‘Dark Matter’: Here’s why it deserves to be saved
If you’re a regular on Film Daily, you already know this year we’re taking a stand for fallen shows, cut down in their prime before getting a chance to unleash their full potential. From Shadowhunters to Hannibal, too many networks simply refuse to wise up to factors beyond the archaic Nielsen system of ratings.
If you don’t know, that number indicating whether or not a show is widely watched is drawn only from Nielsen households, a small sample size of viewers that have their viewing habits monitored and reported.
Of course, this sample of American channel-hoppers completely negates other indicators like international viewers, streaming platforms, and those of you who save their shows for later with a DVR. You’ve probably noticed that most of your favorite shows are available on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, but even if you’re bingewatching Riverdale every weekend, your streaming habits have no bearing on the Nielsen rating.
One of the shows we’re supporting this year is the SyFy epic, Dark Matter. When another Syfy series, The Expanse, was saved at the eleventh hour by Amazon, fans were on the edge of their seats, expecting a similar announcement for Dark Matter at any minute. Sadly, luck for the show ran out and any possibilities of a renewal are up in the air.
Fans were left in the dark (no pun intended) following the cancellation, which left the third and final series’s shocking cliffhanger in limbo. Series co-creator Joseph Mallozzi, who based the show on his comic book of the same name written with Paul Mullie, was just as nonplussed as fans, issuing a speculative statement in regards to the show’s axing:
“Working against us was the fact that we weren’t a SyFy original. We were an acquisition. For those not in the know, an original is a series that is developed by the network and, more importantly, owned by the network, allowing them to monetize the show through things like international sales, streaming, etc.”
This means the network paid a little more than they usually would upfront, but would reap the benefits down the line. The series may have not generated much revenue from viewers as it was broadcasting, but you can find the series on streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon.
Sadly, networks are still reluctant to pay any attention to viewing figures overseas or how many people are bingewatching the shows online, so we still have no clue how the show performed beyond the outdated Nielsen figure.
Strangely, Dark Matter’s initial figures weren’t even out of line with other shows on the network, averaging around 600,000 live viewers each week without any significant dips in later series, a rarity for any network program.
Mallozzi was understandably just as angered as the fans and issued a statement in support of the show following the premature cancellation. “For today, I just want to extend a heartfelt thanks to my amazing crew, my wonderful cast, and to all of you, our incredible fans. You all deserved better.”
Like us, Mallozzi felt dedicated viewers of the series were owed more than dangling plot threads and unanswered questions. He even proposed a shorter fourth series to wrap up the narrative – but SyFy wasn’t interested.
The change.org petition is now closed, but it gained a momentous signature count of over 70,000. It’s been a little more than a year, but we’re joining the fight to get Dark Matter either renewed or saved from the brink by another network. The fans are still out there, and they’re sure as hell not backing down.