A Love Letter to the Women of Dark MatterPhoto of Melissa O'Neil as "Two," courtesy of Syfy TV Features Dark Matter
Dark Matter begins with an intriguing premise: Six people wake from stasis on a spaceship with no memory of who they are or how they got there. What follows are three seasons of humor and action, as these individuals and their beloved Android adventure across the universe. But beyond the Faster Than Light travel and the insane corporate politics, one of the show’s most fascinating elements is that three of its leads are compelling female characters.
And yet Syfy canceled the show this fall, leaving a void in their programming. But rather than detail the numerous reasons Syfy made an egregious mistake, I want to highlight a unique event. Executive producer Jay Firestone approved a plan to give away Dark Matter props to the fans; all they have to do is submit a letter detailing what the show means to them by November 15 (details at the bottom).
So this is my love letter to the women of Dark Matter.
I’ll never stop smiling when I think about how the most talented leader, the most tech-savvy individual and the show’s literal genius are all women. There’s Two (the characters are numbered in the order they woke from stasis), who captains the Raza, makes the tough calls and fights with flair. Played by Melissa O’Neil, Two is a bold yet thoughtful leader who proves herself time and again. There’s Five, the teen tech whiz played by Jodelle Ferland. She holds her own among a crew of adults, working magic with electrical circuits on missions and reminding everyone of the value in choosing compassion. And then there’s the Android, a charming robot played by Zoie Palmer. The Android’s sacrificial devotion to her crew leads them to recognize that personhood is a right, challenging black and white notions of who is deserving of humanity. Dark Matter gifts these women the space to grow and kick ass in a way few shows do.
And now its time to give a shout-out to the male leads (played by Roger Cross, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari Jr. and Marc Bendavid), who accept female leadership and treat their fellow crewmates with respect. Do they always coexist in harmony? Of course not; like in any ragtag family, there is discord and betrayal. But these conflicts exist between people, foregoing exhausting power struggles between the genders. Dark Matter is a show about defining your identity, and everyone’s has equal value.
So to Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, Dark Matter’s inventive creators, thank you for developing a show in which women utilize their diverse strengths every single episode.
And to those women—Two, Five and the Android—thank you for sharing your beautiful, wild adventures with us for three years.
Even the blink drive is up for grabs, so you know you want to write the team a letter. But act fast, because the letter must be received at the address above by November 15th.
Frannie Jackson is Paste’s Books Editor. She reads and watches a ridiculous amount of sci-fi when she’s not occasionally posting on Twitter.