a mining colony. The catch is they’ve got no memory of who they are, and the politics around these space-mines is apparently such that just finding out puts them on a dangerous path. I don’t want to say more, because spoilers, but if they do this right it’s going to be awesome.

Now the original was pretty short — only four comics — but Syfy has picked up a 13-episode season based on it, so questions remain as to what’s going to take place.

As for their roles: Tapping will be directing (at least) the fourth episode, adding to her growing list of directorial work, and Higginson will be guest-starring early on in a role The Mary Sue thinks will be recurring. They’ve already got some other actors lined up: Zoie Palmer (from Lost Girl) will be playing the Ship’s Android, so of the seven leads, three will be female.

Now at first glance it looks like they’ll be playing with the dynamic from the comic — “three men, two women, and a small boy” seems to have been turned into “four men, one woman, one younger woman, and a ship’s android” (that is, they’ve aged the boy and made him a her and made the android a major character). It’s going to be interesting to see what they do with it, but given the character description of the “Boss Lady,” I’m optimistic:

“The group’s defacto leader, she is a master fighter and an unbelievably quick learner when it comes to weaponry. Determined, tough, and more than a little headstrong, she is not the type you want to mess with – or disappoint. She can be cool and inscrutable and yet, at the same time, can demonstrate surprising compassion – the mark of true leader.”

Check out the cast here, and The Mary Sue for more.